Help! What should I do now?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Chicken Lil, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. Chicken Lil

    Chicken Lil Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 14, 2008
    Okay, last night I asked for help on egg laying and chicken behavior, but I had no responses. Maybe I was in the wrong section.

    Anyway here is the problem. My broody hen has been sitting in the nesting box for four weeks now. Yesterday my 4 new chicks arrived from MPC. They were all healthy and doing well, so after locking all the other hens out of the hen house I quickly stuffed them under my broody.

    At first everything went well, and she was doing all the mothering stuff just fine. However, because of the other hens and the fact it would be cold at night, I decided to move them to a pen in the garage. She had them for about two hours before I moved them.

    So I took them all out at once in the nesting box liner, and moved them. At first it seemed okay, with the hen and chicks. The hen ate a lot (making up for sitting on the nest so long) and the chicks would snuggle under her, and move around.

    About an hour later I find the hen trying to get out, but the sides of the pen were too high for her to jump (she is a Silkie). Than she started getting aggressive with the chicks, and the next thing I know she is chasing them and attacking them.

    Of course I quickly returned her to the hen house, and rescued the babies. They are all okay, albeit a bit traumatized, and are doing well in the brooder. And that dang Silkie is back in the nest trying to hatch nothing! [​IMG]

    What the heck did I do wrong? Did I move them before she had a chance to fully bond? I really don't want to have to hand raise them, so should I try again this evening? Help!
     
  2. Ellie_NY_chick

    Ellie_NY_chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 1, 2008
    Finger Lakes, NY
    If it were me, I'd raise them by hand and try to break the broody. It's only 4 chicks, so it shouldn't be that hard.

    I just broke a broody cochin by stuffing her nest box with so much hay that she couldn't get in. I just looked outside and she's happily scratching with the others. There is lots of other advice about breaking broodies if you do a search.

    I had 4 mega broodies this year already so I can sympathize. It can be a pain, especially that nasty broody poop! [​IMG]

    Good luck!
     
  3. sugarbush

    sugarbush Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 24, 2008
    Lexington KY
    Yup...it was the move. The hen will stay in the nest with her babies for about three days before taking them out for food. She wasn't ready to leave the nest.
     
  4. gypsy2621

    gypsy2621 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2008
    New Hampshire
    You may have moved all of them too soon.
    sometimes when you move a broody they get scared and disorientated not having the rest of the flock with them.

    can I ask why you needed to move the hen and chicks? were the others picking on her or just trying to roost next to or with her?

    I would put the chiks back under her in the original nest in the hen house watch for a little bit and see what happens.

    she just may have been having a fright and not realize what she was doing.
    hand raising simply involves a warm box heat lamp feed and water, chnge of bedding every other day.
    cuddling if you feel inclined.
    other wise not.
     
  5. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Putting the chicks under her at night might have helped also.
     
  6. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sorry you didn't get a response, but it's really hard to predict what a hen will do. Maybe she is so used to being in the coop, she got disturbed by the change in location and lack of her flock around her. If you want to try again, I think I'd bring her in the garage, recreate a 'nest' set up, and see if she settles and let her stay there for oh... 24 hours maybe? then tuck the chicks under her the next night.

    Mine set, hatch and brood them right in the coop, but if yours are not used to chicks, that can be a problem. Does she have a friend in the flock? If the pal is calm, you 'could' try bringing her pal in with her, but I'd be reallllly watchful. I think that would be worth a try though... just my opinion.
     
  7. Chicken Lil

    Chicken Lil Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 14, 2008
    Quote:I was worried that the other hens might attack them. Also how can they stay in the nesting box for three days without food and water? If she takes them out they will not be able to get back in.

    As for hand raising them I know it isn't a big deal, as I did it with my first eight, just thought it would be better for them to be acclimated to the flock this way.
     
  8. Chicken Lil

    Chicken Lil Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 14, 2008
    Quote:I tried breaking her when she first went broody. I kept her in a cage away from the hen house for four days, than put her back with her buddies. withen an hour she was back in the nesting box.

    [​IMG] Dumb bird!
     
  9. Chicken Lil

    Chicken Lil Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 14, 2008
    Okay, so should I try again and leave the chicks in the nesting box with her? They were hatched on Monday, so are they too old to try this again?

    Thanks for all of your help. [​IMG]
     
  10. Chicken Lil

    Chicken Lil Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 14, 2008
    Quote:Okay I could try that, although I don't know if I should try bringing in my other Silkie who is her buddy. Also, will the chicks be too big if I wait another couple of days?
     

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