Chickens Homesteading Uncategorized

Momma Knows Best ~ Letting a Broody Hen Brood

Why you should let a broody hen brood.

Last spring when Nick and I decided to order our chicks, I made sure we had everything ready. A brooder box with 2 heat lamps, a brooder thermometer, plenty of pine shavings, chick starter feed, chick grit, nutri-drench, I had an arsenal!

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I wasn’t going to let anything happen to those babies! I checked on them constantly!

I adjusted their lamp if the thermometer read the wrong temp for their age in weeks, I checked their butts for pasty butt, and I held them to make sure they bonded with me.

After all of that, it was time to move them to the coop.  I was a little more than nervous, after all of that work to keep them alive!

 

I kept the heat lamp on at night until they adjusted to outdoor temps, I locked them in the coop for 3 days to make sure they knew where “home” was, and still held them so they didn’t forget that I was Momma.

Pin Me For Later!!Raising chicks in a brooder box can be a lot of fun, but here's why you should let a broody hen brood!

Well I guess it worked because they’re all still here. I’m not sure how I feel about the “bonding” as they still don’t like to be held, unless something is wrong, but they always come for snacks!
Don’t get me wrong, raising chicks in a brooder box was a lot of fun, but here’s why you should let a broody hen brood.

But then came “Chickie Momma.”

Just before Thanksgiving she decided that she was not leaving that nesting box, so I obliged and gave her 7 eggs.  And she taught me why you should let a broody hen brood!

Through her 21 days of sitting, she never wavered and put up with me, her “momma hen” checking on her multiple times a day to make sure she was OK and getting up at least once a day to eat, drink, and poo.

The temps dropped and it snowed and she was fine.  The week before Christmas she hatched 4 fluffy yellow chicks and has been an excellent mom.

 

She covers them when they’re cold, shows them where to find the best treats, checks them for pasty butt, and taught them how to get in and out of the coop.

The chicks are 6 weeks old now and even though, in a brooder box, they should have steady temps around 75˚F they are bouncing about in the snow and as I said “Momma Knows Best” she shelters them when they’ve had a little too much fun in the snow.

So, is a brooder box really necessary? Unless a broody gives up on her babies, or you’re getting your first clutch of chicks, it is definitely much easier to let a broody do her thing!

How do we house our broody hens? Check out How To Build A Brooder Box, And Why You Need One!

 Looking to raise dual purpose chickens like us? Grab a copy of Dual Purpose Chickens: Raise ‘Em Like Your Grandma Did for tips from brooder box to butchering!
This post was shared on Our Simple Homestead Hop!
  • http://www.heritageclubstables.com

    I love this! I have a hen last year that hatched out 15, yes 15! chicks. She had tucked herself away and by the time I had found her I left her. It was so much fun. This year I found another hen under our caraganas in the garden. Again, tucked away out of sight. I knew she was setting on infertile eggs because of the age of our young rooster…I couldn’t help it, I got a dozen eggs from the neighbor to put under her. 10 more days! 🙂

    • http://achickandhergarden.com

      I love it! Sometimes nick gets a bit frustrated with me and the girls but I can’t say no to them!

  • http://www.farmingmybackyard.com

    I keep wanting to hatch out our own chicks. So cute, and it seems easier than a brooder box.

    • http://achickandhergarden.com

      It definitely is! And they are so cute to watch with momma!

  • http://www.steadyhomegrown.com

    We put some eggs under a broody hen 4 weeks ago, and last week 3 chicks hatched (out of 5), the broody hen does all the work for us. I have hatched chicks in an incubator before and kept them in a brooder inside the house with a heat lamp, but this is so much easier. I might not be able to hatch 30 chicks at once, but that’s not necessary anyway.
    What amazes me is that broody went from this sweet and docile hen to a very protective momma! Every time we get too close she puffs up and does what she needs to do to protect her chicks. I love watching nature take its course!

    • Aside from the delicious eggs, a broody and her chicks is one of my favorite things about having our chickens! 🙂

  • https://plus.google.com/+AliciaOwen

    We have a broody chicken right now and are waiting to see what comes of it. ha ha Thanks for sharing on the Clever Chicks blog hop. 🙂

    • Good luck to your girl! You will love watching them bounce around with Momma! 🙂

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/10211985281207007/

    Awww! That’s so sweet!

    • Thanks Michelle! Spring is coming and I can’t wait for broodies!!

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