Hen Eating Her Chicks?

m2wandc

Songster
Apr 19, 2009
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I have a broody hen that was sitting on 12 eggs - I’ve been checking in on her and day 21 She was still sitting on 12 eggs. She’s very protective of her eggs. I’ve hatched out chicks before.

HOWEV

Day 22 there are only 11 eggs in the hutch.
Day 23 there are only 10 eggs.
No chicks anywhere in sight!

She’s alone with her eggs in an A-frame hutch. The hutch is designed for hatching chicks with small wire so they can’t get out and nothing can get in. This A-frame is inside of the big chicken run/coop.
WHERE ARE THE EGGS/CHICKS GOING?
 

m2wandc

Songster
Apr 19, 2009
912
14
196
Small Square wire Floor & Sides. We’ve used it several times for Mamas to raise babies in...never have had disappearing eggs.

I looked under the hutch - no holes...so nothing coming up underground...

Has anyone heard of a mama hen eating her chicks completely...no trace...no blood...no feathers...no eggshell...nothing....
 

m2wandc

Songster
Apr 19, 2009
912
14
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I never candled the eggs...I noticed her sitting on them Oct 1st so I moved her and her eggs to the A-frame hutch on Oct 1st...and left her alone.

I would assume there are either chicks in the remaining eggs or they are rotten...is it too late to candle them?
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
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I never candled the eggs...I noticed her sitting on them Oct 1st so I moved her and her eggs to the A-frame hutch on Oct 1st...and left her alone.

I would assume there are either chicks in the remaining eggs or they are rotten...is it too late to candle them?
It's not too late to candle them.. that's why I suggested it.

You may not be able to see anything, but it's worth trying. Also do the sniff test.. rotten smell can seep out. look into the end with the air pocket, can you see any beaks sticking into it or if you are able to see any movement or blood vessels still in tact. Use your ears to listen for chirping, sometimes it can be heard from outside the egg. This is usually how the mama knows they'll be hatching soon..

Rats aren't evil, they're just a nuisance.

Yes, some broody hens have been known to eat their babies. There may have been a deformity sensed or something else that we can't detect. Or she may just be a poor or inexperienced broody, not yet ready for the task. Setting a game cam might give clues.

When there are no clues, it can be challenging to determine the multitude of possibilities.. Small squares.. quarter in, half inch, 1 inch?

Hope there's still some hatching to come! :jumpy:jumpy
 

m2wandc

Songster
Apr 19, 2009
912
14
196
The square wire is 1/4inch squares.

I think a teeny baby snake would be the only thing that could get thru the wire - but mama would kill a snake that size easy (I’ve seen this mama hen kill and eat a big lizard)

This hen has been broody many times in her life and I think she has raised chicks in the past....not 100% sure - she’s older...like maybe last season of laying eggs...she’s gotta be at least 5 or 6 years old! Her “siblings” stopped laying this past summer.

I will candle them and see if I see any life...maybe they are just old eggs and she’s eating one a day? 🤷🏼‍♀️ Who knows...I would like baby chicks but if none happen that’s ok too...we weren’t planning on hatching chicks - I just found her after the fact and decided to let nature flow...
 

BDutch

Crowing
May 19, 2015
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My Coop
Rats aren't evil, they're just a nuisance.
Every creature that kills my chicks or chickens is evil.
And once upon a time a rat has killed 2 of my chicks. ..so ..> rats are evil. I found one dead chick in the coop and the other one was missing. This is more than a nuisance imo.
They eat their way through netting, make tunnels and crawl through very small holes.

I find it hard to believe that broodies eat their own chickens. I have never heard or read this before.
 

m2wandc

Songster
Apr 19, 2009
912
14
196
We just candled them - of the 10 left, 9 had solid something and an air pocket on one end. 1 was liquid...so we tossed that one and figured we’d let her sit a few more days and see what happens.

it wasn’t obvious that the solid darker side was a chick, but they weren’t clearly rotten either...so who knows, not expecting much at this point. 🤷🏼‍♀️
 

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