two broody hens, two hatches in the same coop - will that work?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Gonda, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. Gonda

    Gonda Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have two broody hens, Blue Laced Red Wyandottes, the first now 5 weeks in her nest! I had not given her any eggs as I wasn't planning to raise chicks at this time. However, when the 2nd hen went broody, I had a chance to get some Ameraucana eggs and put them under her, 8 of them, as well as one of her own. The first broody continued to sit. They've nicely been broody together. Tomorrow it's 3 weeks since we put the eggs under the other broody.

    After all this effort on the part of the first hen, now in week 5, I'd like to try to reward her with some chicks. I put 3 golf balls under her last night, in her nest. She didn't pull them under her right away, but this morning they were under her, and she got up and was in the run for a while, then went back on the nest so she accepted them.

    So, I've been reading about the best way to do this. All the advice points to giving the day old chick to a broody hen. None say to give them eggs that are ready to hatch, so she feels them hatching under her and then accepts them as her own. That seems to me to be a logical way to do it, in this situation. If I gave her a few of the eggs that are due to hatch, tonight after dark, they should hatch tomorrow or the next day and I would think she'd accept them then. Isn't that right?

    However, now I also read that if you give a day old chick to another mom, the original mom should be out of earshot as she will hear the chicks and won't give up searching and calling for them. So, if I don't give a day old chick to the adopted mom, but instead if the eggs are put under her tonight, the original hen that has been sitting on them might not think they're hers. Or will she? Will they both get confused about which chicks they're hearing and be restless, wanting them all with them? It could get interesting if that's the case. Has anyone had two broody hens within earshot of each other hatching chicks at the same time? Can they live together in the same area, content with their own chicks, and raise their chicks separately? Or will everyone be mixed up, moms and chicks?
     
  2. Lisa0318

    Lisa0318 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good question, i would like to know this as well because i have same situation right now with my two broody silkies. Blanca is ready to hatch her baby's on monday but april goes in blancas nest and steals like 4 eggs and putts them under her, i gave April her her own eggs today and she seems to have stayed on them so i hope they stay on their nests and not switch them [​IMG] . April was going in Blanca's nest to lay her eggs there so that's y i think she would go back to steal some [​IMG], does that mean they know wich are there's? but good luck with your hatching i hope all goes well for you, [​IMG]
     
  3. Gonda

    Gonda Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I read a little more, and read that rival hens can attack each other and the chicks. So now I'm really concerned. Does anyone have any experience with this, hatching and raising chicks with two mother hens in the same coop? I will make a safe place for the chicks, that only they can fit through, to get to their food and water. But when they come out, will their respective mothers claim them, will they go to their respective mothers? Will they be at risk?
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    I can only share my experience with having two broodies in the same coop at the same time.

    I had a SF and a silkie go broody at the same time. Actually I had 3 broodies but the third one quit halfway through. We had gone on vacation when they first started setting, leaving my SD as their caretaker. SD got confused on what to do, the result was all the eggs under the hens being bad (non-hatchable) except one. The silkie had managed to hatch one chick and was ignoring it while she continued to sit on the bad eggs. I went to Atwoods (like a TSC store) and bought 8 chicks. That night, after all the other birds had gone to roost, I swapped out the bad eggs for day old chicks; giving the SF five chicks and the silkie three.

    Both hens accepted the chicks right away. Three days later both mama hens brought their chicks out to meet the flock and free range. The mamas were very protective of their own chicks, but would lightly peck at the others chicks if they got too close. One of the silkies chicks was killed in a freak accident, but all the others have done just fine and are now close to laying age.

    So far I have had 5 clutches of chicks raised in the coop with all the other birds and it's worked quite well. The silkie is currently setting again. She has two modes - raising chicks or being broody; there is no in between with her. [​IMG]

    Hope this helps. [​IMG]
     
  5. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    By the way, for the first three days - hatch day plus 2 - I kept the broodies locked in their respective crates so that they wouldn't be bothered by other flock members during such a critical time.

    Once the mamas brought the chicks out I took away the chick feeders and waterers that I had in the crates, only returning them at night when the broodies had returned to their crates/nests with their chicks. If you leave them down where the other birds can reach them they will empty them. Same food, same water, but in a different container so chickens think it's special. [​IMG] During the day I just lowered the regular feeders so the chicks could reach them. I feed flockraiser so everybody gets the same food. I also offer a chick waterer just in case, but was amazed to see three day old chicks jumping up on the cinder blocks that hold the adults waterers to get a drink.
     
  6. Gonda

    Gonda Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for sharing your experience. I spoke with someone here locally. She says she has had mothers and newly hatched chicks together with no problem. Says they sometimes have a scuffle at first, but they sort it out between themselves and will even share the chicks.

    So far, the broody on eggs has 3 chicks hatched. I have left both broodies sitting side by side on their nests. I don't want to move them down until the chicks are finished hatching. I don't have any other hens laying, so there's no chance of anyone getting into their nests. So we'll see what's hatched tomorrow and then I'll maybe put both hens in separate crates for a few days as you suggest, and I'd like to try giving the one broody without eggs a chick and see what she does with it, and see how the other one responds if she hears it peeping. I'll be home for a few days so can keep an eye on them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  7. manybirds

    manybirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 4, 2011
    Quote:I had a very determined bantam cochin hen sitting on nothing for weeks and she wouldn't give up. so i had sumatra eggs in the incubator almost ready to hatch. i gave her 3 of them and she hatched them out just fine. there is another hen in the coop who has babies and showed interest but left it alone and another hen who dosn't have any but would like some but left her alone. she now has 3 healthy chicks and all r very healthy. i like giving them eggs before they hatch because giving them day old dosn't always work with mom or chicks. i also had 2 silkies go broody on the same nest. they hatched out 2 babies and all went well. ocassionaly they would squable but nothing else and the babies where fine.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  8. chickgrowerdan

    chickgrowerdan Out Of The Brooder

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    I swapped out 6 chicks from the incubator for the 7 dud eggs these two girls had sat on for far too long. They shared a medium sized dog crate and did quite well I thought for being so young. They kept 7 out of 10 intact for 26 days even though none developed.
    But in the end they were so eager for babies there were no questions asked when they heard the peeps, it was just "YAY! WE'RE MOMMIES!!!". [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  9. Egg Rookie 2010

    Egg Rookie 2010 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok it sounds like mixed reviews if I have to build the broody her own tiny coop and run....Ive seen a bunch of photos in other posts. Is that REALLY necessary? Do non broody hens kill babies or what? I could very easily enclose the area under the nest boxes but there is no access to the outside. And at what point would you let babies move about with mama in the flock? Im just confused.
     
  10. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    The short answer is, you won't know til you try.

    Many do build broody pens. I have one, maybe 5' x 6'. I use it for storage. I brooded a few chicks there for a few weeks this spring, until a broody sitting nearby decided they were hers and adopted them. I've put a broody in there with eggs a few times, but by the time the chicks were 2 or 3 days old, they were agitating to get out and be with the flock, so I let them out.

    All sorts of things happen, other hens kill chicks, the broody kills chicks, roos kill chicks. But from my own limited experience, and less limited experience reading here, generally what happens is, the mama chases other hens away, roos ignore or help with mothering, and the hens either don't bother each other or help each other raise the chicks. What I like most about raising chicks in with the flock, besides the sheer joy of watching them all together, is that the chicks are integrated and have a place in the flock when they are far less than full size and the mama quits mothering.

    I once had 3 Kraienkoppes, a very good broody breed, and one hatched chicks. The other two shared both sitting and mothering duties. When the "real" mama was killed, the other two took over raising the chicks. And yes, I've had two broodies raising chicks at the same time. In my case they each kept their own chicks nearby and ignored each other.

    You can separate the mama or mamas, or leave them alone, truly it's a personal choice. I wouldn't bother, myself.

    I'll just mention, you didn't say anything about food, but the one no-no is new chicks eating layer. Personally I solve the problem by feeding the whole flock a grower or flock raiser feed and offering oyster shell separately. For some reason my chicks have never messed with oyster shell.

    Let us know how this works out for you, and good luck!
     

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