I set him down near another hen with chicks about a week older. She had no problem accepting him to her brood, but he was not having it. He stayed a while then peeped for his own mother.
It was just by chance that she was out near the hen house with the newly hatched little ones and when I placed him near her, he ran as fast as those little legs would carry him. Home at last. I watched her for a while. It was raining, a nice gentle rain, but being wet is not so good for the babies at such a young age because they cannot regulate their own temperature until later. So, she took them back to where she hatched them, under the coop! At least I know where she is in case he gets himself lost again.
The space under the coop needs to be completely blocked off when the chicks are a little older to prevent them from returning there or when mother hen no longer broods them, they will return and try to stay there for the winter. That happened to some Japanese bantams that a hen hatched and no matter how many times I caught them and locked them in the coop, they returned to the place they were hatched, that is until I made it so they could not get back there.
There are 5 mother hens with various numbers of chicks from 1 to 9. The one with 1 did not hatch that baby. She was brooding in the hen house nest boxes and I snuck an egg that was about to hatch from an abandoned nest underneath her. That made her very happy and the chick had a chance for a life. He was a slow hatcher and his mother did not wait for him. This little chick is going to be very pretty or handsome. It is Ameraucana, maybe even purebred, but the colour is not usual. We will wait and see I guess.
Welcome to the Fat Ewe Farm little one. Isn't the Creator amazing to think of such a beautiful little thing coming from a shell warmed by the heat of his mother?