Broody killed chicks!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by marier4him, May 20, 2011.

  1. marier4him

    marier4him Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 27, 2010

    I had a Black Australorp who went broody so I bought her some fertilized eggs to hatch. Yesterday two of them started to hatch. One of them was at least 60% hatched in the afternoon, but by evening had died shrink-wrapped. At the time I found the dead chick, the other chick was 90% hatched, so I plucked the rest of it's shell and drying membrane off and it was fine when I went to bed. This morning, it was under the hen dead. The third egg hadn't been hatched, so I broke it open and the fully formed chick was dead.

    Shouldn't she have gotten off the hatched chicks at some point to let them breathe? Why didn't she help the chick that was shrinkwrapped? My 6yo son waited 21 days and left for school crying today.

    I am willing to drive down the road and pay another $1 for some more eggs, but not if she will do this again. The chicks were active and peeping and fully formed. I could hatch them inside, but that defeats the original purpose of letting her go broody and letting my son watch her raise some chicks.

    Thanks in advance for the advice.
  2. terrilhb

    terrilhb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 11, 2010
    I am so sorry this happened. I don't know anything about broody hens but I would hope it was just nature or an accident. Hopefully someone with more experience will answer.
  3. marier4him

    marier4him Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 27, 2010
    Thanks for the sympathy. I know and my son knows that life and nature don't always work out the way we hope, but to start off with 8 eggs and end up with 3 fully formed dead chicks is more disappointment than what we expected.

    I hope somebody will have an answer.
  4. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2009
    I've left my Broodies to themselves many times, it's rare to get 100% hatch. Out of 12 eggs, an average is 9 hatch with 7 to 8 making it out of the nest. Part of the problem is other hens laying eggs, so not all are in time. Sounds like your situation was too dry during the hatch.
  5. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Quote:Some points to ponder.

    1. Some hens don't make good broodies.

    2. Some hens don't like to be pestered while hatching chicks. If you kept sticking your hand in there to check things she could have gotten stressed. Stress is not a good thing. Never bother a broody unless you see problems. I only mention this cuz some folks seem to be of the OP that the hen can't do it without their intervention. If you haven't get your hands on everything you can find on broodies and using them to hatch. Believe me I have and I still have occasional losses.

    3. I too have found shrink wrapped chicks. It could have been the chick was not healthy or strong enough to get out.

    4. There can be many reasons chicks don't hatch. The reasons are endless.

    5. The health of a hen and the egg is important. The eggs just may not have been good choices for hatching.

    6. The inexperience of the hen can present a problem.

    Sorry for your loss, but don't give up.

  6. marier4him

    marier4him Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 27, 2010
    Thanks for the advice. We were poking our head in there often. Maybe that caused her to smother them? I guess we'll try again if she wants to set some more.
  7. smk2010

    smk2010 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 25, 2010
    Hi ~ Sorry to hear that your chicks died. I had the same problem last year. I had a broody hen and after repeatedly taking the eggs away I gave in and allowed her to try and hatch out 9 eggs. This was my first time trying to hatch chicks and I was extremely excited. Though I was able to candle (flashlight) a few to watch their progress Mamma hen guarded those eggs to the very end. We ended up with 1 chick and the rest of them died just like yours...being smooshed by mamma chicken or being fully formed but not making it out of the shells. I now have 2 broody hens but am afraid to give it another try. In March I ordered 15 chicks instead and brooded them at my cousins house for the last 6 weeks - I'm so excited because they are coming home tomorrow and I get to meet the new additions to my chicken family!!!

    If your son isn't too old maybe you should buy 3-4 chicks and try putting them under the broody hen at night and see how that works. Many hens will accept the chicks if introduced at night. Don't tell your son until the next morning when you know if the hen will accepted the chicks. Your son doesn't need to know the chicks were not hatched by your chicken and he will get to watch her raise some chicks.

    Good luck if you try to hatch more!!
    Last edited: May 20, 2011
  8. bakerjw

    bakerjw Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2010
    Johnson City, Tn
    What kind of nest was she in? Was it large enough to allow her to move around? I always have made sure that my broodies have had a lot of extra room. In fact this year I am going to build some broody boxes for them so that they are protected from the rest of the flock for most of the day.

    Young hens often don't know what to do. They get the hang of it soon enough though. I've never heard of a hen helping a shrink wrapped chick out of a shell before.

    If you can find some hatched chicks you might stick some under her at night. Nothing is cuter than a momma hen and a clutch of week old chicks running around under her.
  9. KKatknap

    KKatknap Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2009
    Albany, OR
    I don't think they will smother under eggs hatch under my hen just fine. Then the shells get kicked out & that's how I know there are chicks to watch for. [​IMG] In fact, if the chicks aren't under there, they will chill very quickly.

    I think I might guess that perhaps there was too much handling(?) I hate for you to feel bad, as it's natural to want to watch what's happening, so just chalk it up to a learning experience. I never see the eggs unless the hen has popped off for her morning poop&feed, so mine are pretty well hands off. I don't candle them at all.

    I hope the rest of the eggs hatch ok. I agree with the post about nothing cuter than a mama & chicks. [​IMG]
  10. kano

    kano Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2008
    Santiago de Chile
    Too much handling, i believe. When I was a little kid ( looong time ago) and had my first broody with phaisan eggs, a boy who lived there were always looking at her and bothering her. Result: The broody ATE the phaisan's chicks. I knew that because we couldn't see any new born chick but the shells were there...[​IMG] But I could see the feet of one chick coming out the hen's beak [​IMG].
    It's normal to handle the hen once a week, but the rest of the time ,peace and quiet.
    Last edited: May 20, 2011

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