the debate: broody or brooder

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ozarkmomma, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. ozarkmomma

    ozarkmomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 14 chicks coming in a few weeks. I have a brooder box set up but I also have 3-4 broody hens. I could put one or two of my broody hens in the grow out pen and let them raise the babies. I have Cochin hens and I swear they have been broody all summer. Maybe if they raise the babies, it will satisfy them? Pros and cons please?
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    By all means give them to the broodies! Nothing sweeter than chicks with mama's!

    Pros:
    happy chicks with a mama
    mama hen does all the work for you
    no heat lamp, brooder cleaning
    gets them over their broody spell


    Cons:
    Some say chicks are less friendly raised by broodies, I haven't found this to be the case
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I don't know where your brooder box is. If it is in the house, letting the hens raise the chicks is a huge plus from the dust, smell, and noise side.

    If you let a hen raise the chicks with the flock, Mama will take care of integration. If you isolate the broody and her chicks, you lose this advantage.

    If you raise them in a brooder, you take care of integration; you feed, water, and clean the brooder yourself. You worry about keeping it at the right temperature. The chicks will probably be more friendly if you handle them daily.

    If they are allowed to free range when being raised, broody raised chicks are usually better foragers than brooder raised chicks, reducing your feed bill.

    I don't know what size your Cochins are. In case one is full sized instead of bantam, I had one Australorp rise 15 chicks last year. She did fine.

    It is a tough call.

    By the way, a green egg layer I kept from the hatching eggs I got from you is currently broody on 12 eggs. She is due to hatch July 6.
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:Ditto! [​IMG]
     
  5. cochinfan

    cochinfan Out Of The Brooder

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    I have chicks with hens for the first time this year. While I love raising them in the brooder, watching hens with chicks is extremely fascinating and entertaining. My Houdan hen had 2 hatched but one got mixed with another hens babies. So that gave my black Australorp eight (she hatched 7 herself) and my Polish hen hatched two but lost one somewhere (I hate that!). These chicks all came from eggs my Polish rooster fertilized. I know they are a bunch of mutt chicks but it is still a lot of fun watching them grow.

    My husband and I think that they seem heartier and stronger. They get so much more exercise running thru the grass, jumping over rocks, climbing the ramp back into the coop, etc. I'm on pins and needles constantly counting them but it still seems like a great life and if they would just stay in the chicken yard they'd be fine. None of the other hens or the rooster bother them and so they are already integrated!
     
  6. ozarkmomma

    ozarkmomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    so.....should I put the chicks under her in the coop, or should I move her and the chicks to a separate pen?
     
  7. Memphisjourney2seramas

    Memphisjourney2seramas Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2011
    This is a good topic. I have to broody hens that should hatch next week. I was trying to get/ make a seperate pen for them so they don't get lost in with all the other chickens. One broody is sitting on 17 serama eggs and I would be so upset if I lost one, plus they are so so small. Do yo think the BO hen is to big and will crush one after they hatch or will they be ok? What do you think? make a seperate pen?
     
  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:What I have done with good success. I have two large dog kennels, german shepherd sized. They are in the coop. Once I'm sure that my hen is serious about being broody and not just thinking about it, I move her to one of the crates and lock her in. I leave her locked in - with food and water offered in chick-sized feeders and waterers - for about three days; long enough for her to settle in. Then I leave the door open so she can come and go as she pleases. I've noticed that when the hens take their daily constitutional to eat, drink and poo, they'll stay out longer on warm day, less on cooler days. I mark the eggs I want her to hatch and check daily to remove any that Mama's flockmates may have added to her pile. Around day 16 or so, I once again lock the door so that no one is disturbing the eggs so close to hatch. Again, Mama has food and water in the crate with her. I open the door once a day to give mama the option of coming out to stretch her legs, but most times they don't that close to hatch. I keep the door locked for the first few days after hatch. My broodies have all been real good about letting me know they are tired of being locked in a crate with chicks and are ready to bring them out to meet the flock. First couple of times they bring the babies out, I stick around as much as possible to be sure everything goes smoothly. If mama feels uncomfortable for some reason she'll make a noise and all the chicks dive under her or run back to their nest. With the store bought chicks, I waited to purchase them until it was close to time for my broody to hatch. One broody was sitting eggs that I knew from candling were no good. The other broody had hatched one chick, but was neglecting it because she was determined to hatch the rest of her eggs. Those eggs were no good as well. I waited until dark. Working slowly and quietly, I removed the eggs and replaced them with chicks. I stuck around for awhile to make sure both mama's were okay with the idea of instant chicks and they were.

    I freaked with my first broody. She hatched in February (our coldest month) and had her chicks outside with snow on the ground when they were three days old. Eventually I realized that broody hens have been successfully raising chicks for alot longer than I have and mama really does know best. Her chicks thrived. One of them, a roo, is now my flock leader. Right now I have two sets of 7 week old chicks in the coop. Some were store bought, some "homemade". All raised by the broody hens. The chicks are thriving and are part of the flock without any trouble.

    Hope this helps. [​IMG]
     
  9. Memphisjourney2seramas

    Memphisjourney2seramas Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2011
    awesome info. Thanks so much for the info. I really needed it.
     

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