Broodies vs. Raising Chicks Yourself

june 15 2015 055

(Helen’s with her latest chicks.)

Letting a broody hen hatch and raise her chicks has been a good experience for us. We have had two broodies which we allowed to raise chicks. Helen (who has gone through the process twice) and Rietta (only once). The experience with Helen was such a good one. She has recently hatched her second clutch of eggs. She is a GREAT mother…very attentive and protective. Rietta, however, was the complete opposite.  She was a very good and loyal broody, but not a good mother. In fact, I ended up taking the one chick that hatched from her, and raising it with five chicks we got from the feed store. It was my first time to ever raise chicks.

Now that I’ve done it both ways, I’d like to give my opinion on both ways. It’s just my opinion. I’m sure there are others out there who might have strong opinions to the contrary. These are my observations:

june 15 2015 004(Helen teaching her chicks how to dust bathe in my planter box.)

Broodies Raising Chicks:

Pro’s

1) She does EVERYTHING. Both times, Helen has had those chicks out within the first week of them hatching. She teaches them how to forage, dust bathe, where to drink, how to preen, etc.

2) It is so cute to see them be-bopping along, ahead or behind Helen, but always close. The instinct God built into his creatures is amazing to see in action.

3) She knows how to keep them perfectly warm when they need it…no need to worry about keeping them under a heat lamp.

4) The chicks seem to integrate into the rest of the flock much more easily, with less flack from the older chickens.

june 15 2015 006

Con’s

1) The chick’s that Helen has raised are afraid of humans. When I reach down to pick them up, they scream, as if to say, “GOD-ZEE-RAHHHH!” They are terrified of me, and that makes me sad because I so want to pick them up and love on them. Helen does not like for me to pick them up to the point that she will fly up and try to rip the chick out of my hands.

2) More chance of the chicks being eaten by predators. We’ve been blessed in that none of our animals have been attacked by predators, even out here in the wild.

3) We’ve had quite a few eggs that didn’t hatch, and/or hatched and then died.

4.) You have to wait until you have a hen that goes broody.

5) Good broodies are not always good mothers, too.

june 15 2015 044

Raising Chicks Myself

Pro’s

1) The chicks are VERY friendly. Even now that they are older, they will fly up onto my shoulder, or onto our lap if we are sitting down.

2) The chicks are protected from predators while young and very vulnerable.

3) I can keep a better eye on them to see if any of them are having any problems, like pasty butt, etc.

Con’s

1) It is a LOT of work. We had to keep ours inside with the heat lamp. I had to constantly refresh their water and food.

2) They stink! I had to change their bedding frequently.

3) They are noisy. We could hear them all the way in the other room.

4) Constant worry about whether they were too hot or too cold.

 

june 15 2015 048(Feed Store Chicks, plus Rietta’s chick-Now Pullets.)

I am glad that I have had the opportunity to do it both ways, and I liked both methods, but they both have their advantages and disadvantages.

june 15 2015 056

6 thoughts on “Broodies vs. Raising Chicks Yourself

  1. Great post! You have some really unique hens, they are really pretty! I hope we get a “mother” hen some day that wants to sit! How cool is that ?!!!!

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  2. Love this post and the one I just read with the quotes from “money saving mom”…that came at just the right time, didn’t it?
    I cannot wait until my new batch of chicks (now pullets) start to lay!

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  3. Yes it did. 🙂 Your pullets should be laying anytime, now, right? They looks so healthy and beautiful. I hope they will give you many, many eggs in the future.

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    1. Thanks, Shanda. That was very interesting, because I’ve read over and over that they can’t dye hair gray, but you sure see a lot of women doing it! I have seen lots of pictures of gray-haired women with the ombre look too, but I don’t think I could stand to bleach my hair because it feels so healthy now that I’ve ditched the dye. At this point, I think the key to continue to look younger with gray hair is to keep the hairstyle ‘current’ and to dress current (not shabby) both of which I fail miserably at. Thanks for thinking of me. I enjoyed reading it!

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