Hens and Ducks Not Accepting Their Babies

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Blackbeak, Aug 8, 2016.

  1. Blackbeak

    Blackbeak New Egg

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    Aug 8, 2016
    Upstate New York, America
    Hello everyone!

    I have a problem with some free-range birds that have been trying to hatch chicks in my potting shed. When birds start laying in there I normally let them sit because the eggs can be hard to get to and sometimes even dangerous since parts of the shed are falling down. Early this summer a hen started one of the first nests of the year in one of the many flower pots which are laying on the ground. When her chicks hatched I helped the family get outside and there was no problem. A few weeks later a duck hatched some ducklings in the far corner away from the windows. It took me a while to figure out they were hers because when I got back from school they were running screaming "mommy! Mommy!" and following every duck that walked by. After some looking I found their mother who was back on the nest, (yes this bird was definitely their mother,) I took her off the nest and found eggshells and two other ducklings under her. One of those ducklings was dead since the mother hadn't left the nest to take care of it. I took the family outside but the mother wasn't taking care of them, she would walk around with the ducklings following then she would attack them. My parents refused to keep the poor ducklings inside saying "the mother will take care of them" so I left the ducklings with their mother and I never saw those ducklings again. Yesterday a chicken hatched a chick in that same corner of the potting shed, I probably would never have known unless the poor thing wasn't cheeping it's head off. When I got there the chick was stuck in one of the pots. I took it's mother outside and the mother didn't accept the chick ether. It was the same problem!
    So now the same duck as before is trying the same thing in the same nest and I'm afraid when her ducklings hatch they won't be accepted. So my question is: How to I prevent the mother from abandoning her babies the 3rd time around?
    I think it many have something to do with the light in that corner of the shed, but I believe most birds like hatching chicks in fairly dark places, and it's not pitch black in there.

    Thanks a lot!
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Not every hen is a good mother. I would collect eggs and not allow anyone to hatch unless you are able to take care of the babies yourself. I have had to step in and brood babies because the mom has wanted to be broody but they don't want or even know what the chicks or ducklings are.
     

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