Couple of questions about broody behavior. I have two older OEG Bantam Hens (6 years or so). One raised a clutch of 2 standard laying chicks and the babies are now about 5 months old and huge (3 times the size of their broody). She doesn't really call them anymore but the three are still thick as thieves, she follows them and pals around with them all over the large run and they still sleep together at night. With winter she is not likely to go broody again this year, is it common for them to maintain close relationships with their adolescent chicks?
Second question -- I also have a 3 year old Buff Orp hen that has never gone broody yet she appears to mother both of the same chicks. She has clucked to them as if calling them for food and both chicks cuddle up to her at night, one likes to snuggle underneath her and is sometimes under her wing. The buff is at the top of the pecking order which makes her kindness to the pullets even sweeter. Is it common for non-broody hens to show what appears to be nurturing instincts towards older chicks?
2nd question - I have a hen who has been mothering another hen since they were a few weeks old. They are about a week apart and the smaller hen is a tiny bantam so she fits under a wing like a 6 week old chick. Nothing like not being able to find a chick because your other chick is sitting on top of it. Neither one roost. They sleep side by side, usually with OJ under DJ's wing. Before PJ went broody she would even try to be under DJ and they are the same age/size.