Broody in the winter?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by rlshepard, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. rlshepard

    rlshepard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 27, 2013
    Kansas City Missouri
    So I stumbled upon a hen sitting on eggs, under a deck in the back yard (I initially though a fox has gotten her) ,,,, She has about 15 eggs she is sitting on,,, which leads me to my questions:

    1.Can she actually hatch the eggs in the colder temps? we are in KCMO so we aren't really having sub zeros or anything but still it's cold... ~20s, ~30s occasional ~40s

    2. I startled her when I came upon her and she abandoned the nest... certainly didn't expect her to be sitting on eggs... will she go back to them?

    3. Why did she decide to lay and sit there instead of the nest in the coop all the other hens are laying in them... weird I think...

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She absolutely could hatch them even in the dead of winter. She might or might not return. I would gather up the eggs and either put them in an incubator or put the hen and her eggs in a crate somewhere safe and see if she'll finish the job. Hens will lay their clutch where they feel they are the safest. The coop might be too busy for her especially if she's mid to low on the pecking order. Candle a few an see if they are any good.
     
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  3. rlshepard

    rlshepard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 27, 2013
    Kansas City Missouri
    Well she's already back on the nest... I guess I'm not going to mess with her. I suppose I should put some food and water near where is sitting? This will be the first time I've had a broody hen so this is new territory for me... Any suggestions/advice/help is welcome!

    She is off be herself where we can avoid disturbing her (now that we know where she is) so that's a positive...
     
  4. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    1. It isn't that cold under a mama hen.
    a. Yes put some food and a bowl of water where she can find it without going too far.

    2. If she is any kind of mother she will return to the nest pronto.

    3. Far be it for mere mortals to read the mind of chickens.

    a. It could be that all her previous eggs kept disappearing so she took action.

    b. This is a good lesson on the types of places that hens like to lay. They are unconcerned with your
    or my convenience they only have the safety of themselves and their brood in mind when
    choosing a nest location.

    c. How long has this hen been MIA? Are you sure that the weather was not too cold for the embryos
    to survive before the hen took to her nest?

    d. 15 of her own eggs or eggs the same size that a hen normally lays is the optimum number of
    eggs for her to incubate and hatch because that mass of eggs holds heat longer and better.

    e. You better get a brooder pen ready, I think that you are going to need it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2014
  5. rlshepard

    rlshepard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 27, 2013
    Kansas City Missouri
    Sooooo I'm fairly certain that these are not all her eggs, there is too much variation in color, I some Buff O's that seem to have contributed. I guess they all got together and had meeting and decided that since that fat guy in the overalls keeps swiping their eggs they'll hide, them. I guess there was probably an election for who had to sit on the clutch... [​IMG]

    I have put feed and water near her and she's pretty safe. where she is. How do I know when the eggs are ready to hatch? I usually do these things in a bator but i'm intrigued to see a mama hatch some. But I'm not familiar with what I need to do to help here once they hatch (if they do)?

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That looks like at least 3 different hens. Probably 4. Candle a few and see how far along they are and if they even are. You will be checking on her a few times a day so you'll know when they start to hatch. Now you just have to wait. That feed bag doesn't look warm and snuggly. Put some straw in front of her and see if she'll add it to the nest.
     
  7. rlshepard

    rlshepard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 27, 2013
    Kansas City Missouri
    That's actually a bag full of mulch, and she is about 2 ft from a straw bale that I was storing under there. I'm a little worried about handling the eggs, I don't want to upset/distrub her any more than I have to.... Is that silly?
     
  8. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No not at all. Some hens could care less if you touch their stuff and others will get their panties in a wad. My hens will steal the straw out of the box next to them to make thing just right. Put a flake of straw where she can reach it and see if she adds it. I would be concerned that the ground would suck the heat out of the eggs (even on the bag of mulch).
     
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