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Hen killing her chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by RogerTheChicken, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. RogerTheChicken

    RogerTheChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have over eighty baby chicks right now and two hens setting on more eggs. The eighty chicks are split up into five broody hens. One hen on eggs has hers hatching and this morning she killed two before they hatched and a second ago i found one dead and another cheepping and it was very cold rolled to the side. I took the living chick away and put it with a hen that hatched chicks yesterday. Why is she killing her own chick?
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    So sorry! s she a first time broody? Maybe just confused, and might do better another time. I never have broody hens and chicks together, at least at first. Each broody hen has her own private space with her eggs; usually in a big dog crate in the coop. If they are all together, it may just be too much drama for this bird to handle. Mary
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Some hens are in love with the idea of setting on eggs, but taking care of the noisy, squirmy little things... not so much. Her instinct to nurture is short wired. I had a hen like this. Once the eggs started pipping, she abandoned the nest, and was afraid of the babies.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    The majority of my broody hens do a great job, first time broody or not, just off of instinct. It’s really remarkable how well most do. But I once had a hen that hatched 8 and killed two of them. She raised the others fine. I was out of town when she hatched, she hatched two full days early. The college girl taking care of them saw her attacking her babies so I’m sure it was her. I don’t know why she killed those two, they were the same colors as some she raised. Some hens are just not wired right.

    Sometimes a broody hen hatches her own eggs and bonds with her own chicks no matter what else is going on around her. I have had a broody hen attack another broody that was hatching. She wanted to take over the nest when those eggs started internal pip and started peeping to the broody. They destroyed some eggs in that fight. For that reason I don’t allow two broodies together at the same time. A lot of people do that and don’t have problems, but I don’t allow that. It’s quite possible your broody got confused with all the other stuff going on around her.
     
  5. RogerTheChicken

    RogerTheChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everyone, she was by herself in a corner in our shop. She killed one more and hatched two more but i gave them to another hen hatching eggs and they are doing fine. I kicked the off the nest and she is back to normal life.
     
  6. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    We've had lots and lots of broody hens, and we never interfere, except that we put the broody and her chicks in a pen to themselves, after 24 hours or so of chicks hatching. If she still wants to set on her remaining eggs, we allow her to, just move them to the pen with her, keeping them in the same position they were in. We have only had one hen in 11 years of having broodies, who abandoned her chick. She only had one, and wanted nothing to do with it. We took the chick away from her when it was obvious she didn't want it, and bought the baby some other chicks to be her "siblings", and they were eventually "mothered" to adulthood by one of our peahens!!! It was so cute to see. We always leave the broodies alone as much as possible, except in cases like yours of course. You did the right thing.
     

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