What to do with two mama hens, one is a not so good mama


11 Years
Jun 3, 2008
Bolton, CT
I have three actually but one is a pro and doing just fine. The other two are first time Mom's. One of them is kind of doing a bad job caring for them. She's stepping all over them (banty cochin babies) and burying their food and water in pine shavings. I also have space/separation issues I'd like to resolve.

I am thinking of taking the mother's two babies away and putting them with the other mother. All these chicks hatched on the same day and the other mother has a baby that looks identical to bad mom's babies. If I do this, do I return bad Mom to the coop with the other laying hens? How will she react if I take them away from her?

I know I'll have to cross my fingers the other mom will take her two babies willingly too.
I think that you should back off a little and let nature run it's coarse. As long as the "bad mamas" chicks are able to eat they should be okay. She might be a little ruffer then the "good mama", but she still deserves a chance. she will get better over time. remember that this is only her first time. If you want her to have more, then you should let her figure the whole thing out.
I agree that you should give her a chance. I've got two hens that hatched at the same time, and they actually work together to mother their babies. Pretty cool to watch. If you keep her in with the other hens, she may learn some better skills, and at the very least, the other hens will help her chicks do OK.
I put all of my broodies in the same location, and often in a similar circumstance, the good momma naturally takes over the babies while the 'Auntie' walks around with them, overseeing. It works very well this way.

I'd let them share space, but don't take the babies away and give them to the 'good' momma...sometimes being good means protecting your babies from interlopers, and I've seen a momma kill a wayward baby that I couldn't tell wasn't hers, but she knew it from her own. They need their momma to protect them if it doesn't work out. Oversee the first few hours of integration.
I originally tried housing the two mom together but that didn't work out. "Bad" mama started to attached the other's chicks. Now I have a space issue as well but I can try to figure that all out. Thanks!
You shouldn't have to separate them from the rest of the flock if the chicks can move around with the hens. The hens will keep them safe from the rest of the flock.

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