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The joke is on me! Surprise Mama and 7 or 8 new chicks and a curiosly moving hatch fail. Ideas?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MasAhora, Dec 3, 2016.

  1. MasAhora

    MasAhora Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 20, 2016
    Well all my fuss and bother to hand raise new dual purpose chicks sin mama, plus encourage broody egg layers to make babies and slowly plan multiple coops sorted in anticipation of a more orderly and successful chick raising experience than I have 'winged' so far.... Well. It. All. Just. Changed. By mother nature!!!

    I walked out this morning to feed and check the various coops, did my usual head count and there it is.... an extra hen with 7 chicks, or is it 8 chicks???
    She broke into the run I had quickly locked off from the free range paddock to protect the chicks from the flock -but she wanted breakfast! We tried to make sure no one bothered her little ones (they have killed 2 previously).

    Yep, I am new to all this and really only just getting serious after inheriting an older in-tact flock a year ago and getting used to the idea of raising chickens for eating not just collecting their eggs. Squeamish!!!

    We finally got new mama and brood into a safe pen with a nice tree, make-shift hut and grass, she was very wet as we had a storm last night and hours of rain. How we missed her I don't know (chicken math gone wrong after a cull and my wonderful house building chaos????), she had made a nest under a bush 6m from the run where I give food and I only close it off to the paddock occasionally. However she showed me that run can NEVER be closed off, she found a tiny gap and got all her babes through despite my efforts, even the littlest chick that really struggled to keep up (last to hatch??). I now see gaps EVERYWHERE...sigh... new mama eyes seem to be growing in my head daily.

    So in her abandoned bush nest (she was sitting 3m away from it when I first saw her and didn't go towards it) I saw one egg that was maybe 15% hatched but looked failed and 2 eggs that failed completely. A few hours later I had a chance to re-check and clean up her nest, the failed hatched egg was somehow 3m away but looked 35% hatched. The shell was not broken as if a predator got it (we do not really have such problems) but a little more shell was 'peeled off' and a little leg was visible still tucked in. Sad discovery for me.

    Did I make a mistake when I checked this morning and assumed it had failed to hatch? Was it possibly slower and resting during its hatch period?
    Maybe another hen gathered it and moved it?

    I'd like to learn from this experience, the chickens are not my pets but I do care greatly for them and dislike them suffering through my ignorance. I am on a huge learning curve and spending hours reading through threads here, as I now have 20 chicks under 2 months in various pens and a few more on the way in a couple of weeks, and I am loving it!

    Feel free to critique me, I am learning the hard way their existing coop house is tooooo small to be safe for little chicks despite almost never being locked in it and able to free range over several acres.
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 7, 2012
    Hard to tell with that one chicklet. I think that if there was any sign of life, I might have brought it in and tried to keep it warm and humid (hatching temperature and humidity. Without an incubator, it would be difficult to do, perhaps using a light bulb, and a moist cloth wrapped loosely around it. You can read the assisted hatch information in the learning center to find out how to help in the future. Often, all these little ones need is more time. If you do ever decide to assist with a hatch, do so realizing that your intervention at the wrong time, and providing too much assistance too early can kill the chick. Congratulations on the successful surprise hatch. Keeping them safe, especially when your run is not chick proof is going to be a challenge.
  3. MasAhora

    MasAhora Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 20, 2016
    Thanks for that. I really am not set up to hatch an egg mama leaves so will have to think about being ready in case its necessary. Guess my bathroom and the heat lamp will continue to be an emergency nursery from time to time.
    For now they are in a chick proof pen.... well, until they show me a new weak spot!!

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