When Good Broodies Go Bad

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Crunchie, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. Crunchie

    Crunchie Brook Valley Farm

    Mar 1, 2007
    First off, let me say.... #[email protected]! HEN!!

    Ok, now that that is out of my system...here's my story. One of my Cuckoo Marans hens went broody a while ago. At first I tried to break her up, but then I filled my incubator up and figured it wouldn't hurt if she wasn't laying. I thought it would be nice to let her sit on a few eggs. So I let her go, in hopes that she'd stay broody and go ahead and hatch a few.

    Well, I didn't keep track of when she started setting. I had plenty of doubts that the hen would even stay broody, and I just didn't pay attention. She sure seemed like she was sticking to it, but what did I know?

    Well, this afternoon when I was feeding she jumped off her nest to get a quick bite to eat. I saw a piece of broken egg shell in her nest box...I was confused. I didn't see a chick. Why would there be broken egg shell in there?? I looked and looked, but just saw a couple of pieces of egg shell. Weird!! But then, I saw it--a CHICK! It was in the furthest corner of the nest box, far away from the hen (and warmth!) and half hidden by shavings. I thought for sure it was dead. I picked it up and it was ice cold (it has been a bit chilly here the last couple of days--low 60s), its eyes shut. However, to my surprise, it was breathing--and it even managed a few faint peeps.

    I was so mad at that hen!! She had been so faithful about those eggs--aggressive, even! You dared not try and take a peek underneath of her for fear of losing a limb! All of that, to abandon this chick to freeze to death.

    I quickly set up a brooder with a heat lamp and put the chick in to warm it up, though I was pretty sure it wouldn't make it. It was so cold, and curled up...wouldn't even open its eyes. Well, again, to my surprise, that little chick was up and walking and cheeping loudly in about an hour!! I just came back from the barn, and it seemed like any normal just hatched chick. I dipped its beak and it took a few sips of water, and I gave it some water with vitamins by a syringe.

    I still wouldn't be surprised if this chick doesn't make it--it was so awfully chilled. It obviously hatched today, but for all I know it had went since hatch without the hen keeping it warm. But I am amazed at how resilient it seems to be! So here's hoping [​IMG] that she makes it! And yes, it is a she--a totally gorgeous, dark little feather-legged Marans pullet!!

    And lesson learned: good broody does not necessarily = good momma hen!
  2. theOEGBman

    theOEGBman Songster

    Jan 13, 2007
    Central California
    Is it possible that the chick had something wrong with it? Hens can be pretty smart. I had two broodies EAT their babies, its not a fun experience.
  3. Crunchie

    Crunchie Brook Valley Farm

    Mar 1, 2007
    There could definitely be something wrong with it that I can't see. But in every way apparant to me, it's a pretty perfect chick! And I don't think that it would have perked up and survived as long as it has if there was something terribly wrong with it to begin with--it was so badly chilled. But, who knows? Mother nature is definitely smarter than us humans some (most?) times!! What I really think is that the hen is very interested in sitting on the eggs, but wants no parts of anything else in the process!

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