Hen Pecking Little One


In the Brooder
9 Years
Hi, I'm totally new to this. My Black Silkie was sitting on 4 eggs. Two hatched out 5 days ago and then after two days the others weren't hatched, soon the advice of a neighbor who has tons of hens and chickens I took the last two eggs out as I thought they might not be OK. [I put two eggs in from the fridge a day or so after she started sitting warming them to body temperature first. so that's why I thought they were not good.

When I took them out, I broke one and to my horror saw a chick.. so I put the other one back. She meanwhile had gotten the two little ones out and about after 2 days old...

Then the new chick hatched. It is quite feisty. It is two days old, and I noticed the mother pecking it when it tries to feed. I have put a little cat dish in the coop with chick starter and 7 grain for her. The chicks feed well but she seems to be trying to put this one away or under her or just peck it quite hard. Is she pecking it to get it back under her protection ? .Also she pecked it today and it wandered off into a corner..like a bullied child. I have no idea if this is normal. Why might the mother peck her little one? It is two days old today and not sure it is getting enough food? She is sleeping now with them all under her.

I have kept them in the coop, hen and chicks and kept the rooster outside as he was always trying to get in. He sticks around and seems quite protective.. Thought it was a good idea to keep them locked up in case she went wandering and the tinier one couldn't..

Oh dear I sound so muddled.. but just concerned..

Appreciate any help on this.. please...

A broody hen should not peck her baby.

It sounds to me that she is rejecting her.

Protect the little one and if you feel it is in danger, remove it to a brooder with at least one of the other babies to keep it company.

I would watch carefully though, before I removed the chick. I would pick the chick up and place it in front of the mother. If the mother pecks her, get her out of there with a sibling as described above.

Once I tried to get a broody hen to accept chicks, but she rejected them and pecked at them. But when they were under her she didn't do anything. But she refused to let them eat.

I took them away from her.

Just my experience. I have only seen one broody hen raise her chicks successfully, so I am no expert.

If you have never brooded a chick before, here are tips:
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Thank you. My husband said she was trying to make it strong!! I knew she was rejecting it.. just instinctive..Anyway. I have removed the little chick and sure enough it has a scar on its back where she has pecked. I haven't got any of the things on the page you directed me to..and my husband won't take me to the feed store I am sure. He is a tyrant. THANK YOU FOR YOUR RESPONSE... THANK YOU. I put them in a cardboard box with some cedar shavings, and newspaper, it's all we have... and put in some water with sugar, dipped the little one's beak in it and it supped... I put it in with one of the other chicks. We only had three. The third one is in with the mother now.

The little one is trying to get under the older one.. so sweet, but not sure it's good.. at least the older one isn't pecking it... I have no baby grit, and have just put chick starter my neighbor gave me with water... I don't think the little one has eaten at all. She kept kicking it under her each time it tried to eat...and pecked itwhen it was near food. Now even when I put food near it, it doesn't seem to eat.

It is warm here today over 90..so I have put them in a room with lots of sunshine and an LED grow light I got for my moringa trees in winter. It does not give off heat... We have no lamps to hang upside down... and am scared they will be too cold.. The little one is 3 days old now...
You can use a heating pad or fill a milk jug with hot water (not hot enough to burn the baby) for it to cuddle with if you are worried about night time temperatures. If you don't have a milk jug you can use a pot with a lid.

I have used milk jugs but not heating pads- you would need to cover it somehow to avoid burns? You are fine until the temp is under 90 degrees. They need to be able to get away from the heat.

Very important: if they are cheeping loudly they are cold. The little one going under the older one means she is probably cold. She can be encouraged to eat by placing some paper towels/newpaper on the litter, then pouring some crumbles on it for her to peck at.

Cedar shavings are not recommended for chickens, only pine shavings etc. It can irritate the airways of the chicken (cause them to have respiratory problems).

I would remove the shavings and simply shred some newspaper for them to use for now. What you DON'T want is a slippery surface like just flat newspaper or the baby can get spraddle legs. It needs traction.

Been there, done that with the hubby that won't take you out. I understand. Just make do and you will be fine.

Also it helps if you have a small huddle box for them, like a cardboard box at night where they can huddle together in the brooder. They need to be out of drafts.

They don't need grit as long as all they are eating is chick starter. When they get grass or treats to eat, is when they need it.

Also you can heat a room with a space heater if you have one- just make sure the chicks don't get near it. As the chicks get older, like in another week, they might be able to jump or fly out. You would be surprised how soon.

Also, I use 100 watt bulbs routinely for chicks, as many as needed, and get clamp lamps from Home Depot for $12 with the ceramic socket and guard. This will work as long as your temps in the room are sufficient. MAKE SURE YOU SECURE IT AT LEAST TWO WAYS NOT INCLUDING THE CLAMP.

I check the temperature under the light and follow the chick temperature recommendations for decreasing by 5 degrees per week (starting at 90-95 the first week) until fully feathered even on the head or around 6 weeks.

You are going to need a heat source or your babies might die. Your daytime temps are good but I worry about your night time temps. Even 80 degrees right now will be too cold, even though it feels warm to us.

You are doing a good job and I hope it all works out for you! Brooding chicks seems like it takes forever but then it's over!
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Sounds like you have good advice here... but wanted to add... I use reptile bulbs (walmart even has them) and cheaper lower wattage lamps for "lone chicks" (maybe that might help you convince your husband to do it - lower price) I also have been surprised by chicks before that have been rejected and literally just held them until I got the brooder set up. I know that isn't ideal all the time, but when it sounded cold... just hold it for a few minutes. They go right to sleep like magic.

I'm sorry to hear your husband isn't cooperating. Nothing a good ol' fashioned whoopin' can't fix. lol. Good luck with the chick... as long as he/she is warm for the first week or so, you'll be alright. After that it gets easier. At least it is the right season for this... imagine your challenge in fall or winter!
Just wanted to take the time to express my deepest appreciation of all your advice. I now have the chicks in the 'garden room' [where we moved all the containers in winter!].. they are in a square high sided cardboard box, with sawdust shavings I gathered from where we cut wood... plus Diatomaceous Earth... They have sugar water and chick starter.. and the two black ones, the pecked one and it's older sibling, were together last night with a lamp... they settled down fine.. the little one trying to climb under the older sibling.

Today I visited my neighbor who has lots of chickens running around. She said I might want to put all 3 together and make them a smaller cardboard box in the box they are in, with a doorway cut out of it. I put them together and they are fine... So sweet...

The little henpecked one isnow eating with the others and they are harmoniously together!!!



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