momma hen killing other momma hens babies!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by BlueEggsDaily, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. BlueEggsDaily

    BlueEggsDaily In the Brooder

    Sep 24, 2013
    I have two momma hens... Three weeks ago my first Brody hen hatched her 6 babies. Just a week ago the another Hen hatched her two babies. Our flock and our rooster has accepted both moms and babies... However just two nights ago we found one of the second moms babies dead by a huge hole in her head from a chicken pecking her... Just today I saw the first momma hen go and attack the other momma hens last baby and almost kill her... WHY?! I don't get it? Why would another momma hen attack another momma hens babies?! All the other hens leave the babies alone and keep peace. It doesn't make sense to me- she has her six babies so why does she try and kill the other babies?!

    We have isolated the baby with her momma hen and I have been putting medicine on her ripped skin on her neck. If that other hen wasn't a mom and didn't have babies I probably would have killed her by now.

    This hen that is attacking the babies is an aracauna.. Which seems so unnatural to me too!
    The other momma hen is a black australorp..

    Anyone else have dealt with this? It just boggles me with this behavior! You would expect it from maybe a rooster and another hen but not another mother?

    Anyways, thanks in advance for any help.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015

  2. Oglan

    Oglan In the Brooder

    Oct 18, 2015
    New Hampshire
    You should always separate broody hens and newly hatched chicks from other members of the flock so they wont kill the chicks.
    It will continue to be a problem until you separate them.
    1 person likes this.
  3. rcstanley

    rcstanley Songster

    Aug 2, 2013
    Utah County, Utah
    I'm so sorry that happened.

    I had two broodies with their chicks in the same pen (still do, but never ever again). I didn't let them interact until the chicks were 3 weeks old. The one hen will regularly go after the others chicks if they get too close to her chicks. The other hen doesn't care about the other chicks but will go after the other broody if she gets too close. The chicks have gotten good at dodging.

    From my limited experience, every broody is different and keeping them separate until the chicks are big enough to take a few pecks and run away is the way to go. I will never have two broodies at the same time again. Way too much drama.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    I agree - unless you have the space and set up to accommodate multiple broodies, its more hassle than its worth. Additionally, the sooner the flock is introduced to chicks, the more readily accepted as part of the flock they become, so separating mums and chicks also has a detrimental effect in this sense.

    Maybe next time, just put all the eggs you want to hatch under one broody and break the broodiness of other hens.

    2 people like this.
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I've had this happen once, with a very dominant hen and a very, very Omega hen who hatched basically the same day.

    The hen with the older chicks sees the new babies as competition for resources for her offspring. Killing the other chicks is perfectly logical in her chicken momma brain, that way there's enough food for her chicks to thrive. She doesn't give a rip about the other chicks surviving, she's all about her babies getting the very best of what there is.
    1 person likes this.

  6. BlueEggsDaily

    BlueEggsDaily In the Brooder

    Sep 24, 2013
    Thank you all for responding to me! Yes lesson learned- I never imagined that another broody hen would attack other baby chicks. But in a strange way I guess now it makes sense for resources. I did originally have them separated from the rest of the flock but brought them out to be able to play for little bits here and there during the days to integrate them into the flock while watching them for the beginning stages of it... The other hens and rooster leave the chicks alone and have been apart of the flock. So yes!- I will definitely make sure any and all broody hens are separated or I will most likely try the suggestion of only having one broody hen while breaking the other hens bloodiness because yes it is ridiculous and disturbing to have to deal with that.
    Thank you!!

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