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Twist on Broody Hen Fostering?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Wishapup, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. Wishapup

    Wishapup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    An idea just came to me.

    I will have a good number of chicks hatching next week, probably from 20 to 40. I will be raising them in a large cardboard pen in the garage with a heat lamp, as I have done in the past.

    I have several bantams going broody in the coop. I don't really have the time to accommodate for a separate broody hatch.

    What if I added a broody hen to my chick brooder in the garage as an "overseer"? I'd have to be careful with the process, but if it worked, she could help raise the chicks--along with the heat lamp. Maybe she could act as a back-up if the bulb went out during the night. Show them how to eat and drink. Protect them from any marauding mice that might happen to be in the garage.

    Has anyone ever done this?

    I would wait until one had been confirmed broody for last week and this week, then slip a few chicks under her and see how she reacted. Once she had "adopted" some chicks, I would add some more to be sure she would accept greater numbers, then move them all to the main brooder.
     
  2. GreenLove

    GreenLove Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am no expert, but that seems like a lot of chicks to make one hen take care of. I read somewhere on another post here, that if you were going to give a broody hen some chicks, you should do it quickly, quietly, after dark, and all the babies at once. Then, be there first thing in the morning to make sure she accepts them. I think that person was giving her broody only 3 or 4 chicks though.
     
  3. Wishapup

    Wishapup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She wouldn't have the responsibility of caring for them all--because they would have everything they needed without her and the majority of them would have to use the heat lamp because they wouldn't fit under her [​IMG] The set-up will be the same regardless of whether she is there or not.

    Yes, that's typically a good procedure to follow for fostering chicks. Mine would be similar...I think I would place them under her in the afternoon, when it's dim, then if everything goes well I could progress to more chicks at night. Then - I might place her and her adopted chicks in a box inside the brooder and progress from there...
     
  4. Wishapup

    Wishapup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Another method I might try. I doubt the chicks will hatch all at once, and I might be removing them a couple of times throughout the entire hatch.

    I could set her up in the empty brooder to begin with, then add chicks a few at a time as they dry...
     
  5. Wishapup

    Wishapup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Or not do it this time. I could let the hen sit on a few eggs when I start my next incubator batch, and have them hatch at the same time. Meaning I could more easily keep slipping incubator chicks under her along with her own.
     

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