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Author Topic: Mother Hen  (Read 1122 times)

Offline Jerrymac

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Mother Hen
« on: April 26, 2009, 10:09:32 PM »
It is neat watching the mother teaching her little chicks. But there is a weird thing she does. She scratches out all the chick food from the dish and then scratches out the water to soak the food and then calls the chicks over. This is the same feed I gave all the chicks when they were growing up. I wonder why she feels the need to soften it up for them. I give them sand and grit.
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Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Mother Hen
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2009, 12:28:14 AM »
She is teaching the chicks to eat what they find in and on the ground over what is in a dish.  Mother hens operate on an instinct to train their young a certain way.  By spilling the the feed and water she is putting it where they can find it in portions they can handle.  As the chicks get bigger the mother hen will begin doing this less and less and by the time the chicks are 3-4 months old (depending on breed) the chicks will be strictly on their own.
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Offline Jerrymac

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Re: Mother Hen
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2009, 08:59:37 PM »
She and the chicks are in a small oblong water troth (about 4' long and 2+' wide) there are wood chips about 5 inches deep.... if spread out. She has dug all the wood chips to one side and the other side was standing in water where she had kicked it out of the waterer, soaking a lot of the chick food she has also kicked out all over the place. It is one of those little metal feeders you can screw a mason jar into. She runs up when I go to take the jar off and looks to see if there is any wet food there on the lip of the metal feeder where the jar sits. If so she calls the little ones over and they jump all over it trying to get to it. When I fill it and put it back in she starts kicking the water all over it and kicking the food out to get it wet.
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Offline Natalie

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Re: Mother Hen
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2009, 11:54:56 PM »
Thats interesting Jerry, maybe the pieces are too big? I use crumbles and once I had a chick choke on a crumble and I had to get tweezers and scrape the food out of its throat.
I just happened to be watching the new chicks in the brooder when I thought this chick was gasping for air, I picked it up and it kept gagging.
I looked in its mouth and the crumbles were stuck in its throat, I grabbed the tweezers and got it out but I am sure it would have died.
Ever since then if I hatch chicks I grind the crumbles up in a blender or pour hot water over them to make mash.
On those real cold mornings I make hot mash for the whole flock and they go wild for it.
Once they are a couple of weeks old I give them the regular crumbles again without grinding them up.
So the only thing I can think of why Momma hen is doing that is because she knows they are too big.
It sounds like she is making mash for them.

Offline Jerrymac

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Re: Mother Hen
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2009, 07:36:29 PM »
That is interesting and appears to be what is going on. But of course that would mean that she is more than just a redheaded birdbrain.
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Offline Natalie

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Re: Mother Hen
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2009, 11:19:34 AM »
Yup, I think those chickens are alot smarter than we give them credit for. ;)