When to introduce broody?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by animalsrule1, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. animalsrule1

    animalsrule1 In the Brooder

    Sep 16, 2012
    My Wyandotte hen went broody 20 days ago, and we just had the first egg hatch. I have had her in a dog crate with a nest bow, a waterer, and some food, simply because I had trouble getting her to hatch one set of eggs rather than switching nest boxes every couple hours. So, here's my question, I'd love for her to raise her chicks in with the other chickens, as they go around my property foraging, my questions are, first, should I keep her in the box for a couple weeks, simply because the sickens can easily get into horse paddocks? I don't want anyone getting squashed.

    Second, again, I really want her to raise her chicks with the flock, when would be a good time to introduce them? I was planning to transition the whole flock to chick starter, but offer free choice oyster shell as a calcium supplement for my layers. I'd like her to introduce her chicks young, but am so worried that the other hens might kill her chicks? Either that or, I have a couple hens currently trying to go broody, could they steal the chicks from her?

    Sorry if this is too much, I've just heard such good reviews about hens raising chicks with the flock, especially in a semi-free range situation (they have a border fence to protect them from dogs, and they go in a coop at night.) and I don't want anyone to get hurt if I can prevent it in a simple way. Any comments are so, so appreciated.
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Crossing the Road

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    You are doing it the right way. The hen will protect her little chicks. It is a natural thing. Now you must understand that each hen can be different. Some may be more protective than others. It is similar with people. Some watch their children more than others. See how the other chickens react to the new mom with chicks.
    On the starter feed issue with giving them free choice oyster shells . you have it exactly right. [​IMG] ...
    As to other broody chickens trying to steal lil chicks??? I don't think so until at least when some of their own would hatch. Ether way, it would not be a BAD thing.
    Introduce mama and family when all chicks hatched and are roaming together. Few days.... JMO
  3. HEChicken

    HEChicken Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    All of my chicks are raised by broodies right in the flock. What I do is separate out a broody hen so that she can sit on her eggs undisturbed (for the same reasons you mentioned). After the chicks hatch, I give her 3-5 days to bond with them and for them to learn which hen is their mother. Then I open the door of the broody pen and let her out. At first she will return to the broody pen to sleep with them at night since my pop door is too high for chicks to enter. Once they are bigger, she will decide when it is time for them to start sleeping in the coop and will teach them how to enter. I've never had another hen hurt one of the chicks. Ever. I do raise other livestock but usually the mama hen will keep the chicks close to the chicken yard when they are small so I've never run into a situation where a chicks gets trampled.

    For feeding, I use a chick creeper as pictured here: https://selfsufficiencyandotherassortedhijinks.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/creeper-feeding-chicks/

    I can keep chick starter on hand and the chicks will run under it to eat while Mama Hen waits patiently outside it. The rest of the flock continues to eat layer pellets.
  4. In my experience a brood hen will not accept a chick that is older or bigger than the chicks in the brood hens' own clutch. In fact if the chick is pushy enough the brood hen may well kill the lonesome chick in a chicken styled attempt to protect her own younger and smaller chicks.

    Such is the world of chickens. This is what makes the nest parasitic Cow Bird or Old World Coo Coo Bird sort of unique, the parents readily adopt the parasitic chick even as it is much older as well as larger than the parent birds' own chicks. Perhaps this is because the Cow Bird chick is the first to hatch and just maybe the owners of the nest being attacked by the parasite birds also imprint on the first chick that they see.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015

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