Broody Hen Attacks Chick

Sleigh

Songster
May 13, 2019
43
96
119
Washington
Last night was day 21 of my black australorp's (Grace) brood sitting on a nest of her own egg and ceramic eggs. Our plan was to slip three baby chicks under her at night. We got the day-old babies yesterday morning. At 10 pm last night, we made the exchange - eggs for chicks. Things went fine, chicks cheeping, mama readjusting. I checked two more times between 10:40 and midnight. All was well.

Got up this morning, two of the chicks had wandered away. I was worried about the third. Checked under mama; chick was there. I pulled her out to make sure she was alive. Mama attacked it with a ferocity unexpected. Grace is a gentle hen, but this was a hen with an intent to kill. Horrified, I got them separated. Baby appears physically fine.

The three chicks are now back in the house in the brooder. I moved Grace to the nursery we have set up, which we hoped to do with the chicks this morning. She was agitated by the move, but I put the eggs back in the brooder box. After wandered around and eating for the first time in days, she resumed sitting on the ceramic eggs.

My question (aside from good golly, Grace, what the heck!?) can/should I try again tonight?
 
Last edited:

azygous

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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Colorado Rockies
No. Grace is letting you know she isn't fooled by these chicks. Some broodies are so intent on brooding chicks they will accept any chicks at any time. Others, like Grace, have a strong instinct for which chicks are theirs and they will reject any others.

The wise solution is to remove the fake eggs and shut down Grace's nest, depriving her of access. She may require a broody cage if her hormones don't subside in a couple of days. Then brood these chicks yourself.
 

Sleigh

Songster
May 13, 2019
43
96
119
Washington
one of my English Orpington hens ate her own chicks when they hatched. Not just attacked—ate. Probably not the same deal here, but it’s not always the sweet experience you think it will be! Glad your babies are ok.
No, it sure wasn't. I genuinely thought this would be a serene, happy experience.

I am sorry for your experience, but thank you for sharing.
 

Sleigh

Songster
May 13, 2019
43
96
119
Washington
No. Grace is letting you know she isn't fooled by these chicks. Some broodies are so intent on brooding chicks they will accept any chicks at any time. Others, like Grace, have a strong instinct for which chicks are theirs and they will reject any others.

The wise solution is to remove the fake eggs and shut down Grace's nest, depriving her of access. She may require a broody cage if her hormones don't subside in a couple of days. Then brood these chicks yourself.
Gadzukes! This is disappointing. I am making this too personal. I feel like I did her a favor and then she tried to murder a chick in front of me. Not cool. I need to reset and accept these are chickens who are not able to process my goodwill and good intentions.

Thank you for the response.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
13 Years
Feb 2, 2009
29,487
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997
Southeast Louisiana
You did everything right. The chicks were day olds. The hen had been broody plenty long enough. You put them in at night and gave them time to get used to each other. The majority of time that would work very well, but with living animals you don't get guarantees. Each time is different, sorry it did not work out for you this time.
 

FARMminiature

In the Brooder
Apr 12, 2021
21
10
26
Last night was day 21 of my black australorp's (Grace) brood sitting on a nest of her own egg and ceramic eggs. Our plan was to slip three baby chicks under her at night. We got the day-old babies yesterday morning. At 10 pm last night, we made the exchange - eggs for chicks. Things went fine, chicks cheeping, mama readjusting. I checked two more times between 10:40 and midnight. All was well.

Got up this morning, two of the chicks had wandered away. I was worried about the third. Checked under mama; chick was there. I pulled her out to make sure she was alive. Mama attacked it with a ferocity unexpected. Grace is a gentle hen, but this was a hen with an intent to kill. Horrified, I got them separated. Baby appears physically fine.

The three chicks are now back in the house in the brooder. I moved Grace to the nursery we have set up, which we hoped to do with the chicks this morning. She was agitated by the move, but I put the eggs back in the brooder box. After wandered around and eating for the first time in days, she resumed sitting on the ceramic eggs.

My question (aside from good golly, Grace, what the heck!?) can/should I try again tonight?
If she didn’t accept them, she is more than likely not going to accept them. All hens are different. I have some that will take any chick or even ducklings at any age. You could post your situation on a Facebook thread on a surrounding area looking for a good tried and true broody hen that someone might want to get rid of for free or to purchase.
 

Sleigh

Songster
May 13, 2019
43
96
119
Washington
If she didn’t accept them, she is more than likely not going to accept them. All hens are different. I have some that will take any chick or even ducklings at any age. You could post your situation on a Facebook thread on a surrounding area looking for a good tried and true broody hen that someone might want to get rid of for free or to purchase.
Thank you for your feedback. It is not what I want to believe, but the consensus of experts helps me to accept this reality.

That is a good idea about checking Facebook. I will do that now.
 

Doo

Chirping
May 26, 2021
51
134
78
Thanks for sharing.
Keep the chicks warm and they will grow by themselves as long as they know they are feed well with TLC.
 

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