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So bewildered by my broody girls

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by crazy4myhens, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. crazy4myhens

    crazy4myhens Hatching

    Mar 11, 2014
    Hello. My little flock is soon to turn 1 year old and our first broody girl hatched 2 babies (though one disappeared without a trace). So I'm learning a ton on this forum and will be reinforcing my broody pen to protect against snakes or rats. But here's my funny situation with a question I can't find an answer for.
    I had two broody hens. I decided to try letting one hatch eggs to see how it would go and we now have a cute little chick. But since it went so well I decided to let the other broody girl take a shot so onto eggs she went. The broody pen I built can house two hens separated with shared water and food. So about 2 weeks ago when I was changing out water the momma hen ran out to enjoy some mealworms with the flock. This was usual for her but she always ran back when her baby peeped. But this time she didn't return and she looks like the rest of the flock so I had no idea which one was mom. So the chick solved the problem by crossing though the food space and snuggling under the broody who was sitting on eggs. We now call that hen "Auntie" and she is wonderful with this little chick. But she's still super dedicated to her eggs. While its super cool to see her balancing caring for a chick while caring for her eggs I wonder what might happen when the eggs hatch. Her chicks are due on st. Pattys day her little chick niece will be a month old then.

    Anyone ever seen this before? Any tips to help this little blended family?

  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Crowing

    Apr 8, 2013
    Good thing they didn't hatch out at the same time. There's few surer ways to get hens attacking one another and one another's chicks than trying to make them share food or water. The water's one thing, they may be fine unless they insist in drinking at the same time, (and often they do) but hens can be terribly dominant over resources when maternal, even if they were very laid back before, as after all it's a mother's instinct to protect and provide for her offspring.

    I have had this situation before, many times, where a chick has chosen a new mother, often a broody one. In most cases it's not a problem.

    But watch that the chick doesn't start demanding the mother come free range. If it does, she may abandon the clutch. The only way to stop the chick doing that, asides from removing it from her, is to lock it in with the mother. It will become fairly independent, going out from her nest alone to feed and water itself, but as long as she can see it from where she sits, she should keep sitting. But she may not. After all, one of your hens has already shown a deficiency in maternal instinct, and the broody may too. Then it becomes a question of risking a whole clutch for a single chick. I find in favor of the clutch in such cases unless I know the hen is smart enough to sit out her clutch.

    It may be wiser to remove the chick and rear it separately, though it would do best of course with company. If this broody hen is an unproven mother, she should be carefully watched until she's proven herself.

    You might be able to rehome the little one if you choose. It's likely to be a lot of bother to raise alone, and once it's grown it'll be the odd bird out and the likeliest target for complete ostracizing and bullying. But there's possibilities in every direction, no guarantees, so best wishes with it.
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop

    Not all broodies make good mommas. It is trial and error with your broodies to see who is the best at raising a brood. Many hens go broody. But that doesn't mean they are good momma's. Some broodies will abandon the eggs during the incubation cycle, some will kill hatching babies and some walk away from newly hatched babies. Some broodies don't take care of themselves while setting on eggs too. So stick with the momma's that know what they are doing. :)

    Great to have you aboard and welcome to BYC!
  4. crazy4myhens

    crazy4myhens Hatching

    Mar 11, 2014
    Thanks all. Ill do better with the next broody hen. This mornining all the eggs were gone so now its just auntie and her chick. So ill leave them be.
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    If all the eggs are 'gone', you have a predator problem and the remaining chick is in danger.
  6. Ren2014

    Ren2014 Blessed Beyond Hope

    Jan 27, 2014

    Hello and welcome to BYC.
  7. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!

  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    The little chick will be much safer in a brooder in the house, then left out where predators have been stealing eggs and the other chick. Obviously the mamas are unaware or don't try to protect the nest.

    Rather than have a lonely chick maybe she can be rehomed.
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