last word on the broody hen : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

The day the chicks hatched I had to go to the feed store. The owner is a long time friend and when I commented on the chicks in his battery brooder, he said he wanted to get rid of them and offered them at a good price. There were five: 2 Cornish, 2 White Rocks and a Buff Orpington, all straight run. I figured I could slip them under my hen after dark. When I got home, I thought it would be best to let the little chicks learn to use their legs and brooded the bought chicks under a heat lamp until Mama left the nest. When I read up on fostering in the Damerow book, I saw that she recommended day old chicks only as they wouldn't imprint on the hen later than that. Oops! However, neither the hen nor the chicks had read the book. It turned quite cool that night and I thought that would encourage their mutual acceptance. When I set the first chick, a big Cornish, down beside her, it snuggled right under her without a second's hesitation and she merely adjusted herself to make room. The same performance occurred with the other four chicks with no problems. I stuck around and watched for several minutes with the dim light of my flashlight.

The next morning when I checked on her and her chicks, I thought it was one of the cutest things I'd ever seen because little yellow heads stuck out from under that black plumage. Later in the day, the adopted chicks started climbing onto her back. She didn't pay one bit of attention to not only the difference in color but the huge difference in size between her own 3 day old chicks and the nearly 2 week old Cornish chicks.

The story doesn't have a happy ending though. My year old Pyr male has been rock solid with the older chickens but of late he's been taking and eating the cat's mice. He has had the run of the whole yard including the chicken house. Well, Sunday, he must have thought the small black chicks scurrying around were mice. He pushed the wire I thought was secure aside and.....By the time I figured out what was happening, there was only one black chick with Mama. I found a liver, a gizzard and a dead Cornish chick out in the front yard. When I went back to the chicken house, I heard chirping and found first one then a second black chick in the windbreak. My husband came out then and spotted the second Cornish chick and one of the White Rocks. Out of the 11, only 5 were left. The dog was shown the error of his ways in no uncertain terms and the hen and the remaining chicks are now in a much more secure, and I hope dog proof, enclosure.

-- marilyn (, May 17, 2000


Have a cute story for you. A couple of years ago we hatched out a rooster chick. Mom didn't like him so he moved into a cage in our house. Several weeks later we had a repeat occurence with 4 other chicks. We put the new chicks with the older one and even though he was a male, he started mothering them. It was so cute to see this juvenile rooster sitting with 4 chicks underneath him. He was a great surrogate mom. Chickie-doodle only lived another year before he got an infection and died. He was a great rooster.

-- teresa (, May 17, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ