Baby chicks and hens .. when do they kick them out ?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Tneggchic, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. Tneggchic

    Tneggchic Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 24, 2014
    I have a silkie who hatched off one lone egg - it wasnt hers but she was great and hatched it and now the chick is almost 4 weeks old she will have nothing to do with it . I have another hen who just hatched out 5 about 3 days ago and the older chick stays right with this hen now ..even sleeping on her back . Is this normal ? As these are my first hen hatched still in the coop chicks.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Probably 4 to 5 or 6 weeks would be "average." But they do vary a lot. It's usually apparent from their behavior. Your hen has decided the 4 week old chick is ready to go on its own. They will ignore them, even peck them (usually lightly) to get them to move away from the mama. And your other hen has not yet decided it's time for her chick to go on its own. Sometimes they keep "mothering" chicks for many more weeks, til the chicks are practically as big as the mama. The chicks in tht situation may or may not pay much attention to what mama wants.

    I once had a broody adopt some 4 week old chicks and try to mother them for another 4 weeks. They had spent their first 4 weeks in a brooder next to the broody's nest; I couldn't get her to accept them when they were day old chicks. The poor chicks couldn't figure out what the mama wanted. You just never know.....
     
  3. Tneggchic

    Tneggchic Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 24, 2014
    Wow .. I did not know 4 weeks could be the kick you out of the nest time!! Granted .. none of the bigger hens seem to bother her only baby so im hoping she did a good job .. I do know that the hen with the new babies doesnt seem to mind the older chick .. so maybe it will all work out ..
     
  4. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had a broody hen that let her chicks go at 4 weeks; it was painful to watch because the chicks were not ready to let go yet and chased their momma around when they could find her. The two little ones seemed so lost without her. I would let them out in the morning and they would trek down to where she took them to forage all by themselves. I thought that was too early and didn't use her again as a broody.

    I also had one broody that brooded her chicks until they were about 14 weeks. I thought that was a bit long, but the chicks didn't seem to mind the helicopter parenting. It looked really strange for that mother to have her wings spread out over such big chickens! Obviously, that is a little bit of a waste of a good broody because she could have been working on another group of chicks instead.

    I think each broody is different because their hormones are different. It's prolactin that keeps them brooding chicks, I believe. So it's not like a broody can control how she acts. But I try to keep track of which broodies do best and use them again.

    Interesting part ... there comes a time that chicks stop making chick peeps. I think it's around 6 weeks. To me, that makes more sense naturally as a time to "kick the chicks out of the nest" ... or at least not before then. 8-10 weeks seems to work well also.

    If your newest broody is happy with the 4 week old chick hanging around, hooray. I think possibly the fact that she is still making chick peeps makes a difference ... I'm not sure, but possibly.
     

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