Will she ever wean the babies?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Dmontgomery, Nov 7, 2016.

  1. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    This is our little OEGB, Henrietta.
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    I've posted about her before. She was rehomed to us in the summer of 2014, from a family member whose flock was picking on her a lot because of her size. She became my precious girl and I spoiled her terribly. She knows she is the favorite and will follow me around until she gets her own special attention each morning. If I ignore her she stands on my boots and pecks at my toes to make sure I know she wants loving.
    Every April she goes broody and hatches out the 3 eggs we let her have.
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    Last year she gave us these little cuties. One of them ended up being a giant black Cochin, we names Sam. Sam, then grew up to be the dad of 3 OEGB/Cochin mixed males this May.
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    In both the spring hatches, Henrietta took excellent care of her babies for exactly 5 weeks then weaned the chicks. By that time they were as big as she is, so I guess she decided they could take care of themselves. This year she went broody again just a couple weeks after weaning the boys. Unfortunately the eggs we let her have this time were no good. She sat on them for 25 days before we gave up and started looking for some day old chicks to give her. It was another 5 days until we could get her 5 new babies to raise.
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    One only survived a few days, another never could seem to grow and died at about 5 weeks, right after this picture was taken.
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    The newest babies are now 10 weeks old.
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    Clementine (Cletus?), Cinnamon, and Goldy, with little momma Henrietta.
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    So all this bragging was to get to my initial question. She still has not weaned these chicks. Every other group she weaned at 5 weeks. Has she decided to stay with these because winter is coming soon? Does she think this may be her last hatch? The other hatches were either mostly males or all males. Is this group all females, so she is going to protect then longer?
    She still calls them for food and scratches at the ground for them, even though they have shown the ability to do it themselves. She tried getting them to roost with the other chickens a couple nights, but they don't stay up there, so she sleeps with them in a nesting box every night. It's kinda funny to see them all piled in to 1 box together.
     
  2. PeepersMama

    PeepersMama Overrun With Chickens

    I'd just let nature take it's course. It's possible that since she didn't hatch her own, and it was a few days before she actually got babies, that it scared her, and she is catious letting them go, but it could be that she is protecting them more because they are hens [​IMG] I'd just let her take care of them as long as she wants; she'll kick them out when she's got a big fluffy orp trying to hide under her .
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    My bantam hens mother their chicks for months and I don't ever see them weaning them.
     
  4. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    I do not think you have an issue.....The older she gets the better Broody she is becoming....Congrats.....Also I love all the pictures posted....So cute!!!



    Cheers!
     
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Who ever knows what's going on inside a brain of a chicken? But I doubt you'd see any complex thought. Chickens operate mostly on instinct, habit, and sometimes pure panic.

    I had a hen go broody and take over the raising of three chicks I had been brooding. They were already six weeks old when she decided to nurture them. She hovered over them, feeding them and protecting them until they were four months old!

    This past summer, when this hen became broody, I gave her three eggs to sit on. She abandoned them an hour later. I then gave the job to another hen who'd gone broody at the same time. She sat the eggs, hatched one, and is still nurturing her single chick who is now nearly four months old!

    The moral of my story is that broody hens can be fickle. Broody hens are all different. Broody hens may or may not get better at nurturing their chicks as time passes. You never know how long a broody hen will stick with the role. In the case of my single chick, both she and her broody mama seem to be cutting the ties. They still can be seen ranging together, but more often than not, now I see them in separate places.
     
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  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I have kind of the same thing, and I do think it's because of the time of year.


    My broody hens in the spring and early summer wean right around 5-6 weeks. They get back to laying pretty fast and then I usually get another broody spell from them. That second brood, or third if I'm lucky, hits at the end of summer/early fall. With the shorter days, and since they're older hens, they're not triggered to start laying again, so they continue to mother the chicks.

    I have a Brahma momma who is still sleeping in a nest box with her chicks that are almost 3 months old.
    I have a Cochin hen who just took her chicks to the roost this last week. Chicks are over 2 months old.
    I have a bantam Cochin hen who also just took her chicks to roost, chicks are almost 2 months.


    Earlier in the year, all those chicks would have been weaned and roosting on their own. I didn't expect any of those hens to come back into lay this fall, so I'm not too concerned.
     
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  7. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Longville, La
    [​IMG]
    They are now over 3 months old and no change. I usually keep cat litter boxes in the nesting box slot for easier clean up, but it got to be so tight in there that they were squished on top of each other. So I took it one out to give them more room.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Discouraging the nest sleeping may help get her back in with the flock.
    I would not allow them to sleep in the nests......time for some training, you know how.
     
  9. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Those chicks should be getting independent. Sleeping together in a nest box is more from habit than any resemblance of necessity. The nest box should be blocked off at night to encourage roosting.

    This is a problem I'm currently having. A hen and her fourteen week old "chick" still try to sleep together in a nest box. They happily roost when I remember to block off the nests at night.
     

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