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Mama Cochin has abandoned her 3-week-old chicks

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

My 7-month-old hen Sweetie hatched twelve chicks 3 weeks ago, and was a wonderful mother...until a couple of days ago.  Now she leaves them to go graze for most of the day and doesn't care where they are or if they are cheeping loudly for her.  Last night she decided to sleep on the roost and leave them in the cold, until I put her in their little enclosure and closed her in so they had her for the night.  This morning she tried to leave them but I put her back in their enclosure for feeding time and she chirped angrily the whole time...I finally let her out because I was afraid she might hurt them.  Should I just consider her a lost cause and take over their raising myself?  This is my first experience with a hen raising her own chicks and so far it feels like an episode of "Teen Mom," complete with me telling her "You had your fun, Sweetie.  Now you need to take responsibility for these chicks, because I am NOT raising more babies!"  Oh, also, she laid an egg the other day...is that another indicator that she's done with raising them?


Edited by rccola7 - 11/4/15 at 11:30am
post #2 of 5

Yes, she's done. What is the temperature there at night? 12 chicks can keep each other warm. First time broodies tend to not be great mothers. I usually break first timers.

I assume the chicks have an appropriate sized water fount and chick starter feed.

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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post #3 of 5

Yep.  She's kicked them to the curb.  Done with that chapter, moving on to the next.  Are they fully feathered?  Do they still need heat?  You might want to check into the Mama Heating Pad thread.  That might work for them, and it might not.  Sometimes if they don't start with it early, they won't take to it later.  Kassaundra made a fake broody that might work well.  She drilled holes in a spackle bucket (laid on it's side) and put strips of fleece through the holes so they hung down into the bucket, put a nice pad of hay in the bottom, and the chicks snuggled in the fleece "feathers".  I imagine that with the trapped body heat it would be quite warm in there.

Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

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Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

Reply
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thank you...I raised my current flock as starter chicks, and we have a wonderful little micro-coop for them inside the coop, with a heat lamp.  She's taught them how to get their water and such, so I guess the main thing is to keep them warm and safe until they're big enough to be out on their own.  Thank you for your help!!  Now I just need to keep her from finding ANOTHER place to hide 12 eggs that I can't possibly part with because baby chicks are PRECIOUS :)

post #5 of 5

Why not let the chicks out with her? She's wanting to rejoin the flock, but that doesn't necessarily mean she's done mothering. Let her introduce them to the rest of the flock, no need to keep chicks apart from everyone else. Introduce them early while momma is still involved and it goes way, way easier than trying to do it when they're 3 months old.

 

 

Okay, just re-read where she started laying again. That's pretty definitive for not brooding anymore. Disregard the above for this go-around, but keep it in mind for next time.

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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