Mama Cochin has abandoned her 3-week-old chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by rccola7, Nov 4, 2015.

  1. rccola7

    rccola7 Out Of The Brooder

    May 20, 2014
    My 7-month-old hen Sweetie hatched twelve chicks 3 weeks ago, and was a wonderful mother...until a couple of days ago. Now she leaves them to go graze for most of the day and doesn't care where they are or if they are cheeping loudly for her. Last night she decided to sleep on the roost and leave them in the cold, until I put her in their little enclosure and closed her in so they had her for the night. This morning she tried to leave them but I put her back in their enclosure for feeding time and she chirped angrily the whole time...I finally let her out because I was afraid she might hurt them. Should I just consider her a lost cause and take over their raising myself? This is my first experience with a hen raising her own chicks and so far it feels like an episode of "Teen Mom," complete with me telling her "You had your fun, Sweetie. Now you need to take responsibility for these chicks, because I am NOT raising more babies!" Oh, also, she laid an egg the other that another indicator that she's done with raising them?
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2015
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Yes, she's done. What is the temperature there at night? 12 chicks can keep each other warm. First time broodies tend to not be great mothers. I usually break first timers.
    I assume the chicks have an appropriate sized water fount and chick starter feed.
    1 person likes this.
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Yep. She's kicked them to the curb. Done with that chapter, moving on to the next. Are they fully feathered? Do they still need heat? You might want to check into the Mama Heating Pad thread. That might work for them, and it might not. Sometimes if they don't start with it early, they won't take to it later. Kassaundra made a fake broody that might work well. She drilled holes in a spackle bucket (laid on it's side) and put strips of fleece through the holes so they hung down into the bucket, put a nice pad of hay in the bottom, and the chicks snuggled in the fleece "feathers". I imagine that with the trapped body heat it would be quite warm in there.
    1 person likes this.
  4. rccola7

    rccola7 Out Of The Brooder

    May 20, 2014
    Thank you...I raised my current flock as starter chicks, and we have a wonderful little micro-coop for them inside the coop, with a heat lamp. She's taught them how to get their water and such, so I guess the main thing is to keep them warm and safe until they're big enough to be out on their own. Thank you for your help!! Now I just need to keep her from finding ANOTHER place to hide 12 eggs that I can't possibly part with because baby chicks are PRECIOUS :)
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Why not let the chicks out with her? She's wanting to rejoin the flock, but that doesn't necessarily mean she's done mothering. Let her introduce them to the rest of the flock, no need to keep chicks apart from everyone else. Introduce them early while momma is still involved and it goes way, way easier than trying to do it when they're 3 months old.

    Okay, just re-read where she started laying again. That's pretty definitive for not brooding anymore. Disregard the above for this go-around, but keep it in mind for next time.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by