A 5 week old chick acting like a mom?


5 Years
Aug 24, 2015
Hamden, CT
I have a 5 week old speckled Sussex and a 5 day old blue Cochin. The Cochin goes under her for warmth and the Sussex doesn't mind. The Sussex also seems to protect her and feels the need to sit on her, one time. Can a 5 week old already have that maternal instinct?
IMO, this behavior is just chicks being chicks. They cuddle for warmth and security regardless of gender and ducking under is instinctive. It's really funny when the one ducking under is bigger than the chick it's trying to go underneath!
As debid points out, new baby chicks have this driving instinct to crawl underneath other chickens, and when it happens to be under an older chick, it's simply the older chick's laid-back attitude that prevents a negative outcome. It doesn't necessarily indicate a "maternal instinct" which requires broody hormones to be activated.

This instinct for babies to be attracted to the underside of most any chicken body they encounter is why I advocate the segregation of chicks under two weeks of age. It takes that long for baby chicks to become discerning and not get into trouble ducking under any old "port in the storm".

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