Chicks ripped apart. Hen eating her young?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chickenmaven, May 28, 2009.

  1. Chickenmaven

    Chickenmaven Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2009
    I have a mama hen and her chicks in a "brooder cabinet." It's like a kitchen cabinet (sitting on the floor of the coop) with a door that opens & an adjacent area that is cut out and covered with chicken wire. It is essentially a cage with a solid top and a cabinet door. Nifty recycling. The door to this brooder shuts, but doesn't lock. (We fixed the lock this morning...)
    Anyway, the hen was sitting with her 7 chicks last evening & this morning, there are only six! There is no evidence of a murder inside this cabinet, nor did we find the chick or any blood outside the cabinet in the coop.
    This is what I NEED TO KNOW: Do hens eat their chicks? If this baby somehow got out of the cabinet & was devoured by the flock, I can understand and accept this. As I indicated, we fixed the clasp on the door. However, I am hoping to find out if anyone has had a problem with a hen eating her own. We are considering brooding these chickies without mom, if this is a possibility.

    **** Read on: I found that mama was not the issue....
    Last edited: May 28, 2009
  2. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

    Mar 20, 2008
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    I just did a search and could not find it, but there was a post within the past 3 months from someone whose broody hen ate ALL but 1 or 2 of the chicks.

    I've not had this problem - but it seems that it can, indeed, happen.

    Maybe this will bump you up so someone whose had this issue can weigh in.
  3. Emzyyy

    Emzyyy Runs with Deer

    Jul 14, 2008
    Derby Kansas
    I hope not I have my first broody and I am already worried that the eggs just won't hatch.
  4. KellyHM

    KellyHM Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 10, 2008
    Lakeland, FL
    I've never had any of mine do that. I would think it more likely that the chick escaped and got eaten by something else.
  5. Ducklove334

    Ducklove334 Off to another pond

    Nov 4, 2008
    never had that happen either, all our broodies have been grat mommas.

    now, our turkies on the other hand, think the chicks look mighty tastey. so now we're going to use the two spare rabbit hutches(BIG rabbit hutches) to house hens with babies once eggs hatch.

    ETA: you'd think that the mother,if she were to eat the baby, would eat it like anything else, peck at it, then tear it apart, wich would result in alot of shed fuzz and blood, I wouldn't think a chicke could eat a chick whole?)
    Last edited: May 28, 2009
  6. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    If she ate one of the chicks, she will probably eat another one. But, I have never had a broody eat one of her own chicks. However, like someone mentioned, the other hens will be glad to eat one if it escapes from the cage.
  7. cluckingcanadian

    cluckingcanadian Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 16, 2009
    Not sure if this is a possibility but what about a snake?? A snake could probably eat a whole chick without leaving any evidence whatsoever.

    My first broody has 12 babies with her and the rest of the flock leave them alone.

    Sorry I am not much help.
  8. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

    Mar 20, 2008
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    Quote:I understand - I was the same way! But I had two broodies when when it was still cold here - one week the highs were in the 20s and I was worried sick. Especially because I kept finding one of the broodies on the WRONG nest and her eggs were stone cold. Amazingly, she had a 100% hatch rate!

    I'm sure your broody will do a good job for you.

    As for the hen eating the chicks, like I said, I have never had that issue. My broodies have been great mamas. But I do know that a few others have had the issue. I don't think it's very common though.
  9. Chickenmaven

    Chickenmaven Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2009
    Quote:We found out that the dresser brooder was not so secure. We are still not sure what happened but my DD came SCREAMING into the house - "They are eating a baby!" She found the flock, in the run, devouring a chick. We found the brooder shut tight, but a chick missing.
  10. chickencoop31320

    chickencoop31320 Have bator, will hatch

    Sep 24, 2008
    Southeast Georgia
    Quote:That's what I was thinking.

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