Amazing Mother

micstrachan

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Apr 10, 2016
11,026
56,371
1,147
Santa Cruz Mountains, California
So this was my first year letting a broody (Buff Orpington) raise (store bought) chicks. She has done an absolutely stellar job. Interestingly, when one chick got sick at two weeks, she abandoned it. Sad, but she focused on the remaining healthy 3. The sick chick died a few hours later.

The healthy chicks are 14 weeks old now and have been on their own during the day for a couple weeks. Mama tried to have them roost alone a couple weeks ago, too, but another hen (a light Brahma named Buttercup) picked on them, so she stepped back in. A couple nights ago, Mama (her real name is Cashew) was roosting up top along the alpha and beta hens. The teenagers were down on their usual roost. I figured “Ok, now it’s really over” and also thought Buttercup probably didn’t try to get her spot back since she’s in a brutal molt.

The next night, Buttercup took her spot back, pecking a pullet off the roost. All three teenagers seemed too scared to challenge Buttercup and were pacing, looking like they didn’t know where to roost. I stood back a ways to see how it would play out and Cashew came to the rescue! She chased Buttercup off and growled at anyone else who came near. The pullets joined her and they all slept together. Nice to see that Cashew is still there for them when they need her, even though she roosted up top the night before.

Tonight Buttercup claimed the spot and again, Cashew growled and chased her off. It was pretty dark at this point and the littles were roosting outside on the coop door, so I assisted them in joining Cashew and locked up. So. Dang. Cute. I wanted to witness a chicken mother first hand and I am not disappointed! Cashew is red in the face again and is squatting again. I’m sure she’ll start laying again soon, but I am so impressed she is still mothering at 14 weeks!
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,702
138,787
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Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
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So this was my first year letting a broody (Buff Orpington) raise (store bought) chicks. She has done an absolutely stellar job. Interestingly, when one chick got sick at two weeks, she abandoned it. Sad, but she focused on the remaining healthy 3. The sick chick died a few hours later.

The healthy chicks are 14 weeks old now and have been on their own during the day for a couple weeks. Mama tried to have them roost alone a couple weeks ago, too, but another hen (a light Brahma named Buttercup) picked on them, so she stepped back in. A couple nights ago, Mama (her real name is Cashew) was roosting up top along the alpha and beta hens. The teenagers were down on their usual roost. I figured “Ok, now it’s really over” and also thought Buttercup probably didn’t try to get her spot back since she’s in a brutal molt.

The next night, Buttercup took her spot back, pecking a pullet off the roost. All three teenagers seemed too scared to challenge Buttercup and were pacing, looking like they didn’t know where to roost. I stood back a ways to see how it would play out and Cashew came to the rescue! She chased Buttercup off and growled at anyone else who came near. The pullets joined her and they all slept together. Nice to see that Cashew is still there for them when they need her, even though she roosted up top the night before.

Tonight Buttercup claimed the spot and again, Cashew growled and chased her off. It was pretty dark at this point and the littles were roosting outside on the coop door, so I assisted them in joining Cashew and locked up. So. Dang. Cute. I wanted to witness a chicken mother first hand and I am not disappointed! Cashew is red in the face again and is squatting again. I’m sure she’ll start laying again soon, but I am so impressed she is still mothering at 14 weeks!
Mother hen and chicks is the best of chicken TV imo. 14 weeks is far above average ime.
 

micstrachan

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Apr 10, 2016
11,026
56,371
1,147
Santa Cruz Mountains, California
And just for kicks, here are the chicks beside me right after that, and then Cashew joined them.

3B160493-9923-4517-95A8-58D99A438160.jpeg


76DCBA83-25FF-4169-97C9-FD1CC04B2357.jpeg
 

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