Should we separate 2 broody hens before they hatch?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by sandh72, May 27, 2010.

  1. sandh72

    sandh72 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2010
    We have 2 broody hens sitting on 5 eggs. They are quite happy at the moment sitting together, the distribution of eggs between them changes every time we look! Please can anyone tell us if we should we separate them before hatch or if they can be left to hatch and bring up their chicks together? Will they fight over the chicks if we leave them together? Sorry if this is a numpty question but this is a first for us! Any advice gratefully received.
     
  2. Oven Ready

    Oven Ready Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 9, 2010
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    If they are closely confined then I would seperate them - they do peck chicks that are not their own.
    They also get surprising aggressive towards all other moving objects when they've got young chicks.

    We've got two girls who have harmonised their breeding cycles, and they always nest right next to each other and are no problem until they start to take their chicks out from the nest, then it's endless fighting and chick swapping and pecking.

    This last time we seperated them into two different coops and it solved the problem for a little while, now at a week old they are free ranging and the two girls always have to be in the same place at the same time, and they want to sleep in the same place and they keep fighting constantly and the chicks have no idea who their mother is, sometimes one has five chicks, sometimes one has four, other times there's nine chicks following one girl and the other is away 'partying' with the rest of the flock.

    They manage OK, but if you can seperate them until they know their own chicks and the chicks know their own mum, I think it'd be better. With only five eggs between them, you might be better choosing one to be the mum and move her and all the eggs to different place, the ex-mum-to-be will soon start laying again.
     
  3. sandh72

    sandh72 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2010
    Thanks for the advice. I think we're tempted by your suggestion to only move one of them and see how she gets on with all of the eggs. As this is a first for us it seems like the easiest option! I'm not sure about coping with all the fighting and pecking!
     
  4. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation

    I just had 3 broodies hatch. I had two of them in a rabbit hutch. No separation while setting they were fine. When they started hatching I put a screen divider between them. Once there were chicks out, I took all of the chicks (6) and put with one. I took the remaining eggs (6) and put with the other. This way the one hen took care of all the babies, while the other one continued to sit and hatch. It worked out great.

    Now, they are still there, and are outside in the pen together, without a problem. The chicks stay with their own mama. At night, when they go in, I put the mesh screen back in place.
     

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