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Do broodies take care of chicks longer in the winter?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Do broodies take care of chicks longer in the winter?  I'm wondering because I have two broodies right now, one that has had her chicks for 10 weeks and the other 9.  (The one broody stopped caring for her chicks at 7 weeks when she brooded in the spring.  The other is a first time broody.)

 

What has been your experience?

post #2 of 9

Well at those ages, it doesn't matter. Those chicks don't need a mother any more.

To answer your question, they tend to but each hen is different. She will usually quit before the chicks are ready (in their mind)  to be weaned.

Physically, yours don't need her warmth any more.

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Yes, I'm just really surprised they're caring for the chicks this long.  I was wondering if the season had anything to do with it.

post #4 of 9

They might just be extra motherly hens.

post #5 of 9

My experience is that chicks hatched and brooded during the Winter are seldom worth the wear and tare on the hen's bottom.  

 

While a chick hatched and brooded at this time may well live and grow up, it is seldom as healthy or as vigorous as Spring chickens are.  

 

I am perfectly capable thank you of staying busy or finding work to preform and obstacles to overcome without taking on raising special needs biddies.  

 

Will all late hatched biddies fall into the special needs category?  No, but enough of them will to cause some people to give up raising backyard poultry.  This is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby, not basic training. 

Keep your chickens safe from predators, buy and wear fur. 
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Keep your chickens safe from predators, buy and wear fur. 
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post #6 of 9

I think it depends more on the individual broody hen than time of year.

 

My experience is a bit off norm. During this past summer I was raising a second batch of three hatchery chicks. For some wild reason, when these chicks reached six weeks old, a five-year old GLW hen decided they needed adopting.

 

They were roosting by this time, and she would let them hunker under her wings on the perch. One night I could only see two chicks on the perch beside her. I looked and the third had stuffed itself under her.

 

One chick was a cockerel and he's been re-homed, but the hen is still sticking pretty close to the remaining two pullets, now almost four months old. Up until a week ago, she was still feeding them tidbits when she located them.

 

And during this entire period, this hen was actually broody. She would emit the low, brooding popping sound typical of all broody hens as they move among the flock.

post #7 of 9
I suspect season has a bit to do with it. Broody hens on the nest take longer breaks in hot weather than they do in cooler weather so they can tell the difference. I think it has a lot to do with the individual hen too. Practically all mine are broody in the spring/summer so I just haven’t had any real experience with broody hens in cold weather. They may hatch while it is still fairly cool but by the time they are ready to wean them, it’s warm.

I’ve had broody hens wean the chicks at 3 weeks. I’ve had some wean them after 9 weeks. I’ve had broody hens stop caring for them during the day but protect them on the roosts at night. I’ve had them care for them during the day but leave them on their own on the roosts. All I know is that chickens are inconsistent. They are going to do what they are going to do.

 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridgerunner View Post

I suspect season has a bit to do with it. Broody hens on the nest take longer breaks in hot weather than they do in cooler weather so they can tell the difference....

X2

 

They'll take up to 2 hours off in hot weather. 20 minutes in cold.

I've had hens brood in November and the chicks were no less viable.

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

Reply

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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post #9 of 9

I think the season has to do with it. What usually triggers weaning chicks is resumption of egg laying. If the hens aren't going to start laying again due to winter, they're likely to nurture chicks longer.

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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