Free range chicks

TCCL

Songster
Sep 4, 2017
171
281
177
Eastern Tennessee
Hope all is well in everyone’s chickenland.

I have some free range Silkies and recently they collectively hatched 8 chicks. They chose to share one nest and they all mother the chicks as one unit. The chicks hatching was staggered so they vary from 4-5 weeks old. They have been out and about with the rest of the flock, raised by the mothers, 100% of the time. Of course we provide a good supply of food, clean water, and basic shelter for them and the rest of the flock.

The chicks are all healthy and growing like mad. They seem to be fully feathered and well acclimated. None are huddling in a manner that would indicate chilliness.

This is our first free-range hatch so are unsure about this: The past couple nights, two of the three mothers have returned to roosting with the other adults, while the third remains with the 8 chicks at night in a cozy lean-to shelter. The adult’s roost is very close to where the brood spends the night and is always accessible to them. Nightime temperatures here (eastern TN) have been gradually getting as low as 55f.

I want to believe that these mothers know what’s best...but am unsure. Do you think I should be concerned that two of the mothers have returned to roosting with the others at night while the third continues to bed down with the chicks?

During the daytime, all three mother’s worlds continue to revolve around the chicks welfare...

I am thinking the chicks at this point simply do not require the heat of all three hens at night and the hens know this. What do you all think about this?
 

SueT

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
May 27, 2015
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SW MO
Yes, I think you are right. Hens do wean their chicks at around that age. Are they in a coop at night?
 

NoFlyBackFarm

Crowing
Aug 6, 2018
1,434
6,480
427
Pilesgrove, New Jersey
The one with them will continue to sit on them until she thinks they are old enough to roost. The two obviously think so and she is just the one that doesn't. They will still care while they roosting till about 2 months. I have had 3 or 4 free range hatches, and one right now. You are doing everything you need to.
Here are mine (don't forget to post pics):
image1 (1).jpeg
 

TCCL

Songster
Sep 4, 2017
171
281
177
Eastern Tennessee
The one with them will continue to sit on them until she thinks they are old enough to roost. The two obviously think so and she is just the one that doesn't. They will still care while they roosting till about 2 months. I have had 3 or 4 free range hatches, and one right now. You are doing everything you need to.
Here are mine (don't forget to post pics):
View attachment 1563512

Thanks for info. I feel confident now. :)

Here they are just a few minutes ago:
7E7F53EA-7A62-4570-8A58-8F33B30EC3F8.jpeg

BA937531-3789-4EFD-8F52-0D292A0D9712.jpeg

20D9285C-8263-47C8-B102-7F6F33A6EC89.jpeg
 

TCCL

Songster
Sep 4, 2017
171
281
177
Eastern Tennessee
The one with them will continue to sit on them until she thinks they are old enough to roost. The two obviously think so and she is just the one that doesn't. They will still care while they roosting till about 2 months. I have had 3 or 4 free range hatches, and one right now. You are doing everything you need to.
Here are mine (don't forget to post pics):
View attachment 1563512

That’s a good looking family there, btw!
 

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