It seemed like destiny.

One broody hen.

Plus 5 Golden Sex Link hatchlings needing a Mommy…

And reports from the Backyard Chicken Yahoo Group that folks had successfully snuck chicks under an existing broody hen and had them bond.

Perfect, right?!

It seemed so to us, anyway.

So yesterday, we happened to be on the far East side of town – in close proximity to a feed store that keeps chicks in stock through the summer – so we swung by. Sure enough, they had a lovely variety of chicks, and so we bought 5 to bring home.

We set up a temporary brooder and gave the chicks some time to acclimate.

As the evening was drawing to a close, we substituted one non-fertile egg under Shelly for one live chick over several hours.

It seemed to go well.

There was a point in time, though, when I was worried. She got agitated. She was pacing and squawking. I was just about to go and grab the chicks and return them to the brooder when I got sidetracked by this:

Is that not the cutest thing you ever did see? Buffy and her 4 babies perching on the roosts at bedtime! Three under her wings, and the little Dominique sticking close to Mom.

By the time I went back to check on the chicks, I found this:

Shelly with chicks nestled underneath her wings.


I was so surprised. And exceedingly pleased.

But still a little worried.

Worried enough that I snuck out there a few hours later to make sure everything was going okay. Sure enough, everything was fine.

Early this morning John went back out to check on everyone.

Sadly, Shelly had rejected the chicks. One she’d booted out of the nest, and it had died during the night. The remaining 4 chicks were huddled and trying to stay warm.


And such a bummer. I had so hoped we could get Shelly past being broody this way, and that she’d be a good mama to them, like she was to her chicks last year.


So – we’re brooding 4 remaining chicks.

Back up with the heat lamp.

Poor babies.

And fickle Shelly – back on the nest box – thinking she’s gonna get babies from the wooden eggs she’s setting…


4 thoughts on “Stink!

  1. how long had she been broody? did you let her go about 19 or 20 days on the nest? did you put the box of chicks where she could hear them before you started switching? The hen needs to hear the peeping first, then feel the chicks,then see them.

    • Hey Sheri,

      She’s been broody for a couple of weeks. So definitely not as long as you refer to. Dang – wish I’d known that! She did get to hear them for a bit before we started switching – but minutes, not hours. She definitely didn’t get to see them until after they’d been tucked under her.

      Thanks so much for your input! Dang – wish it had gone better. But I’ll definitely research more and try again next time, I’m thinking!

  2. I don’t know nuffin about birfing no baby chicks, but I’ll say this much, they are dang stumpin cooyute!

    • They are adorable, aren’t they? I guess that’s part of why they’re so addictive! Oh – for a farm with a good 25 acres or so, a lovely barn, a spectacular chicken coop (of our own design) – and the freedom to set up the chicken farm of our dreams! 🙂

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