For people, we want to be cleaner when we get out of a bath than when we went in. For chickens….it’s pretty much the opposite.
The smallest chicks in the house are cute, and scraggly, with their sparsely feathered necks.They are growing independent of mom, or else she is tiring of them, I’m not sure which comes first. I think she’s about to leave the chickery, like Snow White did. You kids don’t need me any more, peace out. I said so just before HW said he found an egg in the covered wagon, so that confirms that. She’s done with this batch, on to the next. The chicks are going to be transferred to the fort any day. The kids are hangin’ out, in the shade. Mom is out of sight in the corner flirting with her suitors on the outside. This is the key sign. She loses interest in her chicks, and suddenly becomes fascinated with the boys she has had absolutely NO interest in for months (the roosters never lose interest in them).
Hens are interesting. They are extremely devoted mothers, until they’re not (coincidentally, this happens when the offspring look most like punks). Then they revert to being single girls, until they’re ready to be moms again, and repeat the cycle. Over and over. While they are caring for chicks, they don’t lay eggs, similar to lactating mammals (which makes me curious about what’s going on hormonally for chickens, since they aren’t lactating).
For women, you don’t raise a brood of kids and then go back to being a good-time girl. Not without amnesia and child protective services. Let alone do it repeatedly. Once you’re a mom, you’re never not-a-mom again.