Will she adopt them?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ChickenHack, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. ChickenHack

    ChickenHack New Egg

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    Hi, I've just put three new chicks under my hen....and now I'm freaking out as I've read that she might kill them?? Here's the details:

    • she sat on 11 eggs and hatched one chick 2-3 weeks ago. She appears to be a good mother, but it's the first time I've put eggs under her and I'm pretty green at this whole chicken thing :/
    • my son's daycare had giveaway chicks which are 1-2 weeks old. I brought 3 home this afternoon and tried slipping them under mumma. On the first try, she jumped off the nest and went to roost under the nest boxes (they're 20-30cms off the ground). She left her one chick in the nest and when I went back 20 mins later (hoping that she would have returned to the nest), she was still under the nest and the original chick and 3 new ones were curled up in the nest together. I then tried getting her (& turning off my head torch) and putting her back on the nest and chicks. She didn't jump out :D So far, so good - I'm hoping she stayed there in the dark.
    • there are two other hens in the coop - one is the top bird, but neither have raised chicks or are are broody ATM.
    Are the new chicks safe or should I be separating mumma and her brood from the other two hens? Given all the chicks (the original one and the 3 new ones) are older than a few days, will she adopt the new ones?
    Thanks for your help :D
     
  2. JanetMarie

    JanetMarie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If the mom adopts the new chicks she will protect them from the other hens. If she does not adopt them I would remove the new chicks and raise them separately, because the other hens will pick on them. In my experience a mom adopted three orphaned chicks who were exactly the same age as her own. It depends on how good a mom you have.
     
  3. JanetMarie

    JanetMarie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your mom also may think the new chicks are invaders and could injure or kill them. Keep a close eye on them until you know if they'll be adopted or not.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Some broody hens will adopt about any chick of about any age. But a lot won’t. Nobody can tell you for sure what will happen to those chicks.

    Normally a hen imprints on her own chicks and takes care of them. The chicks also imprint on the hen and let her take care of them. This all starts to happen while the chicks are still in the shell and the eggs start chirping even before they hatch. But many of us have been very successful putting very young chicks under a hen, with her not hatching any at all. The younger the chicks are the more likely they are to imprint on each other.

    There are a few different things that might happen. The hen might accept them as her own and try to raise them. If that happens those chicks may accept her authority and things work out great. The chick might not accept her authority though, and want to wander off. If that happens she will probably peck them to discipline them. This is not an attempt to kill the chicks, just to get them to mind Mommy. This often works in Mommy’s favor and she has more chicks to care for. They eventually learn to come when called.

    The hen may reject the chicks. If this happens, she may just ignore them. It’s likely she will try to get them to leave her and her baby alone. This may involve pecking to get them to quit bothering her. It’s not necessarily an attempt to kill them just an attempt to run them off. Or she may try to kill them.

    If the chicks are left on their own, a hen in the regular flock may try to injure or kill them, especially if they invade her personal space. Often if they invade the older hen’s personal space she will peck them to let them know it is impolite for chicks to bother their betters. And sometimes the rest of the flock just ignore the young chicks.

    I don’t know how warm your days and nights are getting Down Under. It’s possible those chicks could make it in the flock on their own but I’d be real nervous about that both from weather and the rest of the flock. If they were a couple of weeks older I’d be a lot more comfortable with that idea.

    I suggest you check on them at daylight and fairly regularly to see how it goes and be ready to brood them yourself if you need to. Good luck!
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I would think the odds are against it. If her baby is 2+ weeks old, she's not likely to take to the others. But all you can do is watch them and see how it goes.
     
  6. ChickenHack

    ChickenHack New Egg

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    Feb 6, 2013
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    Many thanks for your replies all :) Its now morning and I was out there to check on the chicks early. Of the bright side, there were still 3 alive chicks, but one was chased into a corner of the coop and the other two were huddled in the nest. Mumma hen and the original chick were out in the run looking very uninterested in the new arrivals. The chicks were warm enough so I'm hoping they only spent and hour or so (from first light til when I got there) without a warm hen on them :( So looks like I'm raising the chicks in a box on the back verandah :/ I'd prefer to do that than persevere trying to get them adopted. It's coming into summer here with night time temps 15-20 degrees C and daytime temps in the high 20s. At what age could I try introducing them back into the coop?
     
  7. ChickenHack

    ChickenHack New Egg

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    So the three chicks are in a plastic box with mesh over the top. I put a 100w light in the box (suspended from the mesh) but they don't seem to care for the heat. The temps here at the moment are around 27 (80 degrees F) during the day and a minimum of 13 (55) overnight. Last night, I brought them inside, put them in the laugh dry (with no draughts) and turned off the light (as they wouldn't sleep til I did) and they seemed fine in the morning. Do they need the heat? They're now about 2 weeks old. If they need heat at night, how do I get them to sleep with the light going or do I have to go and buy a specific chick lamp, rather than my improvised desk lamp? Thanks!
     
  8. ChickenHack

    ChickenHack New Egg

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    Feb 6, 2013
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    [​IMG]
    Here's my setup!
     
  9. JanetMarie

    JanetMarie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Since your temperatures are warming there you may not need artificial heat as long as they are out of any dampness and drafts. When I raised a single chick I had a heating pad that I put underneath the plastic tub, with aluminum foil between the heating pad and the tub for safety, that the chick slept in and I turned the heating pad on only at night when I thought it was needed. about 65 degrees F or less. No artificial heat during the day. It was mid-summer here at the time, and she did well and is healthy today.
     

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