After three weeks and five eggs, I was left with one little black chick. I felt sorry for it, being on it's own. I also thought it was a lot of trouble to keep it separate and give it special feed and watering every day.
went to the farm store and bought ten chickens for about $2.50 each. I
chose Rhode Island Reds this time, for a change since I don't have that breed, and would be able to quickly tell who was who in the coop.
lady at the farm store said something sarcastically like, 'well good luck with
that'. She hadn't had much success sneaking in chicks under a broody hen.
She said the hen would either ignore them or peck at them, either way
the chicks would probably die. Oh well, I thought, it's a $25
When I got home, I put the chicks in a tub with a heat lamp for
a few hours until I got myself organized. I put a couple of chicks out
in the coop, pushing them under the hen a little, just to see how she'd react. Initially, she acted a little aggressive and protective of the one little black chick. But after about a minute, the hen
was accepting and began to cluck to them. So a few hours later, I put the
rest of the chicks out with the hen.
I kept them locked
up a few days for safety, warmth and a little bonding. Then I opened the
trap door and let them out (actually downstairs for this coop) on the
The mother hen just instinctively knows what to do and how to take care of the chicks, even though she'd never done it before or seen it done before. A few times I went to check on them and couldn't find a single chick anywhere. But when the mother hen moved, all 11 chicks were tucked in every available space under her.