Two broody hens, five new chicks, plus four orphan update

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by barbara4rb, May 16, 2009.

  1. barbara4rb

    barbara4rb Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2007
    Albuquerque, NM
    I don't think I'm cut out for this chicken business....er hobby....

    Friend of mine built a 5-nest box "apartment" for me and we mounted it in the carport of the building on my property. The girls loved it, and started laying eggs. Gooooood. Figured it would be excellent for collecting eggs, thought it was too open for a broody hens.

    Ha ha, joke is on me...almost 4 weeks ago a barred rock hen started sitting on eggs. Stayed put. Always there. A white hen would come in, lay an egg in the adjoining box, leave.

    I thought we wouldn't have any babies, as at BR hen sat for so long with no hatchings. Then a few days ago, the BR hen was off the eggs, but the white hen was sitting them! The barred rock was over in the next-door box.

    Yesterday, I heard peeps under the white hen and saw little faces peeking out from under her. Today, I wanted to get the hen and chicks out of the nest box and into a "chicken jail" in the yard. I used a towel and covered her/lifted her out--moved her to the pen in the yard. There were 5 babies there, 1 black, 1 yellow, 3 gray.

    The white hen is all hunkered down in the jail, babies under her. She's not moving at all. She did eat when I put food + baby scratch right beside her. She made the chicken clucking noises. But, she's not up/walking around at all. She appears fine and pecked at me several times. She also pecked at the babies a few times, but is letting them scoot underneath her.

    Here's my question(s)....it seems that neither of these hens think these are her babies. I've never seen a momma peck at newbies. Is the white hen broody and thinks she's on eggs?? and just tolerating the babies? By the way, I took a baby over to the BR hen and she pecked at me and the baby.

    I left the white hen w/ chicks under her. Alot of food and water, nest box w/ straw. Any insights is much appreciated.

    Update on the four ophans (previous post)...they're now 26 days old, growing like weeds, eating, scratching, flapping wings, jumping up on top of their nest box, acting very chicken like.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    If the white hen did not kill or injure them, she may not have been pecking at them so much as pushing or directing them, checking them out, or similar. There's no way to predict how it will go, really. Mamas vary so much in how good they are at being Mamas. But if they are under her and not injured at this point, personally, I'd leave them with her and chance it. Your choice, and good luck.
     
  3. lukewride

    lukewride Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2009
    England
    Ermm.. from my experiance (which isent as vast as most on here) a little pecking towards the chicks now and again is normal. mine have done it before and the chicks are fine.

    As for her not thinking they are her chicks, i think she knows exactly what shes doing.

    mine diddent move for 2 or 3 days and sat on those chicks for the whole time after they hatched.. i'm sure that if she diddent think they were hers she wouldent be so pleased with them being underneath her.

    i wouldent worry, it all sounds normal to me..

    and well done. good luck!
     
  4. barbara4rb

    barbara4rb Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2007
    Albuquerque, NM
    Update: White momma and five chicks are doing great in their chicken jail. Mom was pecking/scratching and kids were quite attentive. She hunkered down and all five crawled under her for a nap this afternoon. Thanks for your insight yesterday!

    AND I tried giving the 4-week old sets of chicks hard boiled eggs today. OH WOW, how exciting!!! They LOVED them. Great treat!
     

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