1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Mother Hen Rejecting Chick

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ytsur2012, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. ytsur2012

    ytsur2012 Hatching

    Nov 2, 2013
    Hi. It is our first time hatching chicks. There were 13 eggs under the hen, we are not sure if all of them are hers though. Two were born and we didn't know what to do with the remaining eggs. We got an incubator and put the rest of the eggs in the incubator. Only one chick hatched though. After the chick had dried off a little we tried to give it back to the hen. The hen pecked it frequently. We took the chick back and put it in a brooder alone. We do not know why the chick was rejected. We considered taking the chick and putting it with the lonely one but we didn't have enough chicks for that. We want to try and give the chick back to the mother again. Also does touching the chick before giving it to the mother affect anything? [​IMG]

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    If the last chick hatched within a day or so of the others, and if you had placed it under the mama during the night, it would have had its best chance of being accepted. If all this just happened, you could try one more time, at night -- but I sure wouldn't count on the chick being accepted. The best chance is to leave the eggs alone til the hen abandons the nest, then either toss remaining eggs, or incubate and hand raise in a brooder if any are viable. When you plan to hatch chicks, your best chance is to collect eggs away from the hen for a week or a little longer, then mark them and put them under the hen all at once. I believe in the ideal situation, in the wild, the hen collects eggs but doesn't sit on them til there is a clutch or group of eggs. Then she begins the sitting, which begins the incubation. This way, they will more or less hatch at the same time. The trouble, or part of it anyway, is that hatcheries have attemted to breed broodiness out of lines of chickens, to increase production.

    There are no hard and fast rules about managing broodies, though. Hens are just not predictable. I have one hen who will hatch eggs then kill each chick as it hatches -- well, she did this once; I caught her killing the last chick. Of course she has not gotten to set on eggs since. And no, I don't believe it matters that a human has touched the egg or chick, not for chickens and not for wild birds, either. I think this is something parents told kids to keep them away from nests. Somewhere I read of a study someone did which disproved it, but I have no idea where, now.
  3. jdias64

    jdias64 Hatching

    Nov 4, 2013
    Personally, I have never bred chickens form the mother. But I have raised them and here is my advice. If the mother is pecking at the chick to the point where you believe that the chick is in danger, then do not let it have contact with the mother. I remember when we first got a set of Rhode Island Reds as chicks and the Brahmas kept picking at them like crazy.

    My advice would be to put the chick with one or two others in a nursery and raise them that way until they are big enough to join the older chickens.
  4. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

    Jan 17, 2013
    X2 the mothers have been known to kill chicks they reject. they will actually scalp them so don't chance it. Just brood her yourself and keep her safe. for what ever reason the mother can't be forced to accept the chick. She will kill it.sad but true..so do your best to brood her yourself. Hope this helps. Best wishes
  5. ytsur2012

    ytsur2012 Hatching

    Nov 2, 2013
    Thank you for the help, we have gotten the mother to accept the chick. [​IMG]
  6. ahilling

    ahilling In the Brooder

    Dec 29, 2013
    How old do chicks need to be before they are placed with grown chickens. We have chickens that are almost 11/2 years old. We are thinking of ordering some chicks. How long would we need to keep the cocks in a brooder? Our previous set I keep in the garage for a long time because they were born in the fall and I was worried about them getting cold :)

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by