Bad mother or bad eggs? HELP!!!!


In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 12, 2014
Southern California
I need advice!!!! Let me begin by saying I am 100% new to the chicken world. My chicken found us. She was walking around our yard in November and we decided to keep her.

Around March 17th she disappeared for about two weeks. Thinking she got out of the yard, I went and bought three hens (I'm now addicted). A week ago I found her running around the yard frantically so I watched her to figure out how she was getting in and out. Turns out she was hiding under a huge pot with eggs. I have no idea how old they are, but figured around 20 days since she has been missing.
Today I checked on her worried she may be sitting on bad eggs because of the days that passed. I found one chick dead right next to her nest.

Now the questions begin.....

Did she kill the chick? And if so is it because she is a bad mother? Or the chick was sick? Or maybe she is stressed out because of the new hens? And should I intervene somehow? Is it too late to trying a heating lamp? Please help.
She probably didn't kill it. It most likely just died and there is no telling why.
If you don't have an incubator, I wouldn't intervene. Just give her some time.
Hi and welcome to BYC from northern Michigan

The hen may have been scared off her nest, or may just not be a good setter and is unprepared for actual chicks. Eggs usually hatch at around 21 days. You could try putting them in an incubator, but don't be disappointed if they do not hatch.

Welcome to BYC!

Yes, I am guessing she got scared off the nest and the baby died. If you have an incubator, you could candle these eggs to see if any are viable and set them yourself. If you don't have an incubator and she is not setting anymore, I would clean up the eggs so you don't attract predators.

Good luck with your flock and all your adventures! Make yourself at home here on BYC and welcome to our flock!
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! Sorry about the chick. Not all chicks make it, so she may not have killed it, it could have died after hatching, or as mentioned she was scared off the nest or it got out of the nest and died. If she is off the nest then either put the eggs in an incubator or just dispose of them. If the other hens can get to her where she is, you might consider blocking her off so they can't get to the nest. If she is still setting on the nest I would just let her be.
Maybe it was just too cold for the chick and maybe was run off by something. I don't think she is a bad mother - maybe just inexperienced. She would do better kept inside with a cozy nest and safe place to hatch chicks.
Thank you everyone for the advice and warm welcomes.

Although I decided to let her be, I did check her nest this morning to make sure she was ok. I found New eggs and a few broken shells, but no babies. A few of the unhatched eggs have poo and feathers stuck to them.

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