Mother hen bonded with chick
(Santa Clara California)
Mother hen bonded with chick: We let a broody Plymouth Rock hen sit on one fertile egg over the December holidays, just to see if a baby would hatch. The chick hatched January 7.
Two months later and the chick is now about half as big as the adults, but Mama still has it under wing. They are inseparable.
I have tried to get Mama back into the free-ranging flock (8 other hens and a rooster) but she hangs out with the chick in her own part of the yard.
They seem to be forming a spin-off group, or maybe they just feel some pecking order issues. If we separate Mama and baby they call to each other to reconvene.
So I am not going to take the baby away from its mother until Mama decides. I am fascinated to see how far this relationship goes. Has anyone else seen this kind of intense maternal behavior at 2 months after hatching?
Oh, the baby is a cross between a Rhode Island Red male and a Plymouth Rock female and quite precocious. Not sure of the gender. The flock itself is a year old, bought from a hatchery, so none of the chickens had a mother hen as a role model.Answer
This is very natural behavior, especially with just one precious chick. Sounds like she is guarding it with her life.
I believe that unless there is a big problem with this, it’s best to let nature take its course. When momma feels the chick is ready, she will probably want to show him off to the flock.
Adult chickens can be quite rough with little ones, even half sized ones. I would defer to her judgment in this and let it play out.
This chick is going to stand out, being the only one and may have to put up with some bullying to earn its place in the flock. The bigger and older it is at that time, the better it will go.Return to Raising Chickens Home Page