what age does the hen decide the chicks are old enough to be on their own?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Lady of McCamley, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Crowing

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    I've had 3 very successful broody hatches and have noticed that it seems there comes a point when Momma simply're old enough junior, you're on your own, and generally just moves on with her life. Mom is not aggressive towards the chicks, but she seems to have just lost interest.

    I've noticed that the hen first seems to fret for freedom away from the chicks and attempts to get out of the pen without them, flying up at the gate really wanting to get out, or pacing the fence line. I've noted this time that the little "egg dance" preceded the "launching" action by several days. I also noticed that my Welsummer momma had taught her brood how to roost this last week and they were no longer huddled together in the nest but lined out on the perch together (which was a bit crowded). Today, Welsummer mom was ready for freedom. It was as if mom has decided they know all they need to know now. Tonight the Welsummer hen even shoo'd one of her chicks away from her at roosting time.The chicks chirped a bit, but everybody settled relatively easily when I let mom out of the broody pen and into the main flock. (Mom was thrilled and happy to roost the night with the main flock.)

    Mine are 7 weeks of age this hatch...and I think the last time it was about 8 or 9 weeks when my Silkie had decided enough is enough. The Silkie has not launched her chicks yet even though the Welsummer hen has decided hers are old enough (same batch of eggs brooded at the same time by the 2 different hens). I've noted the Silkie is not attempting to roost with hers yet...but my Silkie doesn't tend to roost but lay in a box...any way I'm watching to see if that action preceeds "launching" with my Silkie in another week or so.

    What have you experienced? Is it age of chick or hen related?

    What do your broodies do?

    Just curious.

    Lady of McCamley
  2. Majd

    Majd Songster

    Jun 22, 2012
    It depends..... some really early and some stayed with them until prenaturity!!! Each hen has a different way.... but at 7 weeks they're OK on their own... silkies trnd to be the best mothers... :p ... but it depends as said... some leave early to begin the second hatch... ;)

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