Will broody hen adopt chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ltstm, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. ltstm

    ltstm New Egg

    Jan 6, 2011
    I have a broody Buff Orph but no rooster. I was wondering if I went out and bought some chicks if the broody hen would adopt them. If she would then what would be the best way to introduce them to her? This hen (there are two of them actually) seems to be very protective. Any time she is off the nest and you walk by her she puffs up and acts like I'm not supposed to be there. This forum is a great resource to have and I appreciate any responses.
  2. BlackBart

    BlackBart Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2009
    How long as she been broody? is there anything under her? (golfballs)
    I just put 7 chicks under a Broody without a problem but she had been broody for awhile and was sitting on golfballs.
    I put the chicks under her at night and watched to make sure she accepted them.
  3. Naughty

    Naughty Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2010
    on a related note - if she does accept them do should i keep her and the babies seperated from the others or will she protect themn? can she eat chick starter if i keep her in with them?
  4. ltstm

    ltstm New Egg

    Jan 6, 2011
    Thanks BlackBart.

    She's been broody for about 7-10 days. I was going to try to break her from it but knew that I needed to get more chicks and was hoping that she could do the brooding work for me. She has been sitting on eggs. My flock seems to lay mostly from late morning to late afternoon, so there are usually eggs in the nests for several hours before I can collect them. After collecting the eggs she will sit on an empty nest.
  5. BlackBart

    BlackBart Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2009
    She might accept chicks but her internal clock might tell her she is off by a few days.

    I keep my hens and chicks separate from the other chickens. Other hens might kill the newborn chicks. When they get their first feathers, I will let the Mother hen out with her chicks but I keep a eye on them.

    I feed the non-medicated chicks starter and chick scratch. I give the hen, hen scratch and layer pellets, but she also eats the chick's food because she teaches them. The chicks can't eat her food because it is too big. I also give them hard boiled eggs and buckets of compost full of worms, apples, grass etc..

    ETA I have a big piece of property so the chickens are not crowded, maybe that is why I haven't had a chick killing problem. The Mother hen can go to a private area. I have seen them run off hens that are too nosy about the chicks.
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I've had no problem with broodies accepting chicks, and have read many success stories. It is a commonly used technique. The usual procedure is to slip them under her at night after she's been broody for a few days or more. It is not necessary to wait the 21 days, only to wait long enough to be really certain she is broody. I also let my broodies raise their chicks in the flock and have had no problem with the flock killing the chicks. The mamas have been excellent protectors -- sometimes the roosters, too.

    That said, anything can happen, of course. I would certainly try it -- actually I keep hoping for one of mine to go broody so I can go buy a few chicks and let her raise them.
  7. Polskirock

    Polskirock New Egg

    Oct 12, 2011
    I have a cochin bantam who was not broody and i put my 3 week old chicks next to her. She took them in and she acting like she hatched them her self. She shows the chicks where to scratch for food and she makes sure there safe from the stray cats.
    I had no problem whith my other birds killing the chicks.
    1 person likes this.
  8. Chicken Chat

    Chicken Chat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2009
    Southern Illinois
    I wouldn't attempt it if the chicks were older than a week, the younger the better. Slip them under her at night and she should accept them as her own.

    I have two mamma hens raising babies right now. I hatched them in a bator and gave them to my two broodies. I never removed them from the flock, the moms get protective if anybody shows too much interest, but I haven't even had any issues with my 3 roos that are with them. The roos eat right next to the babies that are 2 weeks and 1 week old without issues. I switched everyone over to chick starter while the babies are growing. I tried to just have the starter in the baby feeder but the rest of the flock would eat all their food so I ended up filling up the big feeder with the chick starter and got rid of the baby feeder. The extra protein really seemed to help the adults while they were molting. Never saw feathers grow back in that fast. Sooooo everybody is benifiting at the moment from the little ones. [​IMG]
  9. greenscape

    greenscape Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 25, 2009
    Good advice from everyone. I use Cochins for that very thing. I have a few Cochin Hens that see babies and go right to work, broody or not. Cochins are the best I have found for this. I also hatch in a bator and as soon as everyone is dry out to a hen they go. I think it makes for healthier Chicks.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  10. Tilly's Nest

    Tilly's Nest Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 2, 2010
    Cape Cod
    Yes she should. It worked for me with our Silkie. Place a couple of wooden or real eggs under her. Then under the cover of darkness in the night, slip a few chicks underneath of her and remove the eggs. She should take to them as if they are her own. Broody hens will raise any breeds other than their own. Good luck!

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