two broody hens?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Necklace, Mar 10, 2016.

  1. Necklace

    Necklace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I started out with only one broody hen.. she was the dominate of the group. she had her two babies and they are doing great... but now another hen is broody also. she has been sitting for awhile. but my dominate hen is starting to sit again also. and she has chased the other hen out of the coop a few times.. does anyone think there is a good chance that the Dominate hen will kill the other hens chicks since they are not hers?
     
  2. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a similar problem. My hen at the bottom of the pecking order ranks even lower than half grown chicks. When she broods I try to make sure her nest is up higher. When the chicks hatch I separate the hen and chicks from the rest of the flock for a week. The week gives the chicks a chance to develop their running skills. After the week, mom and chicks are returned to the flock. This hen will be hatching her third clutch this weekend; so far everything has worked out well.

    Most hens will not purposely kill another's chicks as long as they are able to make a hasty retreat.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I’m not exactly sure what you are trying to describe. Has the first hen weaned her chicks, gone back to laying, and gone broody again? Is she still taking care of her first chicks? I don’t know what your facilities look like either. Are your facilities so small the broody hen keeps her chicks in the coop during a good part of the day or does she have enough room to keep them outside practically all day? My broody hens usually take the chicks out of the coop in the morning and never go back in until bedtime, but I have a large coop and a lot of room outside. I also have food and water outside as well as inside. Your situation sounds unusual to me but we keep them in so many different situations than about anything is possible.

    It’s possible that one broody hen will attack and kill another hen’s chicks. It doesn’t happen that often but it does happen. What is more likely is that the broody hens will fight over the chicks. They will both want to raise them. The winner gets to raise them. What is most likely is that the two broody hens will take care of their own chicks and not bother the others. But a lot of this depends on how much room you have. Chicken behaviors are almost always dependent on how much room they have.

    I’ve also had the situation where two broody hens fought over the eggs. The chicks inside the eggs of the one that had been setting longest started to internal pip. They chirp when they internal pip. The other hen heard them and decided she wanted those eggs, not hers. They destroyed half the eggs in their fight.

    I’m guessing that for whatever reason your first broody is keeping her chicks in the coop during the day while the other hen is on her eggs. The first broody doesn’t like something about this so she chases the second broody out. Maybe the second broody was showing interest in her chicks? I normally don’t push isolating a broody hen when she is incubating but you have to be flexible. This sounds like a great time to build a pen around the second broody so she can’t leave her area and the first broody can’t get in. Use wire small enough the chicks cannot get through. Make it big enough to put food and water in there and keep them isolated in there for a week or so after she hatches.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Necklace

    Necklace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ok.. let me try and explain a bit better.. yes the coop is not overly large..

    I free range them and they just go in there to sleep. My Dominate hen... her first two chicks are about 2 months old and are out and about running around with each other... they still bother there mom once in awhile..

    The Dominate hen is sitting on another clutch of eggs on one side of our pen and the other Broody hen is sitting in a higher box on the other side..

    I have noticed the Dominate hen really lacing into all of the other hens but my other Broody hen sits on her eggs and I guess when my Dominate hen gets in a bad mood she chases her out.. I am just afraid she might go crazy on the new babies because they are not hers.
     

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