Why did my broody do this?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by chicken_china_mom, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. chicken_china_mom

    chicken_china_mom Crazy for Cochins

    Apr 24, 2009
    Tab, Indiana
    My broodie Bantam Cochin hen Pebbles has been broody for about 5 weeks. She first started sitting on eggs in late May, and she sat on them for about a week before my daughter, deciding that she didn't want a broody hen, went out and took Pebble's eggs away. Well, Pebbles was not to be deterred, so she just moved into another nest box and started laying again. Well, other hens were apparently also sneaking in there and laying, and even a duck! Well, Pebbles was just the start. Right after she went broody, one of my White Silkies went broody. For some freaky reason the girls played musical nest boxes so much that I lost track of whose eggs Pebbles finally ended up on, though I think it was the Silkie's. About a week ago, another Cochin hen went broody. There are 4 more broody hens that snuck UNDER the coop too. [​IMG] Anyway, Pebbles finally had a chick hatch. We found it yesterday morning when we went to feed and water the birds. Since my girls are so reluctant to move off their nests I bring food and scratch to them, and treats, so they don't miss out on any yummies. Well, inside the house I had a bad hatch. I had set 12 d'Uccle eggs, and only one hatched. I didn't want to raise it alone so I figured why not slip it under the broody since she only has the one chick? So this morning I scooped the tiny baby up and I took it outside to Pebbles. I petted her and then my daughter lifted her with the intention of slipping the chick under her. We peeked under her as we slipped the baby beneath her and...the other chick is missing!!!!! So we are scared, looking all around the coop hoping and praying that it didn't wander off or get hurt, when suddenly my older DD hears peeping coming from her right, nearer to the door. Well, Pebbles was in the middle nest box. Potty, the hen that just went broody last week is in the one furthest to the right. So she scoopes up Pooty and what do we find? The chick hiding behind her! She seemed oblivious that it was even there. So we picked it up and slipped it back under Pebbles. Then we left all the broodies alone after making sure they had food and fresh water in the coop. I came back out this evening after my older DD comes inside and says Pebbles had evicted the Silkie from her eggs, and was now sitting in that nest box, but hadn't take her chicks with her! And the Silkie was wandering around aimlessly, unwilling to go into the box while there were chicks in there. So my daughter had scooped up the chicks and put them back in with Pebbles, which is where they are now. Pebbles is such a gentle girl, and so sweet, but I don't know why she just up and left the babies. Has anyone had this happen before? Could anyone give me an idea as to why it happened? I'm worried about those chicks and wondering if I shouldn't go collect them and brood them indoors. Can anyone give me some advice? These are my first broodies. I don't want to lose those chicks! Especially the d'Uccle, it's a Porcelain! Do I have to worry about her leaving them again? Any help with this would be very much appreciated. Thanks.

  2. LadyBeartoothMamma

    LadyBeartoothMamma Chirping

    May 31, 2010
    Absarokee Montana
    If it was me and this is just me I would put them inside if Pebbles doesnt want to watch them. Or try another Broody hen and see if she will sit on the chicks. I remember when my hens when i was younger would do the same, so my folks would try another hen. Some hens will adopt others babies. but if they wont then if youre concerned about it Id say take them in... Sometimes another hen would take the orphaned chicks.. [​IMG]
    thats just me though [​IMG] do what feels right for you and those chicks espicalley the d'Uccle, (it's a Porcelain)
  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    As long as there are eggs to sit, she may remain on the eggs. Some broodies instantly abandon eggs after so many chicks are hatched but I'm not sure she would with just one chick hatched.

    Sounds like your broody pen is way out of control. I doubt that she will adopt these chicks now but may if you take them away, place her by herself on some eggs.....then slip out in the middle of the night and slip the chicks under her and remove the eggs. Do it in the darkness, so she doesn't know what is happening.

    In the morning she should be thinking she hatched those chicks and will care for them....provided there are no more nests full of eggs to cover.

    In the future, you may want to try to keep one broody per nest of eggs with no way to hop back and forth from one nest to another.
  4. chicken_china_mom

    chicken_china_mom Crazy for Cochins

    Apr 24, 2009
    Tab, Indiana
    Quote:Like I had said in my original post, these are my first broodies, so bear with me as I ask what may seem like redundant questions.

    If the broodies shouldn't be next to one another, why do they build the nest boxes with 3 nesting spaces? Cause I bought 2 of those for a total of 6 nests. Primarily it seems that it's Pebbles that can't sit still. She is now on the Silkie's eggs, and the Silkie is on her abandoned eggs. I candled the eggs and removed the only clear one that was in there, but I left the rest because I figured since hens don't lay all their eggs at once, then even though it's been almost 2 days since that one chick hatched, some might still hatch. And if I should try to remove eggs and put the chicks under her, and she STILL abandons the chicks, who would be the better broody to try and place the chicks with? The Silkie who has been broody nearly as long as Pebbles, but is very low in the pecking order of the flock, but not usually messed with, or Pooty, the Barred Cochin hen that has only been sitting for a week, but is the Alpha hen? She's the one that the Cochin chick crawled in with, though she didn't let it under her. The chick was hiding behind her. And, if I do get the hen to take the chicks, what then? They are currently in with the general flock which consists of adults and variously aged teenagers. My Bantam flock is much more docile than my standard flock and more accepting of chicks, so I place teenagers of both Bantam and standard in with the Bantam flock until they reach POL, then the standard chicks move over to the standard coop where they will go through their introduction period. That should be interesting since they've never really had a bird added to their flock before. They were raised together, all 10 of them. I have 2 hens over in that coop that are brooding together right now too, and their chicks are due to hatch soon. I did try to stop the broody behavior, but it didn't work. I'd collect eggs right away, even when they bit me, but then I was in a car accident and I have had to limit my walking and standing, and I can't bend much at all, so the girls took the opportunity and they all went broody! It's like they know I can't stop them, and my kids are too scared to get pecked at, and the roosters have been flogging like mad which I assume is because of their agitation over the broody hens and impending chicks. Now that chicks are here, my Silkie rooster paces back and forth in front of the nest boxes, I assume to protect them. He doesn't dare flog me, but he eyeballs me like the thought has crossed his mind. He would only flog my younger daughter before the hens went broody, now he flogs them both. My Splash roo had the audacity to flog me in the coop a few days ago. I painfully half limped/half ran and chased him to let him know who was in charge, and he backed down. He hasn't challenged me since, but he has flogged the kids once or twice, and my mother as well when she tried to help. Even my most docile roo, the Alpha who has NEVER flogged anyone, flogged one of my kids the other day! She was shocked when he did it. I'm just assuming that they are in protection mode. Am I wrong about that? Should I try to bring Pebbles and her chicks (minus the eggs that she's on now, I can slip those under the Silkie or something) inside the house for a few days? And how do you successfully let a mama hen raise her chicks within the existing flock? I don't have another outdoor pen, so mama would have to come inside with her babies, or stay in with the flock. Only two options I have, really, because the dog kennel I currently have, the chicks can walk right out of unless I rigged some cardboard around the bottom. Ideas on what to do next would be MUCH appreciated. Dark will be here before too long. I guess I'm afraid that if I take Pebble's eggs away and only leave her the two chicks, that she will wake up in the morning and abandon the chicks and go boot the Silkie off her eggs again. [​IMG]
  5. DAFox

    DAFox Songster

    Nov 7, 2009
    SW MO in Vernon Co
    I always separate my broody hens from the flock and each other. Figure out a way for each broody to have their own space because it seems to me that it is very confusing for you and your chickens. I would follow the directions that were given about putting the chicks under Pebbles in the middle of the night. She must be caged so that she can't go to a different nest. Take the eggs out, so the chicks "hatched".
    I use a rubbermaid opaque plastic tote with a hole cut in the side and attached to a rabbit cage for my broody hens if I have them stay near the flock, but I usually don't do that. I usually have them in a pen by themselves in the rubbermaid tote, sometimes with the rabbit cage attached if I have more than one broody at a time.
    Good luck,
  6. chicken_china_mom

    chicken_china_mom Crazy for Cochins

    Apr 24, 2009
    Tab, Indiana
    Quote:Ok, it's getting dark now. What I will do is go out there and remove Pebble's eggs once it's actually dark I'll head out there and remove her eggs. My younger DD said Pebbles was off the eggs when she was out there a little while ago (she had left to eat and drink) and she peeked in the nest box, but the chicks weren't there. She didn't see them anywhere, so maybe they made their way back to Pooty? If that's the case, they are coming inside.

    Can I leave the Silkie and Pooty out there the way they are for now? They aren't playing the box swapping game. At least until the Silkie's eggs begin to hatch, then I can bring her inside and place her in a quiet room. I should have a pen to put her in. If I go that route, at what age do I put the mama and chicks back outside?
  7. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Hon, you either need less chickens or more space! [​IMG] Sounds like you have too many roos and no where to isolate a chicken if you need to do so...which is pretty important when you are raising chickens..for various reasons~like discouraging broodies. [​IMG]

    For now, concentrate on these chicks. If the original broody won't take them then you can try them~same method~with another...but you may have to keep them inside under a heat lamp instead.

    Can you borrow any dog crates from someone? These make great little isolation rooms for broodies and such.

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