Nasty hen raising chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Peace, May 21, 2012.

  1. Peace

    Peace In the Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2012
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    I just bought 10 Black Langshan chicks (1 week old) and I got the mama hen free. Apparently, the hen isn't very nice. At first, I thought that it would be good for the mama to teach the chicks, but I'm a little concerned that she'll teach them to be mean too. I hadn't planned on getting the mama too. I had planned on handling the chicks while they're young so they'd be nice. Any thoughts?
     
  2. AZ_HenHouse

    AZ_HenHouse Chirping

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    My broody is a pretty mean mama hen. But that is what keeps her babies healthy and alive. She also teaches them to accept me since I give her treats. As long as she is not mean to you, I would let her raise them. And spend lots of time with the family.
     
  3. Peace

    Peace In the Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2012
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    Thanks for the response. I've had them for all of 24 hours. I just took out a little bit of yogurt and the mama attacked my hand - only tiny chunk missing from my finger, but I'm not looking forward to future interactions. I don't know how on earth I'm going to be able to get them out of their coop so they can scratch the ground. One of the chicks seems to have pasty butt (and the others aren't so clean). I was hoping to clean him/her up. For the record, I haven't tried to pick any up yet, hoping to build trust first.

    I should give a little bit of background (as I've been told) in case it's helpful. This mama hatched 12 chicks herself and there were another 8 that hatched in an incubator at the same time, so they were placed under her too. So, this poor mama tried to warm 20 chicks! Anyway, I have 10 of them and the mama and the other chicks were purchased by someone else. The former owner told me that most Black Langshan's are nice pleasant birds, but this one isn't so I don't really expect her to become nicer. All that said, I'm most concerned about ending up with 10 chickens attacking my hand. [​IMG]
     
  4. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Crowing

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    I used to have a buff orpington that was mean as a snake when she had babies. She would attack my feet if I walked by, try to kill my hand when I fed and watered her little family and was just all around unpleasant to deal with. She was a MAJOR pain, but you know what? She didn't loose many chicks, and she was good to her chicks. When she wasn't brooding, she was one of the sweetest birds in my flock, so there is hope that once she's weaned the babies from herself she may not be quite so crotchety. I've currently got 3 broodies with chicks, and only one of them will call the chicks to eat out of my hand. One of the others is usually a lap bird, but once her chicks hatched she decided she'd rather cuddle with them, and not let me so much as look at them. The other broody is a turkey, I'm not even going there. Nice broodies are far and few in between. I'd say what you've described is pretty typical behavior for a mama hen. If you're really worried about her teaching the chicks bad habits, take them away and brood them yourself. Personally, I just deal with it. They don't keep them all that long anyhow. Good luck!
     
  5. keetsms

    keetsms In the Brooder

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    A mean momma is a good quality. She will defend her chicks. I find it really rewarding to watch a mother hen raise, and teach her chicks.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Achickenwrangler#1

    Achickenwrangler#1 Songster

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    Your doing the right thing, just leave em be for a week or so. That's hard for me to do! But what I start doing is hand feed the broody, pretty soon she is looking forward to me giving her treats, she'll drop them and call the chicks, slowly lower your hand and let the chicks hand feed ( holding your breath, waiting for the first peck from mama) do not try to catch a chick if you have to for some reason, distract the hen, then sneak attack and get out of there fast. If you get that trust going soon the chicks will eat from your hand, climb in your hand and have no problems associating you with food when they are older. I know my raised pullets are so much tamer, but also alot more work for me...it's a trade off
     
  7. Peace

    Peace In the Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2012
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    Thanks for the responses. I have since emailed the previous owner and she said that this hen wasn't any meaner than any other hen - when she isn't a mama. So, that's fine. I'll let her be the mama. I've started wearing a leather glove whenever I reach into the coop. The last few days I've held treats in my gloved hand. I'm very nervous about putting my bare hand in though!

    When can I expect her to relax a bit? When the chicks are 3 weeks, 6 weeks, or what?
     
  8. cary 1973

    cary 1973 Songster

    put your seld in her place a mom and everything changes a new home a new human and all she knows you want to bring harm to her and her babies. this is a very stressful time for any hen let alone one with babies. so try not and judge ehr too much right now. sit out side the coop talk to her put some treats in there and maybe when you go to get the chick where a garden glove or take somthign to kind of shoe her away but not scare or tramtize her when you take the chicks and then bring them back she will grow to trust you. but just put your self in her place and think how scared she prob is
     
  9. Peace

    Peace In the Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2012
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    Oh yes! As a mother, I've wanted to bite some people too! I REALLY didn't want to separate them because she was a good mother. That just didn't sit well with me. It was my understanding that she was naturally a mean chicken so I was afraid of that being passed onto the chicks. But, apparently she isn't, so she's going continue to be the excellent mother she is.

    I've been doing my part: giving food, water, shelter, grit, and treats. I spend a lot of time checking on them and chatting with them. They already know me as the 'bringer of treats'. lol
     
  10. Peace

    Peace In the Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2012
    NS, Canada
    Is it normal for a mama hen to leave her almost 3 week old chicks alone for the night? My mama hen manages to escape from their living quarters to perch in a different area of the coop - leaving her chicks frantically peeping for her. I wondering if she just wanted to branch to perch on so I added one to their living quarters today, but she squeezed her way out again tonight to perch somewhere that the chicks can't get to. It's only 62 F (17C) right now and likely to get cooler overnight. She is still a good mama during the day.

    I tried to set up a heat lamp, but totally freaked them out when I turned it on - and mama wasn't so thrilled about it either. I know it isn't super cold out there, but I thought that 3 week old chicks should be in 80F.
     

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