I have a 1 year old BO that went broody so I bought her 12 fertile eggs to sit on. She ended up hatching 6 (1 cracked on day 9 and the other never developed). The babies have EE mothers and a Russian Orloff dad. She has been a wonderful mother for the past 6 1/2 weeks. She was living in a 3' by 4' brooder with her 6 babies. For the past 2 weeks I have been leaving them have the run of the big coop (8' x 8') during the day while locking the other older hens outside in the run with a wire screen in the pop door. Yesterday the mother hen was chasing the babies back into the brooder and she was trying to get out into the run to be with the other hens. Before this time she would fight any older hen who got near her, but this time when I left her out she just reverted back to her old "pre-broody" attitude. She now is showing little interest in her babies, who are still seperated by wire from the other chickens in the brooder inside the big coop. She quit "calling" the babies for good treats and ate them herself. Is this normal, for the hen to "cut the apron strings" from her babies at around 7 weeks? And will she still protect them against the older hens if necessary? I feel sorry for the little ones!