Broody will hatch this month - cold weather what to do?

LindaMarieLaur

Chirping
Feb 26, 2018
83
46
83
New York State.
I am looking for information from those who allow hens to hatch and raise chicks during cold weather. I have one group that I call "the family"; rooster 2 hens and last two youngsters that I think are pullets. I removed two roos born to the family and they have bachelor quarters. Anyway, my broody will be hatching eggs within the next two weeks. Historically, she immediately comes out of the coop and moves them underneath it where she cares for them. I have straw underneath and am considering putting a small chicken coop within the yard that I can set up with a brinsea ecoglow 20 chick brooder that I used previously for chicks I bought. I can also just add the brooder, but figure it will be warmer and less likely to be disconnected by the adults in the small coop. I don't know if they will use it but this is an extra source of heat that I can provide if they choose to use it. My other thought is to just leave them be and let her do her job. Input of your experience would be appreciated. Thanks.
1237582
 

LindaMarieLaur

Chirping
Feb 26, 2018
83
46
83
New York State.
a broody will proovide all of the heat her chicks need, if they get cold they will run under her to warm up.
Thank you. Do you happen to know if she can continue to care for them once they can't run under her? My youngsters (now 14 weeks and born during summer) are fully feathered so I don't worry about them, but interestingly once the broody couldn't have them under her wing at night, she taught them to roost (or so I think) up closer to the roof of the yard and they still fit in that smaller area and still go there at night. My "family" all roost in the rafters of the yard. The lower rafter is level with the beginning of the roof. The roof is tarped all year round and the yard sides, back and front are tarped during winter except for the upper triangle. I roll the front up during the day unless there is a snow storm for additional light. The little ones no longer fit together on one side. They fill one side each now :). 11779935_10204876740694113_3479437519324497948_o(1).jpg 43302806_10212693597790655_7518464251648802816_o.jpg
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
94,924
125,425
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Would be good to provide a solid shelter for them.
Are they in that small coop now? She may keep them in there.
Do any of the other birds sleep in that coop?

I use a floor nest for broody and chicks...
....but it's in a coop so protected from all weather.
This batch hatched in a frigid February:
upload_2018-11-30_8-20-57.png
 

LindaMarieLaur

Chirping
Feb 26, 2018
83
46
83
New York State.
Would be good to provide a solid shelter for them.
Are they in that small coop now? She may keep them in there.
Do any of the other birds sleep in that coop?

I use a floor nest for broody and chicks...
....but it's in a coop so protected from all weather.
This batch hatched in a frigid February:
View attachment 1603227
None of my chickens in that yard use the coop for anything except laying eggs and brooding. This will be the hen's 4th hatch and she comes out of the coop immediately chicks in tow and moves to underneath the coop until the chicks are about 2 1/2 weeks at which time she teaches them to get on the roof of the coop and then up to the rafters where they all roost. Her first hatch was 1 chick during January. I brought them both inside and used a playpen for them. This is the first time I want to let her do her thing during winter months.... so a bit worried. I like your box. Maybe I will put one under the coop for them in case she'll use it. She has a hole dug under there which she uses as a nest but I'm thinking the ground is way too cold which is why I added straw... Did you make the floor nest or can they be bought? I haven't seen these anywhere.
 

Compost King

Free Ranging
Apr 19, 2018
3,304
11,493
707
Salisbury, North Carolina
I stick my own meat bird eggs usually only 2 (heritage rooster x meat bird hen) eggs under a broody if she goes broody between Sept-Jan especially if its a bantam. I just went through some freezing temps with some frail chicks under a tiny bantam mama and the 2 extra meat birds are already fully feathered and larger than mama bird and they snuggle up with mama bird adding extra heat to keep the vulnerable bantam chicks warm. Its also very entertaining to watch a mama bird in charge of chicks that tower over her.
This only works if you kept a meat bird around for breeding
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
8,885
11,098
636
western South Dakota
Once I had one hatch out a clutch in late fall, and at two weeks, we hit a cold snap of -20 degrees, and she raised them just fine. I was sorely tempted to pull them, but they were as active as little mice, and she would call a time out, and they would all come running for a warm up.
 

MANNA-PRO

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