Hen hatched chicks, then abandoned them?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by UrbanSilkies, May 16, 2016.

  1. UrbanSilkies

    UrbanSilkies Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 5, 2015
    Hi everyone,

    My silkie hen went broody and hatched out 5 chicks, along with her sister. They both shared the eggs (when one left to eat, the other would keep them warm). Now, they have hatched and they were both taking care of them for almost a week. I had to do a road trip with them, and now since yesterday, one of the hens no longer takes care of the chicks. They all run after her and try to hide under her, but she just leaves. Her sister is still caring for the chicks, but I don't know what's going on with the other hen. She's also always been very "baby-like" with the other chickens, but now even though there are chicks under the other hen, the first one will try to hide under the other hen too. She moves the babies and hides (she's about half the size of the other silkie).

    Sorry for the long/confusing paragraph, but has anyone had someone similar and ideas on how to "solve" it? I tried seperating the hen that ignores the chicks, but then she panics and both hens call each other.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    When they're done being a mother, they're done. You're probably better off separating the mothering hen and the chicks for a couple weeks so they bond to her only.
     
  3. UrbanSilkies

    UrbanSilkies Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 5, 2015

    I have tried seperating them, but both hens panic. The hen that stopped keeping the chicks warm still makes the mother hen sounds (I've only ever heard broody/mother hens make those sounds), and if another chicken comes near them, she growls and if they still come, she jumps on them. So she's still protective, just doesn't sit for them. However, if she is sitting, even though she doesn't spread her wings for them, she lets the chicks hide under her. I'm wondering if it's maybe just the road trip that stressed her out and since she knows the other is taking care, maybe they are sharing duties? One watches and protects the chicks, the other keeps them warm?
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I was thinking that it was likely because they had another mother.

    Where are you and what is the climate like. If it is warm out, a hen will stop mothering much sooner.
     
  5. UrbanSilkies

    UrbanSilkies Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 5, 2015

    Sorry for the late reply, I've been very busy. The next day, the hen went back to mothering. I think it was the stress of the trip that made her "forget" (since she had her sister to take care of them). Now, they share duties. At night, they both keep the chicks warm, but during the day, the smaller one is more of the "watchdog" while the other is more like a mother.
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    So all is well.

    [​IMG]
     

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