Originally Posted by lorelei71221
2 chicks hatched yesterday, right on time! But this morning one was dead--hubby thinks it was smothered. Could a first time mama smother chicks by accident? I'm not home, and super worried about the remaining baby.
It is absolutely possible for them to accidentally smother, especially with a large fowl hen in the first couple of days. It is sad to see, and thankfully not frequent. The just don't toddle out of the way of the hens legs when she lays down.
It is especially common in the first day or two when the hen is still transitioning from egg sitting mode to mama mode, she is trying to stay tight down on eggs to maintain humidity and temp and sometimes the chicks get smothered without her realizing. A first time broody would be more prone to this type of accident.
The risk for smothering is higher when you give hens eggs due to hatch when she is still early in her broody cycle or when someone grafts day old chicks when she is early yet. This is the reason I prefer a hen be at least 14 days into her brood before giving them chicks or eggs ready to hatch....