Pullet Rejected Chicks

JellyrollBrahma

In the Brooder
Sep 2, 2019
21
18
29
New England, USA
This is our first time hatching chicks. When our pullet went broody unexpectedly, we allowed her to sit on eggs. But we collected many eggs to incubate and let her sit on a few so that we could introduce them later for her to mother.
2 babies hatched in the incubator and we tried to introduce them to the pullet during the day and also at night. Both were unsuccessful. We placed them under her at night and had a camera set up to make sure everything was okay. She was okay for an hour but happened to see one of them when she adjusted her body. She went straight for them aggressively and pecked one pretty hard but no injury to the chick. We separated them for now.
I am worried to allow the eggs to hatch under her and have her be just as aggressive. She broke an egg open going after the chick. It was in process of hatching and we returned it to the incubator in hopes all will be okay. Should we keep trying? We have everything we need to raise the chicks in a brooder, but it was ideal that the pullet was broody so she could do most of the work.
 
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penny1960

Coffee Club
Premium member
Dec 29, 2015
36,332
123,185
1,637
Mossyrock, WA
I was able to give peeps to my silkie but there where eggs they had been sitting on so put a peep under took a egg gave them 4 live that way they let me take the three that would not hatch raised many since
 

2 many chickens

Crowing
Jan 14, 2017
1,448
3,029
282
If she rejected those two, chances are she will reject the others. I had a broody hatch chicks, she pretty much killed all (2) but one. She tried to kill the last one but I was able to get to it in time. I witnessed her viciously pecking the baby in the face. She saw the babies as intruders who were a threat to her eggs, even though they hatched under her!

I would brood the babies yourself.
 

JellyrollBrahma

In the Brooder
Sep 2, 2019
21
18
29
New England, USA
If she rejected those two, chances are she will reject the others. I had a broody hatch chicks, she pretty much killed all (2) but one. She tried to kill the last one but I was able to get to it in time. I witnessed her viciously pecking the baby in the face. She saw the babies as intruders who were a threat to her eggs, even though they hatched under her!

I would brood the babies yourself.
I figured she probably was thinking to protect her eggs, but it seems so strange to me that she would do all this. It's sad and I don't really want to give her a chance to hatch them in fear that they'll be dead as soon as she sees it. Maybe next time she goes broody... :(
 

coach723

Crowing
Feb 12, 2015
4,413
8,141
491
North Florida
Were the eggs under her and the incubated eggs started at the same time? She's less likely to accept chicks if she has not sat the correct amount of time. With first time broodies all sorts of things can happen, some are good, some are not. I always have a brooder ready just in case with a broody hen. If you have a proven broody that has raised batches before, it's much more likely to be problem free, but you just never know for sure.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
10,995
73,721
1,352
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
This is our first time hatching chicks. When our pullet went broody unexpectedly, we allowed her to sit on eggs. But we collected many eggs to incubate and let her sit on a few so that we could introduce them later for her to mother.
2 babies hatched in the incubator and we tried to introduce them to the pullet during the day and also at night. Both were unsuccessful. We placed them under her at night and had a camera set up to make sure everything was okay. She was okay for an hour but happened to see one of them when she adjusted her body. She went straight for them aggressively and pecked one pretty hard but no injury to the chick. We separated them for now.
I am worried to allow the eggs to hatch under her and have her be just as aggressive. She broke an egg open going after the chick. It was in process of hatching and we returned it to the incubator in hopes all will be okay. Should we keep trying? We have everything we need to raise the chicks in a brooder, but it was ideal that the pullet was broody so she could do most of the work.
I'm not sure why you expect this hen to accept some chicks when she's still sitting on her own eggs.:confused:
Some might but.....
I get problems here if the chicks get in front of the sitting hen. The mother knows they shouldn't be there. She can't protect them there and she can't keep them warm there either while she is still trying to hatch eggs. So, she pecks at them to encourage them to get back underneath her. If they won't move, sometimes they can't make their way back underneath her because they are not mobile enough she pecks them more. I slide the chicks back under her rear end and everything is fine.
If you had just left her alone to get on with what she does best I don't think you would be having this problem. Some mothers do attack and kill their chicks but they are a small minority.
 

Morrigan

Free Ranging
5 Years
Apr 9, 2014
2,736
11,138
632
N. California
I've only had one hen reject properly introduced chicks after sitting for over two weeks, but her rejection was unmistakable. She was a mean hen and a bully and eventually became a dinner guest.

I had another consistently broody hen from whom it is a struggle to get her to accept chicks, but always does in the end. She is fine as long as the chicks stay under her for the first several hours, but if she sees one too soon, she starts in with some fairly strong pecks that are more in the nature of "who are you and get back under me" discipline pecks, rather than "i'm going to kill you" pecks. If I hadn't seen my psycho, bully hen in action, I wouldn't have known the difference. But, if she frightens a chick into fleeing from the nest, she won't let it get back near her, so I have catch the chick and sneak it back under her.

She's such a pill, I need to spend the first night in the coop, making sure that no-one gets hurt and trying to tuck any stray chicks back under her. But, by the second night she is 100% fine with the chicks and no more pecking. She raised 3 batches of chicks fro me thus far. Honestly, if she wasn't one of my only 2 broodies, I'm not sure I'd continue to let her set.

Whether you want to give your broody any more chances, depends on your assessment of how violently she is pecking the chicks, how much of a risk you are willing to take, and how easy it is for you to brood the chicks yourself.
 
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NatJ

Songster
Mar 20, 2017
403
897
146
USA
Does a broody hen come to recognize the voices of her chicks, when they peep in the egg? If so, she might be more accepting of ones that actually hatch under her.

I think many animals do recognize the voices of their own offspring, but I don't know about chickens. (Baby chicks all sound pretty much alike to me, but I'm not a hen.)
 

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