hen's killing chicks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bkvail, May 3, 2009.

  1. bkvail

    bkvail Songster

    Is it a common occurrence for hen's to kill their own chicks as they hatch? By artificially hatching/brooding chicks, are we ruining the natural ability of hen's to raise their own by breeding out the mothering instincts?

    My welsummer hen has been hatching 4 eggs - 2 have hatched and she killed them both. I am debating about taking out the last two and finishing the incubating myself, but is it just a vicious cycle?
    Last edited: May 3, 2009

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Henderson's breed chart http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html has info on how broody various breeds are. If it says they tend to be broody, it does not mean every hen will go broody, only that hopefully some will. Note it says "mixed reports on setting and brooding" for Welsummers.

    Somewhere else on here I found a list of breeds that are good broodies and chick mothers: old english games, kraienkoppes, malays, shamos, asils, madagascar games, and silkies. I had 3 Kraienkoppe hens last year; all 3 were good broodies and good mothers; when the original hatching hen was killed, the other two took over raising the chick.

    Yeah, I'd take the other two eggs away from her.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2009
  3. willowcol

    willowcol Songster

    Oct 10, 2008
    Macclesfield NC
    My OEGH killed all but 1 of her babies as they hatched. The only 1 to make it alive is from the last egg and I took it and put it in the bator so it would live.
  4. saladin

    saladin Songster

    Mar 30, 2009
    the South

    To answer the question no one else has: NO, artificial incubation has not changed the behavior of broody hens. Artificial incubation was practised by the ancient Egyptians; so, it has been around for a long time.

    The others gave you advice on what to do with those other two eggs.

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