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Broody hen missing chicks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mduerksen, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. mduerksen

    mduerksen In the Brooder

    Mar 15, 2015
    This is my first time having a broody hen. She is a year and a half.

    She went broody and I tried to break her using the hanging cage techniques and kept taking eggs out of nest boxes. Neither worked so I got some fertilized eggs from a local guy.

    20 -21 days later we had 3 chicks with 2 eggs still under momma. Well I was pretty sure from candling 1 was not good so I took it and candled it and sure enough it was no good. So two days ago we had 3- fluffy day old chicks and one egg and a happy momma. Chick food and water went in to the coop and I went to bed. I did not check on them in the morning before work yesterday but my husband went out around 11 and found one dead chick in the middle of the coop and momma on the nest with one fluffy chick no eggs but 2 missing chicks. (I think she was with the chick from that one egg that hadn't hatched the night before)

    I came home at lunch found momma with the one chick and still no sign of the other 2 chicks.

    After work (around 3) came home. Momma was in the middle of the coop with the chick she had been with earlier dead under her.

    Well this morning she is not leaving the coop and puffing up every time I try to check on her. She even attacked me when I gathered eggs.

    Details: momma is a partridge rock. I have 3 other hens dame age and 1 bantam that is 6months old. They share a nice big coop (it is the woodshed too) their portion is 6 wide x 12 long. Stays warm. They have 3 nest boxes. Their attached covered run is 24 x 6.
    Momma hen is the bully of the group and during setting the eggs had no problem keeping the hens away. We put the nest box on the ground. The nesting material was apple chip wood (same thing we use when we get néw chicks) the floor of the coop is wood chips and shavings.

    So my questions. Why do the 2 chicks die? Did she let them get too cold? Where are the other 2 chicks?( I know you probably can't answer) We searched hi and low not a sign of them. The coop is closed up tight. Nothing can get in or out. At least not in the 2 years we have lived here or the year and half we have had chickens including when these were a day old and we put their brooder in there.

    Why is momma hen acting so agrees ice and roaming the coop? She came after me whe. I opened the door but was not on any eggs and ways puffed up scratching around.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016

  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    If chicks wander out from under the mother she won't go get them, sometimes they don't find their way back and get chilled. Other hens will often kill chicks and the mother doesn't go far from the nest the first few days, so she might not have got up to defend them. Your hen is agitated and probably confused as to where her chicks are.

    It's always best to put a piece of wire fencing around the mom and clutch for a week or two to keep everyone close and safe until the chicks learn to follow the mom, next time I would do that as they begin to hatch. I would also check your broody mom over, I have had chicks stick to mom's feathers, happened this spring, my chick was still alive. I'm sorry you had such a rough go at it.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Could just be a bad mama.
    Could be you have a rodent sneaking in.
    Could be the chickens killed and/or ate the dead chicks.

    She may still be 'broody' even without or because all her chicks are gone.
    You say your coop is closed up tight, but do they have a run too?

    Sorry for your misfortune.

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