What makes the best broody hen

nchls school

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 22, 2015
6,883
3,604
386
Tennessee
I've been raising chickens of many different varieties for over 45 years and there are still surprises. When I first got my serama eggs my first thought, "what in ##### do I do with these?". They were a gift from my wife who knows I like a challenge. I do not like to use incubators unless I have to; so many times over the years I have been disappointed; power outages, unplugged cords, rambunctious pets, and on and on and on. If I really want the eggs to hatch; always, something goes wrong. I had a broody Silkie, but looking at her and the size of her eggs I really didn't think it would work. The serama eggs were so small and the hen so large (for a bantam). I put the eggs under her figuring that some of the eggs would be broken by morning, and, if they were, I'd put the rest in the blasted incubator. Each day I expected a mess. It didn't happen. I have never seen a chicken be so careful getting on and off her eggs. Of the original 13 eggs that I put under her 7 hatched and I was elated that so many survived as my wife had bought them off ebay and they had been shipped. The chicks. So very tiny; it was hard to decide what best to do with them. I could just imagine that big old white hen stepping on them. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. She never stepped on a single one. All seven a doing great.
At three weeks of age the chicks are still smaller than the silkie's head. I just fed them and stood watching the hen and chicks. Amazing that a hen so large could foster chicks so small. Silkies are the best broodies and I've had hundreds of broody hens over the years. Just amazing.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
579
448
South Georgia
Besides Silkies, Old English game hens, the game varieties such as Aseel, and Kraienkoppes also make excellent broodies and mamas.
 

howfunkyisurchicken

Crowing
9 Years
Apr 11, 2011
9,281
807
361
Tn
So do turkeys! I have a turkey hen sitting on a few Silkie eggs right now! I've had turks hatch bantam eggs in the past, its a SIGHT to see such a huge bird with such little babies :gig
 

LLCoyote

Chirping
8 Years
May 24, 2011
191
9
93
So do turkeys! I have a turkey hen sitting on a few Silkie eggs right now! I've had turks hatch bantam eggs in the past, its a SIGHT to see such a huge bird with such little babies
gig.gif
That's actually really impressive. I would have thought they would crush the babies!
 

nchls school

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 22, 2015
6,883
3,604
386
Tennessee
So do turkeys! I have a turkey hen sitting on a few Silkie eggs right now! I've had turks hatch bantam eggs in the past, its a SIGHT to see such a huge bird with such little babies
gig.gif

Very impressive indeed. The last turkey hen I had was too big to be a good mother. She tried but the turkey chicks were crushed as soon as they hatched. I watched-the hen tried but as soon as the eggs started to hatch out the chick was done for. I did rescue a few and raise them under a heat lamp. I don't have turkeys any more-not enough room. My wife and I are hoping to move soon.
 

howfunkyisurchicken

Crowing
9 Years
Apr 11, 2011
9,281
807
361
Tn
One thing I've learned is that not all moms are created equal, no matter the species. The hen I've got on bantam eggs now has never hatched before, so it could end up being a total disaster. She laid her eggs and I popped them in the incubator, then she went broody a few days before they were supposed to hatch. I spent a solid week trying to break her and she wasn't having it. The bantam eggs were all I had to give her, so we'll see....
 

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