I had a pretty tough afternoon yesterday.
You know I have those two mama hens with 3 chicks each penned up in the coop. Yesterday I took off work to be able to supervise letting them out of the pen. I started at 4 and didn't get into the house til after 9. There was a lot of commotion - the two mamas really battled and I had to separate them countless times. The babies, about 2 weeks old or is it 3? would scatter and get separated and distressed. THe rooster pecked at the chicks.
Finally, most of the flock was in the coop for the night and the babies/mamas were still outside. One mama got hers in the coop. But mama wanted to roost and was up high and the babies were screaming. I waited for about 10 minutes, finally took mama off the roost and tossed her in the pen with the babies. she let them get under her, including one that isn't doing so well - I noticed today that it was "sleepy" - I am hoping it isn't mareks but it probably is as this is the age it would start showing up.
The second mama could not get her babies to follow her up the steps or up the chicken ramp. 2 of the 3 chicks did, but the third did not. Finally mama abandoned him and went into the coop. I tried catching him, but it was impossible. he was like greased lightening, and the large size of the run worked against me -. I pulled mama out of her pen and put her out in the run, the chick would come to her but would not follow her into coop. IMama would be frantic from her chicks in the coop screaming. finally I called a neighbor to help. Chick finally flew over the fence and ended up in the garden and raspberry patch. We gave up when it go too dark to see. It was in the mid 30's last night so I doubt the chick survived the night.
I guess I was over optimistic about the mama being able to keep her tiny flock of 3 together. I just figured that it would work like it did for the mama who kept her chicks together.
The third broody hatched one of three eggs so far, and I found the little hatchling dead - I dont know if it just didn't make it or if mama squished it, or if she killed it - chick was scalped but that could have happened after death. She is a new mama so you never know. 2 eggs left but I don't know if they are viable or not.