Some hens make horrible broodies but great Moms, meaning they can’t hatch an egg to save their life, but the can sure love one from the incubator. This girl is a perfect example. She has been broody about three times this summer and has yet to hatch an egg. She sits and sits, and sits and they eggs either do not develop or quit before hatching.
Yesterday was her lucky day though. She had been sitting on eggs since the last week in July. She had not hatched a single chick, nor would she as the five she was sitting on were duds. I had one egg in my incubator ready to hatch. It did hatch as you can see in this time lapse video.
After my chick finished drying and fluffing up, I made the decision to give my chick to this hapless broody. Please don’t mistake this for an act of kindness. Anyone who has ever raised a single chick knows you are willing to pass it on to anyone that will take it. Lone chicks without a chicken mama are a pain in the neck. They cheep incessantly and loudly. You need to check them all day and all night to make sure they aren’t dying, as the noise would suggest.
Transplanting chicks to a broody is best done at night. That gives them the cover of darkness, and the trance they go into at night, to become accustomed to each other. Usually in the morning the only way you can get the chick back is to risk life and limb to take it back.
At dusk I candled the broodie’s eggs and determined that none were viable. I put fresh shavings under the broody while she pecked me nearly to death. I took the little chick and slipped it under her after showing it to her. She immediately adjusted her body to accompany the chick without crushing it. I gave them a little time then went back out to check. The hen was cooing and clucking at the baby under her wing. As a safety precaution I stapled chicken wire over the opening of the nest box to prevent the baby from falling out during the night.
This morning the hen and the baby were fine. Michael cleaned the coop for me and I moved them from the upper nest box into a nest box on the floor.
I took these pictures and a video and realized that the baby wasn’t opening it’s eyes. I went back out and checked to make sure the babiy was able to open it’s eyes. It was. I will have to keep close watch to make sure there isn’t a problem.
You can see one eye wants to close.
I have treated the baby with Veteracin eye ointment and they are settled in for the night. I’ll update tomorrow.