what should we have done differently?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by tazzy, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. tazzy

    tazzy Songster

    Apr 2, 2008
    We had eggs from our second broody hen hatch a few days ago. She had decided to sit on the eggs herself, and we didn't catch her until a couple days later, so we let her sit on the nine eggs she had commandered. They had been laid over the past 1-2 days.

    Six of the chicks hatched one morning and then the next evening, a seventh chick hatched. That was 36 hours from the initial hatch. By then, the momma hen was out of the nest and was teaching her new babies how to eat, drink, etc. The poor chick that hatched late was laying there, damp, freshly hatched, and we hoped that the momma hen would jump back on the nest as nighttime came. It was a warm night - 90 degrees - so we hoped that the chick would be okay regardless. we didn't intervene.

    The next morning, the baby was dead. It was very sad to see it curled up and realize that it died from exposure since it didn't have the momma hen to keep it warm.

    If this happens again, should we do anything differently? Should we have intervened and put the baby chick under a brooder lamp? We don't use a brooder, since we're using broody hens, but we do have a brooder lamp from our initial chick purchase last year.

    We really thought the momma hen would get back on the nest so we didn't think we had to do anything. Now I feel awful about that decision.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2008
  2. seriousbill

    seriousbill Songster

    May 4, 2008
    Often, when a mother hen leaves the nest to take care of the chicks she *knows* are living, she will disregard any hatching chicks that may be late or struggling. It is a natural phenomenon, designed to favor the strong and vital. Old-timers would probably say that it is best to allow such late hatching chicks to expire because late hatching can be genetic, and a struggling chick might not be a thrifty one for the flock. Many contemporary owners would try to save the chick by brooding it overnight, hoping to return it to mother within a day or two after it gained some strength. Others would just raise it separately. It is a judgement call, and it is up to you as an owner. I've heard all three perspectives, and I'm just presenting them to you so that you know that what you did isn't necessarily a mistake from all viewpoints. I wish you better for next time.

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