Mother hen look well after chicks, but does not eat

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5 Years
Oct 23, 2014
My hen has hatched 2 healthy chicks 5 days ago. She is looking very well after them. She scratch for food for them but there is not really food because I am keeping her in a large dog crate in the run. The tray is covered with sand, so she can dust bath. She takes food from the baby feeder, sprinkle it on the sand and call them to eat, but did not take them to the feeder, she ignores it except to scratch food out of it. She took them to the drinker though to drink water. I am not too concerned about the babies, because I have seen them eating, either from what mom has scratched or from the feeder and even seen one of them catching a small bug in the sand. I have seen them drink water too, more than once, so they are okay, are active and seems happy. My concern is for my hen. She does not seem to eat herself. Her crop is empty and there is no poop of her at all, only from the babies. If I offer her treats, like grapes, she just bite it smaller and offer it to the chicks. What should I do to get her to eat? She has eaten the first day after the babies have hatched, but nothing that I have seen after that. I need advise please.
Is there any way that you can let her out of the crate for some exercise? She may be reluctant to defecate in a confined area with her chicks.
Sorry for the delay in response, but I am in Australia - when you are awake, I am sleeping
The dog crate is extra large (130cm x 80cm.) Inside this crate Is a medium airline carrier where she was brooding the eggs and still sleeps there with the chicks. I also constructed a little run, attached to the big crate where she can dust bath and enjoy a bit of sun. Today I have opend the crate for her to get out into the big run which she did but did not go far before she almost immediately returned to the crate. Later I have taken her to their free range area, but she was not happy and ran back to the crate, but after that little bit of exercise, she ate a tiny bit of food. I couldn't get her to eat more, no matter what I offer her, (even her favourite treats -meal worms and sunflower seeds). She will take it, but offers it to her chicks. I am very concerned for her health and really do not know what to do

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