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How to get a chicken to mother babies

2012-08-23   Views:0

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One way to increase the size of your chicken flock is to purchase or take in newborn chicks. A newborn chick can be "raised" by a hen other than its mother as long as the hen is broody and embraces the motherhood role. Tricking the hen and convincing

How to get a chicken to mother babies

One way to increase the size of your chicken flock is to purchase or take in newborn chicks. A newborn chick can be "raised" by a hen other than its mother as long as the hen is broody and embraces the motherhood role. Tricking the hen and convincing her that the newborn chicks are her own is a delicate and sometimes unpredictable process. With some careful planning and monitoring of the chicks and hen, you can successfully get a chicken to mother babies.

Skill level:Moderately Challenging

Things you need

Nesting box or penCrock eggsChick watererChick feedChick-sized grit

Instructions

1 Find a hen that is currently broody. A broody hen tends to lie flattened out in her pen and stare out in a trancelike state day and night. You can also look for a bare patch of skin on her underbelly and irritability from her when you handle her--which is a reflection of her protective instinct concerning any eggs or chicks she may be protecting. Only a broody hen will be able to hatch the eggs of another hen or care for the chicks of another chicken.

2 Isolate the hen in her own cage or nesting box. Move the hen and chicks to a completely separate room if possible, as broody hens sometimes attack each other or the eggs and chicks of other hens. Making the move at night will help ease the hen into the transition. Make the new area darkly lit, quiet, safe from predators and roomy enough for the hen and chicks to move around inside of it. Place crock eggs (fake eggs) underneath the hen so she thinks she has chicks of her own to hatch.

3 Place the newborn chicks in the same pen as the hen but out of her sight. Separate the hen and chicks with a divider like a small blanket or place the chicks in a tall box. The hen will hear the peeping sounds made by the chicks and should become protective of the chicks, thinking the sound is coming from the crock eggs beneath her. If the hen does become protective, you will hear her make a purring sound in response to the chicks' peeping. If you do not hear the hen purr within a few hours of placing the chicks near her, she may turn on the chicks and kill them when she sees them.

4 Switch out the crock eggs for baby chicks. After at least two hours have passed, take a baby chick in your hand, concealing it completely. Carefully slide the chick underneath the hen and remove one of the crock eggs out of view of the hen. Repeat this until all of the chicks are successfully under the hen and the crock eggs are removed. The hen should now think that her eggs have hatched and accept the chicks as her own.

5 Allow the hen to care for the chicks on her own. The hen will show the chicks how to eat and drink and she should not mind the chicks around her. Provide an abundant supply of water and feed for the hen and newborn chicks. Change the water for cleanliness as needed or install a waterer specially made for chicks. Feed the chicks a diet of chick starter feed which contains a blend of nutrients that will help the chicks grow. Mix chick-sized grit into the feed as well to aid the chicks' digestion. The hen may be fed the same diet as the chicks.

6 Give the hen and chicks ample room to move about and roam. After approximately six weeks, the hen will lose interest in the chicks. She will show this by chasing them away or ignoring them. Remove the hen and return her to the flock of other adult chickens. Keep the chicks segregated from the rest of the flock until they are the same size as other adult chickens.

Tips and warnings

Newborn chicks can survive up to three days without eating or drinking due to the yolk they absorbed before hatching, so don't be alarmed if your chicks refuse to eat or drink at first.

How to get a chicken to mother babies

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