I think Mama hen is "over it"

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by joneus, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. joneus

    joneus Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2011
    Ballston Spa
    After living on my front porch for the past 8 weeks, my beloved Mama Matilda seems to be done being a Mom. She's been- not really "ignoring" the chicks (who are 5wks old today), but definitely not fussing over them like she used to. I had them out free ranging on the front lawn today and twice I caught her wandering away without them. The last time, she had made it around the corner of the house, heading for the back yard. I went and opened the gate for her- she headed over to the rest of the "big girl" flock and never looked back...

    or so I thought.

    After awhile she started clucking, and pacing around the back door- like she was looking for something. SO- I picked her up & took her back to the chicks... where she promptly ignored them and started pacing back & forth like she wanted to go out. She didnt settle down, so I took her back outside. A few minutes later, she started clucking again.

    I grabbed a couple of the chicks & took them outside with her. She completely ignored them again- even when a couple of my other chickens came over to investigate them. They went back inside (she didnt care), she went and had a couple of skirmishes with the Alpha hen and the bottom-rung hen, and then went about her business.

    Now she's back at the door, clucking & pacing.


    The other hens dont seem too fazed by her presence out there, but she's not exactly "part of the flock" anymore, either, so I'm not sure where she should sleep tonight. They're all out grazing & doing their chicken-thing, but she's off by herself, alternating between clucking & pacing and hunting & pecking in the dirt. Do I just wait & see where she goes on her own? I thought I'd need to reintroduce her via dog-crate-in-the-chicken-coop since she's been away for 2mos? If she goes to bed with the big girls, will she be okay in the morning when they all get up? Maybe I should leave the chicken door open so she can escape into the run if she needs to?

    Will the chicks be okay without her? Or should I give them a heat lamp with a low-watt bulb? The front porch stays pretty warm during the day, but gets down in the 40's at night. I dont want them to get cold.

  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I'm a worry wart, so if mama has still been covering them, then I'd probably hang a low wattage bulb out there if it's getting down into the 40s at night. Are they all feathered out, or do they still have some fuzz???
  3. joneus

    joneus Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2011
    Ballston Spa
    There are a few patches of fuzz on a couple of them, the frizzles in particular, but for the most part, they've got their feathers. I hung the heat lamp over them- they dont seem particularly interested in it, but right now its still about 60 out there. They're mostly just chirping like mad & hopping around from perch to perch- looking for Mama, maybe?

    My heart breaks for them. [​IMG]

    Matilda seems fine. She put herself to bed in the big coop, so I'm guessing she's really done with being a Mama. I'm glad she's finally off my porch, but its sad, too. It was fun watching her take care of her babies.
  4. AAJ

    AAJ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 21, 2011
    I don't know what's going on with the hen, but I would put a heat lamp over the chicks. 5 weeks old is about a month and the hen leaves her chicks after a month.
  5. StarLover21

    StarLover21 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 11, 2011
    I would definitally have a heat lamp if you have frizzles.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by