Broody hen kills first hatched chick - Any ideas why?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by dazz02, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. dazz02

    dazz02 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 27, 2012
    I've only ever had 2 hens go broody, a welsummer and a nova brown (the eggs are hatching as i type from the nova brown) Both though have killed their first chick that hatched. Last time with the welsummer i then took the eggs from her and hatched them myself. Should i do the same now with the nova brown.

    Anybody any ideas why she would do that? From my experience if incubators hadn't have been invented then the hen would have become extinct by now!

    Any ideas of what i should do?
     
  2. LTygress

    LTygress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2012
    Are they by themselves when they are going broody and/or hatching the eggs? Or are there others with them, like the other hen? What did the "damage" look like? Any signs of bleeding/pecking? Or just dead? Did you see the hens kill the chicks, or did you find the chicks already dead?
     
  3. dazz02

    dazz02 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for your response, she is by herself, the chick was just dead, no wounds or bleeding and still under her when i checked. i would have thought she'd have knocked it out the nest when it was dead but she didn't so i had to remove it. This was the same as last time with my welsummer, exactly the same scenario just a different hen sitting.
     
  4. LTygress

    LTygress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It sounds like they aren't intending to hurt them, but rather just squishing them somehow. Either that or something is happening during hatch that is causing them not to be ready when they actually come out of the egg (i.e. birth defect). If she would have killed it on purpose, you'd see signs of pecking. But it seems to be an accident and/or congenital.
     
  5. LTygress

    LTygress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As for kicking it out, hens don't "get" that many times. Sometimes they do, but it's very rare. A broody hen will stay put until she feels it's time to take the chicks out of the nest, and then she'll simply get up and walk out with them following. When she comes back at the end of the day, she'll look at the poor dead one as if it's just another part of the bedding in her nest. Hens aren't very smart...
     
  6. dazz02

    dazz02 Out Of The Brooder

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    It looks like it was ready to hatch and there was no blood, i think she just squished it. Why this has happened twice with 2 different broody hens i don't know. I don't think i'll let any more get broody.
     
  7. LTygress

    LTygress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Unless the eggs are VERY valuable (i.e. purebred show-quality, or you paid for them, or you had a rooster or hen die, and need their offspring) then I would just let them do their thing. Just like young human mothers, they need to learn. And trial and error is the best way. It's unfortunate that their learning results in the death of their babies, but if it's "expendable" to you, then I would give them a chance, at least.
     
  8. dazz02

    dazz02 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sounds fair i'll leave them with her. I did buy the eggs in and with them being rir i paid a fair bit for them. Never mind! She's lovely and tame so hopefully she'll get some but there are no signs of any more hatching yet.

    I've got some in my incubator due to hatch in 3 days time, do i risk giving her some of them when they are a few hours old and more able to move out of her way if she were to try and swish them? As i said she is friendly and doesn't mind me looking under her at the eggs, i feel that she might take to them.
     
  9. LTygress

    LTygress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can always add babies to a broody hen as long as the are the same general age as the one she is supposed to be hatching, AND you do it in a way where she can't see them. Usually after dusk, when she is sitting in the nest and can't see, you just lift her up and sneak them in. Don't let her see them, and she'll probably adopt them easily.

    If you did pay for the eggs, maybe remove them and put some others under her? And then once she starts raising the others, you could sneak the babies back under her.
     

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