Cannibalism of newly hatched chicks?

slantrhymes

Songster
5 Years
May 31, 2014
124
18
101
California
I had 3 eggs under a broody hen set to hatch today. Checked this evening: one external pip, one peeping, and one empty shell with no chick to be found. After an exhaustive search, I fear that another hen (I let her sit in the nestbox in the coop with the other hens) probably ate it. Is this likely? I've heard of chickens killing newborn chicks, but actually consuming and leaving no trace?

Thank you in advance for any input!

Edit: Another hen or, worse, mama herself. Yikes.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
6 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
14,920
761
Oregon
My Coop
An adult, including the broody hen herself, may have killed and consumed the chick - or the chick was killed and missed in your search (not to be graphic, but newly hatched chicks can become VERY flat and easily hidden in even a small amount of bedding, etc when dead). Is the flock inside a secure coop/run enclosure 24/7?
 

slantrhymes

Songster
5 Years
May 31, 2014
124
18
101
California
An adult, including the broody hen herself, may have killed and consumed the chick - or the chick was killed and missed in your search (not to be graphic, but newly hatched chicks can become VERY flat and easily hidden in even a small amount of bedding, etc when dead). Is the flock inside a secure coop/run enclosure 24/7?
I've had the misfortune of seeing flattened chicks before, so I checked the bedding in and around thoroughly. The flock is secured and also protected with electric fencing, so the chances of something having gotten in are slim (we, nor the neighbors who had it for ten years before us, haven't ever lost a bird with our setup--knock on wood). I'll check again in the morning, but in the meantime... I assume the worst. The two remaining eggs are in the bator now.
 

slantrhymes

Songster
5 Years
May 31, 2014
124
18
101
California
An additional possibility is that it died either whilst hatching or shortly after - any chicken would eat a dead chick.
True. I can't know, unfortunately, but in the future I think I'll move any broodies to the maternity ward.
 

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