What the heck went wrong?!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by jak2002003, Mar 22, 2017.

  1. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 24, 2009
    I have many bantam chickens... they regularly go broody and hatch out and rear their own chicks with few problem over the years. Now I have 3 hens with chicks happily going about their lives.

    But, disaster has struck one hen who hatched out her eggs yesterday. She is very experienced broody and this is so out of character for her. I can't get my head around when happened. Here is what happened. Any ideas what was going on welcome.

    1. I went into the coop in the afternoon and saw the hen sitting on a shelf below her nest box. I saw eggs still in her nest box with one dried out and chirping chick.

    2. Under the hen on the shelf was a still wet chick which she was brooding.

    3. Another egg was hatching, but the chick was stuck in the egg as the membrane had dried out.

    4. The other 4 eggs were cold and the chicks dead inside them... no signs of them trying to hatch.. no piping in the shells.

    But is got worse.

    I put mother hen and her 2 hatched chicks into a big cage I have for emergencies. I helped the unhatched chick out of its dried up egg... which was quick and easy and they chick was strong and cheeping with bright eyes and wiggly. No injury and no blood loss.

    I put this new chick under mother hen in the cage. She was happy to brood them and seemed settled.

    Next morning she is up on the perch and all 3 chicks are dead on the ground covered in ants. I don't know if the ants killed the chicks or the mother killed them and left them.

    Now poor mother hen is very stressed and running around the garden trying to kidnap other chicks from other hens... but the chicks are older and imprinted on their mothers so won't go off with her.

    She keeps running back into the coop, looking for her chicks.. and going back to her nest box and brooding nothing. Then bothering the other sitting hens in the other boxes. So I have her back in the cage.

    I don't know why such a poor hatch rate, why dead chicks in shells, what happened to make her leave the eggs and chicks in the box, and how the just hatched wet chick got out of the box onto the shelf.

    There are no ants inside the coop at all.

    Also how can I make her feel better... or just how long will she stay distressed from loosing her chicks?

  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    In my experience, all returns to normal after 2-3 days
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by