Will a broody hen 'adopt' day old chicks?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by jaruca, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. jaruca

    jaruca In the Brooder

    May 3, 2008
    Georgian Bay, ON
    Sorry if this has been covered but I could not find the answer in my searches.

    I have 5 day-old chicks coming this week and was/am planning on keeping them in a brooder in the house for a few weeks before moving them to the coop, (in their own space). As it turns out, one of my hens has gone broody. She has been in the nest, trying to hatch her golf balls since last thursday. Our eggs are not fertile so I have been removing the eggs, but she is determined. I got her from a farmers market with her 3 chicks who I estimate to be around 12 weeks old.

    My question is, can I slip the day-old chicks in with her? Will she raise them thinking she has hatched them or will she peck them? She is a very friendly banty hen and the new chicks are standard ameracaunas and marans. I feel so bad for taking the eggs away from her and was wondering if she would raise chicks she did not hatch herself.

    Thanks in advance ,
  2. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Honestly there is no way to know if she'll adopt them or turn on them until you put them in with her.

    If you try to introduce the babies to her make sure you have plenty of time to stay with them and observe her behavior so that you can pull the chicks away if things go badly.
  3. Hotwings

    Hotwings Songster

    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    My friend Freebie put some blue cochin chicks with her australorp who is brooding eggs and she adopted them and still is sitting on the eggs. She got the chicks at the feed store and I am guessing she put them in with her a night. Sydney is a very good broody and mother. It has been done.
  4. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    I had a broody australorp that i tried that with and i thought she was going to kill them. I luckily had a silkie that stepped up for me. I agree it does depend on the bird.... Good Luck!!!
  5. morelcabin

    morelcabin Songster

    Feb 8, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    It depends how long they've been broody...if it's been brooding for a good amount of time it should be fine. Put them under her at night
  6. hencackle

    hencackle Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    Telford, TN
    I have a 5 year-old Australorp that had been broody for a week when I bought 4 chicks from the feedstore. I slipped one chick under her and stood back, waiting and watching....she was fine. She had a bewildered look on her face! Did the same thing same with the other 3. I left the coop for a few minutes and returned. By next morning, she was clucking up a storm to those babies.

    Here's Isabella and her adopted family in a chicken tractor--her very first chicks.
  7. newdock

    newdock Songster

    Jul 14, 2007
    British Columbia
    I had a broody bantam hen that "adopted" my 6 meat birds last year. Now, THAT was hilarious....they were bigger than her by the time they were 2 weeks old! She was a good momma though [​IMG]
  8. Myst4

    Myst4 Songster

    Apr 1, 2008
    N.S., Canada
    I have a hen that had gone broody, I had placed eggs under her,unfortunately the eggs did not hatch. She was on day 28 with them on the 30th...I discovered they were all rotten so I had to distroy them. I have 24 chicks(that I hatched myself) that are 5 days old...I was wondering the same thing,if I could give her some of those chicks..or is it too late. It's been about 4 days since I took her eggs. She hasn't started laying eggs again that I have noticed. I was told when I bought her that she was a good mother, so my question is, is it too late to give her some chicks?
  9. jaruca

    jaruca In the Brooder

    May 3, 2008
    Georgian Bay, ON
    Oooh, so it is possible.

    I will section off an area in the coop and give Mama Lois a chance with the chicks. I will be able to keep a close eye on them as I will be off for 3 days after I pick up the chicks. If she doesn't react well I can still brood them in the house as I had originally intended. I just wasn't sure if it was even a possibility.

    Thanks for your replies and to hencackle for posting a pic! So cute!
  10. Della

    Della In the Brooder

    Apr 15, 2008
    I gave my broody fertilized eggs but since she refused to stay in the isolated broody house my husband made for her she sat on the eggs in her original nest where her flockmates clearly got in the way. Her eggs did not hatch under the less than optimal conditions. Last Thursday we moved on to Plan B. We picked up 6 day old chicks from the feed store and later that night we removed whatever eggs she was currently sitting on and slipped the chicks in the nest. Before putting them in we blocked off the entrance to the nest to make sure no other hens could get in and the chicks couldn't wander out. Early the next morning we moved Miss Jean Broody and the babies to the broody house at which time we could clearly see that all she was interested in was keeping her babies warm and safe. Later that day when it was sunny and warm out the babies started wandering out from the broody house and it was so cute and fascinating to watch her care for her adoptees and watch how the babies clearly accepted her as their mother. Five days later the happy family is still a joy to watch. Especially interesting is the difference between raising them ourselves in a brooder versus having them raised by a hen. It is so cute to see them outside in the morning when the temp is well below the 95 degrees they would be basking in in the brooder. They run around for a little while and when they get cold, broody lifts up her body and under they go for a quick warm up. Nature's great.

    I wish you the same easy success that we had.

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