Will mother hen take chicks back?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by meshelley53, Apr 8, 2017.

  1. meshelley53

    meshelley53 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 20, 2013
    Raleigh, nc
    I had my first hatching this week and so far I have tried to let her do all the work and left her alone and watched from afar. However tomorrow I'm planning on taking her chicks from her for about an hour to check them out myself and to get a count & all but after a friends story of a hen turning on her chicks after she handled them has me nervous. Any advise for taking them from her and then giving them back to her? I plan on setting up a playpen so she can stretch her legs while I check out the chicks and they also get their first taste of outside so don't plan on completely removing her but also don't want to have to fend her off from pecking me constantly. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2017
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    What purpose do you expect to accomplish by doing so? IMO, there is no reason to interfere with a broody hen and her chicks as long as they appear to be doing well by casual observation from "afar".
     
  3. meshelley53

    meshelley53 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 20, 2013
    Raleigh, nc
    I need to get a count mainly. She was on 9 eggs and no eggs left in nest but I've only counted 7 so far. Mainly trying to get a count and try to sex them because I'm only keeping two out of the nest.
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    She may have eaten the evidence re: the other 2 eggs.
     
  5. meshelley53

    meshelley53 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 20, 2013
    Raleigh, nc
    I was thinking that as well. But I feel like I need to know for sure how many she has because I have two black snakes that live around the coop area and need to know what she has so when I do watch from afar I'll know if anything is different for the next couple weeks.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Will the mother hen take the chicks back? I don’t like giving guarantees with living animals and their behaviors but this comes as close to anything I’ve seen. Yes she will take them back.

    Be careful if you pick the broody hen up. I once killed a chick that had crawled up under the hen’s wing when I picked her up to see what colors the chicks were. Since killing that chick I just leave the broody hen and her chicks alone. I’ll find out what I want to know soon enough. I find the less I interfere with a broody and her chicks the less damage I do.
     
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  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    It shouldn't take near an hour to do a head count and quick check. But even if it did, I don't think that would matter to her, she'd be thrilled to have them back.

    If I need to do a check, I just lift momma out of the nest and set her on the ground. If she has not taken the chicks off the nest herself, she's usually still in the broody trance and just hunkers down there for a few minutes. That's all I need to clear any debris, get a quick count, and if they're sex links tell who is male/female. Then I just set her back on the nest and everyone's happy.
     

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