Broody hen problem


In the Brooder
6 Years
Jan 31, 2013
We have 2 buff orpingtons who both went broody. The first hatched one egg, then the second went broody and we gave her 4 eggs we had in the incubator that were due to hatch in several days. We went out several days later and found the first chick huddled and shaking by the gate of the brooder pen, and when we tried to give it back to the mom, she screamed at us. We figured she had rejected it, so we brought it in with the other chicks from the incubator. The next day we found two chicks with no shells, one still in fetal position and pecked at not breathing and one barely alive, both next to the hen but not under. They were chilled, so had been there awhile, and neither lived, even though we put them in the incubator for warmth. We then removed the last egg, which upon candling had died in the shell just recently. Frustrated, we put the hen back in with the flock. She went absolutely psycho on us. She sticks her head between the feeder boxes and tries to hide, then starts screeching and puffing up, running around like crazy. Then she flies into the nest boxes, and goes from one another, pooping in them. She sleeps on the ledge in front of the nest boxes, probably because she already messed it up. We are constantly cleaning them, but have 8 so the girls just use the others. They peck at her when she goes crazy, but don't really notice her until then. This has been going on several days, and tonight we decided to put her in the breeder house with the buff male who has decided to attack us from behind when we aren't looking if we don't carry a broom into the rooster pen. Neither one is staying around if they don't shape up, so we figured they might get along. So far, so good. So, my questions are: 1) Why did she kill and reject the chicks? 2) Why is she acting the way she is? and 3) Will she get back to normal being in with Buff the rooster? Thanks so much! We are newbies and needing guidance!
I am not sure at all, but possibly she thought they were imposters due to hatching in a few days, if it was her first time that would also contribute.
It sounds like she was broody only a week or so before the chicks hatched? Really trying to short time broodys, especially first timers doesn't always work well. Some hens/breeds are better about accepting chicks at anytime, but they are naturally programed to lay their eggs then sit on them for 3-4 weeks. It seems like she just did not know what was going on because what instinct was telling her was supposed to be going on was not matching up with what was happening. She is probably still in mixed broody mode and should straighten up and be back to normal in a week or two as long as you keep trying to break her of being broody. She may go into a molt and not lay eggs for awhile also.
Thank you! She seems ok in the breeding pen with Mr. Buff for now, so I will leave her there.

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