My hen rejected her chick.

Tacampbell1973

Songster
7 Years
May 26, 2013
661
187
196
Washington State
Hello everyone,

I am in great need of help. I have nearly thirty assorted poultry, all bantam chickens and some guinea, and am into my second year of chickens, but have a problem. I have hatched successfully 7 or so small (3-7) clutches of chicks this year. This is the last hen and last batch for the year, and of course the first problem...Mama is a seasoned hen, about 4 years and tough as beef jerky but usually an exceptional mama. Of the six eggs she started with, one hatched almost two full days ago, three were determined rotten and the last two I thought were OK. Today I checked on mama, baby Half Pint, and both eggs about every few hours...I went out at about 3 pm to find a soggy dead newborn outside the nest box in the banty brooding barn...I picked it up and I would have swore on a stack of bibles it was dead, cold, no discernible heart beat, nothing. I was bummed but I figured mom must have got scared and kicked it out. so brought it in and put it on a cloth on the table to go find something to bury it in. about a half hour later, husband came home from work and I went to show him dead baby. I rubbed a finger over its belly to show my husband that I couldn't find peck marks to indicate how it died and I ll be ****** if its legs didn't flex...In a huge hurry now, I blow dried it dry and set it up with a hot pad. My last warmer lamp burned out and was fixing to replace it in the next couple days. So as baby got dry and warm it finally looked like it was going to make it. I figured the best thing for it was to put it back with mama and let her do her job. wrong. I ran to town for groceries and came right home no more than an hour or so and baby was in a corner of nest box and mom in other corner. She didn't want it. I brought it back in and decided to brood it myself. Well I had no other choice. I cant for the life of me guess why the hen didn't want it. It is worth mention though that it hasn't opened it's eyes on its own yet. I gently cleaned them, but I think he has albumin crusting them both. I think he has been through enough today. so I also cleaned off his vent to prevent the pasties and gave him water. other than that, I am stumped . is it possible his mama will ever take him back? he is only a day old and if he lives, which I am trying but am not deluding myself , he is going to be lonely. his sibling is two days older. any thoughts? all the posts about orphaned chicks seem to be about orphaned multiples or older singles...I am doing everything I know, but would sure appreciate any solid advice. Thank you.
 

HugHess

Chickrack Addict
5 Years
Jul 14, 2014
1,006
95
168
Go BROWNS
Hi,

Too new here to hazard a guess but wanted to suggest maybe duplicating this in the emergencies, injuries and cures thread to see if you can't get twice as many 'hits' to help you both out?
Best wishes for you and your chick.
 

Tacampbell1973

Songster
7 Years
May 26, 2013
661
187
196
Washington State
Get chick back under hen to complete imprinting process.
Hello centrarchid and thank you for your speedy reply. it is my ultimate goal to get her back under mama but as I said she has kicked it back out of the nest twice and it almost died both times. Is there anything else that I can do so that she doesn't kick it out? I am realllly worried for her...also she doesn;t seem to be able to open her eyes on her own... not sure if mama can sense that something is wrong with baby? I have cleaned her eyes with a hot wash rag and qtips and tried to gently pry it open but neither eye stays open and not sure why just yet. Could be she is just exhausted after near freezing to death twice yesterday or it could be that she has built up albumin from the hatch. Crossing my fingers for the poor kid, she really wants so badly to live. I named her Miracle as it seemed appropriate. Thanks again for your help.
 

Tacampbell1973

Songster
7 Years
May 26, 2013
661
187
196
Washington State
Hi,

Too new here to hazard a guess but wanted to suggest maybe duplicating this in the emergencies, injuries and cures thread to see if you can't get twice as many 'hits' to help you both out?
Best wishes for you and your chick.
Hi Meg,
I'm going to hazard a guiess that you must be from Cleveland
love.gif
I just wanted to say thank you for your speedy reply. we made it through the first night with little one on my stomache and alternately on a heat pad until I can get into town today and get a new warmer bulb. She is still not opening her eyes and that has me worried but keeping her alive right now is my main priority. I named her Miracle as it just seemed appropriate. I am going to go and post there. Its been a long while since I ;have had a problem that I have had to bring to the forums but they helped me survive the first year and all its surprises. I owe my chickens lives to everyone here. Take care
Theresa
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,047
4,190
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
Hi Meg,
I'm going to hazard a guiess that you must be from Cleveland
love.gif
I just wanted to say thank you for your speedy reply. we made it through the first night with little one on my stomache and alternately on a heat pad until I can get into town today and get a new warmer bulb. She is still not opening her eyes and that has me worried but keeping her alive right now is my main priority. I named her Miracle as it just seemed appropriate. I am going to go and post there. Its been a long while since I ;have had a problem that I have had to bring to the forums but they helped me survive the first year and all its surprises. I owe my chickens lives to everyone here. Take care
Theresa
As Centrarchid said the imprinting process is incomplete. Not only do baby chicks imprint on the first large moving object that they see after hatching but the hen also imprints on her (or any chicks that you give her to raise) Once the time is passed for imprinting, the time for imprinting is gone forever. This is another reason that I try to discourage staggered hatching, especially under a mother hen. Chickens just don't share the same sense of ethics or responsibility that we humans have. You'll only have heart break if you expect otherwise.
 
Last edited:

Tacampbell1973

Songster
7 Years
May 26, 2013
661
187
196
Washington State
I do totallyunderstand the imprinting process and I did not interrupt it. The mother hen ejected her chick twice. I had no involvement until the chicks life was in danger. She however already knew what I could not and that is that this chick had substantial health problems. It died this afternoon. I never stagger a hatch as I have more than enough problems with moms not taking late born chicks in from their own clutch...
 

Farm Girl 1

Chirping
5 Years
Aug 26, 2014
171
11
74
Although I have never had a hen with chicks I do have other types of animals that will often refuse their own babies so I will make a suggestion. I would suggest keeping them in a small pen together if you haven't already tried that. Maybe put the hen, other little chicks and Miracle together in a dog crate or rabbit hutch together for a few days. Sorry I can't be of much help!
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,371
17,711
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
I have raised many hen reared broods over many years. Hens do not have a mechanism to simply eject and unwanted chick from her nest. She can peck or drive it off but a chick with extremely limited mobility is found away from nest without obvious damage, then chick removed itself. In all likelihood the chick could not even distinguish between being under hen an not so it limited movements took it away from warmth and protection of hen. Generally, chicks with the problem are not going to thrive regardless of your efforts so I let them pass on so the surviving broodmates can have a better go.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom