Mother hen attacking 7 week old chicks.

blakeee

Songster
Dec 31, 2016
160
91
111
Australia
My hen Bailey successfully hatched 12/12 eggs however 1 died. The 11 chicks are now 7 weeks old and I've noticed that Bailey is slowly trying to sneak off every now and again and then she'll go back to them. In particular there's 4 chicks that she attacks and chases off. I don't really know why. Maybe she's sick of them? They're free range so I just occasionally go out and sprinkle some food a few times a day out for them because my dogs will eat it otherwise. I currently don't have a coop for them because my white Sussex's are in one and then my elderly couple (Bailey's parents) are in the other and I'm waiting to build a run and for the chicks to be big enough to defend themselves so they can go with them. She still finds bugs for them to eat and she cares for them so I don't know why she's attacking them. It's really distressing for me because they squeal. So loud. Every morning they come to my bedroom window and squeal along with Bailey attacking the sussex chickens when they're out and the hen sounds like a woman screaming :)lau). Anyway, I guess I'm just wondering if this has happened to anyone else and if there's anything I'm doing wrong that I can maybe fix. Thanks for your help in advance!
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
Sep 19, 2009
26,304
17,352
786
Holts Summit, Missouri
She is weaning them. She has likely been in lay for at least a few days and must break bond with first brood before committing to incubation of the second brood. First brood can be a mortal threat to second brood. In my setting, the harem master (daddy rooster) will often become leader of older brood.
 

blakeee

Songster
Dec 31, 2016
160
91
111
Australia
She is weaning them. She has likely been in lay for at least a few days and must break bond with first brood before committing to incubation of the second brood. First brood can be a mortal threat to second brood. In my setting, the harem master (daddy rooster) will often become leader of older brood.
Wait what? She's going to try having more?! Oh no! I was hoping this would deter her. Dang it! She disappeared for around five days and then we found her in some weeds with the eggs. I knew they would have already got some foetuses in there so I couldn't bring myself to take them off her so I let them have them hoping only a few would hatch. I'm keeping them all (crazy I know) but I just don't know what people will do with them. That's why the rooster was following them and Bailey was taking them to him.
 

blakeee

Songster
Dec 31, 2016
160
91
111
Australia
I've separated them because the rooster was attacking them so it's just Bailey and the chicks free ranging now.
 

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