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Using Serrogate Mother Hens?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by rssnbabybear, Apr 29, 2016.

  1. rssnbabybear

    rssnbabybear Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 1, 2016
    I currently have two broody hens who seem like they are going to make it to the end of their enclosure time. The day that I separated them I gave each 3-4 eggs to sit on. That same day I put eggs in my incubator. I was really hoping that when the 'bator babies hatch I could put some of them under the broody hens to raise. Is this possible? Is there a right/wrong way to do it? And how many can each hen handle? They each have 3-4 eggs and when I candled the 'bator eggs, there were 24 growing on time. I know I may not be able to put them all out there with the broodies, but the fewer I have to raise myself, the easier.
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    If hey are standard size hens they should be able to handle a dozen chicks each. Wait until their own start hatching to see if they are interested in babies - some hens are fine while on the eggs but but not good with chicks. Once you are sure accept their chicks, you can sneak a few more chicks in, and if they do okay with them then you can sneak a few more.
  3. rssnbabybear

    rssnbabybear Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 1, 2016
    Thanks 1muttsfan. Should I start moving the 'bator babies in as soon as I'm sure mother hen is okay with chicks or should I make sure they are dry first?
  4. JadedPhoenix

    JadedPhoenix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 29, 2012
    Tyro-Lexington, NC
    This may not be popular but the times I've used both the bator and broody at the same time, I have slipped the eggs under the broody a day before I expect them to hatch. Even my silkie has been able to cover nearly a dozen eggs at a time, especially for such a short amount of time so long as the ambient time wasn't very cool.

    In the past, the eggs that I'd have under the broody wouldn't be fertile and only those in the bator were. When it got close I'd slide the duds out from under her and replaced them with the ones ready to hatch. That is just how I do it since I don't have to wait until nightfall to slip any new ones under mom while she is asleep only to have to stand by the next morning to make sure she doesn't react badly to the new chicks that she may or may not realize they hadn't hatched under her.

    As for moving chicks if that is how you plan to do it, I'd recommend letting them dry so they don't get a chill in the transfer.
  5. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    Probably best to let the chicks dry and fluff before removing them from the incubator. It can negatively affect your hatch if you open the incubator before all the chicks that are going to hatch do, and you can just leave them in the incubator until they fluff, or put them in a brooder for a short time if you need to while you see how the hens are with the chicks they hatched themselves.
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I've done it more than once. I do allow the chicks to fluff out, even put them in a brooder with heat lamp, giving it time to make sure they have their land legs, so to speak, then I just slip them under her wing. It's a natural thing for them to "want" a mother and they seem to be happy to see a real mama, though maybe it's just my interpretation.

    I don't want to put a chick under her that may not be going to make it, though, even if I have to wait 24 hours observing it before I introduce it to mom.
  7. FarmerMac

    FarmerMac Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2014
    When i hatch eggs in the incubator, I usually place the chicks under a broody hen at night and she adopts them as if they were her own eggs that hatched. That broody hen has been sitting on some fake eggs until the chicks hatch in the incubator.
    1 person likes this.
  8. rssnbabybear

    rssnbabybear Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 1, 2016
    Wow, this is so exciting. Thanks for the input everybody. I really appreciate it. I think I will wait until I know these hens are going to be okay with chicks. This is their first year with a brood, so I'm going to err on the side of caution. I'm not sure if I will be able to get all of the chicks out there since there will be a dozen per hen (plus what hatches under them). I'm on pins and needles waiting for all of this to go down. T minus 6 days!
  9. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 29, 2012

    My advice would be wait till some have hatched but she hasn't left the nest yet. Put the chick in your hand and cover with your other hand so you can't see the chick then slide your hands in underneath and release. Even better if you can do it as she is settling for the night.
  10. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    Let us know how it turns out [​IMG]

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