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Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Redhead Rae, Dec 5, 2017.
As others have said -- it depends on the hen.
We had three broodies this year. Mathilda (Crested Cream Legbar -- first time mom) was done at 4 weeks -- a short hitter. Luckily she was co-parenting that batch of chicks with Genevieve, our experienced 5 year old Australorp broody. Genny took over and mothered the batch until about 9 weeks, then firmly kicked them out.
The mothering star of the year in our flock was Martha, our 1 year old Black Orpington. She was a first-time mom, and parented her chicks through 16 weeks! Actually she is still very friendly to her chicks, even though they are 21 weeks old and full grown. We saw one of them trying to get under her just the other day -- it was hilarious.
I can't wait to see who's gonna be a broody with my girls! I know most of them are prone to it... but we'll see. And I know, I say that now, but by the time it happens this spring, I'll probably be done with it! LOL. But, next spring, I plan on getting some hatching eggs and letting a broody have them.
Most of my broodies care for chicks for about 5 weeks. But now I'm wondering how much that may be influenced by day length and whether day length is increasing or decreasing. They were raising chicks in spring and summer, and they stopped caring for them as soon as they began laying eggs again. I wonder if your hen is continuing to care for her chicks because the short days are telling her it's not time to start back up with egg laying.
I'm sure she is laying again. I've seen here getting in and out of the nestbox. She usually has a gaggle of chicks watching her and climbing in the box on top of her. Plus her comb is red. It was pink when she was setting on eggs and for the first 5-6 weeks. I think she might be staying with them because of the cooler weather. They could need her more.
I had a hen that raised 2 ducklings. When the ducklings got older, they were running about the pen and saw their mom and the both stopped and it was like one said to the other, that is our mom, and they both did a duck-y bow greeting to her.
I had different hen that hatched out a duck and with in about 2 weeks figured out it was a duck and ran her off. It was sad because the duck still wanted to love the momma hen.
Love that photo! I was also lucky enough to have our original BO go broody this summer, almost gave on finding her eggs locally but hatched 4/7 3 survived with 3 pullets out of the trio... Definitely have better plans for next broody time this spring, will be more specific on eggs I have for them.
I have an Asil hen who mothered her chicks for four months the first time and three and a half the second time. She's with a third batch now who are seven weeks old and I'm waiting to see how long she will look after them. I can't imagine the chicks being independent at five or six weeks like some have said - they would be way too small to defend themselves from the other chickens!
I just opened this thread and Redead Rae, your picture is priceless!
Edited for clarity
Is the the same mama that started screaming in the middle of the night? It sounds like she is a really good mama.