Thursday, 5 August 2010

Raising Day Old Chicks with A Broody Hen

If you have a persistently broody hen and no fertile eggs, or a broody that has sat on eggs without success you may be considering purchasing chicks for her to raise. There are a few risks to this - she may not accept them as her own and ignore them, or even worse attack them (sadly this can sometimes happen even when a hen has just hatched her own chicks). You will need to be prepared to look after the chicks yourself if it does turn out that she will not accept them.

broody hen raising chicks
Although it does have its risks, putting chicks under a broody hen can work well and if you have a persistent broody it may finally satisfy her apparent need to raise chicks (no guarantees though!). The best chance of success seems to be to recreate a natural hatching as far as possible i.e. a hen that has been sitting on eggs for at least 20 days, day old chicks, and a gradual swapping of an egg for a chick over a few hours.

The video below is of Keeping Chickens Newsletter subscriber Lisa Ruminski’s ‘Carmen Miranda’ getting some adoptive chicks after sitting on infertile eggs for almost a month.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I got a hen to accept chicks after being broody for a couple of weeks. She pecked them at first, but I gave her some egshell and she pecked that up and I think it helped. Apparently there are hormones in any egg shell which change the chemistry of the hens body from broody to caring status.