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
Any news? very interested as my Silkie X is sitting on her first clutch, also my first time with hatchlings. They are due next Friday...
Yes, there's news! The update is that the one little hatched Barnevelder chick was doing great, and quite big, and so after about 20 hours, we added the 5 4&5 day olds bought chicks. (No other eggs hatched either.)

We put them under the hen late at night, from behind, in the dark. She accepted them all. Mum hen seemed completely nonplussed. I hung around, checking them several times for an hour. All seemed well.

In the very early morning, they were all still snuggled under her. An hour later they slowly emerged, including the newly hatched chick. All fed and drank, contentedly peeping, while mum looked on and had a bite too! Very sweet.

No bullying of the hatched chick by the older chicks either, thank goodness.

The only thing the incubated & heatlamp warmed older chicks are still learning, is how to get under mum. A few of them try to get on top of her to get warm, instead of under... So I've kept an close eye out today and showed them how repeatedly. Very funny. Over the course of the day, they slowly got it.

Only one chick, the largest one, finds it tricky still. Probably the oldest, finding it hard to adjust to a hen instead of a heatlamp. That one sort of just climbs on top of mum, kind of tumbles down and then, sometimes, lands in the warm gap between mum's wing and body - from above! 😂 Definitely still a work in progress.

Thank you so much for your help everyone! Both the hen and chicks are doing great.
 

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Ponypoor

Songster
May 23, 2021
416
766
148
Central Ontario, Canada
I'm very excited for you @Ponypoor. Please do keep us updated!
Coming to day 18 tomorrow I candled the 4 eggs this past Friday (day 15) and saw movement in each egg (or maybe that was these old eyes playing tricks haha). I tried to candle yesterday but all I could see was the airspace - everything else was dark - hope that is a good sign!

I was looking for info on removing the hen from her nest to eat/poop daily as I have been doing so once a day, any suggestions anyone? should I just leave her on 'lock-down' until Friday when all should be hatched? Two of those eggs are from Silkie hens so I expect them to hatch early.
 

Allsfairinloveandbugs

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Feb 10, 2020
1,024
3,250
481
Far north texas
Coming to day 18 tomorrow I candled the 4 eggs this past Friday (day 15) and saw movement in each egg (or maybe that was these old eyes playing tricks haha). I tried to candle yesterday but all I could see was the airspace - everything else was dark - hope that is a good sign!

I was looking for info on removing the hen from her nest to eat/poop daily as I have been doing so once a day, any suggestions anyone? should I just leave her on 'lock-down' until Friday when all should be hatched? Two of those eggs are from Silkie hens so I expect them to hatch early.
Yes it is a good sign you can only see air space with the rest of the egg appearing dark at day 17. Try to find a brighter light for next time if possible, but it sounds like they are good to go! You dont want to move or rotate a broody's eggs during the last 3 days. The chick is nearly fully developed will soon rotate into hatching position. The broody hen puts her eggs in "lockdown" same as with an artificial incubator.

I continue to encourage my broodys to exit their nest boxes to for eat, drink and poop even while chicks are hatching, after occurrences of broodys pooping in nestboxes on eggs and hatched chicks. Especially if you expect eggs to hatch early, 2-3 days may be too long for your broody to hold her poop. I see you are in Canada, but she wont need to stay out long, no more than a few minutes. Unless your temps are already very cold, any hatched chicks wont get cold in a few minutes time as long as they are dry.

Here is a photo of hatched chicks and even eggs that are pipping! Photo was taken last october 2020 while mom was out for a quick break.
 

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