aggressive broody hen?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by showbarnmom, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. showbarnmom

    showbarnmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    (Not sure where this belongs, so I put it here).

    Attempted to integrate a broody hen w/ 9 2 day old chicks to my 4 4 wk old chicks. She is evil!! She attacks me, husband, the rake, and most of all the older chicks. She drug one of them by the wing completely across the coop. I had hoped she would have accepted the older chicks since she was already broody with her chicks. I was wrong :(

    Is this something that will ever change? Is it something I can correct? I have everyone separated right now because the older chicks needed a break. Shes set up to go back to where I got her from, because she really upset me today picking on my little roo. So I am just wondering if it is something that could be corrected or if it would correct itself if I didn't take ger back?
     
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    You inadvertently put all those chickens in a high stress situation. Moving the hen and chicks into a new situation, put stress on the hen and chicks. Adding a large number of new birds, put stress on the home flock.

    Broodies have to be tough and mean to protect their chicks from the flock. If you keep your broody and chicks with the flock, very quickly you will see her always between the flock and the chicks. The chicks learn very quickly to stay near mama, and to stay away from the others. The other hens in the flock will be merciless, but a squealing chick will bring mama on the run, and ALL the hens, and I even think the roo, is afraid of a broody on the war path.

    It is an exception in the animal world for a mother to take on other offspring than her own. She wants any available food to go into her chicks and sees others as competition for that. Now you can trick a broody hen into taking chicks, but it has to be almost immediately when hers are hatching, or within a day or two, and they need to also be newly hatched.

    Many times people think that the relationship is mama to chicks, but really it is a two way bond, those 4 week chicks do not see her as a mama, and do not answer the cues correctly, so she does not see them as hers.

    I don't think it will work, even with time.

    MrsK
     
  3. showbarnmom

    showbarnmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. I figured stress was playing a lot in the situation. She's the only "adult" which is why I was hoping it would work. Oh well :( just gotta wait for everyone else to just grow up.
     
  4. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Try to think of the aggression in your broody as a good thing. She's protecting her flock, and without her aggression her chicks would likely be killed by other flock members.

    I only ever raised one flock with a broody to feather, because that broody was MEAN! All my other broodies allowed their chicks to be killed by other flock members. My good broody tried to peck the heck out of you if you reached into her nest, but my other broodies just fluffed up a bit but otherwise let me mess with them. The hens that didn't peck me also didn't protect the chicks once they hatched. Losing those clutches to other flock members was so bad that I've resolved I'll never let a hen go broody again unless she pecks the heck out of me when I reach in her nest and shows some signs of aggression.

    I lost that broody to an owl as she protected her clutch (that was a fluke, the owl landed on the wire and somehow pushed the wire down and fell into the pen!). Now I have three young dark Cornish. Those hens are pretty aggressive, so I have high hopes for them as broodies in the spring.
     
  5. showbarnmom

    showbarnmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know shes being protective, but she's the only adult. Everyone else in the coop are chicks. She had me so upset I was crying :-/ apparently I'm way more attached to my first 4 than I thought. Its been to cold and rainy here for me to turn anyone out, so I know space is an issue, but she's just plain mean :(
     
  6. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I'd let them go out if they want to. Chickens can handle cold and rain, and mine will choose to go outside in almost all weathers. The only exception is that they don't like deep snow.

    Allowing them some extra room might really help alleviate the stress in your flock.
     
  7. showbarnmom

    showbarnmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was going too, but I am just going to take her back. She's in a kennel and is ready to go. I gave myself a headache last night stressing over her. I don't want a mean hen, even if she is broody.
     
  8. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    She'll likely return to a normal chicken after she's weaned her clutch. If I understand your post correctly, you got this broody and chicks and immediately put them in with the chicks you already had? Its likely you would get the same result if you did the same with a hen that isn't broody. Adult birds are NOT kind to juveniles, and if you took momma out and left her babies, your older chicks would likely do the same to them. IMO, you're giving up a good thing. My fierce broodies were always the best mothers, my "nice" broodies would end up loosing their chicks one by one. Give her a chance, separate her into her own pen and enjoy watching her care for her babies. Then, when everyone is roughly the same size, try integrating them again (and still expect some bullying, unfortunately its a part of owning chickens and will probably happen every single time you bring in a new bird). That is, if you haven't returned her yet. Good luck...
     
  9. showbarnmom

    showbarnmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was going to do that, but she is basically a feral chicken I caught from my work. So I don't know that she would ever be "nice" or even a good layer. I'm not really even sure any of the chicks will grow up to be good layers. But at least in my coop they won't get picked on by peacocks like at work.

    I gave her a day of separation before I introduced them, and there is tons of space in my coop, but she was flat out attacking. So she went back this morning. I never planned on keeping her, though. Just wanted her to keep the chicks warm.
     

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