I was thinking that a chick will usually start doing its own thing from 6-8 weeks. I have a 1 year old silkie cross that has two 8 week old chicks and is still clinging to them like the day they hatched! One chick I think is a Roo (just because of the way it acts and it's also twice as big as the other). The smaller chick (maybe a hen) was born with one wing. The hen held her up to eat and drink, my Roos also helped her get food too. She is very much thriving despite her handicap! At night mother hen and chicks still roost together apart from the flock in a medium dog box. Mother hen also will go on the defense if any other hens get too close to her chicks. Even the Roo that made these chicks is overly protective of them! He won't let them out of his sight and also chases and is aggressive with hens that pick at mama hen or chicks! When can I anticipate parents letting their babies go off on their own? How long until mama hen starts laying again? My husband believes that this is going on longer than normal because of my chick with the one wing? This may have been the hens first set of chicks. She was fantastic while she was sitting and let me bring her food and water. She even was great while I cleaned her box before the hatch and made no fuss about letting me clean her up after she made her own mess. I just think she loves playing mama hen, but I'm getting anxious to have her start laying again. Suggestions?