Many Humans find crossing off each item on the "To Do" list as a reward all by itself. Such marks mean "Done". We have accomplished something we set out to do. It's time to move on to other things.
If Chickens were to keep lists, Lacey's list must have included: "Raise Chicks to be self sufficient." "Then return to being a regular every day Hennie." She was molting at the time she was raising Chicks. So "Molt" was probably on the list too.
We wondered when that magical time would come when Lacey would separate herself from her Chicks. We wondered how that would happen.
At about 9 Weeks, the Chicks appear to be about 1/2 grown. Prior to last week, they would have been close to her most all the time. She would have been "Cluck," "Cluck," "Clucking" to keep them close. We had some episodes with Hawks last week. Lacey, her Chicks, and some special hiding spots in the tall grasses were bonding well.
Three or four days ago, we started seeing them off by themselves, sometimes alone, other times in the company of 1 or 2 of their Nest Mates. That invisible cord between Hen and Chick was being stretched farther and farther.
Then yesterday, we noted that Lacey and her Chicks were completely separate. They no longer stayed together as a brood. They were off on their own doing what Chickens do.
In the Nights prior, Lacey had even started to jump up on the Nest Boxes to roost and sleep. Before, she had nestled in the Straw on the floor with Chicks all around. They didn't fit in her Feathers any more. Tonight, she had 2 of the Little Roosters near her. The rest were scattered about the Hen House, intermingling with the rest of the Flock. They all seemed perfectly content.
I am not sure how all of this happened. Did Lacey and her Chicks "have a talk"? Regardless, I think we could surely say to Lacey and her Chicks: "Well done." "You have accomplished what you set out to do." "You have far exceeded the success Humans themselves would take on." "It's time to move on."