April 28, 2014

Working the plan for new chicks

Martha has been relocated to another home and Clara has been faithfully sitting on wooden eggs for almost a week now.  The feed store is getting new chicks in this week... maybe Tuesday or Wednesday.  I will be calling them to check and see when so we can get a pair of girls for the new mama to be.  I have been studying up on how to introduce them to Clara and my favorite site is NWEdible.  Erica (the site owner and blogger) shared this passage from Scratch and Peck Feed...

the chicken experts at Scratch and Peck Feed how to get a broody hen to adopt chicks – and do it the right way.
Matthew Aamot was kind enough to answer my question:
First, I’d preface this with a blanket disclaimer – all hens are different. Even the best of breeds will sometimes not accept chicks. I had one particularly frustrating Silky hen that never did accept the chicks that I tried to have her foster, and Silkies are one of the best! But – here goes:
  • Before you introduce the chicks, get the broody comfortable in a pen that can be enclosed to protect the chicks from other hens and to prevent any chicks from wandering away that first night.
  • Timing is important – it’s best to use 5-day old or less chicks for the fostering – the younger the better – and introduce them towards the evening. Evening hours are important because the hen is more relaxed.
  • Hold the chick in your hand, cupped up, and reach under the hen like you are going to steal an egg away. Instead, you deposit the little bundle of fun, and repeat. I always place chicks under the hen, never in front of her.
  • It’s very important to only do this with a hen who has exhibited a clear desire to hatch her chicks – to be safe, she should be broody for at least a week if not a little longer.
Like I said, success in not guaranteed, but if you follow these steps you have a great chance. Thanks and good luck!
I will keep you post and there will be pictures.

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