How long will a mother hen care for her chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by stefmech, May 21, 2009.

  1. stefmech

    stefmech Out Of The Brooder

    May 19, 2008
    American Fork, UT
    I have a broody who hatched out chicks four weeks ago. How long should I expect her to mother them? When will she eventually kick them out of the nest?
  2. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Quote:Yes, she will usually want to see the back of them around 4-6 weeks. So it will likely be anytime now.
  3. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    The timing varys depending on the hen. And the voices only she can hear in her head. And it's not so much her kicking them out of the nest but rather her leaving them behind and going back to live with her flock. It seems to average 4-8 weeks, some even longer. So have a plan to continue care for the chicks after Mama leaves them. They probably won't need a heat lamp, but will need a secure pen and chick starter until they're 20 weeks old.
  4. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 22, 2007
    Morganton, NC
    A good mother will go 5-7 weeks. At that point the little ones should be old enough and feathered enough to be by themselves. Some hens will start pecking them to get away from her. Others just take them to bed and try to leave once they get settled. "Momma", my Orp hen, does the bed and leave. It normally takes her 3-4 days to get the babies to stay in the nest without her. Even them the babies want her during the day and she will take care of them for an addition 3-4 days during the day only. Then done. I look at that like a weaning process.

    There are exceptions. My Lacy raised her babies but never left them. She simply joined them as leader of the flock. At 7 months old, we seperated the grown birds into different houses only because I needed to move their house to a quarenteen pen from some rescues I took in.


    edited for typos
    Last edited: May 21, 2009
  5. rosawoodsii

    rosawoodsii Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2009
    6-7 weeks? Whew! That's good to know. I had 3 chicks that I put under a hen (not even a hen that was laying, mind you--just an antisocial hen that kept to herself) and she was an instant and wonderful mother. Then a few weeks later, I got 6 more chicks. What a conundrum! But I separated her from her 3 at night and she fluffed up and kept the 6 warm. Daytimes she mothered the 3 around, and after 3 or 4 days, I decided they were really old enough to do without her, so I left her full-time with the 6 babies. Now I'm feeling much better about it, because the older ones are 7 weeks old, fully feathered. My hen (Henny Penny) is mothering the new ones just fine, but I think she'd take all nine on forever if left to herself.

    Is it safe to allow the older three in with the 10-day-old chicks?
  6. wirig

    wirig New Egg

    Apr 3, 2013
    I had a hen go broody a couple years ago. This was supposed to be a breed that didn't go broody. In any case there was no rooster and I kept taking the eggs. She defiantly kept sitting on an empty nest. Finally I found a few fertilized eggs she hatched. She was the happiest hen around. She never "weaned" them though and they kept crawling under her at night. She unexpectedly died a few months after they were hatched. Here is a photo of this poor mama.[​IMG]
  7. alawrence222

    alawrence222 New Egg

    Jun 29, 2014
    Glad I found this! Just had a chicken hatch 3 eggs over three days and was worried about whether or not she will take care of them. Good to know thank you all so much for the information! This is my first time with chickens:)
  8. calientepocket

    calientepocket Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 30, 2014
    PNW- Gemini Starship
    Quote:] That's pretty funny. I'm sorry you lost her.
  9. mmclaughlin

    mmclaughlin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 28, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Funny I have a hen. That hatched 4 chickens about 11 weeks ago and I look in the coop at night and they are still trying to sleep under her! Funny sight,to see butts sticking out everywhere
    Will she ever leave them?? She is such a good momma!
  10. MeckTheHen

    MeckTheHen Out Of The Brooder


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