Baby Chick Help! Really need expert opinion

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by abenitez1989, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. abenitez1989

    abenitez1989 New Egg

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    So, as an experiment, I thought I would try and hatch my own eggs with my broody hen. I got a dozen fertilized eggs and had her sit on them. Over the course of the hatching period, another hen went broody and the two split the clutch. Only one has hatched so far. At first it seemed like the two hens were splitting care the chick. One tried to peck it and the other hen defended it. The chick would go from between the two hens. I go to let my hens free range this morning and I am confused by what i saw.

    The original broody hen left her nest and went outside with the flock and the other took over her remaining eggs. The remaining hen, however, isn't sitting on the day old chick. I was under the impression the hen would raise the chick. Should I get my brooder set up or trust the mother hen knows what she's doing?

    Thank you all!
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Trust the mother and attending hen. Keep an eye on the chick however but it should go under the sitting hen when cold. You'll know if something is wrong if it's urgently chirping and the sitting hen wont allow it under her. Not all hens are natural mothers, nor are humans for that matter. The thing to remember is if the chick is not urgently chirping it's fine. They are much hardier than we give them credit. They can be in cold weather without problems and when getting cold chirp loudly then the mother will sit down and they all will warm up under her then go back to pecking around. We coddle our birds with the constant heat of brooders. It's a completely different thing in nature. It's nice having chicks reared in the flock. No integration issues and no brooder.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    It's the staggered hatch that's causing the problem for the chick. A broody instinctively prioritizes sitting on the eggs and any early hatchlings are on their own or sometimes, the unhatched eggs can get short shrift, too.

    If I were you, I'd set up a heating pad cave for the chick, assuming the original broody has lost interest. I don't know if you can trust the second broody, who's sitting on the eggs now, to be safe for the chick since she didn't hatch it. So you probably should protect the chick with it's own enclosure.

    But I would keep the chick outside with the flock if at all possible. If this single chick is indeed on its own, it needs to be integrated from the get-go or face ostracism down the line. You can try it with the second broody, though, which I would. She might accept it. The chick won't care who its mama is. Chicks instinctively want to scoot under any chicken that is available.

    if that doesn't work, set up the MHP next to the hatching chicks so the chick feels kin with them. You can always transfer a couple chicks, as they hatch, to the MHP group to make them into their own unit.

    You have a complex dynamic setting up here. Good luck. Let us know what's happening as it unfolds. We may need to rethink things if there are problems.
     
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  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    How far apart were the 2 groups of eggs? Do I understand that you gave some of the older eggs to broody #2, so that each broody was sitting on both older eggs and younger eggs. IMO, this baby is confused, and has not had opportunity to properly imprint. If #2 is sitting on eggs that are imminent to hatch, you choud set up a MHP cave as azygous suggests, in close proximity to #2, but you will have to keep an eye on the situation to see that one way or the other that chick is being kept warm. At this stage, it's a very likely scenario that the chick will become hypothermic, and slowly lapse into a coma. If you put your location in your profile, it will help folks to formulate appropriate answers. What are your day and night temps now??? I would also be sure that broody #1 is barred from the area, and the chick is enclosed in an area close to #2.
     
  5. abenitez1989

    abenitez1989 New Egg

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    So, the hens are in the coop with the rest of the flock. Originally I had one broody hen and gave a dozen eggs to hatch. Another hen came in and took half and made her own nest.

    The clutch continues to hatch and so far two chicks have been killed. I'm not sure if they are just getting trampled or what. They survive the night and are ok when I go gather eggs but I come back an hr or so later and I find one dead.

    Both hens are protective of the chicks so I'm not sure what's happening.
     
  6. abenitez1989

    abenitez1989 New Egg

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    Whole point of this was to raise chicks the natural way so I'm torn between letting the mothers do their thing or intervening.
     
  7. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    I've had to separate before, take the first hen and the chicks hatched so far, and leave the second hen with the rest of the eggs.... But I leave them separated for a good while, about a week. Then put mom number one back; by then they know whose chicks are whose and won't try to steal them. That, or I've also had to remove all chicks from one hen and lock her out for a few days to get it out of her head to be broody. I don't like to do that, though. It's hard to reintegrate if they're gone too long.

    They're confused, all 12 eggs should have hatched on the same day, but someone must have gotten off the nest for a period and those eggs are slower to hatch, so its causing the staggered hatch.

    It's rough losing newly hatched chicks to overzealous moms. I've had one with a wing ripped almost clear off from a hen that tried to steal it, then kill it. I try to keep my broodies separate anymore if I'm expecting eggsfrom both to hatch at once. I've just had better results splitting them that way.

    So sorry it's going so rough :( They'll get it figured out with some assistance. All in all, one hen will dominate as the broody in the end; they'll take care of the chicks, or they won't. It's not always easy picking a good broody.
     
  8. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    Just like most new moms, they're kinda dumb with the first batch. Some are natural mother material and some are not. I intervene when I see mass confusion like the two going at it over chicks, at least, with a new broody. They can't learn to properly care for them if they're being harassed by another hen, IMO.
     
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  9. abenitez1989

    abenitez1989 New Egg

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    So here's a question, if remaining eggs don't hatch, should I toss them? Wil that affect the hens behavior?
     
  10. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    On day 22, I toss the unhatched eggs. Yes, that will affect the broody. Having no eggs left to hatch, she will promptly leave the nest and begin focusing solely on her chicks.
     

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