does the brood hen squoosh the chicks?


In the Brooder
11 Years
Jan 19, 2009
decided to let some of the hens sit if they wanted to sit... i have never hatched anything out before and do not want to get involved with an incubator - not just yet anyway. so last week i see chick #1 and get all excited! couple days - chick #2. couple more days, chick #3 is dead, but still wet. did it die while hatching? i move some of the hay, as there was still a few more eggs, and there's chick #2 again, dead in the nest. i figured that if i left things 'natural' as far as hatching goes, it would all work out. maybe none would even hatch out, but the ones that did hatch, i thought would be ok. were they squoosed? suffocated? weak? do i take the remaining eggs along withe the lone survivor and put them in the brooder box? that is the only real heat source i have, as i have used it for guinea keets in the past and other store bought chicks. if this has happened to anyone or if you have any info to share, that would be great!
Did incubation start on all of the eggs at the same time? If not, the hen has to decide to go take care of the hatched chicks or keep sitting on the unhatched eggs. The babies will do fine huddled with momma for a day or 2, but then they need to have momma get off the nest to care for them. Hens have been known to accidentally harm chicks, but it's not the norm.
I think you left things a bit too "natural", and other hens kept laying in the nest. In a real natural situation, the hen would find some well hidden spot to lay her eggs, where others would not be dumping new eggs into the nest constantly. Then her chicks would in fact all hatch at the same time. In the future you would do better to separate your broody from the other hens before giving her a clutch to hatch.

I agree with what the others said. The important thing now is to move the momma hen and the one surviving chick to a private spot - the brooder would be great.

Do you have an incubator?? If so, I would put the remaining eggs in the incubator, although you may have a staggered hatch. If you get new babies, take them to the mother at night. Put them in front of her and watch to be sure they go up under her or she pushes them up under her. By morning, they will be hers. I've added to chicks to a momma hen for up to three weeks. But by then, the age and size differential is pretty substantial, so you might want to raise them yourself.

That baby needs water and chick feed ASAP. For future reference, I put a small pan of chick feed and a baby waterer in front of my momma hens on hatch day. That way, the first ones can start to eat and drink while she finishes hatching the new ones.

Ideally, a hen lays several eggs and then starts to set them. Development doesn't start until she adds her warmth and humidity by sitting on them. That way, all of the babies hatch within 24 hours of each other. I agree that, more than likely, other hens have continued to add eggs even after this hen went broody. I've had it happen before too. Sure makes a mess of things.

I'm sorry for your losses. I know how disappointing that can be.

Please feel free to PM me if I can be of any further help to you. Good luck with you new little one and any future ones!!

the Old Rebel

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