Adding chicks to a hen's little famile

dunwaukin(Ontario 5b)May 30, 2011

One of my hens just hatched out one little chick on Thursday. I had started a clutch of eggs in an incubator -- my first ever! I expect my clutch to hatch on Friday or Saturday (seems that Chanteclers quite often go 22 days).

I started with 21 eggs, and have tossed 4 . Last candling today - the remaining 17 eggs look full.

My big question -- could I slip anywhere up to 17 chicks (I'll be happy if I get a dozen live) under the hen?? Will she realize that her family has suddenly increased immensely?

Are they too different in age (10 days) to have the same requirements from the hen? THese chicks are slow growers -- you can still hold them in your hand at 5 weeks.

I can put them under a heat lamp, but the hen with the little chick is such a good mother, I know she would take them all under her wing if she could.

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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

I don't see why she wouldn't welcome more chicks, but that is a LOT to expect her to care for! I think you'll still be safe at 10 days.

Wait until nighttime, then in the dark just slip the chicks under her (don't turn on any lights). By the time she wakes up she should have accepted them as hers, but I'd be there to check on them first thing in the morning just in case.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 7:38PM
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dunwaukin(Ontario 5b)

Thanks for responding, Velvet Sparrow. I was hoping that you would see my plea. This is my first time to incubate eggs -- usually I let the hens do it, but they haven't been too successful lately.
One chick hatched out today -- and it has been moving around the incubator disturbing the other eggs. Some of the others have pipped a little triangle, but nothing more. This one seemed to hatch out in about an hour or so. I hope the unhatched chicks will survive the rolling -- do you usually take the chicks out and place into a separate box while they dry??
I thought I would give it another day to dry off and fluff out, then take it out to the hen tomorrow night. I will keep you posted how it goes.
Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 9:51PM
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dunwaukin(Ontario 5b)

I have 8 reasonably healthy chicks, and 1 that cannot stay on its stomach. I keep tturning it over, and it turns turtle. So for tonight I've put the eight into a container with shavings and a heat lamp, and will introduce them to the hen tomorrow. I just hope they havent' imprinted on me now. I've left the invalid one in the incubator for now, with the heat on, incase it does recover.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 10:27PM
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dunwaukin(Ontario 5b)

The hen has responded beautifully. She is clucking, and showing them the food, and doing everything she should. Unfortunately, the chicks are taking a little while to figure out that she's their adoptive mother. I've put the heat lamp out in the pen as while so that they will be warm, and hope that they gradually catch on to her.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 11:26AM
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