Baby chicks outside with the mama in the cold

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by henney penny, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. henney penny

    henney penny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 21, 2009
    Northern Maine
    I have a broody silkie she has been that way for three weeks now and I did try to break her but with no luck so I ended up getting her some fertile eggs yesterday.She will hatch out the end of this month.She is in the coop with all the other silkies in a box,after they are hatched out I will move all them into a dog crate in the same coop so I don1t have to deal with the introducing thing.My question is when I let the mama out the chicks will follow her outsdie and there is snow on the ground and it is very cold,how much cold can the chicks handle?I know in the fall when I have had babies they would get under the mama and when she thought they were warm enough she would go about her scratching and eating.I will have a heat lamp over the crate to keep them warm.Maybe just let her out for awhile and keep the babies in the cage.I ahve never had babies in the winter time and am not sure how to handle this.
  2. dsfrango

    dsfrango Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2011
    Stafford Springs
    Thats great your able to have a heat lamp in the coop. I would definitely recommend not letting the chicks out from under that lamp. As long as they have the heat you can definitely allow the mother to wander but not the chicks. They need it to be at least 80+ degrees because they wil not retain any heat outside the coop walls. Good luck with the little chicks!
  3. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2011
    I would nix the heat lamp and let the chicks wander around with momma. She'll do her job of keeping those babies warm. I've had babies in the snow before, they did just fine. Good luck!
  4. Mamma Hen will take care of the little fuzzy butts just fine. Even without any help from you likely they will be JUST FINE. If it makes you feel better to leave a heat lamp on go right ahead. The babies and mama will regulate their temperature. They will run back under mama's wings when they get to cold.
  5. wren

    wren Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 27, 2007
    St Augustine, FL
    Most hens have common sense and don't do things that are bad for the babies. If she does go somewhere that the babies can't tolerate they will complain and get loud. Most hens listen, a few won't. They can try to ride on her back.

    Occasionally hens try to leave the chicks as soon as their wings feather out and the chicks struggle to fly to where the mom is roosting. If she wanted babies that bad hopefully she will be a good mom.

    Keep the heat lamp, they might need it. Silkies are little and they will be on the floor.
  6. macdoogle2

    macdoogle2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2011
    San Diego
    I agree with the above that mama will take care of the chicks. If you try to lock them in while she goes out to forage, she will not go.
  7. ozark_chickies

    ozark_chickies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 19, 2011
    Quote:I'm glad you posted this. I have eggs under a broody that should start hatching Wednesday. We don't get as cold as you, but it has been in the 20, and I've been wondering how to handle this too. DH wants to put momma and babies in the brooder, because he thinks we will loose the chicks to exposure.. I think confining momma and babies in a corner of the hen house, will be adequate. My reasoning is mom is already used to the cold, and the babies will adapt quicker if left in the hen house. I'm not even sure giving a heat source is a good idea, because mom is already used to the cold...But I don't really know, all of my broodys have been in the spring and summer.
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I think the others are right. If she's an experienced mother she should know how to keep them warm enough. If given enough food and water in the coop she may choose to spend more time in there.

    Another option is to fence off a corner of the coop with wire the chicks can get through but not older birds. Put a heat lamp in there and the chicks will have a choice whether to run with mom or hunker under the heat. My bet is they'll run back and forth.
  9. partsRheavy

    partsRheavy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 28, 2011
    I have a mama and babies by themselves in a 4x4 fixed cage away from the henhouse. I do have a brooder lamp running in there. I figured it would make Mom's job a little easier gieven that she decided to have kids in early December rather than, um. March or something like that... Lows right now are 28-30F. It's sort of a cold snap in TX.

    Mom seems to want to dig to China during the daytime but she's good at keeping the little ones warm at night. If she gets to China she'll find that someone over there will think they're delicious!!!! [​IMG]

    The cage setup:

    1) Makes it easier to keep count of babies and make sure no one gets lost.

    2) Avoids any possible conflicts with the 40-odd adult chickens and 9-14-week-olds that are out in the henhouse.

    2) Is closer to where I stay than the henhouse so I can check food/water for Mom and babies frequently. Biggest problem is Mom turning over the food dish....

    3) Will eventually let me separate the boys from the girls when they get old enough...
  10. TheHalfWayCoop

    TheHalfWayCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 6, 2011
    Campbellville Ontario
    I'm so glad someone asked this, I was just coming on to post the same question! I love BYC! We have three broody hens, two of which are sharing a tiny clutch of four. We had them indoors near the end of incubation because they kept knocking the eggs out of the nest and onto the cold ground, was pretty sure we lost them all at 11 days, but eight made it to 'lock down' and five hatched (one died). But they can't stay in our basement, so they went out with their mamas into the coop in a cornered off section with a dog crate (the closed in kind) with heavy quilts over it and food and water right close to the door. It's 30 out there right now, and will be atleast 20 tonight, waiting to see the consensus of to heat lamp or not to heat lamp... Best of all, we have a third broody on four eggs and if any of those hatch on the 19th, we'll be doing this all over again [​IMG] Haven't they heard of the term spring chickens?! [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by