Hello! I had a girl go broody on me over 3 weeks ago, so late last night we put 4 baby chicks under her. She layed on them all night and seemed to be doing a decent job keeping them warm.
My question now is, how is a mother hen supposed to behave? I am not sure if she's a good mommy or not. She will leave them behind to go dirt bath and poo when I open the pen. She runs out and abandones them! But she still does her broody calls. Today I thought she was going to go back to her babies after her outing, but she went into the coop and upper nest box instead. So I'm totally confused! I took her down and locked her in the pen with the babies. She pecked at them and got them all together in the corner. I thought she was going to sit on them, but instead she sat in front of the pen away from the chicks....
Is she going to lay an egg?? It's been several weeks since she last layed as far as I know.
Also, how long can a mother leave her babies before I should worry? I really didn't want to hand raise these chicks. It's been in the mid 60s here so not too terribly cold, but not warm either.
Any advice would be so much appreciated. I don't want the babies to suffer or die, but I'm not sure if their adoption mom is doing her job! I thought it would be easy to "let nature take its course" but I'm a basketcase!