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