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Grow your own
#1
Hello peeps

I’m back again to ask questions

We have a mixed flock of generals watsits , 2 Cochins a male and a female Brahma. Hopefully I’ll plst pictures. Plus five ducks of the Khaki Campbell variety. All live in harmony in an acre of freeranging land.


This year I want to grow my own chicks ?. Both our Cochins and Brahma a brood queens and go broody as soon as warm weather hits . So I want to use them as mummies.

Questions in order

I want to shove a couple of our own eggs under them plus some aracuana eggs from a local supplier.

I have two options

We have the main chicken shed, and a separate shed that can be converted into a breeding house with attached enclosed run. I know of some folks who allow brood hens to brood in the main shed and keep chicks in with main flock? Sounds dangerous too me. So is it preferableas soon as broodiness starts to pop hen into brood pen.

Can you have more than one brood hen in the brood house?

How many eggs under each hen?

For how long can you keep young cockerels in the flock before agression starts ie any cockerels will be for the pot (sorry) We are a smallholding so are self sufficient. Chick crumb is hard to find here, any suggestion for a suitable mix I can make myself

Thanks in advance


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#2
Firstly, you will have to wait for the hens in question to go broody before you can give them any eggs. I would want them to have been sitting tight on eggs for at least a week before carefully swapping them for the ones you actually want to hatch. Brahmas can sit on a dozen eggs but beware they are very clumsy and do break their eggs. Once I have a broody hen I move her in to a separate enclosure on her own but again be aware that when you do this, you may in fact 'break' her broodiness, so it can be a bit risky. I currently have 5 cockerels living together who hatched together in an incubator 6 months ago - they are not aggressive and will remain living together until I have decided which ones I want to keep for future breeding. I wouldn't risk anything other than a prepared chick crumb for chicks. Think that answers all the questions but I'm afraid, I prefer to collect up eggs and put them in an incubator - I have always had much success than with a broody hen although I know others on here do just fine.
I never make the same mistake twice. I do it at least five or six times, just to make sure !

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#3
I have hatched with the broody hen in a pen attached to the main run so they all see each other throughout, seems to make introducing mum and chicks once a bit bigger fairly easy. The only problem I have had is mum going back to the main coop leaving her chicks in the broody coop (hence waiting until bigger!).
I also hatch in an incubator whilst mum broods false eggs, then swap false eggs for newly hatched (selected as girls) chicks.
Never forget that life is a finite resource.

Experience is something you gain just after you needed it most.
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#4
Thanks. I do t want an incubator, mainly because we are living off grid here and as such if we get several cloudy dark days we may lose power !

I think we will use the separate houses, All three houses are together in a terrace affect, so they will hear each other and husband is going to build an aviary type attachment to the brood shed so there is our door space for the family to roam.

Has anyone put two brood hens together? I think I’ll use the Cochins as Broods. They seem to spend most of the summer brooding fresh air and are impossible to break so I’ve just been letting them get on with it, I simply boot out in the morning for food and drink and that’s it.

Great. Once once is on her way I’ll buy some aracauna eggs and leave her with a few of her own

Thanks
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#5
Sounding good Tanya. I also wait for a broody hen but Welsummers aren't the best mums and often only get one hen at the end of July which is late in the season. I have a part of the run that I can section off for her. I tend to move the broody at night and put the eggs under then, but there is always the risk that the move stops her. I did have two broody hens side by side once but once the chicks were born I did find that the mums got quite defensive and chicks would swop sides. In the end I put a dividing mesh between them.
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