two hens, one nest, hatching chicks

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by moonduck, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. moonduck

    moonduck Hatching

    Sep 1, 2008
    One bantam hen ("Red") decided to brood and started to sit on a clutch. A second ("Blondie") would visit her and (I suspect) add to the clutch with a few eggs of her own. Last week they started nesting together and now we're hearing peeps.

    This is our first go at this and we're wondering how to handle the two mamas.

    Do we remove one of them from the nest or let them do this together?

    Any advice is MUCH appreciated.

    Thanks, mary
  2. dixie chicken

    dixie chicken In the Brooder

    Oh my, that is a tough one. I have always put a brooding hen in her own area away from any of my other chickens. Because your other hen was adding eggs to eggs that had been incubating for a longer period, you are not going to get a hatching all at once. I have had silkie mamas, who are the most gentle chickens I have run across, fight like game cocks after they have babies. If they are getting along, leave them together until you don't have any more eggs piping and then move one hen away with the babies leaving the other hen to finish out the other eggs. If all eggs hatch and the mammas are getting along, leave them together and see what happens. You will probably need to put babies and mother(s) in their own area eventually. I don't think it is a good idea and have never had good luck leaving with other grown chickens. I am sure there are other opinions and ideas out there. I hope this helps and maybe someone else will have some other advice or experiences. Good Luck - keep us updated.
  3. Quail_Antwerp

    Quail_Antwerp [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]Mrs

    Aug 16, 2008
    My mom had this happen and when the chicks started to hatch, one hen attacked them while the other tried to mother them. She ended up separating them out, giving some eggs to one hen and the hatched chicks to the other hen.

    The eggs that she gave to the first hen never did hatch, so my mom gave her 5 one day old chicks and took the eggs (she did this at night, so the hen would think they hatched under her.)
  4. moonduck

    moonduck Hatching

    Sep 1, 2008
    So, the rest of the story... I found some past posts on sharing broods and one thing I took to heart was that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I watched for the hens to assert dominance, fight or otherwise pose a problem for themselves, the chicks or me. As it turns out, they are enjoying sharing mama hen duties. We have 4 chicks with two mamas. Blondie is first mama and Red takes second mama duties. When there's a fuss with the other chickens, they meet the gale force of the two mamas and at other times the mamas act like moms on play date, talking it over while the chicks are exploring the world.
    Thanks for the posts~ I appreciate the support!

  5. Mojo Chick'n

    Mojo Chick'n Empress of Chickenville

    I had this happen, also - with large fowl breeds.

    The only real problem was that they tended to both try to cover the eggs, and being heavy, they broke one or two- killed the chick inside. Once the chicks were born, they both took care of them, the one mama hen better than the other, but the chicks had more than enough mothering.

    Next time I plan to put the one hen and her eggs into the brooder cage, so I don't lose so many to shifting chicken butts and feet.

    Peace -
  6. joebryant

    joebryant Crowing

    Quote:That's really interesting. A great read! Thanks
  7. Love my Critters!

    Love my Critters! Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Carlsbad, NM
    I have 2 silkie hens that do this EVERY time they go broody. They both raise the babies and everything works out fine. They probably do it better than one mom. They both share the duties and stay all together until the babies are all grown... then they do it again. Don't worry, and like said before, if it's not broke don't fix it, just ENJOY!!
  8. flyinshoes

    flyinshoes Hatching

    Jan 18, 2016
    This is happening to me right now....6 hens taking care of 3 sets of chics....sharing them.....they were broody together for weeks until babies hatched....and still share small space (2 hens together with chics at nighttime...they are foraging at 4 days old now in the pasture...rooster is protective of them and all the hens eat side by side with them.. in this case it seems to be working well but I have not heard of this before...

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