Chicken sitting on chicks

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7 years 6 months ago #38860 by OtagoSouthlandFarmer
Hi there,
I have a silkie hen, she's less than a year old and has just hatched her eggs. She now has two chicks, well DID.
She is currently sitting on the ground level of the hen house and appears to be ON the chicks? She's either running around the property or in the nesting box, so i'm unsure as to why she's in the dark, in the corner, apparently sitting on her chicks.

Is this normal behaviour? They must be about a week old and I've only seen them once.
Is there a possibility the chicks are dead underneath her, or is it normal for her to sit on them once they've hatched?

Thanks

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7 years 6 months ago #499490 by tonic
Replied by tonic on topic Chicken sitting on chicks
Once the chicks are a day or so old the hen and them will start raoming around to find food. The chicks can't keep themselves warm until they have feathered up at a few weeks old and until then need to snuggle under her to keep warm enough to survive.

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7 years 6 months ago #499493 by OtagoSouthlandFarmer

tonic;505169 wrote: Once the chicks are a day or so old the hen and them will start raoming around to find food. The chicks can't keep themselves warm until they have feathered up at a few weeks old and until then need to snuggle under her to keep warm enough to survive.

Thanks, the chicks are at least a week old now, and are still nowhere to be seen - and Cosby the hen hasn't moved, nor has her food been touched.

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7 years 6 months ago #499500 by tonic
Replied by tonic on topic Chicken sitting on chicks
I would pick her up and check, she may have lost the chicks and actually be unwell...

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7 years 6 months ago #499520 by OtagoSouthlandFarmer

tonic;505179 wrote: I would pick her up and check, she may have lost the chicks and actually be unwell...

I can't reach her, she's way in the corner which isn't detachable from the main section of the coop. I'll try coax her out with a stick tomorrow and will update...

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7 years 6 months ago #499619 by OtagoSouthlandFarmer
Went down, she's still underneath in the corner. Went to refill the pot of water and her chicks have drowned in it :( Could she be grieving?

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7 years 6 months ago #499625 by Andrea1
Replied by Andrea1 on topic Chicken sitting on chicks

OtagoSouthlandFarmer;505314 wrote: Went down, she's still underneath in the corner. Went to refill the pot of water and her chicks have drowned in it :( Could she be grieving?


I've been breeding chooks for going on 30 years, and I've never known a hen to grieve lost chicks. SHe will spend a little time looking for them possibly, but otherwise, they just move on very quickly. Is she on eggs again, perhaps?

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of the chicks. For next time, give them a small, shallow bowl and cover the bottom with stones, so the chicks can only stand on the stones and drink, and get out easily, and not fall in and drown.

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7 years 6 months ago #499630 by Deanna
Replied by Deanna on topic Chicken sitting on chicks
Gosh what a sad outcome. :(:(:(

25 acres, 1400 Blue Gums, Wiltshire sheep, 5 steers, 2 cows, ducks, chickens, bees, dog, cats, retired, 1 husband and 3 grandkids.

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7 years 6 months ago #499633 by OtagoSouthlandFarmer
I guess it's a bit of a learning curve as I've never owned chickens before.
In the case of the hen still not moving - what could be wrong with her? She's not in the nesting box nesting anymore and I don't think she's really eating.
Pretty gutted about her chicks though - how often can they have chicks?

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7 years 6 months ago #499637 by Andrea1
Replied by Andrea1 on topic Chicken sitting on chicks
As to how often then can have chicks, it depends on the hen. We've had some that spend their entire lives just hatching and rearing chicks, with a break of about 6 weeks between hatching and going clucky again. But in her case, no reason she can't go sit on eggs again right now. BUT, you should get her out and have a look at her and make sure she's not sick or injured. She may just be clucky again, and some cluckies eat very little the whole time they're on eggs. I always make sure they have at least water accessible whilst they're sitting. Most hens, however, will get off the nest once a day for a fast poop, feed and drink.

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7 years 6 months ago #499690 by OtagoSouthlandFarmer
I think she might be broody. I got her to move and she was on eggs (but not in the nesting box). However, since she's been in the coop, the rooster hasn't been visiting. So the eggs will never hatch.

(and sorry, I believe i posted this in the wrong section).

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7 years 6 months ago #499692 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Chicken sitting on chicks
So are the eggs hers?
I would be surprised if she has laid enough eggs to brood since hatching 2 chicks about a week before 11th December when you first posted about the chicks. Usually a broody hen who has sat on a nest to hatch chicks for 3 weeks will not come back into lay until the chicks are at least 4 weeks old and more likely 6 weeks, and then it is going to take another week or so of laying to get enough to brood.
Might I suggest she is still broody from her first stint and has just taken over someone elses eggs which might have been laid there?
If you don't have a rooster in there, then you should probably get her out, remove the eggs and try to stop her broodiness. After such a prolonged stint she will be fading away and just leaving her on infertile eggs may mean she will die there.

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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7 years 6 months ago #499693 by OtagoSouthlandFarmer

Sue;505394 wrote: So are the eggs hers?
I would be surprised if she has laid enough eggs to brood since hatching 2 chicks about a week before 11th December when you first posted about the chicks. Usually a broody hen who has sat on a nest to hatch chicks for 3 weeks will not come back into lay until the chicks are at least 4 weeks old and more likely 6 weeks, and then it is going to take another week or so of laying to get enough to brood.
Might I suggest she is still broody from her first stint and has just taken over someone elses eggs which might have been laid there?
If you don't have a rooster in there, then you should probably get her out, remove the eggs and try to stop her broodiness. After such a prolonged stint she will be fading away and just leaving her on infertile eggs may mean she will die there.

I would presume they are her eggs because the other hen has found a new home at the neighbours and doesn't come home often.
You are probably right, I will try get her out - this can't be too good for her.

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7 years 6 months ago #499694 by OtagoSouthlandFarmer
Would the breed have anything to do with anything? I've been around hens a lot (although never owned any myself) and they are odd compared to the 'normal' hen.

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7 years 6 months ago #499699 by Achelois
Replied by Achelois on topic Chicken sitting on chicks

OtagoSouthlandFarmer;505396 wrote: Would the breed have anything to do with anything? I've been around hens a lot (although never owned any myself) and they are odd compared to the 'normal' hen.

Silkies are renowned for being extraordinarily broody. Some chicken farmers keep them just to hatch the eggs of the breeds they want to develop since they're so good at it. I'm so sorry for the loss of your chicks - we lost one this way when I was a kid. Extremely sad. Always make sure the dish is shallow (they can learn to use nipple waterers from a young age too) or has rocks in it as suggested. Also make sure that any nest box doesn't have sides high off the ground that a chick can fall off and not climb back into - they can quickly die of cold too. They aren't very athletic for the first week or so.

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