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NOT a nice momma

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jot, Mar 11, 2007.

  1. jot

    jot New Egg

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    Jan 22, 2007
    Texas
    I have 10 chickens of 3 different breeds and 1 rooster, I found 1 chicken brooding and i left her to sit on her eggs, then 3 other hens decided they wanted to brood but wanted the other hens eggs, they would actually steal her eggs and ofcourse lay their own, all in all i had 4 hens brooding with 25+ eggs, today there are 7 eggs remaining. on February 9th 5 of the eggs hatched and let me tell ya, "what a beautiful sight", my family and I got to watch a few break free. an egg would hatch about every 2 to 3 days, to date I have 20 chicks and all are gorgeous, a few fiesty but they are my babies and I'm very proud of them.
    I had a disappointment this past week, one of the mommas killed a chick and severely injured another (both chicks from the older group). I now have all the babies in a different pen.
    Does anyone know why this hen did this and when would it be safe for the chicks to have free range like the adults?

    Anyone have any advise
    Please help.

    cindy
     
  2. TheBigWRanch

    TheBigWRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2007
    Wenatchee, Washington
    Did you see what the hen did, or do you just think that is what happened? It is usually suggested that you isolate the mom and her babies from the rest of the flock.
     
  3. allen wranch

    allen wranch Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    Cindy,
    Some hens just do not make good mothers. I have an OEGB hen who goes broody all the time and hatches eggs consistently. However, after about two or three days she gets tired of being a mom and starts pecking on the babies and slinging them around. I have learned to let her hatch them, then take them away after everyone is out. It seems cruel to the mom, but she never misses them, and I don't have hurt chicks.

    If you only had one hen bothering the chicks it might have been better to take her out than all the chicks. Most moms will take care of the babies, show them how to hunt and peck, will keep them safe from the other birds, and will tuck them under their wings to keep them warm.

    If you take all the chicks away, you become mother hen and have to provide heat, shelter and food for them. The babies won't be able to fend for themselves with the other birds until they are much older and have some size on them.
     
  4. jot

    jot New Egg

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    Jan 22, 2007
    Texas
    My mom seen the hen pecking on the second chick, she had already killed the other. the roosts are about 3 feet from the ground. i figured with the height the chicks wouldn't be able to go up and down them for a long time and besides the hens never got out of the nest to eat or drink, i would actually hand feed them and give them little bowls of water. they are just now starting to get out of the pen when i open the door for all to run out to eat and drink. all of my chickens are free range, except at night ( for their own protection ofcourse).
    did i do wrong by taking the chicks out of the pen and keeping them inside? i have a heat lamp and a heating pad under the box (not inside) along with a stuffed teddy bear that they cuddle up underneath for extra warmth.
    thanks for your help
     
  5. allen wranch

    allen wranch Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    Cindy,
    You did fine for your situation. Sounds like the chicks are safe and happy. Good job !
     

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