How long does a chicken raise a chick after the baby hatches?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Cluky, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. Cluky

    Cluky Songster

    Apr 13, 2012
    So I cannot find this information anywhere. When does a hen not care about its chick anymore and lets it just be within the flock?
  2. Veer67

    Veer67 Songster

  3. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Crowing

    Feb 22, 2007
    Morganton, NC
    A good mother will take care of her chicks for at least 6 weeks. After that it just depends on the hen. My Lacy has 4 that are 12 weeks old. She is finally starting to show signs of leaving them.

    Mine are separated before hatch and sleep in their own mini/broody coop while the hen is still with them. Once the hen goes back to her flock the little ones still sleep in that mini coop till about 2/3 grown and then moved to the flock(s) that they will live with or sold/rehomed.

    3 years ago a d'Uccle hen of mine raised chicks. She formed a flock with them and never returned to her original coop. I switched their broody coop with a small permanent coop and they have been their own flock since.

    Last edited: Oct 3, 2013
  4. bj taylor

    bj taylor Songster

    Oct 28, 2011
    North Central Texas
    I wasn't keeping exact track of time, but my buff orp mama kept her kids with her for a couple of months at least. they were nearly as big as she before she began pushing them off. she was the best mom ever. however, she did have it easier than most - she just had two to keep up with.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I’ve had a broody totally wean her chicks at three weeks. I’ve had some wait for 9 weeks. I’ve had several in between. I’ve had broodies stop protecting them at night and sleep with her buddies instead but continue to care for them during the day. I’ve had broodies stop taking care of them during the day but continue to protect them at night.

    There is no magic age when all broodies in the world quit taking care of their chicks. It can vary quite a bit.
    1 person likes this.
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    This. They should brood them until they're mostly feathered out, after that it's fair game to "wean".
  7. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Crowing

    Apr 8, 2008
    This has been my experience as well--they're all over the spectrum. It does seem to vary a bit with time of year, as they seem to stick around longer when it's colder out.

    I once had a broody outside the pasture that showed no signs of giving up her chicks, even at three months. I put them all inside the pasture, and she walked away from them that same day. It seemed like she was only hanging out with the chicks because they were the only flock around.
  8. Owingsia

    Owingsia In the Brooder

    Sep 28, 2012
    Saluda VA
    We have two hens who usually raise the young. Sasha a Japanese Bantam will raise them until the chicks leave her IE: they start running off and doing their own thing. If they come back she cares for them but is a more "You do for yourself" Kind of mom. She will clear the feeder for the young hens and show them how to eat but is not the type to bring food to her chicks. She shows them how to do it and if they cant figure it out she dosnt abandon them but they better learn... She usually is with them for about 8-12 weeks and then chicks start doing their own thing.

    Freeda one of our Ameraucana's keeps her chicks with her for as long as she can and even finds them food etc... she waits on them all the time. She isnt as feisty as Sasha and has a hard time getting her babies to the feeder's she usually waits for Sasha to clear the area and then brings her chicks up. Sasha is ok with other hens around her babies but the second one pecks at her chicks its on. Our Alpha Roo (also a Japanese Bantam) is fond of just about any chick and usually keeps the ladies in line so the babies can get space etc....

    Was so funny the first batch of chicks Sasha raised all ran right up to Kai (Alpha Roo) and started pecking at him and looking at him etc... he was so calm with them it shocked all of us. He had a RIR chick sitting on his back and two others tugging on his comb and he just sat there completely fine with it. Kai is a rather odd Roo though as he is extremely calm and gentle with everyone until one of the other roos gets out of line or the hens act up. We have a rather large RIR Roo (Sam) who challenged Kai once and only once... the fight was very short and Sam limped away and has behaved every since. We have only had to put down one roo that could not figure out the pecking order and was starting and loosing daily fights with Kai... he was a huge Wyndot (Spelling) we stewed him up and he was delicious.
  9. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

    Sep 12, 2012
    My one main broody had some chicks back on June 1st. She stayed with them until they were about 6 weeks old, and then still slept with them in the nest at night, but she was laying eggs again. About two weeks later, she went broody AGAIN. But the June 1st chicks were STILL allowed to nest with her! And that's pretty rare! Well the younger group hatched out and grew to about 4 weeks old before this hen FINALLY got up one night to roost.

    Prior to that, if she found food, she'd call all of the chicks over. If an older chick got there first, she'd let them eat it instead of defending the food for a younger one. She just never really let go of those older chicks. The crowding in the nest box did kill a couple of newer chicks though. And then a king snake got in and finished off all except two of the younger batch.

    Once that hen started to roost up top with the rest of the flock, I took her out of that pen and put her in my breeding pen with her own rooster and a second laying hen. She started laying on day 2 in that pen.

    Meanwhile, the June 1st chicks are still nesting. They aren't roosting, and they're over 4 months old now! Furthermore, the two younger chicks that survived are STILL nesting with the older ones. So even though they have good feathers coming in now, the older ones are keeping them warm at night.

    When they are awake, everyone goes off and does their own thing. The two younger ones can actually get out of the lattice work on the gate of the pen, and they'll go around the outside grabbing bugs. The others just kinda scatter inside the pen doing their own thing. But it's interesting to me how the 4-month-old chicks kinda took over for the broody hen in terms of nesting with the babies. I doubt two of those older ones will really ever leave the nest - they are silkies!

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