How to put a broody hen with store-bought baby chicks

by Dawn
(Maryland)

How do I put a broody hen in with new store bought chicks so she can mother them without catastrophe?

We have 5 hens - one of which is a broody buff Orpington. She has wanted chicks of her own for years, but we no longer have roosters. We needed to buy new replacements for the old Golden Comets we have so we purchased them at a reputable feed store (all sexed as egg laying hens) and we curently have them in a brooder in the basement (med size cage with heat lamp, water, feed etc.)

I wanted to try to take the Buff Orp out of the outdoors coop, clean her up (How??) and put her in a cage next to the chicks for a day or two and then intro her into the same cage as the chicks. She has been broody I think for almost 20 days. I think she may even tend to sit a bit longer than the req 21 out of stubborness and disappointment. Should I wash her in the bathtub and give her deworming meds in her water in her separate cage for a few days? What about possible mites? How/should I treat her for those even if I can't see them? Or should I consider this a bad idea for the chicks health and just give up the idea? Any thoughts would be helpful and much appreciated. Oh,we are in USA, Maryland - temperate climate (cold 50degrees F & rainy right now.)Thanks!

MEG: I WOULD INSPECT HER SKIN AROUND THE VENT FIRST - IF SHE HAS MITES YOU WILL SEE THEM. THEN DUST HER WITH DIATOMACEOUS EARTH IF NECESSARY. BEST DONE BEFORE BROODING AS THEY CAN SUCK THE LIFE OUT OF A SITTING HEN. NOW FOR THE INTRO: I START WITH A PROPERLY BROODY HEN LIKE YOURS AND SIMPLY COVER HER FACE AND PUT THE BABIES UNDER HER IN THE MORNING. LOCK THEM ALL UP TOGETHER FOR HALF THE DAY THEN OPEN THE DOOR AND SEE HOW THEY GO. THE CHICKS SHOULD BE NEWLY HATCHED IDEALLY BUT WOULD PROBABLY WORK WITH CHICKS A WEEK OR SO OLD.

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Apr 27, 2011
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How To Get A Hen To Adopt Chicks
by: Anonymous

At night and using a blue light(torch with 2 layers of blue cellophane over the lens - chooks can't see in blue light) settle your broody onto a quiet, dark nest (dust her for crawlies if necessary). Slip a few plastic eggs or golf balls under her and leave food and water within reach.If possible leave her undisturbed for at least 24 hours. Again at night remove a couple of "eggs" and slip under a couple of chicks. If all is well in an hour swap more eggs for chicks. If there is room leave a couple of eggs under her for 24 hours, she will either kick them out and mother the chicks or she will continue to sit and the chicks will adopt her. I have successfully fostered chick up to a week old this way and have even slipped in extras a couple of days later. The longer you can leave the hen to settle to her new nest the more chance of success. I aim for about 5 days if possible.

Apr 10, 2011
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Didn't work
by: Dawn

I tried it and it didn't work, but thanks for the info. She just wasn't receptive/ready. I tried blindfolding her (LOL) but she just scratched it off with her foot like a dog scratching behind its ears :-) I put her in (after powdering her for mites) anyway and watched her (all of this took an hour) but she eventually started pecking the chicks and I had to take her out. At first she was afraid of them! Then I thought she was warming up to them, but the chicks relaxed and started getting near her and behaving normally (practically ignoring her) and she began to peck them. I've put her back out in the coop with the older hens. Oh well, I'll probably try again with a different hen that goes broody and just stuff a clutch of eggs under her (have to aquire a rooster again first though - lol.) Thanks so much for the info and the prompt reply. Happy chicken ranching!!

Apr 10, 2011
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thanks
by: Dawn

Thanks so much Meg. I'll do that. Anyone know if I should treat her with any meds first? Say a dewormer or antibiotics or something for coccidiosis.Is it necessary? Thanks again.

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