hens killed two hatchlings

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cream puff, May 24, 2016.

  1. cream puff

    cream puff Chirping

    Jul 20, 2014
    So I have like 7 broody hens all sitting on eggs, one batch of chicks started hatching last night, and in the morning I go and find two perfectly viable chicks murdered by the broody hens, then they started to peck the remaining eggs, so I've got chicks not quite ready to hatch with drying membranes. I've never wanted to ring a chicken's neck before!!

    I've got the eggs under heat, but I am shocked that the hens did this, does anyone know why? is this some mismanagement on my part? or are these hens just plain EVIL??

    They were Light Sussex BTW.


  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockwit Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    I've read that multiple broods can go either way. It's normal to the extent that a momma can regard other chicks as a threat to their own chicks. If you can separate the broodies, you may have some chance, but 7 at once is a heck of s management issue!

  3. cream puff

    cream puff Chirping

    Jul 20, 2014
    they're separated, the pair that killed the chicks were together from the start, a friend of mine had two broodies together and they hatched 12 out of 16 eggs no problem beautiful mothers adorable chicks, the chicks are a total mix of breeds (from my mixed flock).
    I've had nothing but trouble with the Light Sussex breed.
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Broody hens can be nutty, it's always a tense time during a hatch as the sound of peeping chicks seems to stimulate them and you can see what appears to be crazy and jealous behaviors. Some hens do not know what a chick is and are mortified when they start coming out from under them. As you seen they will kill them. I always try to be present during a hatch and check on them constantly. I'm always prepared to pull chicks and brood them myself. I currently have a hen hatching for me and I had planned to pull them from the start. All my other hens that are also setting are agitated by the sounds, similar to your situation. I'm pulling as they dry off with the hopes the other hens keep setting.

    I'm sorry that it didn't go well, hopefully you can get some remaining eggs to hatch. All hens are different and not all can be good mothers, and multiple moms can turn into a mess.

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