First time mama dilemma - need advice

TJAnonymous

Crowing
Feb 29, 2020
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Central Arkansas
I have a first time mama - a 10 mo old Silkie - who hatched out 4 babies in the past week. I can't remember the exact date but I think they are 4 or 5 days old now.

Anyway, she had 4 eggs unhatched which I left with her in case they were just late coming. She is in a brooder cage so none of the other chickens can bother her.

I went out to feed on Sunday and noticed she had squished two of the babies. I removed them.

Then today I noticed she was stepping on another one. It is alive but doesn't look good. It feels cold and is barely moving. I took it and the other baby in the house and put them on a heating pad. I have some Nutri-Drench that I will try to give it shortly in an effort to save it.

My question is about the mama hen. I still have her in the brooder. If I can save and strengthen the chicks in the next few days, could I (or should I) give them back to her? Would she take them? Or is she just too inexperienced to raise them?
 
Feb 1, 2021
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I would take them away. I'm so sorry for the losses! I can't believe that happened! I guess she's just too young. I had a BR that went broody and she was 10 months old. She did an incredible job with them, but was sometimes careless. I think she will be a good mother in the future and just hast to learn right now.
 

TropicalBabies

Hanging loose 🌴😁🤙
Jun 12, 2018
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Kauai, Hawaii
I have a first time mama - a 10 mo old Silkie - who hatched out 4 babies in the past week. I can't remember the exact date but I think they are 4 or 5 days old now.

Anyway, she had 4 eggs unhatched which I left with her in case they were just late coming. She is in a brooder cage so none of the other chickens can bother her.

I went out to feed on Sunday and noticed she had squished two of the babies. I removed them.

Then today I noticed she was stepping on another one. It is alive but doesn't look good. It feels cold and is barely moving. I took it and the other baby in the house and put them on a heating pad. I have some Nutri-Drench that I will try to give it shortly in an effort to save it.

My question is about the mama hen. I still have her in the brooder. If I can save and strengthen the chicks in the next few days, could I (or should I) give them back to her? Would she take them? Or is she just too inexperienced to raise them?
I'm sorry to hear about your chicks. Sounds like mama just does not get it. Great job on the set up though.
I have also had simular things happen with a careless mom. First thing is to get the babies safe. I have no idea if she will be a good mom if you reintroduce her healthy babies again, I am sure there is the possibility but I am not sure it is worth the risk. Maybe next time she will do better. ♡
 

TJAnonymous

Crowing
Feb 29, 2020
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Central Arkansas
The 3rd baby has died. That leaves the sole remaining baby.... I'm so bummed about this situation. You have no idea.... I went through a heart breaking summer with my black Australorps (also first time mothers) who killed at least a dozen chicks between them through inexperience and neglect. The only chicks who survived were ones I raised or were raised by my 3 yr old Buff Orpington hen who was also a first time mother but older.

I do have another Silkie (also 10 months old and first time broody) who is sitting on 8 eggs.

The question is what to do next? Should I give the lone baby back to its mama? Should I try to put it with the 2nd broody and hope for the best?

Or maybe I will steal an egg or two from the other broody and put them in the incubator.... Then hand raise all the chicks together?
 

Weeg

Crossing the Road
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Jul 1, 2020
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The 3rd baby has died. That leaves the sole remaining baby.... I'm so bummed about this situation. You have no idea.... I went through a heart breaking summer with my black Australorps (also first time mothers) who killed at least a dozen chicks between them through inexperience and neglect. The only chicks who survived were ones I raised or were raised by my 3 yr old Buff Orpington hen who was also a first time mother but older.

I do have another Silkie (also 10 months old and first time broody) who is sitting on 8 eggs.

The question is what to do next? Should I give the lone baby back to its mama? Should I try to put it with the 2nd broody and hope for the best?

Or maybe I will steal an egg or two from the other broody and put them in the incubator.... Then hand raise all the chicks together?
I'm so sorry for your loss. I agree, she'll hopefully grow out of the carelessness, and be a better mother in the future, she's just still too young.
For your lone baby, keep him/her in the brooder with heat. Add a stuffed animal or a mirror for now. I would not give him back to his mother.
How far along is the second broody? If her eggs are going to hatch soon, I might steal a few.
 

TropicalBabies

Hanging loose 🌴😁🤙
Jun 12, 2018
3,023
13,084
717
Kauai, Hawaii
The 3rd baby has died. That leaves the sole remaining baby.... I'm so bummed about this situation. You have no idea.... I went through a heart breaking summer with my black Australorps (also first time mothers) who killed at least a dozen chicks between them through inexperience and neglect. The only chicks who survived were ones I raised or were raised by my 3 yr old Buff Orpington hen who was also a first time mother but older.

I do have another Silkie (also 10 months old and first time broody) who is sitting on 8 eggs.

The question is what to do next? Should I give the lone baby back to its mama? Should I try to put it with the 2nd broody and hope for the best?

Or maybe I will steal an egg or two from the other broody and put them in the incubator.... Then hand raise all the chicks together?
Oh gosh, again so sorry.
I am kind of over broodies myself so have a bit of slanted opinion. I love the control of an incubator and raising a friendlier chick on my terms. Not to mention what it does to the mom. Geeze. My best broody moms created such havoc for the rest of us. We all got attacked and the chicks were not very friendly in the end.
Well, the dilemma of a solo chick. Ugh, I just had one of those myself from a major failed hatch. The dreaded solo chick... :th I was lucky enough that I had an order come in a few weeks later. I stuck the chick in my brooder with a feather duster in my mommy cave. It worked great and when the new chicks arrived I was able to mingle them after a 3-4 weeks. Inbetween, because it is all a constant juggle... I moved solo chick next to an older hatch, so he always had company or a view of chicks and or chickens. Then new chicks joined him after I was sure they were OK with out heat. They blended beautifully at that point.
20211117_072611.jpg

He is the buf. Possibly a bit failure to thrive due to the crap hatch I had. Poor guy. All we can do is try. ♡
 

TJAnonymous

Crowing
Feb 29, 2020
2,027
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Central Arkansas
How far along is the second broody? If her eggs are going to hatch soon, I might steal a few.

The 2nd broody should be hatching any day now. I feel like she has been in there for at least 2 weeks now. But snatching a baby or two from her is a good idea.... Probably better than me snatching eggs and putting them in the incubator.

I stuck the chick in my brooder with a feather duster in my mommy cave. It worked great

That's also a great idea... I have the solo chick on a heating pad at the moment. It's the pad I use for a MHP. I have a feather duster I can put in there too....

Going to need to rig up a bigger box in the meantime. (She's currently in a Makers Mark box.... 😂) She's still too small to put in my chick brooder cage by herself. It's 2 ft x 4 ft and her mama is currently in there.
 

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