Brooding within the flock certainly creates some unexpected scenarios...I have had similar situations, usually it is with co-broodies...one stays on the floor with the chicks at night and the other roosts and rejoins the chicks in the morning. I have had other hens lea their chicks tucked in a low nest box while they go for the roost and then gather the chicks at first light and head out.
These events have happened after the hen tried to get the chicks to follow her up onto the roost boards but they didn't manage it for some reason...we know this because we are able to review our coop cameras.
Most times this has gone on it takes about a week for the chicks to start following the hen up to roost. Many of our hens will start moving them up at 2-3 weeks old. Nothing cuter than seeing the Littles up on the shelf trying to be 'big' chickens!
It does sound like your dynamics in the flock are getting very broody friendly and should soon allow some much more stress free brooding.
Interesting...so your large fowl, flock integrated broodies will fledge around 2 to 3 weeks...the chick not quite being 2 weeks worried me a bit as it is still getting cool at night, or will be. The great weather we've been having is abnormal and we will be (or rather today already are) back to cool rain.
My bantams don't seem to want to fledge until the chicks are feathered which is about 4 weeks of age...is that a bantam thing? (Silkies will mother forever...the Cochins only a little less so).
I'm not averse to babies running around in their down jackets during the day as I learned long ago that the babes do not need carefully controlled heat lamp environments until they feather....but night time still concerns me.
Baby is still with Aunt Olive today, and I pulled it out from Olive (who is still sitting tight) to show it food and water around the corner, and it promptly returned to Aunt Olive. I haven't seen it out today with Splash momma, and I'm okay with that as we are back to drizzle and cool....which my adult birds seem oblivious to, foraging in the rain all day long....but baby down is different.
All to ask how soon can down babies survive without the heating of momma at night? Is Splash momma "normal" expecting her 1 1/2 week old chick to survive overnight in the nest while she roosts above, creating a spot for it? (Also being the lonely only it won't have anything to huddle with unless the Cal Grey stays put, probably unlikely, or I tuck it in with nested Olive).
Thanks for your insight...the flock integrated brooding has been interesting to watch....and will definitely make flock integration a breeze when one of my big gals volunteers to sit. (Gotta love the consistency of the bantams though for "off season" brooding)..
Edited by Lady of McCamley - 4/22/16 at 2:11pm