Broody Hen Rejecting Chicks (3 Reasons Why + What To Do)

If your chicken goes broody you’ll likely notice a personality change in the bird. What was once a friendly and social bird, may turn into a bird that is aggressive and antisocial.

The bird may even reject its own baby chicks, this article explores why your broody hen does this. 

Broody hen rejecting chicks:

A broody hen incubating eggs, and then rejecting them as soon as they hatch is concerning. Chickens are usually very attentive and protective of their baby birds, reasons why this odd behaviour happens may be: 

Bad mothering:

Some chickens may simply be bad mothers, new hen mothers are usually bad mothers. If this is your bird’s first clutch then the bird may not know how to take care of a clutch of baby chicks.

The mother may be a great brooder, but this good mothering may stop when the chicks hatch. The mother may even peck the baby birds if it is a bad mother. This type of mother will love her eggs but hate her chicks.

The mother may also reject the chicks if she hasn’t been broody for the right amount of time.

Your hen may grow out of this bad behavior and accept its next clutch as its maternal instincts kick in, or, the mother may never turn out to be a good mother

What to do:

If the mother bird rejects her babies then you’ll need to separate the chicks from the mother, the mother may harm the chicks if she is left alone with them.

If the mother bird continues with this behavior with more clutches of chicks, then you’ll need to break the bird of its broodiness as soon as she goes broody again.

Give her eggs to another bird who has good maternal instincts.

Note: Do not give the chicks to a bird who is currently sitting on eggs as she will adopt the chicks, leave her eggs and not sit on them anymore. A hen can’t raise chicks and sit on eggs at the same time 

Something wrong with the chick: 

Chickens know that it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, if a hen knows that her clutch of baby birds has a good chance at survival then she will raise the chicks.

If the mother hen knows that there is something wrong with a baby bird, then the mother will reject the baby bird. The mother bird may even kill the baby bird if she realizes that there is something wrong with the baby bird.


What to do:

If there is something wrong with a baby bird then the baby won’t have the best quality of life. You may have to put in extra effort to raise a baby bird that has an internal or external defect.

You can choose to take special care of this bird, or, you can let nature take its course 

Surrogate mother:

If you’ve bought fertilized eggs, and placed them under a broody hen to hatch, then the mother hen may reject the baby birds because they are not her own.

Hens can adopt chicks that are not their own but some hens will not raise chicks who don’t look or sound like what their offspring should look or sound like. If this is the case then the mother hen will reject the chicks

What to do: 

You may need to take care of the chicks yourself if they are rejected by the hen, or, you may have to try to get another bird to adopt the birds.

If the birds are young you can sneak them under another broody hen and hope that this hen adopts and takes care of the chicks. You can encourage another hen to become broody if there are no other broody hens available 

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other chicken related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in:  Broody Hen Pecking ChicksBroody Hen Attacking Chicks, Can Chickens Drink Salt Water?, Broody Hen With A Pale Comb, Broody Hen Eating Eggs  

Broody Hen Rejecting Chicks (3 Reasons Why + What To Do)
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