Originally Posted by Beshort2
Is it common for a hen to go go broody this late in the year? I went out to the coop to shut it for the night and colect the rest of my eggs and I see one of my hens flattened out on the eggs in the nesting box. I didn't mess with her because she is kind of skittish and I didn't want her to jump off the eggs. Any thoughts on this?
I just saw this one, but I wanted to throw my two cents in, too. As has already been said, it isn't common, but it does happen. Last December / January I had two girls go broody on me. I decided to see what would happen anyway. I gave the one girl 8 fertile eggs from a neighbor. She ended up hatching two of them and they ended up being the two roosters that were responsible for the fertile eggs I hatched late May.
I gave the other girl some chicks that I hatched in an incubator. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to keep them all corralled and because of a bad nest design on my part a few of them got out from under her and couldn't get back and ended up freezing to death. I felt really bad about that. She still ended up successfully raising 4 of them.
Even with temperature reaching as low as 10 to 20 degrees below zero on a few occasions, both mothers did a great job of staying on them and only briefly letting them out for food and water. If the chicks were too cold in that moment it didn't show as they happily ate and drank, but they still got back under mom and spent most of their time there until they feathered out more.
So, from my experience, yes, they can and will go broody even in the Winter and if you want the mother will probably do the job and raise some chicks.After my experience, though, I will plan on not giving any broody hens chicks or eggs this time as fewer eggs seem to hatch and chick mortality is much more likely if the conditions aren't well maintained.