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Will several broodies fight over chicks?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
At the moment I have 3 broodies in the coop and an incubator hatch due next week. Since this year all my incubator fatalities have been sometime between lockdown and hatch (humidity?) I'm seriously considering just giving these eggs to the broodies to finish incubation. My question is though, with 3 hens all hatching chicks on the same days, will there be fights over the chicks? I usually only have one broody raise chicks at a time but I have too many eggs and too many broodies for this go around.
post #2 of 9

That very much depends on the disposition of the hens, I think. Some hens are just plain mean, and they don't tolerate any other birds near their chicks. Others are so laid back they have a difficult time keeping their chicks safe from flock members. Others fall somewhere in between. I've always had good luck with multiple hens brooding and rearing chicks all together at the same time, but others have not been so lucky. Right now I have 6 hens taking care of 5 chicks. They're never without a mama, and run between all of the hens for food and warmth.

 

I guess you'll have to give it a shot and see how it goes. Good luck!

Nikki
*C'mon, get flappy!*
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Nikki
*C'mon, get flappy!*
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by howfunkyisurchicken View Post

That very much depends on the disposition of the hens, I think. Some hens are just plain mean, and they don't tolerate any other birds near their chicks. Others are so laid back they have a difficult time keeping their chicks safe from flock members. Others fall somewhere in between. I've always had good luck with multiple hens brooding and rearing chicks all together at the same time, but others have not been so lucky. Right now I have 6 hens taking care of 5 chicks. They're never without a mama, and run between all of the hens for food and warmth.

I guess you'll have to give it a shot and see how it goes. Good luck!
That sounds very adorable. It would be all the hens first time raising chicks......so I'm not sure about their mothering abilities. All I know for sure is that they make much better incubators then my old still air styro in the house! 😊
I'll make sure to keep this thread updated! Hopefully all goes smoothly.
post #4 of 9

Maybe, and maybe not.  I have had a hen kill chicks that weren't hers, and some less unpleasant but ungood episodes.  Do watch to see how things develop, or split the eggs between two hens, and separate them.  Mary

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Luckily I'm a bit of a hoarder when it comes to animal supplies, so I've dug out an old rabbit cage. So one broody is in the cage and another is in a kennel. I'll give them a few days with the chicks then maybe let one out, then a couple more days then let the other out. Fingers crossed, everyone will get along. The other hens will have to wait.
post #6 of 9
There are no guarantees wit this stuff. You can see all kinds of posts on this forum where people are quite happy with multiple broodies either working together to hatch and raise chicks and less often, raising their own broods and ignoring the other broody and her chicks. I’ll relate one of my experiences.

I had a broody on eggs and getting ready to hatch when a second hen went broody. When the chicks internal pipped and started chirping, the second broody attacked the first to try to take over the nest. Half the eggs were destroyed in that fight.

I think you are doing the right thing to separate them. Just make sure the baby chicks cannot escape that kennel through openings in the wire. Some kennels use wire with fairly big openings. That rabbit cage should be fine.

Good luck!

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #7 of 9
I space hens with close hatch dates. Keep them at least four feet apart when they are brooding chicks and roosting. Further apart better when they are out foraging if free-range. Once chicks are about a week old conflicts less impactful.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

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post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
The rabbit cage is one a shelf that I usually have nest boxes on (secured though) and the kennel is on the floor of the coop, so there should be plenty of room between the two. Also the kennel is kind of more of a plastic travel cage with the smaller spaced "squares" in the front. It's times like this that I'm greatful my bantams don't need a lot of space😊
post #9 of 9

I had two bantam broodies nesting side-by-side in a box meant for one full-sized hen. Unfortunately other hens continued to sneek in and lay eggs after the brooding started so we had no idea when the hatching would start and how long it would go. 

 

In the end it was a beautiful thing. As the chicks hatched one broody hen adopted them by gently tucking each chick beneath her. On the second day she began taking the newly hatched chicks out to forage with her (just 2-3 at first). Each time she left the nest the other broody hen rolled the eggs that were left left under her. This continued for the next week. Chicks went to one mama while eggs were sat on by the other mama. 

 

In the end we had about 15 chicks out of about 20 laid eggs. They were all taken care of primarily by the first broody. (not bad for two bantam hens sitting on full-sized hens' eggs that got rolled around a bit) Apparently one hen preferred rearing chicks while the other preferred sitting on eggs!

 

It was the second year for one of the hens and the first year for the other one. Don't know if that mattered. The more experienced hen was the one who took the chicks out while the younger one was pretty attached to any eggs.

Backyard farming with my flock of super talented manure composters and bug hunters.

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Backyard farming with my flock of super talented manure composters and bug hunters.

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