Chicken cannibalism?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by pride&joy, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. pride&joy

    pride&joy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hello I have a game hen that pretty much free ranged in goat herd after she hatch a nest in-between me and my neighbors fences (owns a game cock farm and assured me she is fine in new home?). She hatched and now has 3 game mix hen daughters that are laying. Two of them went broody and I purchased some mail order eggs for them(OEB) . Yesterday the first started to hatch right on schedule day 21. I had seen one chick hatched when mom came out of the nest ( a hay been ) to eat. Little later I see hen and chick on the ground by the feed all looks great. Then the mother hen (original game hen) comes over and snatches the chick in her beak and if not for my being there I think would have carried it of to eat the tiny little thing. I removed chick and have him inside on a brooder and put the rest of the eggs in my incubator. Here is my question?

    Is this hen just making a mistake b/c was so small and she used to free range? She was a great mom to her hatch? There is another of her daughter on eggs should I worry? The game hen did not feel thin actually as heavy as I have ever felt her and they have layer food available 24/7?
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Chickens are cannibals. If the mother hen will not protect her babies, the other adults will kill them. For my own reasons, I prefer a hen to raise her chicks with the flock. There are risks either raising them with the flock or raising them separately and integrating later. You have just witnesses one of the risks of raising them with the flock, a hen that will not protect her chicks. I cannot predict how her other daughter will do. Most game hens make tremendous mothers but you just happened to get a wimpy mother.

    As far as free ranging, one of the things that helps a mother hen protect her babies is that she has enough room to work with. Free ranging should make it better, not worse. But they are living things and you can never predict with great confidence what they will do.

    Good luck!
  3. bigchickenman

    bigchickenman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2009
    Maybe she was just trying to steal the baby for her to raise.I have a game hen that is fifteen years old and every time one of my other hens hatch she will take them to raise them if I don't put her up for awhile.She has had chicks from day olds to five week olds raising them all together.

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