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Annabel

Broody attacks one chick- Urgent help please!

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Hi all,

I have 2 5 day old chicks which were hatched out by one broody (with another sitting on infertile eggs next to her in the nest box for weeks).  When they hatched, both broodies took a share in the mothering of the chicks.  They walk around the pen together in their run showing the chicks what to eat etc.  However when one of the chicks makes an alarm call or something frightens the main broody who hatched the eggs (Alice), she will run and attack the same chick (think it was the one that hatched first).  I know broody hens will peck their chicks to tell them off when they have done something wrong but this feels a bit more aggressive, for instance yesterday when she pecked at her, she lifted the chick off the ground to her head height then dropped her.

Yesterday the chick occasionally hid under the cage and today the other chick and the two broodies are out eating food this morning and the other is hiding in the corner of the nest box with hay over it.

She does come out of hiding to walk around with the two mummies and the other chick but she is noticeably much more timid and rightly so.

Yesterday during an 'attack' where she was chasing the chick around, the other broody (very gentle) tried to get in the way to stop her and even lay down so the chick could hide under her.  I removed Alice from the situation and left the other broody with the two chicks.  Alice went mad trying to get in there so I gave her one of the chicks (the one not picked on) and things calmed down and she went about scratching and finding treats for it but the chick was then desperately trying to get to its sibbling, pacing the wiring and trying to squeeze through to be reunited with the other chick that was also pacing the wiring the other side.

What should I do?

1) remove bullied chick with gentle broody mother to separate cage

2) give both chicks to gentle mother and remove Alice altogether 

3) keep broodies together with the favourite chick and remove bullied chick to a broody plate and buy a 4 day old chick (available locally) to keep it company

Any quick advice would be much appreciated as this situation needs to be sorted quickly!

Thanks

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What an awful situation for you!  I think if it was me I'd remove Alice but perhaps see what others think first.  Best of luck! x

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I would remove Alice and ignore her ranting - tit won't last. You are lucky to have 2 mums to look after them, so she won't be missed. The bullied chick will get stressed and this will affect its immune system.

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Thank you - I have removed Alice (who is running up and down her run trying to poke her head back).  The two chicks are very happy with the other mum and the bullied one is coming out to eat and walk around which is nice to see.  I feel very sorry for Alice given her hard efforts (and the fact the other broody essentially just piggy backed her way to these chicks) but I hope she will get over it soon and the chicks are too young to be attacked like that or see the other be attacked.

I am hoping when they are older (maybe in a week) she could be let out to socialise with them and the situation may be different.  On a good note, the head hen has accepted them and even broke in their cage to sleep with them last night.  But we still have the second in command who goes for them.  Maybe now we have head hen on board, she may change her mind.

I am very lucky to have the two mummys to be able to pass them onto - one is good at hatching out, and the other is good at being the mummy!

Thank you all for the advice.  I hope it continues to work!

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And despite having some homes lined up in the case of a cockerel, we are going to do our best to keep 'him' if we can so they can stay together.  The one we think is a boy (due to larger comb among other things was the one being attacked  - he's the one with the raised giraffe neck in the last photo.  He has just started to get some brown baring coming into his wing feathers and 'she' is getting some black and grey baring.  Beautiful, friendly little chicks.  He was a bit smaller than the other one but I think he ate less as he was afraid to come out because of Alice going for him but now back on track and gaining weight and confidence.  Thank you to everyone who was able to give advice on this x

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Beautiful chicks  thankfully it worked out well -  I have a cream legbar chicken so similar to yours in colour lays light green eggs, I have bantam chickens that are broody 2 of them and I am going to get eggs for them,  thinking 2 eggs hope that would work out they hatch to be girls, unless it is best to get more eggs any thoughts how many to get?  first time to try and hatch eggs

where abouts are you?  to get chicks near by

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I chose to get 3 eggs because if you only get 2 and one fails to hatch, you would have a lonely chick being looked after by mum and having hatched them, I realise just how much chicks like other chicks to hang out with.

i got 3 and one failed so I ended up with two which works really well. I made sure if both were girls I could keep both (had room for them)and I found homes for cockerels (which is hard) in case all were boys (personally I couldn’t kill them). We are in Oxfordshire so I found a local lady to pick eggs up from as posted ones (such as off eBay) reduce hatch rate to around 50% so I’ve read

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I did not think about eggs not hatching, Did you give the eggs to the chickens straight after getting them?  and did they hatch out after 21 days

I am going to pick up some eggs

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Definitely best to get more eggs than you want hens. Although it does happen it’s quite rare for them all to hatch.

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5 hours ago, gardengirl+ said:

I did not think about eggs not hatching, Did you give the eggs to the chickens straight after getting them?  and did they hatch out after 21 days

I am going to pick up some eggs

Yes I picked up the three eggs around 4pm in the afternoon. Cleaned out the whole coop really well and then placed the eggs I’d picked up (with some infertile ones she had been sitting on for a few days) in the nest box and then put her in the nest box around 5.30 in the evening and she sat on them straight away. They hatched on day 20- might be because each time she got off the nest to walk around the other broody would sit on the eggs so they barely ever cooled down!

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I'm so pleased for you that things have worked out in the end.

Such lovely photos and your daughter looks a natural with her chicks.

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