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Tough Spring

I have had 5 hens brood this spring. Hen 1 hatched 6 of 10 eggs. I moved her to the chicken tractor with her Little’s and all was well until week 3. An Opossum got in under the end of the tractor and killed 4.  I moved mom and her 2 remaining chicks to the coop and they have been fine. Hen 2 hatched 7 of 10 eggs one day before Hen 3 was due and 2 days before Hen 4 was due. Hen 3 and Hen 4 each hatched 1 or two of 10 and abandoned their nests to try to steal Hen 2’s chicks. Most of their other eggs had developed chicks in them but didn’t hatch out due to the hens abandonment. All three hens were put in a tightened chicken tractor and they tried to occupy one nest, killed two chicks, injured two that I moved to a heat lamp in the garage. I finally removed the two older hens and left the 7 remaining chicks with the younger hen and she did great with them. Last night, a predator (unknown) moved several multi pound size rocks from perimeter of the tractor, dug under the end past a barrier board and took 4 of the chicks.

Out of 40 eggs, I have only 7 total chicks this spring. I have divided the coop for the broody hen and the hen and her 3 remaining chicks to secure them for tonight. Broody hen is sitting 10 eggs now and I have to figure how to make them more secure when they hatch. I’m distraught over the loss.

Perhaps I will move all of the hens except the two Momma Hens, the Americaunas, the chicks and Romeo to the cull coop until the babies get some size on them.  I can’t trust the Chicken Tractor until Son #1 comes on the 10th to finish the cull coop and secure the tractor as a brooder.

On a positive note, the two chicks that were moved to the garage brooder are healing nicely and have regained strength and energy.  I toyed with moving Momma Hen and her 3 chicks in with those two babies and let her raise them in the brooder for a couple of weeks.

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