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Broody Hens Attacking Each Other!!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

    Since everyone has been so helpful on this site, this is the first place I thought I'd turn when I have an emergency! Here's our issue: 

   We currently have 3 broody hens (Cream Puff, Mrs. B, and Marge). Cream Puff is sitting on eggs scheduled to hatch Monday-Wed. Mrs. B is sitting on eggs scheduled to hatch tomorrow, and one chick is now completely hatched and out of the shell. Marge is sitting on eggs, still laying so she's 21+ days out. As soon as I heard chicks peeping, I decided to move Mrs. B down to the floor so that the chicks wouldn't fall out of the nesting box area, since it sets up off the ground. My husband helped me block off another section of our coop to keep our broody hens in so that they wouldn't be pestered while chicks were hatching. In under 30 minutes of having the 3 hens together (spaced about 5 feet apart), Marge got up off her eggs and went out into the yard. Mrs. B went over and started to attack Cream Puff and when I shoo'd her away she went back to her nest and started pecking at her newly hatched chick! 

 

  The first thing I thought was that they didn't want to be moved. The second was that Mrs. B could now "see" another hen, which upset her. Before I came back up to the house tonight, I put everyone back into their place and all is well again. My husband and I are a loss as to what to do because we don't want to loose our chicks or accidentally curb a hens broodyness while she's hatching out. :he So frustrating!! When we let a hen hatch out before (Hashbrown), I moved her as soon as I heard chicks peeping and there was no issue. She got them up and out of the nesting box and cuddled with them in a corner before moving to a dog box we setup for them. We thought about making alternations to the roosting area so that hens could stay with chicks until they were able to walk around and all were hatched. I've put some pictures below to help with the visual aspect. In the picture I have labeled where each broody is and also the area of concern. Please help!! We don't want any chicks to die. 

 

I'll make sure to update everyone as the weekend and week progresses and can let you know how everything works out as we try it. My husband thought that maybe we could build a ledge and extend the boxes out? 

   **Note: We also have done away with using straw since it flared up our allergies bad and also started to make our chickens ill. We have completely switched to pine shavings and have seen a drastic difference. 

 

post #2 of 5

What I do with mine at about day 18 is put a cage/barricade around the nest box so that other hens don't trample the chicks during hatch. We make it big enough to put a small water and feed in with them, then we remove the barricade after the chicks are running all over mama and she is ready to take them to ground.  Just in case they fall off the edge, we put a pile of shavings below the ledge.  Give that a try!

 

Hope that helps!

post #3 of 5

Chicks will not be harmed by the fall if they fall that distance. However, if they are separated from the mom they could chill and die. A lip of some sort might keep them from falling over the edge until everyone has a chance to hatch out and dry off. They usually just sit on them for a couple days while that happens.  That is way too close for broody hens to be to each other. There are a whole lot of raging hormones at work unlocking primal instincts, and a fair potential for confusion in their little bird brains. But it is a little too late to move them. There is always potential for them to quit for a day or so if moved, and if they can still get to their chosen location, forget it.

 

Remember, you can mark eggs and move them around if need be, they aren't counting the days, so you can move eggs if need be. Might be good to get anything with chicks out of there, you could put them in a large cardboard box with a chicken wire cover, anything would work, she doesn't need much room to start out with.

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post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by varidgerunner View Post
 

Chicks will not be harmed by the fall if they fall that distance. However, if they are separated from the mom they could chill and die. A lip of some sort might keep them from falling over the edge until everyone has a chance to hatch out and dry off. They usually just sit on them for a couple days while that happens.  That is way too close for broody hens to be to each other. There are a whole lot of raging hormones at work unlocking primal instincts, and a fair potential for confusion in their little bird brains. But it is a little too late to move them. There is always potential for them to quit for a day or so if moved, and if they can still get to their chosen location, forget it.

 

Remember, you can mark eggs and move them around if need be, they aren't counting the days, so you can move eggs if need be. Might be good to get anything with chicks out of there, you could put them in a large cardboard box with a chicken wire cover, anything would work, she doesn't need much room to start out with.

:goodpost:

 

I might also mention that I usually only allow one bird to brood at a time due to space constraints.  They are very moody and grumpy with each other for sure!

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

  I spent a lot of time this morning down in the coop to check on how things were going. I made sure to bring all my broody hens food and water, as I had done with Hashbrown when she was sitting. The two hens that are hatching this weekend seemed to thoroughly enjoy having their breakfast brought to them. Husband and father-in-law have decided to build an addition onto the nesting box area, and they will begin tomorrow. They're already calling it "the birthing area". Husband and I will be leaving this evening to go out of town but will also be back tonight. I turned their lights off early and I don't expect much more movement today. Father-in-law said he would check in on things while we were gone. Mrs. B seems like she doesn't know what to do now that her chicks are hatching. It looks like she's trying to peck at them. (She lifts herself up and will poke around underneath) I'm thinking she is either trying to keep them under her for warmth or moving the unhatched eggs around? I have to wonder if the hatching kinda bugs the hens because she keeps doing the soft "bawk bawk bawk" that Hashbrown would do when she was trying to teach her chicks how to eat. 

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