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#57683 - 10/18/07 07:14 AM 'Scovies raising chicks?
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Coop Keeper

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Maine
Does anyone out there with Muscovy hens have any experience with letting them hatch out, and then care for, chicks? I'm thinking I want to find a broody hen with good mothering skills to raise future chicks. We have female Muscovies though, and one in particular we know is a good mother to ducklings. My husband thinks that since we have the best mothering ducks that there would be no need of finding a mothering hen as well. I know a chicken knows how to be a chicken, and in winter we house all our birds together anyway so they all get along. I'm wondering about things like chicks following their duck "mother" into a pond, or if confined into a water tub or something like that and drowning. Maybe a chick would just know it does not want to try to swim no matter where "mother" goes and my fear is irrational. Anyone ever tried this before?

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#57684 - 10/19/07 07:47 PM Re: 'Scovies raising chicks?
Kim Chat Offline
Chicken

Registered: 04/04/05
Posts: 88
Loc: Louisiana
If it helps any, we have a "chucken"....a duck that thinks it is a chicken. Chuck the duck does not go in the pond 'cause chickens don't swim. Therefore, she does not swim. But, she does get very upset when her "sisters" roost or jump up on things that she cannot walk up. I think the same thing would happen to you, but in reverse.

I hope this helps.

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#57685 - 10/24/07 09:40 PM Re: 'Scovies raising chicks?
Foehn Online   content
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
In theory you should be perfectly ok, after all plenty of people rear ducklings under hens. My only concern is if she tries to teach them to swim! She'll drown them if you can't keep her away from water. Ducks do tend to be "dirtier" too, like when they dabble. Wet dirty conditions might not be so great for the chicks.

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#57686 - 10/25/07 05:49 AM Re: 'Scovies raising chicks?
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Coop Keeper

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Maine
Thanks Foehn. Right - that's exactly what I am worried about. Even if I confine them and do not let our duck near the pond there will come a time when they will all be loose. I have this fear that even after the chickens grow up they will be so bonded with our duck that they will eventually follow her down there and into the water to their deaths. Something about it just does not seem right. I think I just need a good excuse to try another breed, and he's using the duck as an excuse for why we don't need another! Maybe I will see if our ever-broody Marans will make a good mother ( I really like our Marans, but have not heard anything in regards to them being good mothers ) and if not maybe I'll get to try some Sumatras and/or Kraienkoppes!

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#57687 - 10/25/07 02:54 PM Re: 'Scovies raising chicks?
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Word of caution! Not all birds of a specific breed make good mothers. Some Sumatras can and will kill their chicks, others, most of the time, don't. If you're Marans are broody, try them out. You will be able to tell very soon after hatch if the mother will be good to the chicks. I had a Maran that made a good mother, but we sold her about 5 years ago. She only hatched one chick, but then again, the rooster was 10 years old. It was "only" a laying flock, but you tend to get attached to certain ones.

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#57688 - 10/25/07 09:27 PM Re: 'Scovies raising chicks?
Foehn Online   content
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
A couple of bantams kept especially for the purpose of raising chicks might also be a good option. They don't eat much compared to full sized hens, can be pretty good layers, (although you may need 3 eggs for a 2 egg recipe) and are reliable mothers generally. I keep one to raise chicks although I don't let her sit on eggs anymore. I hatch in the incubator first and start a batch when she goes broody. This is because she abandoned a nest when the chicks had less than a week to go and it was heart breaking, seeing those almost fully formed SLW chicks, dead. Now I put day olds under her at night and she will look after them 6-7 weeks before she starts to lay again.
If you don't have an incubator, you could try your duck as the sitter, and then take them off her when they have hatched and hand raise them. That way they will bond with you and unless you go swimming in that pond..... he he! laugh

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#57689 - 10/26/07 06:46 AM Re: 'Scovies raising chicks?
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Coop Keeper

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Maine
Aha! Now that would work. We could incubate eggs under Shakira - the Muscovy hen - and she can sit on quite a few. Then if we get a couple good bantam mommas that readily ADOPT we will be all set. I know what you mean about the almost-hatched eggs. Sad. We have one Brahma that likes to go broody occasionally, but the one time we hatched anything under her she pecked the eyes and toes off one baby. The next day when another baby was out of the nest I was wise to what was going on and did not put the poor thing back in the nest but turned on the heat lamp and brough the chick in the house. So that's how I learned the difference between broodiness and mothering. I need to find a chicken that will adopt the way Shakira did with the baby Muscovies that came in the mail. She just saw them and that was that - she wanted to protect them. No qualms, questions or fuss - those ducklings were HERS. Once one of the ducklings had a piece of straw stuck in it's throat. I grabbed it, and as I'm bent over pulling straw out of this peeping duckling - wham - little flightless, anglewinged Shakira ran at me and flung her body at my head! I thought it was pretty endearing. So I want a chicken like that and maybe bantams are the way to go. I had never really considered them before though I don't mind the small eggs at all. Any hen that proves herself a good mother will be worth a lot regardless of egg production/size since I really want a bird to do the job, not me. Yes, then everyone can swim with out fear of sinking chickens!

Just saw your post Mikaela- thanks for the input. Your right. Like I was just saying to Foehn, I think I used to believe that broody = mothering. I was shocked that my Brahma killed her first chick. So I guess it will just take time and will be well worth it to find a good chicken-mom. I'm glad to hear you had some success with your Marans. I'll give mine a try, but I will be watching her just incase!

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#57690 - 11/07/07 06:06 AM Re: 'Scovies raising chicks?
Stretch Man Offline
Chicken

Registered: 09/19/02
Posts: 89
Loc: Australia
Muscovies don't need a tub/pond to swim in, just a 10Litre bucket that they can dunk their heads in. Muscovies make great surrogates.

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#57691 - 11/08/07 07:22 AM Re: 'Scovies raising chicks?
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Coop Keeper

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Maine
Hi stretchman,

True they don't need one, but we have three huge ponds here on the property so we like to let them free range except for when the ponds are frozen. Have you tried letting a Muscovy actually care for the chicks once they've hatched? My fear of drowning chickens may be totally ignorant, in fact even stupid, I just don't know. I'd love to hear any accounts you may have on how a Muscovy hen has cared for chicks.

Amy

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#57692 - 11/08/07 04:51 PM Re: 'Scovies raising chicks?
Stretch Man Offline
Chicken

Registered: 09/19/02
Posts: 89
Loc: Australia
We have (only once) put eggs of a chook under a Muscovy that was sitting on eggs. We were advised to by a long-time breeder.

We waited 2 weeks before putting them there ( to equalize hatching times) with 9 muscovy eggs. She kicked 3 of the 5 eggs out and hatched the others. The chicks were only kept with the duck for about a week, as we take all young away for fattening. We have also put other duck eggs under Muscovies and had Muscovies steal other ducks(pekins and appleyards) nests and hatch them out!

We only give the Muscovies a bucket so couldn't tell you if the chicks had an urge to swim.I think the chicks wouldn't, but that is only based on my intuition & not fact. When they are sitting we give them a low(25L plastic chemical drum cut lengthways) container to help them wet the chest feathers to regulate humidity. Our other ducks have a hard plastic paddle pool or a baby bath to facilitate breeding.

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