A common perception about hens is that they are just bred to be farmed, lay eggs, hatch them, and give birth to chicks. But they are animals and have a feeling for their babies. Therefore they protect their chicks for up to 6-8 weeks from predators and other dangers.
But sometimes, before 6-8 weeks, the chicken keepers want to separate the chicks from the hens. And they often ask, “Do hens get sad when you take their chicks?” The answer is yes. But there is an exceptional case also.
When you take chicks from the mother hen, obviously, the hen gets sad. The mother chicken feels bad and calls her chicks for days. Many mamma hens become so depressed that they try to take the chicks from the other hens.
Anyway, the exceptional case is some mother hens are careless. And they are not much interested in or careful with their chicken. Therefore when you take their chicks, they won’t feel any change and will go to their flock. But this is not natural.
In today’s guide, we will explain how long mother hens take care of their chicks when they become sad and many more things. So, let’s drive into the main discussion:
Do Chickens Look After Their Chicks?
The simple answer is Yes. After hatching, usually, the mamma chicken takes care of their babies for 6-8 weeks. Naturally, they do so because it’s one of the miracles of nature. It’s fascinating to see that the mother hen looks after their chicken and protects them from predators.
Usually, chicks get the proper leather coat when they are six weeks of age. However, depending on the breed type, the proper time for getting feathers can vary. But around six weeks, you will observe the difference between their first proper plumage and chick fluff.
Mother chickens are obviously caring and intuitive. But still, depending on different factors like weather or where your chicks live, you may require to help little. The mother hen fined the bit of food. And then they share it with their chicks. As they are not mammals, they don’t produce milk.
After a certain period, the mamma chicken leaves the chicks to fend for themselves. At that time, you must provide the starter feed to the chicks.
Until 18-20 weeks of age, they will eat this feed. And after 20 weeks of age, the chicken will move toward a lower protein layer feed.
What’s The Perfect Time To Take A Baby Chick Away From Its Mother?
Generally speaking, 6-8 weeks is the perfect time to take a baby chick away from the mother hen. A hen first incubates her eggs. And then, successfully, they hatched the eggs into chicks. So they remain attached to their chicks from the beginning.
Therefore it’s better to let the mamma chicken decide when they should leave their chicks. Unless you have a good reason to keep the chicks and mother hen separately, you shouldn’t separate them.
However, if you want to keep the chicks separate from the mother for their well-being, you must do it after a certain period. The baby chicks are not strong enough to live separately without their mother.
If you separate the chicks before six weeks of age from their mother, it’s better to move them into the brooder. And after that, use a heat lamp to monitor your baby birds’ temperature.
Usually, at six weeks of age, the mother hen leaves her babies. They think their chicks are now capable enough to fend for themselves and survive in moderate temperatures.
However, the best thing is when a mother hen rears her babies. Then nature takes its course, and the chicks will grow naturally. But usually, around 6-8 weeks of age, the mother chicken leaves their chicks.
Do Hens Get Sad When You Take Their Chicks?
The answer is yes. Naturally, when mother hen loses their babies, they feel bad. And they look for and call their chicks for many days. And sometimes, when they see the chicks under other mother hens, they try to take them.
But it’s not mandatory that every mother hen will react in the same way. Whether the mother hen becomes sad when you take their chicks depends on the hen itself.
Few mother chickens are careless. And they don’t notice much about whether you take their chicks or not. Quickly they get back to their flock life. So if you take chicks from such a careless mother hen, she won’t care and feel sad.
But the opposite scenery is some mother hens look after their chicks very much and act distraught. Whenever any chicks become out of sight, they start searching for their young chicks and become distressed for them.
Therefore, in this case, it’s clear that if you take the chicks from the over-caring mother hen, they will definitely become sad. They will run everywhere to look for their chicks.
Sometimes to take away the chicks, you may even need to fight on your hands with the mother chicken. When the mothering instinct within hen kicks on, they try to protect their babies from the threat.
When Should You Keep Mother Hen and Chicks Separate?
Usually, the mother hen takes care of their chicks up to 6-8 years of age. But after this particular age, the mother can get furious with their chicks and harm them. So at this time, it’s mandatory to keep the chick separate from its mother chicken.
Several signs will notify you about the fact that it’s time to keep your chick separate from the mother hens. And those are:
- It’s visible that the mother hen is agitated. And she is not bothering or caring correctly for her chicks
- Predators are frequently attacking the chicks. And the chick’s life is at severe risk
- The mother chicken’s health is not well. They are continuously struggling to take care of their chicks
- The baby birds are at risk due to extreme weather conditions
If you become concerned for your chicks for any of the above reasons, you must separate them from their mother. Keep the birds separately in a brooder and monitor their temperature.
Also Read: Can Chickens Be Left Alone For A Week?
Frequently Asked Questions
Does chicken get sad when you take their egg?
No! Your hen doesn’t get sad when you take their egg. The hen finds everything similar: laying eggs, scratching, and perching.
Does chicken get stressed when you move them?
The answer is yes. Usually, chickens are nervous and sensitive animals. During the moving or transportation process, loud noises, turbulence, disruptions, bright lights, etc., create stress within them.
Do chickens mourn their chicks?
Yes! According to many scientific studies, the parent chicken mourns for the death of their chicks.
So now you get the answer to your question, “do hens get sad when you take their chicks?” the answer is under normal circumstances, the mother hen who is conscious of their chicken will get sad due to their separation.
But if the mother chicken is not conscious enough, she won’t feel sad or bothered about it much. So clearly, the answer depends on the nature of the mother chicken.