A sex link that wants to mother chicks, huh??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gritsar, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I have been taking my two 3 week old chicks outside each day to spend some time with my adult birds. My LF brahmas are terrified of these itty bitty chicks, but then again the brahmas have never had chicks share a coop with them. My other adult birds pretty much ignore the chicks, but they are used to there being chicks in their flock.

    Only one bird has shown an interest in the chicks at all and that's a 6 month old black sex link. "Thelma" is a strange bird anyhow, six months old and not even close to mature whereas the other sex links hatched at the same time are all mature and laying. The first time Thelma got close to the chicks, one of the chicks ran up to her. This scared Thelma and see flared her hackles and ran away.

    Now every time I take the chicks outside Thelma comes running. She stays just out of reach of the chicks (and me) and watches them. Yesterday she watched and watched then she started picking up pieces of grass and other debris and softly called the chicks with a "come here children I have something for you to eat" sounds. The chicks, not having been raised by a broody, ignore her.

    DH says I should let her get closer to see where it might lead. I won't do it, remembering a chick from last spring that was pecked hard by an adult bird. Out of all the adult birds I have the last one I would have expected to show interest in chicks is a sex link.

    What's up with that??
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    The only bird I've ever had go broody is my Black Sexlink. She successfully hatched 7 chicks who were 9 weeks old yesterday. She is still keeping them with her even though they are now 2/3 her size and one of them crowed this morning. She was 18 months old when she decided the biological clock was ticking and it was time to be a mama, but she has been a wonderful broody hen and mother.
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    What a sweetie, calling to the babies.

    I have another case of a non-broody - my English Orp has pecked her belly clean, but it still laying. I dream of her going broody cuz I could fit a crapload of eggs under her big fluffy butt!
  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I was brooding four 3 or 4 week olds in a pen in the coop last spring when one day an Australorp broody decided they were her children. "Mama" started pacing the fence madly, calling her "children" to come to her. I opened the pen and sat down to watch. Sure enough, she acted as if they were her day olds. Their odd relationship continued for another month or so, the chicks pretty well independent but coming to her call, the mama continuing to act like she was raising a clutch from day one. Once again, it showed that you just never know with chickens.
  6. Pele

    Pele Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2011
    Quote:You really could! I've seen pictures of that lady! [​IMG]

    I'm always highly amused when a SL goes broody, though I guess it's within any hen's capacity to do it [​IMG]
  7. Uzuri

    Uzuri Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    Heh, and here I thought I had the only hen who wanted to "adopt" without the "pregnancy". My SLW had been doing the same thing -- granted not so much a stretch as a sex-link, but she's definitely never had any interested in brooding.

    Oh, and my "chicks" are 12 weeks old. Her trying to mother babies that are as big as she is is a hoot. Naturally they won't let her sit on them, but she does try to "teach" them how to eat.
  8. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 16, 2009
    It does occasionally happen.

    Seems to kindle their motherly tendencies, and they run round after them.

    Can you take a pic.
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Ideal Poultry uses Rhode Island Red roosters over Barred Rock hens to make their Black Sex Links. Pretty sure that's where you got her. Would you be shocked to learn that one of those breeds did that? Instead of thinking of her as a sex link, think of her as a cross of those two breeds. The different breeds may have tendencies, but each chicken is an individiual with their own personality. They don't all read the same book about how to act.

    I've read a few threads on here where a hen that had not gone broody would help a broody raise her chicks, but I've never seen that. I have seen rooster's do things like that when chicks are left alone. Some roosters just take care of all members of their flock. You did say she was not laying. Maybe she is just confused?
  10. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Well yesterday afternoon Thelma was acting the same, staying close by the chicks, picking up and tossing grass and food, clucking away. Once I relaxed my guard enough to let her close enough to the chicks she pecked one of them, hard. No more getting close to the chicks for her. A chicken can fool me but once. [​IMG]

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