Big chicks taking care of baby chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by the cluck juggler, May 22, 2019.

  1. the cluck juggler

    the cluck juggler Incubator Addict

    Jun 12, 2017
    Twice now have I had an adolescent chicken raising baby chicks. Once was a 3 month old pullet who took them in as her own, and now a 2 month old cockerel who let the babies tuck in under his feathers for warmth.

    Wondering if anyone else has had similar experiences?

    Young step-dad Tore, and his kids.
  2. AltonaAcres

    AltonaAcres Songster

    Jan 13, 2019
    Yes, we've had an Easter Egger who was bigger than everyone else let the little guys under her wings. So cute!
    starri33 and the cluck juggler like this.
  3. Keeperofmunchkins

    Keeperofmunchkins Songster

    Nov 5, 2018
    Birmingham UK
    I wonder to what extent the older chicks are actually looking after the young ones. I mean, when they are still very much in their 'baby' mindset, they don't have such competitive and aggressive drives as when in their adolescent or adult mindsets. If you put a one or two month old chick with a day old they probably won't peck it too much, but if you put a three month old or year old chicken with that new chick they will probably be quite aggressive toward it,particularly when it tries to snuggle underneath them.

    A baby chick will try to snuggle under any bigger warmer thing instinctively and without the aggressive drives the older chicks will have to put up with it. This is not the same as caring for the chicks as their own though. I would say a clear indication of parenting is tidbitting - calling the chicks toward food and treats - plus protecting them when other chickens or animals threaten them (a mother hen will growl at other chickens who get too close and spread out her wings to physically shield her babies).
  4. the cluck juggler

    the cluck juggler Incubator Addict

    Jun 12, 2017
    True. In Tore's example, he's not protecting the young or acting like a broody. He's a male so he wouldn't know how to be broody anyway. The 3 month old pullet basically adopted the babies the instant she saw them and did raise them properly.

    In both examples, they were the only ones in their age group. Tore had one duckling-friend the first month that died shortly after I put the chicks with him, and the pullet was alone for a while before I put the chicks with her. For Tore I imagine it's more of a relationship of necessity. He needs friends and a flock, and will therefore accept the chicks snuggle and treat him like a mommy. Still adorable, though.
    livinginthewild likes this.

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