Ive had a practising broody now for a couple months. For those of you who don't know, a broody is a hen that wants to hatch eggs. You can tell when they are broody because they will stay in a nest and puff up and squalk when you get near them. Anyway, while I was on vacation she decided she was actually going to brood. We also hatch put some chicks in the incubator while I was gone. So, let's put two and two together.
This is a new hen and I don't know how she is as another. But there's only one way to find out. When the chicks turned about 5 days old, my parents decided they want to hatch more eggs. We only have the one brooder heat plate, so I thought "Why not see if the broody will take the chicks?" So yesterday I brought them all to my place. Two by two I took them out and stuffed them under her. I admit, I was concerned that they wouldn't take to her, they were already 5 days old. And also concerned that she would attack them. It's best to do it when the chicks are less than 3 days old. I checked on her last night before I went to bed and they were all still under her. And again this morning. I had my husband check on them when he got home from work and he said she had them on the floor with her. When I got home I went out to check again, and she's now in the nest with all babies safely tucked under. I couldn't be more pleased.
Will add more pictures this weekend when I catch her off the nest with them.
Update April 23:
Yea, that's a little chicken butt under a big chicken butt.
May 21: She's doing an excellent job with her babies. I'm very pleased. Yesterday I had them out in the yard with the big girls (in a dog crate) and they seem to be doing well. She wanted out and enjoyed herself. This morning she laid an egg. I guess she's ready. They're all out in the crate again, and later this afternoon I plan on opening the door to let them all out.
Update: This hen only stays with her babies for about 5 weeks. Then she's done. I gave her another batch of chicks, which she raised and then two younger ones. When she was done she started terrorizing the chicks and actually killed the two smaller ones. He sister on the other hand, hatched out a batch of chicks which then I took from her (and I felt horrible) and she wouldn't get off the nest at all. She pooped on her eggs every day. I'm not sure what's worse