How Long Will a Mother Hen Go w/out Sitting On Chicks?


10 Years
Oct 5, 2009
Parthenon, Arkansas
Hi! My hen has 4 chicks and are 5 days old. So cute! This is my first time doing this. They have an area on the back of the coop about 5'x2' but it seems too small and mom gets a bit restless at time. Out in the main chicken run I sectioned them off a really nice area where mom can dust bathe, they can walk around a bit, get some sun and I built a small A-frame with bedding where mom goes in to lay down and the chicks get under her. They go back to the main coop at night. Today, mom was spending more time up dust bathing and eating/drinking. I watched for about 30 or 45 minutes and she still had not gone inside the A-frame to lay down so the babies could get warm under her. The chicks just followed her, remained active and ate and drank a lot. Most of what I read about only talked about raising chicks in a brooder where the temps are in the 90's and they don't talk much about hens raising chicks.

Is it normal for the hen to spend this much time without warming the chicks? It's in the high 50's here with the sun out. I am just a worrier and hope the chicks don't get chilled. Any feedback would be wonderful! Thank you.

Mama knows best. If the chicks are cold then they will try to nuzzle under the hen and she will set down to warm them. Every day she will roam more and more. The chicks adapt quickly to temps and mama will watch after them.
I had a broody hatch chicks in the winter, in my unheated, quite airy coop. We were in a cold snap, well below freezing at night, 40's or maybe 50's during the day. After maybe 3 or 4 days I never saw the chicks go under mama during the day. Several times I saw her squat down and spread out for them and they would ignore her and just keep pecking and scratching. They were outdoors all the time after a week or so. They all slept under her, of course; the rest of the time they followed her around, or she followed them. At one month to the day, the mama abandoned them, slept on the roost and foraged with the hens. The little ones now sleep in a nest box or on hay on the floor and hang around together, by themselves or with my injured hen, during the day. The injured hen ignores them.

They are hardy little critters, especially when mama raises them!
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