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Cold weather broody?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I have a dark cornish pullet, hatched this June. She thinks that now is a great time to hatch a clutch, on the ground under a bush. In all fairness, she was born there, but in considerably warmer weather. I live in central New Hampshire. Currently it is getting below freezing at night, high of 50 on a nice day. Should I let this go on?

Has anyone had a successful hatch outside this late in the season?

Wondering if I should let her sit, but incubate some eggs indoors for her in case her eggs don't develop.

Thanks in advance for the wisdom,
Amy
post #2 of 6

A lot depends upon the hen, but I have had hens successfully hatch and raise off season chicks.  Pen her and the chicks in a dry draft free place when they hatch.  Is the area where she is setting protected from predators?

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Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
She's sitting out in the open, so I'm going to do what I did with her broody aunt who sat two clutches in an open leanto. Under the cover of darkness, I scooped up broody, eggs, and nest, and stuffed the whole thing into a cat carrier. Then opened the carrier during the days, and shut her up at night. In this girls case, I'll just add a tarp roof to keep her dry and less drafty.

It's the brooding that I have my doubts about. I don't have a good dry draft free area for her. My last clutch is sleeping in a dog crate outside, covered with a tarp, stuffed with hay. I even throw an old blanket over it at night. But they were out and about during the day, and I lost 6/10 the first few days. The remaining four are doing fine. These were shipped brooder chicks, so had some disadvantages to begin with.

I guess I have some brainstorming to do!

Or maybe she will get cold and give up. I told her today that spring would be a better time for this sort of thing. She expressed her disagreement by screaming at me. Not growling. Screaming. Point taken!
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Well that silly pullet managed to hatch 5/7 of her eggs, under the bush by the rock wall. In November. She got rained on, sleeted on, frosted, blown around in a storm, and managed to keep those eggs warm and safe the whole time.
Her five chicks are almost three weeks old now, and doing just fine in their dog crate in the garden. Mama is still keeping them warm and safe, and having a great time eating my garden cover crop of daikon radishes. Oh well, she's doubt a great job.

How in the world does a six month old chicken know how to do all this? It's amazing really.

The chicks are still tiny, because they spend most of their day cuddled with mama instead of eating, and the nights are long, but they are perky and feisty little things. Hoping for pullets because I have an interested party, and butchering cockerels in the winter sucks!
post #5 of 6

I think I'd rather butcher cockrels in the winter than in the dead of summer.  Flies and yellow jackets to contend with in the summer.  Winter... you've got an outdoor cooler at your disposal.  Congrats on Mama broody!  Amazing how they were created with the innate knowledge to take care of business.  

Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

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Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

Reply
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Winter butchering becomes very unpleasant when the feathers freeze before you can get them all plucked! Also the blood stains really show up on the snow in the driveway lol, looks a bit sketchy to visitors. But cool (as opposed to cold) weather butchering, indeed is not so bad.
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