New baby chicks…and how things didn’t go as planned.

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A few weeks ago, my Cuckoo Maran hen went broody. This wasn’t the first time either, she’s been broody 3 times since she started laying eggs last August for months on end. Because of this, she’s given us not many eggs. We didn’t let her have babies of her own before because of my pregnancy mainly. We were also mourning the loss of a couple of chicks and hens that racoons likely killed last Fall. But now that life is in a better place and the fact chicks just started showing up at the farm store I figured we’d give her the chance to raise babies. It was so easy the last time to have a hen adopt chicks that we assumed it wouldn’t be any trouble this time but we were wrong sadly.

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I made sure my hen had been sitting on eggs for quite some time before attempting the whole swap the eggs for the chicks under the darkness of night. We did this the first night of bringing the chicks home and they crawled right under her and stayed safe and warm through the night. But when morning came, it was obvious she wanted nothing to do with the chicks. I watched as one of the chicks that was hiding in the corner out from underneath the hen whom had woken for the day tried to get close. As soon as the chicks got close she started pecking at it and the pecking was not the nice nudge to crawl under her as seen with most mother hens and their brood. The chick squeaked in pain after being pecked several times.

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My hen also didn’t even acknowledge the chicks by talking at them like my other hen had done. Okay, I thought maybe I’ll give her a few more days and try again. After multiple attempts it was apparent she wanted nothing to do with these babies. She’s still broody and still refusing the chicks. I won’t try to introduce them again for fear of her hurting, even killing these little ones. Now my husband and I are deciding what to do with this hen. If she isn’t laying eggs or raising babies for us for months and months, she’ll be free-loading. We can’t afford to care for a hen that’s not giving back so we may have to re-home her.img_20160911_095258