Momma killed, babies hatched, surrogate mom?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by barbara4rb, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. barbara4rb

    barbara4rb Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2007
    Albuquerque, NM
    Sad news and a miracle, if you ask me.

    There are free range chickens that live at my 1 acre property and nest in the trees at night. No one but chickens and cats live there. I have a large rose bush hedge where mommas usually hide, sit on eggs, raise them near the hedge. Had several batches of kids so far this year. Also have a 5-unit "apartment" up in the carport where hens lay eggs, which we collect daily. Last year, we had hens sit/hatch kids in the "apartment".

    On Friday, my friend who collects eggs, feeds when I can't make it (work!) found a momma sitting on a nest in an abandoned (we thought) doghouse. She called me to let me know what she found. OH Boy. Sat AM early I went down to move my large, portable, chicken cage around the dog house to protect her & the eggs. Unfortunately, Friday night a *$#%@ raccoon found her first. Nothing but feathers left, but some of the eggs were not damaged. I was too depressed to do anything with the eggs. Had no idea how long she'd been sitting, etc.

    Today, my friend called and said we had another batch of babies. Five of them and they don't seem to have a momma. HUH? So I go out to the property tonight after work, and sure enough. Five brand new kids. They were peeping and following a rooster around. It was dusk. I managed to catch them all, and took them into the carport. There is a black hen who's been sitting in the apartment for weeks. No eggs. I put one baby up with her, she sorta looked at it and the baby scurried underneath her. I put another baby up there. Same thing. Ended up getting all 5 in there with her. She settled down and there was nothing but contented peeping. When it was dark, she had closed her eyes, and it was all quiet.

    I will head back to the property tomorrow before work (really early!!) and hope the kids have been adopted by this hen. Thinking positive, thinking positive.

    Do you think she'll adopt those babies?
    What to do if she doesn't?

    We've been really hot in Albuquerque--a blessing in disguise. I am truly amazed that these babies managed to make it through the last 4-5 days of their incubation, hatch, climb out of the dog house and are with us.
    Thanks!
     
  2. babsbag

    babsbag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 12, 2010
    Anderson, CA
    I bet she takes them. [​IMG]

    It is just crazy that we go through some many gyrations to get eggs to hatch in an incubator, and nature can hatch them with no hen, no thermometer, no hygrometer, and nobody looking for pips and zips. I am sorry you lost the hen, but what a happy ending.

    Here's to the new kids.
     
  3. barbara4rb

    barbara4rb Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2007
    Albuquerque, NM
    Update:

    Pull in early this morning. Mom is still in the nest box. Contented peeping all around her. YAY.

    But Wait. There's More. Sure enough, I hear peeping out in the yard. There's a rooster and he has two more babies with him. WHAT! sure enough. Two more. I manage to catch the kids and put them up with mom. They scurry under her. Now there are seven miracle babies. Looking in the dog house, it now appears all the eggs that were left have hatched.

    I take a 1 quart waterer and put it up on the ledge of the nest box. Mom gets a drink, kids get a drink. I put in white bread (YUM) and chick starter and scratch. Eat Eat Eat. Mom give me the stink-eye. Pecks my hand. OK OK!

    Tonight, another trip down to the property. All is well, bright eyed babies looking out. They're beside mom, under her, on top of her. Of course I get the momma stink-eye. We decide to leave them be, as they had a hard start in life. And I want momma to be really into those kids. I did find one baby out of the nest box following a rooster, but I'm pretty sure it's an escapee. I managed to catch him, and he (?) pecked my fingers. Up on the ledge he goes, in with mom.

    Tomorrow I'll roust them out, as the babies will be getting more adventurous. Will run mom and the kids over to the huge rosebush hedge and hope she takes up residence.
     

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