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View Full Version : Broody hen+store-bought chicks=success??



Calvincrowe
Jun. 5, 2012, 02:05 PM
I have 4 hens left in my flock, two who have gone distinctly broody right now. I am buying 8 Buff Orpington chicks on Friday. Has anyone successfully given a broody hen (one is a Delaware, the other a BuffO) store-bought chicks to raise? How did you go about it? It would surely be easier on me if they could go "natural" instead of living in a box in my kitchen:lol:.

Any advice would be appreciated. I've done the "raised in a box in the kitchen" routine, and I'm ready for something new.

ponygirl
Jun. 5, 2012, 02:13 PM
I did. I let my cochin hen sit on a couple of eggs for a few days then one night I put the chicks under her and removed the eggs. She raised all of them very nicely.

Calvincrowe
Jun. 5, 2012, 02:17 PM
More questions: Do I separate the hens with chicks from the other two? Do I need special fencing (I have standard small hole chicken wire) to contain wandering wee ones? How do I feed the babies "baby food" and not feed everybody else the same? Water?

Dance_To_Oblivion
Jun. 5, 2012, 02:22 PM
I just slipped five chicks under a broody hen one day and within minutes she was Mom! It was very cool and sweet to watch :) I did not do anything special for them, Mom would not take them out of the coop for a long time and they ate regular layer feed fine.

wsmoak
Jun. 5, 2012, 02:22 PM
Yes, I have a BBS Orpington hen raising a bunch of Barred Rock chicks that I bought.

Wait until dark, then swap the eggs she's sitting on [if any] for the chicks. By morning she should think that they are hers. Keep an eye on her in the morning in case she rejects them.

I had to move the hen at the same time I gave her the chicks. This doesn't work quite as well, but as long as it's dark she shouldn't hurt them. My hen pecked at them a bit for the next couple of days but after that they were fine.

IME, chicks raised in a brooder don't understand how to work the thermostat when they're suddenly under a hen. I guess they either get too hot or get squashed in the middle of the pile... I've done this twice and have had one fatality each time.

ponygirl
Jun. 5, 2012, 02:35 PM
More questions: Do I separate the hens with chicks from the other two? Do I need special fencing (I have standard small hole chicken wire) to contain wandering wee ones? How do I feed the babies "baby food" and not feed everybody else the same? Water?

Yes separate them. I had to do that as my other hens were not fans of the little chicks and the "new mom" (a bantam cochin) had to fend off the bigger girls.

I also had 2 separate feeders- chick feed for the little ones and then layer for the hen. I put the hens feeder up on a cinder block so only she could get it and not the little ones. Worked well for me though she did decide chick feed was for her too. :)

Calvincrowe
Jun. 5, 2012, 03:14 PM
Thanks guys! Hmm..separation...how to do that? I guess I need to examine my coop and figure this out. Does momma take them outside? I have a ramp down to the outside pen. Let me 'splain:

My "coop" is the space under the stairs in my barn, so it is 3 feet wide and 8 feet long with a sloping "roof" of steps. The nest boxes are along the back short wall, and the ladies roost on the 2x6's that form the walls of our barn. ( we have roosts...but they don't use them:lol:).

So--I would you divide the coop? I can open the "people door", and make a temp coop inside the barn (I do this when it gets snowy/brutally cold here). Do I need to provide a heat lamp for the chick/hen pen? Our daytime temps are running 60/45 at night.

Thanks!

dacasodivine
Jun. 5, 2012, 03:37 PM
The new moms will protect the babies from the other chickens. It would only be a problem if the Mom's were banties and your other hens/chickens were full sized. It makes life so much simpler.

JB
Jun. 5, 2012, 09:24 PM
It sure does help that chickens get really, really dumb at night! :lol:

You ARE going to post pictures, right? ;)

PRS
Jun. 6, 2012, 10:32 AM
I've had success before. I found, in my case, that timing was important. I had a hen sitting on eggs and the day they were hatching I was lucky enough to find some peeps at the feed store. I came home and that evening I stuffed the newbies under her. She raised them all.

Another time I knew the hen was not sitting on eggs at all. I found some peeps and tried to stuff them under her. She wouldn't take them....I waited until late that night and snuck them in there and when she woke up the next morning she was making mommy noises at them.

A few weeks ago, my hen was hatching eggs. She had been sitting on a couple of eggs for two days when I added some eggs from another nest. The first egg hatched but she wouldn't leave the nest until the others hatched. So I found this guy http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz258/dorim_2005/IMG_5974.jpg wandering around on his own. I kept him a cage with some older chicks for a couple of days until she was done hatching. I had to clean a couple of duds out of the nest before she'd leave it. I tried to reunite this little fellow with his mom but she rejected him....I tried again the next night and she took him.

Its a good thing hens can't count. :D

RacetrackReject
Jun. 6, 2012, 10:38 AM
I've stuck store bought chicks under broodies many many times and I've never had a hen reject them. I would separate the moms and babies from each other and the other hens. If not, then the moms tend to fight over whose baby is whose and one tries to steal chicks from the others and the chicks stay scared because the moms are constantly fighting over them and their territory. Also, the hens without chicks won't like the chicks and will peck the mess out of them and run the chicks at times. Yes, their mother will try and protect them, if she's not already fighting with another hen and again, the chicks stay stressed because of all the fighting.

Megaladon
Jun. 6, 2012, 02:13 PM
Me personally, I would seperate because chickens can be mean and killing the chicks is a possibility. Also, they need to be on chick starter (mama can eat it too), but you want your laying hens to continue to get their layer feed. Use a waterer that is small enough so they don't drown. They should stay warm underneath mama's wings and belly, that is if there aren't too many of them. Just keep an eye on them, they'll speak up if they're unhappy LOL! There really is nothing cuter than a mama hen with her babies. Good luck and enjoy them!

RacetrackReject
Jun. 6, 2012, 03:11 PM
And I now blame CalvinCrowe for me having more @#%$#!% chickens.

I went to pick up feed at lunch and as soon as I walked in the feedstore people started with "Johnnie, we ordered chicks for a client and they never came to pick them up and won't answer their phone. We'll give you a screaming deal on them." And then I had a momma hen hatch 2 chicks out on Saturday.

I haven't bought them yet, but told them that I would think about it. All I keep thinking is "I can just stick them under momma hen and they will be good to go". Bad CC Bad..lol.

JB
Jun. 6, 2012, 04:06 PM
Good CC, GOOD CC!!!

:lol: :lol:

PRS
Jun. 6, 2012, 04:10 PM
And I now blame CalvinCrowe for me having more @#%$#!% chickens.

I went to pick up feed at lunch and as soon as I walked in the feedstore people started with "Johnnie, we ordered chicks for a client and they never came to pick them up and won't answer their phone. We'll give you a screaming deal on them." And then I had a momma hen hatch 2 chicks out on Saturday.

I haven't bought them yet, but told them that I would think about it. All I keep thinking is "I can just stick them under momma hen and they will be good to go". Bad CC Bad..lol.

I've tried to introduce additional chicks to a momma who'd been off the nest for a couple of days. She would not take them. She kept pecking at them and wouldn't let them follow her. I finally had to put them in their own cage under a lamp. Maybe it was just that one hen but I tried sneaking them under her late a night for a couple of nights. Once morning came she could tell which were hers and which were not and wasn't having the little imposters anywhere near her brood.

RacetrackReject
Jun. 6, 2012, 04:33 PM
Aw. I have added 10 chicks to a hen that had 5 of her own a week or so after she had hatched hers. This year I gave 2 different moms bantam chicks a few days after their eggs had hatched and it was fine as well. I guess we will see. If not, I have another coop they can go in with lights, but I bet she will take them. She is actually still sitting on 3 other eggs as I gave them to her a few days after she started setting. I wanted to make sure she was going to stay before I gave her more eggs.

Calvincrowe
Jun. 6, 2012, 04:45 PM
Hey now--- who doesn't need more chickens?:lol: I am so excited to get them. My dear little elderly mom has raised most of my brother's and my chicks in her kitchen the last few years, but it is beyond her capabilities now, so she's going with me Friday to pick up my babies. Should be fun for her to hold them on her lap (in a box!) and talk to them all the way home.

I'm going out tonight to contemplate the coop division/separation plans. So much to do!

chism
Jun. 6, 2012, 04:57 PM
I had a broody work on two clutches over the course of four and a half weeks. The first one I didn't separate her and the other hens kept climbing into the nest with her and broke all the eggs. I started over with 8 eggs and separated her, over the course of three weeks she broke all the eggs but one, on the 23 day I decided she wasn't going to hatch anything so I went to Agway and bought 6 three day old chicks. I put them under her at night and in the morning they were all present and accounted for and she was mothering them like she'd hatched them herself. She's such a proud mama, it's adorable. I do still have her separated in an XL dog kennel within the chicken enclosure. I let her out once a day so she can do her business outside and then she runs right back to the peeps. I will probably wait until the chicks are a couple of weeks old before I let her out with the flock again.
And..there is no such thing as too many chickens... ;)

Fenika
Jun. 10, 2012, 12:07 PM
I introduced my broody silkie-Polish mutt to 4 NH Reds and 4 Barred Rocks. She hated the reds. They were yellow, hyperactive, and pecking her face. The black BRs were more to her liking and she didnt peck them. I took the Reds inside to a brooder. After some thought I removed the BRs too, waited, and introduced the reds only. She accepted them readily. After 20 hours with only the Reds, I was satisfied she had accepted the Reds and added the BRs. It went off without a hitch. :)

Maybe mom is sexist. The Reds are all males and the Barred Rocks female. I'll be breeding Black Star sex links in the future.

walknsound
Jun. 10, 2012, 12:22 PM
You were lucky. I've had hens kill chicks that weren't theirs.

RacetrackReject
Jun. 11, 2012, 10:16 AM
Well, I didn't put my new chicks in with the momma and her babies. For one, they were much larger than her babies and secondly, they were just way too many of them. I hadn't realized the feedstore had so many in the brooder when I took a peek and ended with quite a few more than I thought. Woops.

Calvincrowe
Jun. 11, 2012, 11:54 AM
After much soul-searching, and a consult with the poultry lady at the super feed store I patronize, I chose not to put my chicks in with my hens. I simply don't have the set up for a successful operation.

Instead, I have a large box of adorable bright yellow baby Buffs under a heat lamp in my laundry room. The dogs and cats are way too curious, so the door is locked.

If I can find my camera...pics will follow. It has been AWOL for months.