Will a hen accept 4 day old chicks if she has just hatched 1 day old chicks of her own?

buttersbrood

In the Brooder
Oct 5, 2021
22
49
39
Aotearoa New Zealand
Hi there!
We have a lovely little bantam, who has sat on 6 fertile (mailed) eggs for 23 days now. They are 3 Barnevelder and 3 Araucana eggs. We almost gave up on the eggs, as only one of the Barnevelders looked viable, and we found it hard to candle the Araucanas.
So we bought 5 chicks to put under our hen, just so at least shr had some chicks! Day 23 has just started, and we intended to put the bought chicks (3 day today) under her tonight. However, when we candled one of the eggs, just to make sure all are definitely not going to hatch, one of the Barnevelders chirped! (the one we thought might be viable) We could clearly see its beak in the airsack too.

We are overjoyed. Also confused! So we left all eggs under mum, didn't touch any of the others as we don't want to disturb them, in case there's more live ones.

We now have one or more chicks hatching probably tomorrow, plus our 5 3/4 day old bought chicks.....


My question is: can we still put the older, bought chicks (currently under a heatlamp) under the hen, once the eggs have hatched? Can you mix day old and 4 day old chicks? And will the hen accept the older chicks?

What a mess! 😏
 
Aug 19, 2020
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Victoria, Australia
My Coop
My Coop
If you are going to do this, wait until all the eggs that are going to hatch, do hatch. A hen will usually wait 24 - 48 hours until the eggs have mostly all hatched. Otherwise, putting the 5 day old chicks in before then will starve them, as the newly hatched chicks are able to last comfortably to 48 hours after hatch. They can wait another day, if necessary, but it will be harder than the first 48 hours on them.

Be sure to keep an eye on them as the older ones as they may bully the younger ones. Waiting a day or two after hatch will help with this too. You can try one night to slip the chicks under then hen during the night. By morning they will hopefully be all mixed up.
 

buttersbrood

In the Brooder
Oct 5, 2021
22
49
39
Aotearoa New Zealand
Any help much appreciated:
The chick hatched this morning!

But it was next to the nest, not under the hen! Very floppy, wet, but still warm.

I popped it under the hen, she pecked at it once. So I took it, popped it under her at the back of her wing/side.

It's still alive, I heard it cheep once but very faintly. It seems very weak.

Any ideas of what to do, and how old this chick might be? Looked fully formed and no defects, just very, very weak.
 

Silkie Princess

Crowing
Jun 24, 2021
1,725
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Slovakia
Also, I'm worried the hen will peck it or not accept it when she hops off the nest for her morning food and toileting. Do I hover around while and wait until she eats? She's okay with the chick under her now, but I'm not sure she's even aware of it?

Thank you so much for your help. Poor little chick!
Yes I would keep an eye on her. Good luck!
 

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