Broody drama, please help!

chickendaddy123

Hatching
Dec 3, 2021
2
1
6
Hi all,

I've got two hens that went broody and started sitting on eggs, around 20 in total. They all hatched out about a week ago, with a couple needing to be put in the incubator as the mums were too busy with the new babies to sit. We had 17 healthy babies in total. The mums seemed happy to share the space with the babies moving between them both.

The mums had both chosen a dark space to sit inside and seemed happy while incubating and hanging with the chicks.
On the second day after the hatch, I heard a bunch of scwuaking and bangs coming from the chicken house. I rushed to investigate and found the two broodys having a full on fight, with one of them very bloody and sorry for herself. I separated them and tended to the wounds of the beaten up one, putting some diluted peroxide on the wounds. I found something to separate the mums while still allowing the babies to move between them.

The next day, again there was fighting. The winner of the last fight had got through the barrier somehow and they were at it again... This time I put something more heavy duty in place, while still allowing the babies to move freely.

Fast forward to yesterday, and I went to top up the food and water, and found a dead chick on the side of the beaten up hen... It looked like it had been squashed into the straw. I was devastated to say the least. I inspected the chick and couldn't find any wounds, no pasty butt or signs of disease, looked extremely healthy (other than being dead).

The beaten up hen has always been a bit psychotic, but doubly so since becoming broody. She pecks if I go the slightest bit near her. I decided to evict her and just leave the one broody with the chicks, all 16 of them. It's summer here now so not too concerned about them getting cold.

The beaten up broody is still hanging outside the space, but the other mum won't let her close to any of the chicks.

My gut instinct is to break her broodyness and let the other raise them. It's a bit heart breaking to separate a mum from her babies though, and I'm worried the other mum won't be able to handle 16 on her own.

So my questions are

Any ideas what might have happened?
And most importantly, what should I do now? The beaten up broody is still keen to go back to her babies but I don't trust her and would be distraught if she kills another one.
 

azygous

Enabler
12 Years
Dec 11, 2009
25,945
39,897
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Colorado Rockies
You are right, what a drama! Broody hens can be psychotic from the hormones, and if one is a tad aggressive by temperament, there's no dealing with her. You're right to fire her from her job.

Don't feel guilty. Broody hens are also great manipulators, so understand that it shouldn't overrule your decision to do what's best for the chicks.

Break the broody, and in a few days, her compulsion for her chicks will disappear along with her hormones. As for the other broody being able to handle her large brood, as long as she can cover them all for the next two weeks, the chicks will be fine.
 

chickendaddy123

Hatching
Dec 3, 2021
2
1
6
thank you for this! I've put the crazy broody into solitary (With plenty of food and water) and will keep her there a few days until she calms down. I've put a heat lamp with a timer on with the chicks and remaining mother hen just in case. So far so good!
You are right, what a drama! Broody hens can be psychotic from the hormones, and if one is a tad aggressive by temperament, there's no dealing with her. You're right to fire her from her job.

Don't feel guilty. Broody hens are also great manipulators, so understand that it shouldn't overrule your decision to do what's best for the chicks.

Break the broody, and in a few days, her compulsion for her chicks will disappear along with her hormones. As for the other broody being able to handle her large brood, as long as she can cover them all for the next two weeks, the chicks will be fine.
 

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