Feeling so bad for her...

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by LTygress, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

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    Sep 12, 2012
    My broody had two eggs under her that were due tomorrow. She was in the breeding pen - which is an 8x4-foot dog kennel, and not in the main pen (which is a 21-foot by 17-foot sheet-metal pen from an above-ground pool, with netting over the top).

    Today I went outside and decided to check for pips and chirping, since I knew they were due tomorrow and she's been a good sitting mommy. When I got to the pen, I lifted her up and saw... only the original golfball I placed in there to show them where to lay. I looked around, but saw no babies.

    After lifting her completely up, I found the eggshells from the babies, but no little chirping fuzz butts. Not even a flattened one to suggest she had somehow squished it, or that it had died.

    THEN I noticed the huge pile of feathers against the side of the chain-link fence that makes up the pen. Not a baby chick.... but hers.

    Something had gotten in last night and taken the babies. And apparently she put up a massive fight attacking whatever it was, unable to leave the pen (at that location) to chase after it. She lost a HUGE amount of feathers, trying to kill whatever was taking her babies.

    Judging by the size of the holes and the location of the nest box, either a raccoon reached in for them, or a snake got them.

    But she was now trying her best to save and hatch out her one remaining "egg" which was actually a golf ball! I feel so incredibly bad for her!


    But there is good news. I have eight eggs in the incubator due on November 2nd. They are large fowl, and she's only a bantam, so I took five out there and put them under her. I also removed the golfball this time to make room. She'll have to wait two extra days, but I'm hoping she will at least have SOMETHING to show for sitting over a month, now.
     

  2. Shabana

    Shabana Songster

    Aww I feel really awful for her too bless her :(
    I'm so glad she's got a second chance tho well done you ! Please keep us posted as to how she goes on, hopefully she (and we) will be happy in a day or two and what must've been a dreadful night for her will be forgotten.

    Best of luck x.
     
  3. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

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    Thanks.

    I've also decided to move her back into the main pen when I feed the chickens in there. All of my broody bantams have been fine in there. They only get moved out to the breeding pen when I want to focus on purebreds or a specific mixed breed, because it gets them away from the other roosters and I KNOW what I'm getting. She went broody about 2 weeks after being moved. And since she's not laying, it's not really any use to keep her in the breeding pen.

    Since the main pen has sheet metal sides, nothing can simply REACH in and take the eggs or babies. And we have since put mulch around the edges to keep the snakes out, as well.
     
  4. Shabana

    Shabana Songster

    I can't imagine having to deal with stuff reaching in and uurgh snakes !!! (Biiiig shudder) here in the UK it's pretty much foxes and perhaps the very odd badger if food is scarce or rats but not so much anything with opposable thumbs or slithering stuff !

    Good on you for proofing it all up and moving her :) what a brave little soul defending her hatch from something that would probably have me running for the hills :)
     

  5. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

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    This is turning out to be a bigger challenge than I thought! UGH!

    Okay, so I put mommy back in the main pen. She has raised MANY broods in there before so I wasn't worried. Well it turns out that even adding her nest in there didn't make the other hens happy. Specifically, the Sumatras. Those hens (although not laying) started picking on her and driving her out of the nest. She was putting up a fit, but not getting in there. I got in and felt the eggs and they were cold.

    I put a tiny hole in the large end of one to see if it was still alive, and it was. They are supposed to hatch TOMORROW, so I knew I had to act quick. I tossed them back in the incubator right away.

    I went out last night, and mommy is sleeping in the nest! She's not roosting! She still wants to sit, she just can't do it with the Sumatra hens driving her out. And I also had one hatch last night, two days early!

    Indoors, I had a bantam roo who I had just done foot surgery on. He finished his fourth day of recovery, and I put him back outside today. I decided to bring mommy in and see if she would sit on the eggs inside for me, without being bothered by other hens.

    Within 15 minutes of putting her on them, she started to bite me again (bantam bite - doesn't even PRETEND to hurt). But she hasn't "settled in" to actually cover them (where they look like a flattened chicken - twice as wide as normal). She kept getting up and walking to the edge of the nest.

    Two hours of plopping her back on the eggs over and over, plus a cup of food and a cup of water in between sitting to help get her settled, she is FINALLY sitting on the eggs.

    I need her to sit on these eggs, because the brooder is full right now because of older chicks that were disappearing in my outside "weathering pen". So I definitely need some mommy help to take care of these chicks, or else I have to go buy supplies to set up another brooder!

    But, it looks successful. The hatched baby is still in the incubator. I'm going to give her about an hour or two of uninterrupted sitting, and then sneak him under her.
     
  6. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

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    SUCCESS! She has taken the baby with no problem at all! That means even if I move her back into the pen, she'll probably protect him. And it means regardless of where the others hatch (under her or in the incubator) I can successfully sneak those under her, too!

    I will probably leave her inside until it is dark. Then I'll put her back out into the main pen with baby chick and all eggs. At that point, she'll probably start defending the nest pretty strongly, since she has an actual baby to watch out for. But in the morning, I'll make sure to go out early and watch for signs of the sumatras chasing her off.
     
  7. Sortrua25

    Sortrua25 Hatching

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    Good luck :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013

  8. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

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    [​IMG]

    She's spoiled. Yes, that is my Nintendo Wii and Nintendo Wii U on the shelf above her...

    Such a privileged hen!

    This was the only semi-enclosed area that I had to put the eggs without bringing in a nest box. But she doesn't seem to mind!
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
  9. Shabana

    Shabana Songster

    Aww ! Am so glad that mommy got her babies !! Well done to you both, super cute photo lol.
    Need a pic of mummy and babies please :)
    Hope your roo is ok too.

    Best wishes xx
     

  10. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

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    It will probably be some time before I get pics. My first priority was moving mommy out to the main pen with babies so they didn't have problems re-integrating with the main flock again later. She was definitely defensive though, and put up some serious fighting against the lookie-loo birds. ONE of them took a gander at pecking a baby, and it lost a few feathers in doing that, so I guarantee it won't ever do that again!

    So protection-wise, she's got this. And I'm going to give them time to settle before I try to snap photos.


    But on a funnier note, my chickens pulled another good antic. When I took her to the pen, I sat with her for a bit to watch her and make sure she was okay. I pushed the gate shut, but there is no actual latch right now, so I can't latch it (I use a rope attached to the outside, weighed down by a cinder block to close it from the outside). While I was watching her, I heard some loud tapping noises and looked at the gate to see my main rooster, Skeeter, pecking on the lattice work. A few minutes later I heard lots of squawking and wing-flapping as they all proudly flew RIGHT OUT OF THE PEN!

    Skeeter figured out how to grab ahold of the lattice and pull it open, thus letting everyone out! And there I am tangled up in the nesting area, and unable to get over there and shut it fast enough. And once half of them are out, I may as well let them all out and just pen them back up when they sit somewhere to roost for the night.
     

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