This is a weirder situation than the other rejected chick posts I read before posting this. Broody #1 hatched on the coldest night of the winter so far and 1 chick survived out of 2 eggs. Two days later, Broody #2 hatched 4 chicks on a less cold night, 3 survived. So I had 4 chicks with two broody hens, all very close in age. Both hens were "sharing" parenting of all 4 chicks. Weird but it was working for them. At the same time, I had another young hen go broody. Well, 4 babies is enough for right now and there's enough chicken drama going on without her hatching any more so she got booted from the nest. Broody #3 decided she had to have some chicks so she started taking part in the shared parenting that was happening. B1 and B2 allowed this. Also weird, right? So, I had 3 broodies running around mothering 4 chicks. It was working well apparently cause these are the fattest little chicks I've ever seen and feathering out so well. We're right at 3 weeks now and last night, one was straight up rejected by all 3 hens.
When I went out to lock everyone up, I threw them a little scratch. All was calm and peaceful, chicks were pecking away and happily following all the moms around. I turned away to throw scratch to another spot and turned back to find one lying on her side, looking dead. I didn't even have my back turned for 30 seconds. I pick her up and she's limp in my hand and barely breathing. I was pretty sure she was on her way out. I was about to put her out of her misery when she popped open her eyes and tried to lift her head. Good sign, I'm thinking. So I held her for a few minutes and she recovered. She started moving her head around and trying to get away from me. So I'm thinking she's gonna be ok. I start looking her over and see blood on her feet and specks of blood on her belly and on the ground where she was laying. She has no wounds that I can see and her mouth and her little butt are clean. WTH! I try to give her back to the broody brigade and no one will take her. They all squawk and peck at her. This whole situation, from picking her up to trying to give her back, took maybe 5 minutes, yet they all rejected her.
First, I have no clue what happened to her that caused her to be lying on the ground seemingly dead when I turned back. Both dogs, who like to break up chicken drama when they're around were right there with me and they didn't react. I didn't see or hear anything. Best I could figure is she got in the way of another hen and got tossed and was just stunned. We had a hen last year that liked to do that with chicks. She didn't stick around long. My youngest daughter suggested maybe she was kicked or stepped on by one of the roosters trying to get away from another rooster. Both are possible I suppose but why would all the hens reject her? Could she have an internal injury they can sense? She survived the night inside with us in a box with a rigged up heating pad cave and a stuffed toy for company and is pooping just fine. Fixing to try food and water. ETA: Eating and drinking perfectly fine.
Could one of the mother hens have done this? Why else would they reject her like that? She was from the second hatch so it's not like she stands out because she's older and bigger than the others.
Edited by keiferlou - 1/29/16 at 6:22am