How long will mama mourn?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by shelleyd2008, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    I decided to take my hen's chicks away from her, at about 8-9 weeks old. I hadn't planned on keeping any of them, and they were free ranging, so it seemed like I was losing 1 a day.

    It has been a week now since the babies have left, and the hen is still looking for them! She goes to the tractor where they used to sleep, she comes running every time she hears a chick cry, it is just so sad!! [​IMG]
    I feel so sorry for her. I figured she would mourn them, but nothing like this! I had heard maybe a few days, then they forget about them.

    She doesn't seem to be eating much, and she doesn't hang out with the other chickens. Mostly she tries to hide from them, in between chick searches. A friend that bought some of her chicks said she would let me have one back, but those have been gone for 2 weeks, so I figured they wouldn't stay with her anymore anyway.

    Can I do anything for her? It is just heartbreaking to watch her hunt for her babies! She won't 'grieve herself to death', right?
  2. KellyHM

    KellyHM Crowing

    Sep 10, 2008
    Lakeland, FL
    At 8-9 weeks old she should have been kicking them out anyways. My Silkie has 10-wk-old chicks and she's been broody again for a week.
  3. beakkeeper

    beakkeeper Songster

    Jul 20, 2008
    Could you get her some chicks to babysit? Maybe let her sit on some more...
  4. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    I have some that are due to hatch in a day or so, but I was afraid of her leaving them. It is getting cold here.

    I have another hen that has chicks that are at least 12 weeks old, that are still with her.

    I guess my hens are just baby-ers!

    Whenever I let my young silkies out of their cage, she comes running, until she notices they aren't hers.

    Do you think the baby that my friend has would take back up with her, if I got it back?
  5. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    It is worth a try. You can bring that one back and put it back in the her and see how they interact. If she wants the baby and the baby wants her, there is your solution.
  6. eeiko321

    eeiko321 Songster

    Sep 1, 2008
    yeah let us know how u go....

    but yeah i would suggest to monitor their behaviours very closely...

    because ive been told that a hen can have the potential to kill a chick if its not thiers
    thats why when they say to introduce new hens..better to have them the same age.
  7. missourichickenmama

    missourichickenmama SURPRISE!

    Jul 17, 2008
    Quote:that is my suggestion, poor thing [​IMG], i think she has empty nest syndrome.
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Usually takes my girls a few days. Howver, they kick out the little ones at about 6 weeks old.
  9. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Songster

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    My hens seem to kick them out at 6 weeks as well.
  10. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    Oh, dear. That must be hard for you...
    It's possible she misses them, I suppose. The only time I had a hen raise chicks naturally, she never kicked out the babies - they still live together over two years later. She even kept helping them find food long past the point she should have.

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