Tips for getting broody hens to foster parent mail order chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ChezPoulez, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. ChezPoulez

    ChezPoulez Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 22, 2011
    Mill Valley, California
    Am I attempting the impossible?

    I've raised Silkies before, but always had them raise their own chicks and many other birds for me. *btw, the sight of baby peafowl trying to get under a Silkie mom is quite funny*
    I've two Silkie hens who have been broody for weeks now. I decided not to break them since I've a dozen mail order Silkie chicks coming the first week of July. I've got a brooder set up, but I'm sorely tempted to tuck the chicks under the hens to see if they will foster parent them. It would be sooooo much easier to get them do to the mothering.

    Have any of you ever tried this? Tips? Pitfalls?

    I'm thinking perhaps to do it after dark so they sleep together the first night.

    Feedback will be greatly appreciated!
  2. Larkin

    Larkin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2010
    Northern Wisconsin
    I got 13 meaties delivered and it was too cold to set them out in the coop. I had 2 mama hens out there and they had 2 chicks each. After a few days of having these meaties inside, I decided to see what would happen if I took them to the coop. I had them in a cage with a heat lamp. The one mama BO wanted in their cage soooo bad so I let her in and she immediately sat on all 14 chicks that were a few days old! Her chicks were about 10 days old at this time! She raised those dawg gone meaties till about the time her 2 were 5-6 weeks old.
    One night we went out to close up the coop and noticed many of the meaties were not in and neither was mama BO. She was outside sitting over as many of those fatties as she could spread herself over! They had to be 4 weeks old and were too big to fit under her properly but she knew they were chilly.
    Long story short, try it, if you just keep an eye on things, you should know if it'll work. I didn't even try to sneak them in at dark, she didn't even care.
  3. ChezPoulez

    ChezPoulez Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 22, 2011
    Mill Valley, California
    Well that makes the experiment sound promising. Thanks for the input. [​IMG]
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    I don't think you need to worry. From what I've heard about silkies, they will mother anything.
  5. Keara

    Keara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 24, 2009
    I'v had better luck if I put the chicks under the brood at night.
  6. alaina

    alaina Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2011
    North middle TN
    what about a BR hen who already has 2 chicks that are less than a week old? Do you think I can sneak some more babies under her at night?
  7. Fuffy

    Fuffy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 3, 2009
    Jersey, GB
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    Works best if done under cover of darkness and if the family is separate from the flock. Easy and quiet with as little disturbance of the broody as morning she is a mama and takes the job seriously. Haven't had a broody reject foster chicks yet, no matter what breed of hen I've had.
  9. creekrats

    creekrats Out Of The Brooder

    May 9, 2011
    Southwest Georgia
    Quote:Definitely. I recently put a new chick under my RIR hen who had six week old chicks. She never thought twice about it. But I did do it at night.

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