Ten Secrets to a Successful Broody Hen and Chick Adoption

| 7/5/2012 4:55:00 PM

Tags: Chickens, Baby Chicks, Hen and Chick Adoption, Rural Living, Country Living, Marie James,

 fuzzy chick   

When it comes to hatching and raising baby chicks, there are a few different ways to go about it. 

The original method is to have hens sit on fertile eggs for about three weeks, hatch the eggs, and raise the chicks themselves. Modern-day alternatives include hatching eggs in incubators and purchasing chicks from hatcheries.

Most incubator and hatchery chicks are raised by people, in brooders outfitted with heat lamps to keep the chicks warm and dry. But another option is to introduce tiny chicks to broody hens and let the mamas do what comes naturally.

Two years ago we raised hatchery chicks in a brooder in the barn. Last year we used an incubator and had two hens hatch a few.eggs.

This year, three of our hens went broody in the same week. April was settled in her own nest, while Hedwig and Piggy brooded in tandem. A month later, none of their eggs had hatched. I was ready to order a batch of hatchery chicks anyway, so I thought I’d try to see if any of the broody hens would adopt the chicks. 

3/16/2014 2:37:32 PM

I just successfully used a broody Cochin hen to foster three chicks I got at a local farm store. Although the chicks are almost two weeks old, they immediately bonded with the foster hen and she to them. It does work! I wrote up a little blog post about my experience! http://crossedsabersranch.blogspot.com/2014/03/operation-chicken-little.html

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