mixing broody hens and chicks *update - oh no!*

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Fanny, May 25, 2010.

  1. Fanny

    Fanny Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2009
    Manitoba, Canada
    I have 4 hens - two of which went broody about a month ago. At first I had all the hens together and my Silkie hatched out 3 chicks - 2 of which didn't survive because they were attacked by the non-broody hens while my Silkie was still on the nest trying to hatch out the remainder eggs. So I now have one Silkie momma wandering around with one, one-week old chick (they seem very happy)... but I also have a broody that is due to hatch out 8 or so eggs one week from now.

    Right now I have the broody with her eggs and the momma with her one chick in their own rubbermaid bins, but sharing the same larger enclosure. The enclosure is separated from the other two adult birds. What I'm wondering is - once the other eggs hatch, will the momma hens respect each other and the chicks, or is it possible that one of the hens will attack the other chicks? Does each 'family' need to be kept separate, or can they all be together as they are (minus the two non-momma hens)?

    I hope that's clear!

    Thanks in advance...
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  2. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2009
    DFW
    Two hens with chicks can fight with each other, each one being defensive of her own chicks. That's my situation, and why I'm keeping each hen and her chicks separate until the chicks are bigger and the hens less aggressive.

    This isn't necessarily always the case, but I'd keep a close watch if I were you.
     
  3. Fanny

    Fanny Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2009
    Manitoba, Canada
    Well, it turns out the hens weren't defensive of each others chicks - the still broody mom has adopted the lone chick! Which sounds cute, a little chick running around with two watchful moms, but it means that the other broody is now off her eggs and I'm scrambling to set up some sort of incubator in an attempt to save the hatch. I guess the chick and the mom climbed in with the broody hen last night to rest, and the broody hen woke up to peeping sounds and had decided her eggs were done!

    So frustrating! And funny a little bit too. I'm certainly learning a lot through this whole process. Mainly that chickens aren't very smart.
     
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens have to adapt to the situations we force them to live in, and sometimes they don't adapt in the way that we like. I don't think that makes them stupid, though.

    If a hen gets to choose, she usually will incubate her eggs off by herself, not next to another broody hen. I've kept my broodies separate, and have had no problems.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  5. PlumTuckered

    PlumTuckered Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2007
    Arkansas
    I always try to keep my broody gals seperate because they can get confused when returning to the nest, which can result in hen fights and eggs being knocked out of the nest or crushed.

    Once the babies hatch I usually put the hens and babies in the same coop, in four years I've never seen a chick confused by which Mamma is his/her's. One time I had a hen that was a lazy Mamma..great in the day but at night always chose to go where the chicks couldn't get to her, she had 8 babies and another hen had 12. The Hen with 12 would always the other hen's 8 babies climb in with her at night..what a site that was LOL

    Michelle
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    Hens have been hatching eggs and raising chicks with the flock for thousands of years. I like to separate the hen on her eggs and keep her in the coop but let the broody raise the chicks with the flock. There are risks and benefits any way you do it. I do like to not have two broodies at the same time on eggs or raising chicks for the reasons mentioned on this thread. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it does not.
     
  7. shawnm2639

    shawnm2639 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OMG I have 3 Old English Game hens with 6 chicks between them....they share!!! who knew. The three of them were sitting on eggs that my BR and Delawares had laid and as they started to hatch I started stealing the chicks because I was afaid of the same things like loosing the hatch if they just got up and left. After about 9 chicks got stolen the girls started getting a little miffed and reallllly testy. I figured I had taken enough and waited to see what would happen. They hatched out 9 and took off. The first night they tried to live outside the coop one girl sat on all of the chicks while the others went high. They got flushed about dawn thirty and even with me out there running around trying to see what happened they lost 3. NOW they go back in the coop at night on their own and all sit in two nesting boxes [​IMG] They arent stupid that is for sure!! And the nine that went to the brooder are growing like weeds.
     

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