old fashioned hatching... entertaining story/mystery! (with video)


In the Brooder
8 Years
May 29, 2011
Hi everyone, I am new to this forum even though I've used this site for info many times. I finally have something worth sharing on the forum. I've actually said it all in my blog, but wanted to say it here so that people could see what our experiences have been this spring... here is the story, and below that is the youtube video that goes along with it!

How many hens does it take to hatch an egg? The answer in our case this spring was, “At least three.”

Over the past few weeks, one of my mom's black banty hens was acting broody enough that we gave her a bunch of eggs to try to hatch. For almost three weeks, she sat on those eggs and tended them quite well. Then, one morning, all of the sudden she up and left. So, a different hen, a standard-sized black hen, came in and decided she’d take up the gauntlet and sat on the eggs from then on. A few days later, my mom discovered that one of the eggs had a hole in it, and– you guessed it– a little chick was in there peeping away, trying to get out. So, that’s two hens in the mix so far.

When my master went up a few hours later to check on the chick, it wasn’t in the box with the standard black hen! It was in the box below, with one of the white silky hens! Nobody could figure this out (not even the dog). How did the helpless little chick move from one box to the other? And, why does it take three hens to raise one brood of eggs?

The answer is in the somewhat disturbing video below. The video starts with showing the white silky hen and the chick I just described. Then, I videotaped the standard black hen, who is still sitting on the rest of the eggs. I knew another chick was hatching, and wanted to post that miracle on youtube. So, you get to see the next chick hatch from it’s egg in the video. But then, at about 2:40 on the video, you will see something most disturbing! The standard black hen grabs the newborn chick and smashes it against the side of the box! Don't worry, though, I saved it.

At the end of the day, we decided the standard black hen was a trouble maker-- a good setter, but a bad mother. We booted her out, gave the eggs back to the black banty hen, and now all is well. The mystery of how the first chick ended up in the box below where it was hatched? Well, I guess that mystery is solved: the standard black hen probably grabbed it and tossed it overboard!

I would post the link to the video, but the forum page won't let me. To view it, just go to youtube and type "schoolaintsobad" after the ".com/" It will be the first video, probably. The title of the video is "how youtube saved a chick's life", so you could probably just copy and paste that title into google or youtube and get to the video that way, too. I hope you can find it! It's really quite something to see!

Hope this story is of some use to the rest of you trying to raise chicks the old fashioned way. The moral, I guess, is that some hens are good setters, and some are good mothers, and that one does not necessarily mean the other! The white silky hen has been a wonderful mother to the chicks over the last couple days, and the black banty has remained on the rest of the eggs. We're expecting more chicks anyday!
Very interesting. Good thing you were there. Congrats on the hatch &

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