How long does a hen "mother" her chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sgtmom52, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. sgtmom52

    sgtmom52 Birds & Bees

    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!
  2. austinhart123

    austinhart123 Songster

    Mar 12, 2008
    Los Angeles CA
    i have had hens go longer than 7 weeks but if shes not interested, than i think its time...
  3. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    My hen started chasing hers away at 12 weeks. They were pretty much taking care of themselves but she got mean to tell them to bug off about then. I felt sorry for them [​IMG]
  4. Anne

    Anne Songster

    Feb 11, 2007
    Bellingham, WA
    I have had hens "mother" the chicks anywhere from 8 weeks to 5 months.
  5. karrie

    karrie In the Brooder

    May 28, 2008
    My hen ran off her babies at 5 weeks! She was so mean to them! It was just a few DAYS after that & she was already laying again!
  6. marie_martin

    marie_martin Songster

    Feb 21, 2007
    Grenada, MS
    I have one hen that does it early too. She starts laying sooner too. I guess her body kicks in and she has t move them out. Thank goodness I have an outside brooder for when it is cold. She has done it on both sets so obviously it will be a pattern for her. The last ones were only 5 weeks. But it is pretty warm here so they are fine.

  7. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    I have a mama's girl who is almost as big as her mama that won't leave her alone! The mom went broody and the youngin' sits on top of her in the nest all the time. She is never far from her mom and she is huge! Keeps trying to hop on her mom's back for a ride like she did when she was a chick. Kind of pathetic, really. [​IMG]
  8. sgtmom52

    sgtmom52 Birds & Bees

    Thanks everyone. I feel a little better knowing she is just acting normal, although I still feel sorry for the babies, they seemed so upset when she was mean to them and chased them. She did start laying again last week.
  9. marie_martin

    marie_martin Songster

    Feb 21, 2007
    Grenada, MS
    My barred rocks were raised by a broody silkie and when they were about 8 weeks she put them in the road and they are 9 weeks now and still trying to keep up with her and cry at night if she roosts and wont let them near her. They are definitely spoiled. But I guess it depends on the mama?

  10. Ellie

    Ellie Songster

    Aug 10, 2007
    Redding, Ca.
    My Lacy kicked them to the curb at 4 weeks old. Poor things. But they seem to do fine now.


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