Chicks have hatched...hens won't get off the nests


7 Years
May 30, 2012
I have 2 silkie hens that had one egg each, both eggs hatched late saturday or early sunday morning. This is my first time having hens raise chicks, so wasn't really sure how soon they would be jumping off the nest. But my Monday afternoon I took both moms and babies out of the house and put them out in the yard so the chicks could eat/drink. Right away one hen took off and wasn't paying attention to her chick, and the other hen took care of both chicks. The neglectful mother would come back every once in a while to fuss over her chick then be gone again. Then...I found her back on her empty nest with no chick! Thankfully the other hen is more than happy to watch over both chicks. Tuesday and Wednesday have been the same, both hens stay on the nest with their babies until taken out and put in the yard. Then then one hen primarly watches over both chicks while the other does her own thing then ends up sitting on her empty nest. I'm so confused by this...the watchful hen isn't being agressive and stealing the chick, she is happy enough to have it or give it back when real mom does come back. Today I left them alone on their nests until almost noon before forcing them out, why don't they want to take the chicks out to roam? There is nothing for them to be worried about outside, and when they are out they seem happy enough about it. And what could be going on with the other hen that continues to sit on an empty nest even though her chick has hatched? I did remove all eggshells from the nest, and there were no un-hatched eggs, so I don't think there should be any confusion there. Thanks in advance for any advice!
Their behavior is governed more by hormones than things like broken eggshells or unhatched eggs. I'd just give the chicks to the good mom and let the other one try to hatch air til she's tired of it, myself.

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