We have a small problem down on the farm.
About a month ago, I had a hen go broody in the corner of the roosting shed. I let her stay where she was because she was out of the way and safe from predators. A couple of weeks ago, another hen joined her. Unfortunately, she only had the one egg under her. I mistakenly let her stay. Last week, the hen on the right joined them. I was glad this particular hen was out of circulation because her back was getting raw from too much rooster activity, so I mistakenly let her stay.
A few days ago, one of the hens left her eggs to get the corn I threw out and I saw one of the other hens reach over and steal an egg. Now that the eggs are starting to hatch, they are fighting over the chicks. The unhatched eggs are not as well attended as you can see. I disturbed them before this picture so I could count the chicks, but still the eggs should have been popped back under. They weren't.
Later, I went out to gather the last eggs of the day and there was a just hatched chick on the floor. No chicken was warming it. No chicken noticed. Instead they were more worried about the day old chicks that were skittering from one mom to the next while the moms were pecking at each other while herding the chicks away and underneath. I took the forgotten newest chick and put it in an incubator.
Tonight, I chose a mother and took all the chicks and put them in a separate hutch. The other two, if they remain, can concentrate on the last few eggs. I had a friend who had two hens share chicks, but mine don't seem to be able.