Can chicks get squished by eggs in the nest?

lavendermarie

Songster
May 12, 2022
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My broody hen is due to hatch her eggs any day now! She’s sitting on twelve eggs, and I had a nerve racking thought. Could any babies that end up hatching get squished by the other eggs? It’s pretty tight under there with all of the eggs, so while for example one of two have hatched and there’s still another 10 or so down there, could the movement of the hatching eggs or mom cause some chicks to get injured or killed?
 
It's not likely. Momma hens are pretty careful and attentive. Babies will be nice and warm and safe while drying, and snuggle into her fluffed feathers. I've seen hens walking with baby chick legs sticking out from under their wings! Often, while checking a clutch in mid-hatch, I'll find babies hiding up in her rump feathers. I just had two casualties this morning with a clutch, when they pipped on the wrong end and drowned inside the egg. Sad, but not due to crushing or crowding.
 
It's not likely. Momma hens are pretty careful and attentive. Babies will be nice and warm and safe while drying, and snuggle into her fluffed feathers. I've seen hens walking with baby chick legs sticking out from under their wings! Often, while checking a clutch in mid-hatch, I'll find babies hiding up in her rump feathers. I just had two casualties this morning with a clutch, when they pipped on the wrong end and drowned inside the egg. Sad, but not due to crushing or crowding.

Thank you so much for this, and i’m sorry about the chicks!
 
could the movement of the hatching eggs or mom cause some chicks to get injured or killed?
Anything is possible. I can't imagine how the eggs could possibly harm a chick that has hatched, but maybe it is possible. Never say never. Can a hen injure or kill a chick by moving around? That is possible. It very seldom happens but it can. Usually when it does she is defending her nest. She is more worried about the potential threat than the individual chicks. If there is a real threat you want the hen to defend her nest to protect as many chicks as she can.

To me the best way to handle this is to not be that potential threat yourself. Don't bother the hen to where she thinks you are that threat. Don't be the cause of her fluffing up, standing up, and stomping around to try to scare you away. I find the more I interfere the more harm I can potentially do.

I would be negligent to not add this. Many people on this forum interfere with the broody hen a lot. They stick their hands in the nest to see what is under her. They may even pick up a chick. Some broody hens don't get defensive about this, especially if they are pets and used to cuddling. Some do and may peck the person really hard or fly off of the nest in full attack mode. Even with this violent response baby chicks are seldom injured. It's just not something I worry about.
 
Anything is possible. I can't imagine how the eggs could possibly harm a chick that has hatched, but maybe it is possible. Never say never. Can a hen injure or kill a chick by moving around? That is possible. It very seldom happens but it can. Usually when it does she is defending her nest. She is more worried about the potential threat than the individual chicks. If there is a real threat you want the hen to defend her nest to protect as many chicks as she can.

To me the best way to handle this is to not be that potential threat yourself. Don't bother the hen to where she thinks you are that threat. Don't be the cause of her fluffing up, standing up, and stomping around to try to scare you away. I find the more I interfere the more harm I can potentially do.

I would be negligent to not add this. Many people on this forum interfere with the broody hen a lot. They stick their hands in the nest to see what is under her. They may even pick up a chick. Some broody hens don't get defensive about this, especially if they are pets and used to cuddling. Some do and may peck the person really hard or fly off of the nest in full attack mode. Even with this violent response baby chicks are seldom injured. It's just not something I worry about.
Thank you for all of this, it was really helpful.

Luckily as you said, none of the eggs rolling around harmed any of the chicks.
 

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