Hens sharing chicks?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by scoopy82, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. scoopy82

    scoopy82 Chillin' With My Peeps

    274
    0
    109
    Dec 19, 2010
    Victoria - Australia!
    Hi [​IMG]
    I have 2 hens currently sitting on eggs that are due to hatch on the 21st. One hen started off with a dozen, then the other hen decided to share and slowly they have dwindled down to 5 eggs, 4 of which i am confident contain viable chicks. My question is - if only one or two eggs end up hatching, am i better of separating the hens and letting one hen do the mothering, or let them both decide whats best? I think that the reason the egg numbers have reduced is because in the midst of the 'sharing' some may have accidently been squashed. They are not nasty to each other and happily share the nest after a little wiggling to find a comfy spot, but I'm wondering what will happen once the chicks arrive?
    What do you think?
    PS> I'm a complete novice so want any chicks that hatch to have the best chance!
    Thanks [​IMG]
     
  2. Chickie15

    Chickie15 Chillin' With My Peeps

    144
    0
    89
    Oct 4, 2010
    Pennsylvania
    We had 2 hens go broody a few days apart, so they just sat on the nest together. We only had 1 hatch but they were both 1st time mothers.
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    456
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    The correct answer is, there is no answer, depends on the individual. But you ARE seeing good early signs they will work well together.

    I used to have 3 Kraeinkoppes, a breed known for broodiness and mothering. One hatched some chicks then was a great mother til she got killed. Another then took over the mothering duties -- then she got killed. Sure enough, the third one then raised the babies the rest of the way. They didn't share the hatching duties, but all 3 hung around the babies, like a mama and 2 aunties. And I've read similar stories on here, as well as stories of a couple raising a group of chicks together.

    Other chickens can also attack and even kill babies, too. I haven't seen mine do this but I've lost a few babies and didn't know what happened to them. Heck, some broodies will kill their own chicks as they hatch. I think I have one of these and won't let her set eggs any more. Yet she ignores these chicks. My babies are in with the flock who mostly ignores them. One or two will give a baby a little peck but it's more like, I get treats first, back off junior; nothing serious. And mama is fiercely protective of them. Sometimes roos help protect chicks; mine hang around some, maybe they are standing guard; at least they don't peck the babies.

    Advice? Leave them where they are, and watch and supervise. You will have stronger and wiser birds if it works, IMO. Not to mention no integration hassles.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2010
  4. speedy2020

    speedy2020 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,305
    41
    174
    Jul 24, 2010
    If you don't need the egg soon, I keep both hens. It would be interest learning experience and see which one is better mom for future offsping.
     
  5. MandyH

    MandyH You'll shoot your eye out!

    I've got two turkey hens that always co-hatch. They are great mothers and you better not try to get near them when they are on the nest or after they hatch out.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by