Will a good broody raise chicks she didn't hatch?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by DawnM, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. DawnM

    DawnM Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 21, 2010
    Tacoma, Wa
    We have an excellent mamma hen that is either broody or raising chicks. She is getting finished raising a bunch of ducklings for a local lady that breeds Runner Ducks. It's a great arrangement because she is such a stubborn broody that without eggs she would starve herself to death. You could kick her out of the coop for a week and as soon as she gets a chance she's back on the next box. After the ducklings hatched, we put a bunch of eggs from our Japanese hens in the incubator. I really don't feel like raising chicks. She has really spoiled us by hatching and raising whatever we give her. With an obligate mother hen like her, would she accept brand new chicks even though she didn't brood or hatch them herself? I know a couple times we had problems with duck eggs being too dry so we took them away from her for a day or two to hatch in the bator and she accepted them back just fine. I was just wondering if anyone has had good mamma hens that would raise babies they didn't hatch.
  2. daddy_roo

    daddy_roo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2011
    I have accually heard of this going both ways. I have a friend who has a leghorn broody and she will accually steal other eggs to hatch herself. But my grandmother said that a hen will only rais the eggs she laid. So I dont really know. All I can attest to is that My friends hen had 4 differant color eggs under her. And leghorns usually lay whites so I dont think they were all hers;)
  3. Backyard Farm

    Backyard Farm Certified Personal Chicken Attendant

    Apr 1, 2009
    If I understand your questions, yes... a hen will raise chicks she didn't hatch. happens frequently. The trick is to get newborn chicks and tuck them under her at night. The only thing to watch is that if she doesn't get off the egg...say.. the next morning or so, take the babies out a few at a time for a few minutes of food and water. by nature, a hen will continue to sit on eggs even after a few hatch to give time for the other to hatch. Newborn babies can live off the remaining yolk which was pulled inside them just prior to hatching. BUT... if the babies you are trying to get her adopt are more than a day old, they have used up their yolk and will need food and water "time outs" until the hen gets up and moving.
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    I was just wondering if anyone has had good mamma hens that would raise babies they didn't hatch.

    Most of my broodies have raised adopted chicks and they don't know the difference. I even had one of my White Rock broodies raise 20 meatie chicks for me and she pulled it off with ease.

    All my broodies who hatched eggs here were sitting on eggs from the whole flock, so they will raise chicks from other hen's eggs.​
  5. AV Brahmas

    AV Brahmas Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 30, 2011
    The Great White North
    Problem can be will the chicks accept HER also. We place < day old chicks under a setting hen at night in the dark. Sometimes while they are still wet if the weather is good. Results are almost always positive.
  6. JHillgrove

    JHillgrove Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 2, 2011
    Snohomish, WA
    Worked great for me. I bought chicks from a feed store (they were just a few days old) and I put them under my broody hen, who had been sitting on fake eggs for a couple weeks. Then at night I put the chicks under her and took out the eggs. The next morning, they were completely bonded and in love with eachother. Cutest thing I have ever seen. I think its called fostering, though I may be wrong.
  7. KalikoFarms

    KalikoFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 14, 2011
    I have a broody silkie that hatched 3 silkies (lost one) Then as my marans were hatching I kept putting chicks under her and not only did she accept the new ones she accepted one that hatched a day later. So now she has 8 chicks and is a wonderful mother she dosent act like she knows anything is different. She talks to them and I caught her today teaching how to peck at things. [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 30, 2011
  8. healthyasdotme

    healthyasdotme Out Of The Brooder

    Has anyone put new chicks under a mum whos already got 4-6-7 week old chicks? Also I was thinking would it work if I counted the days down on the eggs in the incubator and put them under the mum a day before they are due to hatch if she is still sitting and not up and moving with the chicks? Thanks for your help
  9. snaffle

    snaffle Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 27, 2009
    I love this question!

    When I was a kid, I remember my mom putting some duck and chick eggs under a hen. It was pretty funny to watch that hen become concerned when some of her babies would jump in the drinking water.

    Last summer I put 6 week old guinea keets under a cochin banty hen that had been setting for a couple of weeks. She was pretty upset in the morning when her babies would venture out in the pen and not stay under her for warmth.

    It was cute to see those guineas grow up into adults, and still walk with their little mother around the farm.
  10. Soli

    Soli Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 18, 2010
    Oh yes, they most certainly will hatch eggs that are not even their own, but often not even their own species, as previous posters mentioned.

    When I get shipped eggs, I always put in two of my own eggs as "testers" to check whether it was a shipping/seller issue or an incubator issue. This last month I've had horrible luck with shipped eggs - not a single one hatched out of two batches, although several developed into quitters. HOWEVER, out of the first batch I had one of my testers hatch, and out of the second another hatched (two weeks apart). In the middle of all this, a broody hen had been sitting on two eggs that hatched along with the last testers.

    So, the other day as a result of this, I had 1 two week old chick that was bonded to me and scared to death of other chicks and the hen, 1 two day old old chick, and one freshly hatched chick...and my object was to get them all attached to the hen. The two day old hatched under her, so that wasn't an issue. The older chick, however, wanted NOTHING to do with the hen, and was absolutely terrified of her. I had to turn off all the lights - even the heat lamp, and cross my fingers that he'd seek her out for warmth. He did - and by morning he was fine with her (although he still comes running out from under her every time he hears me make the feeding noise).

    Now all my hatching is over for the year, and the hen has a total of 4 chicks - none of which were born on the same day. The last 3 were born each a day apart, and the older chick is two weeks ahead of everyone else. I have another hen with 9 older chicks, all of which were hatched within a day of each other, half under her, half in an incubator.

    One big part of success is careful observation and monitoring, though. You never know what your hen will do the first time around, so proceed with caution.

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