2 mums???

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Ricken, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. Ricken

    Ricken New Egg

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    Nov 17, 2014
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    Hi - I've raised a few chicks but this is the first time I've had a baby hatch in my coup. It's a strange situation. I've had a Sussex hen and a bantam sharing duties over a clutch of 4 eggs. 2 chicken eggs and 2 bantam eggs. They'd take turns every day. I got home today to find one tiny chick, one broken egg shell and only one whole chicken egg.
    The tiny black chick was under the black bantams wing and the Sussex had the remaining egg. After the commotion of disturbing them to see what was going on, the Sussex had both the remaining egg and the chick, and was pecking the bantam until it had to leave the box.
    I'm wondering what happened to the 2 other eggs/chicks, and whether this chick will survive. The rooster is black so I'm not sure if it's the bantams chick (is this even possible?) or the Sussex's. Did the rooster kill the other 2? Were they taken by crows?
    They live in a large topless outdoor coup with a couple of nesting boxes. Half of them sleep in the trees!
    Any help appreciated!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2014
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Many people are quite successful having two or more broodies work together to hatch and raise the chicks. Occasionally there are disasters, normally caused when the hens are fighting over the eggs or chicks. They are living animals. No one can tell you exactly what yours will do.

    I don’t understand why people are so down on roosters. I have never seen a rooster do anything threatening to a young chick. I know, they are living animals and anything is possible, but in my experience a rooster is much more likely to take care of chicks than do them harm as long as they are young enough that they might be his. Its instinct. Those chicks might have his genes and he instinctively wants his genetics to be passed on to future generations. If you wait until they are so old he sees them as not his before he meets them he might think of them as not his but the offspring of a rival, but that’s generally when the chicks are pretty old. If they hatch in his flock, they are is. I find it extremely unlikely that the rooster ate your chicks or did them any harm.

    It sounds like the shell and baby chick inside both disappeared, leaving no evidence behind. That sounds like a snake. I’ve had a snake eat eggs out from under a broody before. The broody just sat there as if in a trance. A snake does not leave any trace behind and the top of your coop is open so a snake could get in.

    Another possibility is that the broodies killed the two missing chicks when they hatched and the flock ate them. Chickens are omnivores and will sometimes eat dead chicks. It doesn’t always happen but it could. There should be some shell left, but again, sometimes the hens will eat broken egg shells. As I said two broodies often work together quite well, but on rare occasions one will kill the chicks that hatch under the other.

    That Sussex should raise any chick that she has. It doesn’t matter if it is from her egg or some other egg.
     
  3. Ricken

    Ricken New Egg

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    Nov 17, 2014
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    Awesome thanks. Very worried about crows so I removed the chick along with the bantam and the Sussex and put them in a closed hutch. Checked on them last night and the chick was under the bantam who was under the Sussex! Just keeps getting weirder!
    Because the Sussex is so big she kicks dirt which covers any water or food bowl I put in there. So I removed the Sussex and the chick is currently going to sleep under the bantam.

    Problem is - I feel terrible for the Sussex. She's pacing up and down the hutch looking in for the chick. Is this a huge mistake?? Should I just keep the chick with her 2 mums? Or should I remove the bantam??
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    You have some decisions to make. Many people really enjoy the cuteness of two broodies raising chicks together. Often it works out quite well, though like everything else there are some risks.

    You could give the chick to either hen and break the other from being broody. Just keep them separated for a couple of days and the broody without the chick will go back to being not broody and eventually return to laying while the other raises the chick. That’s not a huge mistake. A broody hen is a very devoted mother, like most mothers that raise their offspring. But they are programmed to go on with life if they lose their chicks. She will be upset for a day or two but it will not leave nay permanent scars.

    There is no right or wrong decision, just the way you decide. And it is purely your decision.
     
  5. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have yet to experience a broody hen but if the OP decides to remove one of the hens, could they give that one new eggs to set without having to compete for them or would it be better to discourage her from staying broody?
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Since they are off the nest, she is almost certainly not going return to eggs. She has entered the child rearing phase and left the hatching phase of being broody.

    Before she goes broody or even starts to lay, a hen stores a lot of excess fat. That excess fat is what she lives off of while she is setting on the eggs. That’s why she can only leave the nest once or twice a day for food and water. She will lose a lot of weight while broody but it’s just excess fat meant for that purpose.

    How long will that excess fat last? I don’t know. More than three weeks certainly, but it probably varies by hen and how much she eats when she is off the nest. I personally have no problem letting a hen sit for five or six weeks before the eggs hatch though it is usually only a few days before I gather enough eggs to give to her. A hen can hatch duck eggs and some of those can take five weeks of incubation. They can go a lot longer than three weeks while in the hatching phase. Once they are in the rearing phase they are eating and regaining weight.

    Personally I would not give a hen another batch of eggs if the first batch failed, but some people continuously give a hen eggs and remove the chicks as they hatch to keep the hen in the hatching phase, sometimes keeping her broody and hatching for months.
     
  7. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you. I wondered whether she would be too focused on the presence of a chick to go back to a nest and it makes sense that it isn't likely.

    Keeping one hen broody for months??? If they're losing so much weight during a mere 3 weeks how do they not die after months?? Why not just invest in an incubator if there are really that many eggs to hatch?
     
  8. Ricken

    Ricken New Egg

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    Nov 17, 2014
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    This forum is awesome!
    I hadn't thought of giving the Sussex new eggs. The 3 ISA Browns do get mated by the rooster but they don't sit on their eggs. I could give some of their eggs to the Sussex to distract her. She's still the boss of the coup and comes charging out once a day like a mad thing to feed.
    SO - my next question is - I know eggs need to be kept warm to stay fertile. How long do you have between a fertile egg being layed by a non-broody to the time it needs to be under a chicken?
    IE - if my ISAs lay in the morning and I come home at night when the eggs have been out unattended all day - can I still but them under the SUssex
     
  9. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ridgerunner did say your Sussex likely won't sit again but it's worth a try if it helps her move on from the chick.

    The only egg I've ever tried to hatch (and it was successful) sat on my kitchen counter for about 8 days before it made it's way to an incubator. I just needs to be room temp and if you think about it, a hen will store up so many eggs before she's ready to sit so it really depends on how many you want to try giving her.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I said she will probably not go back to the nest and take any more eggs. She might but it is unlikely. If she is separated from the chick fort a couple of days she should be broken form being broody and will go back to normal. To me, that is the easiest on the hen.

    I should have been clearer. I would not give her any more eggs because by the time she hatches it will have been a long time and she will have used up so much of her excess fat by the time the new ones hatch. Some people would give her eggs though. I don't now how long that fat pad lasts but I like to be on the safe side.
     

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