In the Brooder
- Sep 7, 2014
I want to but my broody and her new chicks into a coop with a run when is it safe to do this there are 6 chicks all hatched by this motning
Chooks, I've had a proven mother fail to bond with some chicks in her second hatch. She was great in her first hatch. It's a complicated story but with living animals each hatch is its own adventure. After that I don't put as much faith in "proven mother" as I used to.
Best wishes.I guess I could tell my story. Both hens involved were proven mothers that had hatched and raised chicks before.
I had a hen go broody but a snake was occasionally visiting the henhouse. So I gave the hen a few eggs but put several more in the incubator so she would at least have some to raise. Some eggs did disappear from under the broody but she did hatch one chick, a red one. In the meantime I hatched several red and black chicks in the incubator. The problem was the hen hatched well before the incubator and it was one of those incubator hatches that stretched on for two long days and nights. By the time the incubator hatch was finished the hen had set on the nest bonding for two full days with that red chick and had brought the chick off the nest.
I put the hen and red chick in an enclosure for a day and put the rest of the chicks with them the next morning. The hen accepted the red ones but rejected the black ones. She didn’t attack them to kill them, just drove them to the far end of the enclosure. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen a hen reject chicks because of their color. Her previous brood this spring was mixed red, yellow, and black. I did not see that one coming. Maybe if I’d put them under her at night it would have been different.I know the scenario you're detailing here, I had the same issue with black hens and white hens, and black chicks and white chicks, specifically, before I started culling out such picky mothers. The funny thing is that the white hens rejected white chicks in favor of black ones and the black hens rejected black chicks in favor of white ones. I didn't have the time of day for that craziness and got rid of those hens, lol.In the meantime another hen went broody. She had only been broody about two days when this happened but I stuck those black chicks under her. They stayed in there with her for about a day and a half but when those chicks started chirping that they were hungry and thirsty, she stayed on the nest instead of bringing them off for food and drink. I finally wound up putting them in a brooder and raising them myself.Although that brooder was only a couple of feet away from the broody she never blinked an eye. Instead of bonding with those chicks she just kept trying to hatch an empty nest. That was the first time I’d tried putting chicks with a hen that had just gone broody but she was well broody. The hormones had really hit hard. Again I did not expect failure. She had hatched and raised chicks before.
I eventually got that snake by the way, but not until this drama was over.Spotting a truly reliable broody involves something like a detailed checklist of traits that need to be quantified, someone ought to do a video detailing exactly what warning signs to look for... It's often as subtle as signs of a pending attack on humans from what seems to be a non aggressive rooster, not something most people seem able to spot in time, when they're pretty new to chooks.I had to cull one hen who could not stop brooding, over 6 months of her remaining in that state nonstop meant she was physically and mentally deteriorating terribly, and she just would not break off the brood, but when she hatched chicks she'd abandon them to find unhatched eggs to sit on. Physically, she could not keep going, but couldn't stop either.