Two broodies - give all chicks to one?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by echip, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. echip

    echip Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 7, 2010
    I have two bantam EE broodies (Robin and Henrietta) each sitting on five large size eggs (from a friend, ours aren't fertile). Both girls are 7 months old and doing great!

    Robin's nest is in a nice grow-out pen and Henrietta is in a cat carrier. Robin's eggs are due to hatch about 24 hours before Henrietta's.

    Since Robin is in the nice place for raising chickies, I thought about taking Henrietta's chicks away from her in the dark of night and adding them to Robin's chicks, after they hatch. It seems like a mean thing to do to Henrietta, but I don't have a separate place for another mama and chicks.

    They are due in 10 or 11 days. What do you think? (Other than counting all my chickens before they hatch!)

    Will Robin accept new babies that are one day younger than her "own"?

    Would it be better to add Henrietta's almost hatched eggs at the last minute, right before they hatch?
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I'm not sure where you are located or what your weather is like, but regardless of how great your weather is, I think the broody needs to be able to cover all her chicks at the same time for the first week or so. I once had a full sized broody raise 15 chicks and by the time they were about 1-1/2 week old, they had grown so much she could not cover them all, but they managed just fine. She did not lose any of them. So I think it is important how many chicks hatch and how many she can cover. I usually go by how many eggs she can cover.

    If I were in your situation and one hen could cover all the chicks, I would try to give them all to one broody. If you add them at night, she will probably accept them.

    I let my broodies raise them with the flock instead of isolating them, so my techniques are different from yours. I wait until the broody brings them off the nest then isolate them for a couple of days so the chicks can learn to eat and drink without interference from the other grown members of the flock.

    Without going into great detail, I wound up with a hatch where a broody had four chicks under her and I had another 11 that hatched in an incubator at the same time. When she brought them off the nest, I put her in my isolation pen and put her 4 chicks and the 11 incubator chicks in a box, then emptied the box with all 15 chicks in the pen. She immediately took them all in. Putting the new ones under her at night would probably be even safer. Don't worry about a one day difference in their ages. That won't matter.

    Good luck!
  3. KWAK

    KWAK Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2009
    I think you should let both try to hatch/raise the chicks [​IMG] why not let them stay where they are... im sure she will protect the chicks from other hens...
  4. RockyToggRanch

    RockyToggRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2008
    Upstate NY
    I would also let them be.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    From your post, I take it that you have one area suitable for a hen and chicks, not two separate areas. I also take it that you have decided to let the hen raise her chicks separate from the flock. That's not the way I do it, but I realize that my way is not necessarily the right way for everyone. People are successful doing things a lot of different ways. I find that how much space Mama has to work with is very important.

    A lot of people let two different broodies raise ther chicks together. Either the broodies actually share in the hatching and upbringing of the chicks or, after they bond to their mother, the two broodies raise their chicks separately but in the same general area. Some people do this and are successful. But something that can happen (not each and every time without fail, but sometimes) the two broodies will fight over the chicks with one taking over all the chicks. These fights can get pretty vicious and hens or sometimes the chicks can get injured during these fights. I'll say it again. This does not happen every time, but sometimes it does happen. Each chicken has its own personality. I cannot tell you what will happen with yours.

    If you have a really successful hatch and have more chicks than one hen can cover, you will have to decide how to go forward. That does not necessarily make your life easier, but I really hope your hatch is very successful. I think your life will be easier if one hen can raise all of them instead of using two hens, but anything can be managed. If you use both broodies to raise them, I would suggest you consider adding a pen around that cat carrier or something like that, but you can try putting them together if you want to.

    Good luck!
  6. Momo

    Momo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2008
    Nelson BC
    Ridgerunner is right about the possible hazard, but I've always had good success letting two broodies raise their babies together. Mine are initially separated from the flock by wire mesh, and I integrate at 1-2 weeks. My girls typically share the babies between the two hens, which works out well for everyone. Sometimes they even share the same nest. Your experience may differ so you'd need to keep a close eye on things at first, but why not put the broody in the cat carrier inside the grow-out pen? Each will return to her own nest after eating etc, and there's a good chance they'll cooperate with the babies once they hatch.

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