Broody's swapping eggs and chicks, is this ok?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by silkiemum, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. silkiemum

    silkiemum Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 10, 2008
    Hi all,
    Loving reading your advice and have a couple of questions too.

    I have moved 2 broody's into a seperate secure area away from the rest of the flock as they were adding eggs. 2 weeks later have moved another broody silkie in with them too.

    Of the first two, One hen is a slikie and one hen not sure both were on about 8 eggs each, over time they have kicked some out of the nests, fine bad ones, I have had 2 chicks hatch with a couple more eggs to go.
    My questions....

    1. Is it normal for them to swap nests all the time and if thats not desirable what should I do?

    2. Is it normal for the hens to take chicks off each other? (As the silike hatched the first one I think and the other hen 2 days later) or will they simply be shared parenting?

    thanks heaps for your advice,
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    They'll probably share parenting, unless one hen thinks she's boss, then she'll kick the other one out and fight for the chicks.

    Just watch them so that if eggs get abandoned or cold you can put them in an incubator/hatcher.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    They are living animals so you cannot be sure what they will do. As Mahonri said, they could very well share parenting duties and raise them together. That happens a lot.

    Unfortunately some other things also sometimes happen. As you have seen they sometimes swap eggs or nests. Egg swapping can be a problem if they have different hatch dates. Nest swapping can be a problem if they both decide to share a nest and let the eggs in the other nest go cold. It does not have to be two broodies for this to happen. Sometimes a broody just goes back to the wrong nest. Sometimes they agree to share parenting duties but sometimes one does not want to share and they fight. Eggs and chicks can get damaged or killed in these fights. Sometimes, if the hatch dates are different, a broody will hear the other chicks hatching and abandon her nest to go raise the hatching chicks, either helping or fighting the other hen for them. Sometimes a broody will kill the chicks that hatch under the other broody, even if they are sharing a nest. Remember, it is not that something bad always happens. They sometimes happen.

    What can you do about it? You can observe and see if you see anything bad developing, then deal with it. A lot of people do that and don't have a problem. Mark each broody's eggs so you can tell at a glance if an egg has been stolen. Or you can separate the broodies, either in space or in time. Maybe house them apart from each other. Maybe only have one broody at a time.

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