Help! We have a broody hatching mess....

GatorChicks

Hatching
Sep 14, 2019
2
3
8
Hey everyone, looking for some guidance and feedback here. We have 13 chickens and two of our hens went broody about 3 weeks ago. They began sharing the "best" nesting box and were doing just fine as gal pals sitting on their eggs and taking care of things. The other hens would come in and lay their eggs in there and so at night we would go in and collect the eggs that were new so in total we were planning on hatching about 10 eggs.

Well, the first three hatched and I came home to find 2 killed and one on the floor of the coop crying out with our seabright mama frantic. I put the surviving chick back in the nesting box and watched as the chick tried to crawl under my second mama (a black copper cochin). My Seabright went nuts. After picking up my cochin, we found the third chick dead with some pecking to their side. The cochin and seabright started fighting in the coop so I took the surviving baby (now named Latrell) and my seabright and separated them for the night. I realize now we should have separated them way earlier instead of letting them share 10 eggs.

Fast forward to yesterday. We cleared out the duck coop (which the ducks never used anyway) and turned it into a broody coop. We got the seabright and her chick settled with three eggs but when we tried to put the cochin and her eggs in there, she wouldn't stay and kept running back to the empty nesting box. This morning the seabright hatched 2 eggs and when we peeked in, she was pecking at the newborn's HARD. The chicks were screaming and the seabright seemed more intent on watching over her first chick (Latrell) than wanting anything to do with the new 2 babies. Did we not give our Seabright enough of a chance with the 2 newborns?

Our cochin is still in her original nesting box waiting for her eggs to hatch which given dynamics we will need to make arrangements for her and her babies when they hatch in the next few days.

Given that we already lost two babies this week, we picked up the newborn chicks and put them in a brooding box with food and water under a heatlamp so they didnt get pecked to death. They aren't anywhere near the mamas.

I am at a loss. I want these chicks to be raised by the mamas but I am fearful we will loose more babies if we leave them with these mamas. I dont know who killed the original 2 chicks but it's clear these two mamas cant be together. Help!!!
 

GatorChicks

Hatching
Sep 14, 2019
2
3
8
These were our happy girls and babies before disaster struck!
 

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anderstr196

Songster
Nov 12, 2018
215
647
216
NW Alabama
So sorry! I’m no expert nor experienced enough but it sounds like they are fighting over who they think are their babies but like you said you don’t know who did what to which ones. What I would do is don’t let those two mamas share eggs to hatch but keep them separate and don’t let other hens lay in those boxes when they are brooding. I know that you want mama to raise them but I would take the babies and put them in a brooder to make sure they are safe since it sounds like they are confused. And the next time just keep them separate.
Btw... they are beautiful hens!!
 

slordaz

hatchaholic
5 Years
Apr 15, 2015
3,456
6,394
602
Idaho
Cochins are usually better at raising chicks. Not a good thing to let 2 brood in the same box ever. Give them a safe place that the others cannot get into a big dog kennel or a divider of some type. do to the way they brooded cannot be sure it wasn't just a fluke disaster, but if sebright was aggressive to the chicks I would move hers to a brooder and not let her raise them, if she decides to brood again you will need to watch her closely and if it happens again would break her every time she wants to go broody and either give to surrogate broody or the incubator. so sorry you had this terrible experience .
 

chickens really

Crazy Mother of Goats
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 8, 2015
62,663
109,134
1,657
The Funny Farm....Alberta, Canada
You can also put that Cochin into a plastic dog crate and cover it so it's dark inside. Slip the Chicks and eggs under her. Wait till the Hen settles and eccepts the Chicks hatched after a few hours put in feed and water. Once hatched then put into a separate pen for a few days.
 

chickens really

Crazy Mother of Goats
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 8, 2015
62,663
109,134
1,657
The Funny Farm....Alberta, Canada
Cochins are usually better at raising chicks. Not a good thing to let 2 brood in the same box ever. Give them a safe place that the others cannot get into a big dog kennel or a divider of some type. do to the way they brooded cannot be sure it wasn't just a fluke disaster, but if sebright was aggressive to the chicks I would move hers to a brooder and not let her raise them, if she decides to brood again you will need to watch her closely and if it happens again would break her every time she wants to go broody and either give to surrogate broody or the incubator. so sorry you had this terrible experience .
No..I'm thinking just the set up and stress of two hens setting turned things sideways. Definitely next time allow them to set in private places without other Birds. A Hen if given the chance to go off to a secluded site to nest will 100% of the time..Then they show up with Chicks.
 

MANNA-PRO

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