Non-Broody hen wants to sit with new momma and baby chicks. Is this normal?

M_Clucker

Chirping
May 16, 2020
36
34
59
East Tennessee
Hello everyone,

New to broody hens and having them raise baby chicks.

One of my broody hens just recently adopted (within the last 24hrs) some day old mail order baby chicks. It took two tries for her to finally accept the chicks and she seems to now be bonding well with the babies. I have momma and her new babies in an enclosed dog kennel inside the covered run of the coop to give them some privacy and protection from the rest of the . However, when I opened the kennel door to see if momma wanted to come into the run to relieve herself (she hasn't pooped in 24hrs), one of my other hens hopped into the kennel and tried sitting on top of new momma and looked as if she wanted to make a nest. She didn't bother the new baby chicks, but was definitely curious. I took the intruder out after a few minutes to give momma back her personal space.

Should I be concerned or was she just curious? This other hen has always been the most gentle one of the flock and high on the pecking order, but only pecks when provoked by another hen. Should I be concerned that momma hen didn't raise her feathers and yell at the intruder, now I'm wondering if she plans on protecting the babies when they finally start to free range out in the yard. Lastly, do I need to let momma out to relieve herself or will she just poo when she feels it is absolutely necessary. The dog kennel is fairly large, so there is plenty of room for activities.

TIA!
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Nov 23, 2010
33,439
28,533
1,097
St. Louis, MO
It isn't abnormal. They do it sometimes. Some pullets and hens will be tentative about sitting but when they see the results, they want to participate, but some can't be bothered.
I once had a non broody hen adopt about 35 chicks of various ages. I've even had cockerels adopt chicks.
 

M_Clucker

Chirping
May 16, 2020
36
34
59
East Tennessee
It isn't abnormal. They do it sometimes. Some pullets and hens will be tentative about sitting but when they see the results, they want to participate, but some can't be bothered.
I once had a non broody hen adopt about 35 chicks of various ages. I've even had cockerels adopt chicks.
Should I leave the kennel door open during the day or give it a week and see if momma wants to venture out into the yard with the babies? I don’t know if I trust not being present to supervise the other hens reactions.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Nov 23, 2010
33,439
28,533
1,097
St. Louis, MO
I would let them roam. In almost all cases, a mother hen will defend the chicks against all comers.
There are chickens today because broody hens have cared for chicks in a flock setting for millions of years.
I think it is best to get mother and chicks with the flock asap because the younger the chicks are, the more protective the mother is. By the time she weans them, they have been accepted as members of the flock.
 

SurferchickinSB

Free Ranging
Feb 23, 2018
2,884
4,530
532
California
Hello everyone,

New to broody hens and having them raise baby chicks.

One of my broody hens just recently adopted (within the last 24hrs) some day old mail order baby chicks. It took two tries for her to finally accept the chicks and she seems to now be bonding well with the babies. I have momma and her new babies in an enclosed dog kennel inside the covered run of the coop to give them some privacy and protection from the rest of the . However, when I opened the kennel door to see if momma wanted to come into the run to relieve herself (she hasn't pooped in 24hrs), one of my other hens hopped into the kennel and tried sitting on top of new momma and looked as if she wanted to make a nest. She didn't bother the new baby chicks, but was definitely curious. I took the intruder out after a few minutes to give momma back her personal space.

Should I be concerned or was she just curious? This other hen has always been the most gentle one of the flock and high on the pecking order, but only pecks when provoked by another hen. Should I be concerned that momma hen didn't raise her feathers and yell at the intruder, now I'm wondering if she plans on protecting the babies when they finally start to free range out in the yard. Lastly, do I need to let momma out to relieve herself or will she just poo when she feels it is absolutely necessary. The dog kennel is fairly large, so there is plenty of room for activities.

TIA!
I’ve had that happen and most likely the other hen will also kind of be like a stepmom and protect the babies.
 
Last edited:

M_Clucker

Chirping
May 16, 2020
36
34
59
East Tennessee
I would let them roam. In almost all cases, a mother hen will defend the chicks against all comers.
There are chickens today because broody hens have cared for chicks in a flock setting for millions of years.
I think it is best to get mother and chicks with the flock asap because the younger the chicks are, the more protective the mother is. By the time she weans them, they have been accepted as members of the flock.
Momma was very ansy on day 2 with the baby chicks and she immediately took them out to the yard to free range when i opened the door. Ive keep the door open and she’s doing such a good job guiding them around the yard with the other birds and teaching them all the good spots to look for bugs. ☺️
 

M_Clucker

Chirping
May 16, 2020
36
34
59
East Tennessee
I have an EE that adopts weanlings when mama decides to stop caring. She never successfully brooded more than a few days as a young bird, but in her advanced age has decided to be a nanny. She's adopted 2 small groups in 2 years and is starting to befriend the giant separated group
That would be wonderful to see!
 

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