chick jumping on the back of hens

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ClareScifi, Dec 8, 2014.

  1. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you ever seen a 7 week old chick jump on the back of hens? If so, was the chick always a male? 7 weeks old seems awfully early for mating behavior, don't you think? Could the behavior be the result of a chick being an only chick with no siblings its own age to play with, attention seeking, rather than a gender characteristic? I'm curious as to whether those of you who have raised a lot of chicks, both male and female, have ever seen this behavior in your 7 week old chicks?
     
  2. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    And I meant to clarify that the 7 week old chick is jumping up onto the backs of adult hens.
     
  3. Chickie Mama

    Chickie Mama Out Of The Brooder

    My chicks jump or sit on their mother's back now and then. It's adorable actually. I don't think it's a mating behavior at this point. Chickens just like to roost. They like to be up. Mine are about the same age as yours right now and I have 2 that jump/fly up when I reach into the brooder to refill their food or water. They also sit on their waterer. It's not a great indication of whether they are a rooster, but in my limited experience- the roosters seem to roost at young ages, but I'm hoping not. I don't need anymore roosters. The only way to know for sure is to wait and see who grows up to be what. :)

    Good Luck!
    ~Emily
     
  4. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. The chick in question was found dead in its nest. We are hoping it was a rooster. It was exhibiting this behavior last week. We were in love with it, hoping it was a hen, but now that it has died we are trying to console ourselves into believing it was a rooster whom we would have had to rehome. Did you see my other question under emergencies about an older hen's eggs? Do you know whether the eggs of a hen who is 4 might carry genetic defects, similar to the way older women often have babies with birth defects? I can't find any research on this. We were trying to propagate this older hen's offspring. I am wondering whether the chick had a birth defect. She seemed so healthy and happy. We wonder whether the cold got her, although it has been abnormally warm here. The woman who was raising her for me would let her play outside all day (she was an only chick with all adult hen companions). 7 weeks and 4 days old when she was found dead in her nest, no blood. The woman caring for her brought her inside most nights, but her husband had started complaining about a chick inside (messes on the floor) and had said he wanted the chick outside. But it has been no colder than the 30s, and by 7 weeks and 4 days she was fully feathered, so it is a puzzle to us.
     
  5. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The hen whose egg hatched into the chick who died this week at 7 weeks old was actually 4 1/2 years old when she laid the egg. That IS considered elderly among hens; right?
     
  6. Chickie Mama

    Chickie Mama Out Of The Brooder

    She's not elderly- in my book, until she has stopped laying, but she is an older chicken. I'm sure chickens, like any animal, have genetic issues with offspring and age but that may not be why your chick died (so sorry for your loss!). Sometimes chicks die. It's sad, but true. I lost 2 out of 7 this fall. One appeared to have choked. The other hatched with a wry neck and a week or two later, died. There may not have been a human or genetic cause for your chicks death. Chickens were breed to lay eggs or be meaty. They were not breed for longevity.

    That being said, from what you shared, he may have been to young to be outside with the other chickens. I like to hatch my eggs with the mother and let her take care of them. Right now, for example, I have 2 large Rubbermade storage totes with the mother chickens and their babies in my house. One mother and chicks per tote. I don't need a heat lamp because the mother keeps them warm under her feathers. I have an old baby gate and window screen secured with a bungee cord over the top to keep the chickens in and the house cats out. One of the mothers laid an egg this morning, so I'm thinking she might be ready to go back out to the chicken coop. Her babies are a little older than the others. When the other mother lays an egg I'll put her out in the coop too and keep the babies all together in one brooder/tote. The high temp where I live right now are in the 30s so it's too cold for the little ones. Even if the weather was nice, I would not put them out with the other chickens- in general population, until they are almost full grown. I they are too small they will get picked at by the big ones. I have a corner of the chicken coop that I can close off to introduce new chickens, or to separate chickens that are getting picked on and need a break etc. I highly recommend every coop have one!

    Best of luck in future hatchings! Don't give up, it can be heartbreaking, but it can also be wonderful!
    ~Emily
     
  7. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This chick who died, Chickie Mama, was fully feathered-- almost 2 months old. It had been hatched and raised under a broody stepmama hen. The friend who was raising it for me watched its interactions with the other chickens closely-- the stepmama would make sure no hens bothered it. The chick and Stepmama stayed in the house at night with my friend while it was little, but recently, with the warm winter here, they were sleeping outside in the coop. She wasn't a small chick-- she was almost 2 months old.

    It is now thought that a 15 pound Jersey giant hen may have jumped into the nesting box the 2 month old chick was in and smothered her to death. That is our best guess-- suffocation by the large bird who was wanting to be broody. Such a tragedy.
     
  8. Chickie Mama

    Chickie Mama Out Of The Brooder

    Ah, a very big chicken with good intentions. I have a few Jersey Giants. They are such nice birds! I'm sure she thought she was helping. The poor thing.
     
  9. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Her owner says the Jersey Giant is clumsy and not very bright. She wants to be a Mama but accidentally smashes her own eggs.
     

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