Is it possible that just the appearance of chicks could cause a hen to go broody? Saturday afternoon I introduced my (then) 16 day old chicks to the big girls, in a run-within-the-run. Within probably an hour, one of the hens hunkered down outside the little run, right next to the chicks' bedding area, and parked there all afternoon, right up until bedtime. Same story on Sunday.
I've never had a broody, but my understanding would be that if they go broody they'll skip bedtime and stay put wherever they are - and that it's typically in a nest box. Is this broodiness, or just a mothering instinct, or ??? Has anyone ever experienced "induced broodiness" just from seeing baby chicks?