Will the mother hen get upset if I take away her one chick?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by MAleshire95, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. MAleshire95

    MAleshire95 New Egg

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    Hello everyone.

    I have a question about what to do with a single baby chick. I have 4 hens (2 Australorps, 1 RIR, and 1 NHR) and 1 RIR rooster. One of my Australorps is broody and is sitting on a clutch of 4 eggs. One of the eggs is about 2 weeks along and is supposed to hatch this weekend and from what I can tell, two of the other eggs that she is sitting on have nothing developing inside of them. I am debating between incubating the egg the rest of the way or letting momma hatch it. If I do let the mom hatch it though, will she get upset if I take it away? My concern is that she will not be able to defend her chick against the other hens and rooster (she's pretty shy and reserved). My roo is pretty aggressive and my NHR is the matriarch of the bunch and she can be pretty snappy towards the others when she eats. I don't have a special brooding area or chick raising area as I hadn't intended on getting a rooster (I'm too faint-hearted to get him killed) and I definitely hadn't planned on breeding chickens.

    If I was to separate the mom and chick, I plan on getting a few more chicks from the feed store to keep it company in the brooder. So my main question is: should I try and let the mom raise the single chick or should I raise it in a brooder? If I were to raise it myself, would she be completely distraught over her missing chick or would she not notice? If she were to notice and become upset, what should I do?

    Sorry for my lack of knowledge on this but I started with day old chicks from a hatchery and I'm just really nervous about figuring out what's best for both momma and chick.

    Many thanks.
     
  2. white ninja

    white ninja Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 28, 2014
    let the momma hatch the egg if shes devoted nothing will stop her the other hens or rooster, and shes there 24/7 you may not be there for an incubator. the eggs that arent important can be moved if shes calm. and a couple friend chick its age will really help. my bantam went broody for a month and just hatched 3 out of 5 eggs so ill be helpful with your questions. im in the process of removing mamma to leave her babys with my month old pullets so follow along and ill tell you if its ok to remove mamma.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
  3. PrairieChickens

    PrairieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you're going to take it from her, do it now while it's just an egg. If you take it after it hatches, you'll have a fight on your hands, and one very distraught mama bird who can't find her baby. In my experience, though, my broodies have had no reservations about walloping any chicken that gets too close to their babies, even though they are normally towards the bottom of the pecking order. Once that mothering instinct kicks in, they will do a number on anyone who threatens their babies.

    You might even consider tucking some of the chicks you buy under the broody mama while she's sleeping and see if she adopts them. Chicks raised by a broody are much more well adjusted than chicks left to figure everything out on their own.
     
  4. white ninja

    white ninja Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 28, 2014
    I removed my mamma from her chicks last night and put them with baby ducklings there doing great they know where food water and warmth are the momma on the other hand is runnin everywhere looking for them but is doing better goin back to regular chicken mode
     
  5. white ninja

    white ninja Out Of The Brooder

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    Btw if ur still following your post a box with heating lamp food water in a building is fine for raiseing chicks nothing special to raiseing little 1s after you show them where everything they need is at theyll be good to go.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    This is what I'd do. You might be quite surprised how assertive she is and how the others respect her maternal instincts. I've never had a rooster attack a chick, mine have always been either neutral to the chick and terrified of the momma hen, or an almost active parent. You just need to have enough space for everyone to get out of each other's way.

    Something to keep in mind....if you take the chick and brood it separately, it will be a few months before you can put it back in the coop. Where are you going to keep it all that time? Then, you have the issue of integrating half grown chicks with adult birds, and at that point the chick won't have a hormonal momma to watch out for it---it's omega momma may in fact be the meanest to it.
     
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    I usually put my broody in a large dog crate with food and water with her new chicks for 3 days. This allows her to bond and show them the water and food. Then I open the door, and she will usually bring them out that day or on day 4, and she usually will threaten everyone with death to bother her chicks. They will come back and sleep in the crate for a few days, until she decides to take them elsewhere such as in a nest box to bed down. Last summer I had one hatch with a single chick, so I went to the feed store and had to buy 6 chicks minimum to go with the one, since only chicks are always loners especially after the broody stops mothering around 6 weeks. She accepted each chick as her own. I agree that broody raising is great because there are no worries about integrating chicks later on into the flock.
     
  8. MAleshire95

    MAleshire95 New Egg

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    Thank yall so much for all of your responses! All of your posts have been very, very helpful to me :)
    So I believe that I'm going to let momma hen raise the chick, assuming and hoping that it hatches. If it does hatch and I need to buy chicks from the feed store, is it okay to place them underneath her the night that the single chick hatched? I read that it's good to place same age chicks under the mom and she won't even notice that they aren't hers. And is there any concern that she will become startled by the movement underneath her in the dark and peck at the chicks?

    Thanks again for all of your incredibly helpful comments!!
     
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    She's been moving those eggs around, and the eggs themselves rock and roll as they're ready to hatch, so the movement won't mean anything to her. Those babies will be moving under her for the next several weeks!

    My broodies like to peck when I try to peek under them as the chicks are hatching, and I've found if I come in from behind them, and kind of tickle their underside, like I imagine a chick might feel, they tolerate me raising them up for a peek much better than if I just put my hand there and apply steady pressure.
     

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