Mom killed the babies :( So what went wrong?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sarahswank, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. sarahswank

    sarahswank Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a broody sitting on eggs. She hatched out 8 all on her own. She left the rest of the eggs in a nest and took her babies off to a new corner of the area. (she was seperated from the flock.) We picked up the "dud" eggs and found that 3 of them were still alive! They hatched out in an incubator the next day, so we took them to mom at night and she took them under her no problem . 3 days later we found all but the last 3 we added were dead and spread around her area. Mom did seem to want to just sit like she was on a nest, even without eggs, but the last 3 were under her. We of course re-rescued the 3 and now they are in a brooder and mom is kicked back in general population. So did we do anything wrong that you see? Preventable? Just a bad first time mom? Would you ban her from hatching ever again?

    just trying to make sense of what happened.


    On a positive note I have a seperate barred rock who is being a wonderful mom to 4 for 1.5 weeks and a second barred rock who had two brand new babies today!
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    It sounds like the chicks that were killed were 4-5 days old at that point? Was she already moving around with them, taking them out of the nest to eat etc before you found them dead? It is rather odd that she would kill them at one time and that late in the game. Do you know what time of day they got killed? Are you sure nothing else got in there with her and killed them? If it was her, I would not use her again, you don't want to hatch her eggs, why perpetuate the bad mothering instinct, and I wouldn't trust her to hatch out eggs I wanted hatched.
     
  3. sarahswank

    sarahswank Chillin' With My Peeps

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    yep. 4-5 days old and no way that any other chicken or preditor got in. Mom is the only one with access. No one had seen her taking them anywhere other then the initial move to go sit somewhere else. the water and food was within 3 feet of where she sat, but none of us had seen her eat or drink even herself. They died sometime in the past day is all we could tell. some seemed slightly stiff and others were still floppy, which tells me it happened sometime during daylight hours today. there didnt appear to be any marks on the bodies, but almost all of them were buried in the nesting material and not just laying on top

    You have me thinking it was more lack of food and water then her physically attacking them... but still a bad mom.
     
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    With no marks and buried in the nest, it does make you wonder if they didn't starve/dehydrate because she didn't leave the nest to find food for them and they just got trampled when she rearranged the nest. Especially if the younger ones were the ones still alive at that point. Like you said, either way, not a good mother.
     
  5. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Hens brooding chicks tend to tolerate chicks that are younger and/or smaller than her own brood

    Hens brooding chicks tend to kill chicks that are older and/or larger than her own brood, especially if the rejected chicks are confined with the hen and thus are unable to escape her wrath.

    Hen chickens don't keep family snapshots so never expect a chicken to act like you or I act, they are incapable of it.

    When the brood hen awoke to find 4 new, younger, and maybe smaller chicks in her nest she did what any good mother hen would do, she killed her own 8 older and [?] larger chicks that were in her mind threating her brood. I have even had new chicken keepers on this web sight who seemed perplexed that say a white hen would kill a her own white chick but accept a dozen black chicks hatched from other hens' eggs as her own. Chickens are not racists as you or I understand the term.

    Hens only notice differences and ignore likeness like those found in her own flesh and blood.

    When you hear the expression "Chicken Math" tossed around here what it really means is no rime, no reason, and no logic.

    We humans can like it or we humans can lump it but to the hen it was only solution to a problem that we helped create.

    This is why I like to confine my brooding hens for 48 extra hours to a slightly too large nest in a dark, quite, and cool place so every egg has an equal chance of piping.
     

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