Chicks could hatch this weekend while very cold in winter

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Loveoursilkies, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. Loveoursilkies

    Loveoursilkies Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 21, 2012
    Now what, my mistake, a hen of mine went broody, she has been on eggs, around 18 days or so, now, on the day of hatch (if any are fertile and alive), it will be very cold, around 11 degrees outside. They are in the coop, in a rabbit cage, 3 sides and top and bottom are covered, not the front, it is wire. If they hatch (I only candled a few, 1 looked like a yolk, 1 look like it had a chick, there are around 10- I only did this very quickly today, she only got off for a minute to take a drink, so I couldn't look at all of them), do they have to come inside my house or can I put a heat light on one end of the cage, or do I need to enclose the entire front, or part of the front to keep them warm enough. I have no idea what to do, never thought it would end up this cold :(
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I have had hens hatch off when temperature was below 0 F. Hen can keep chicks without supplemental heating so long as she is in good nutrition. Challenge will be keeping chicks in food and water. All nutrition will e coming from you and since likely to be a chick starter, lots of water will be needed. Large volumes not, but simply keeping it from freezing. Additional, the hen needs to be able to get back into nest with chicks for brooding. You want to avoid having chicks standing under hen yet having draft coming up through mesh of cage. I would try to get a piece of plywood in for hen and chicks to stand on if they can not get into nest. Real care must be taken to guard against hen getting back into nest without chicks as they will be lost to hypothermia rapidly when temperatures extremely low.
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Can you temporarily cover some of the front? Leave a ventilation opening at the top, but cut down on the drafts? Your broody will keep them in the nest the first day and most of the 2nd waiting for more stragglers to hatch. Then she will start taking them out of the nest.
  4. Loveoursilkies

    Loveoursilkies Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 21, 2012
    We'll try to cover part of the front, can't remove the top, it is solid, may put a heat light on one side, away from the nest, in case they get stuck outside of the box, then at least they won't freeze, won't put the heat near the nest so it doesn't overheat her (the mother). I'm hopeful for a few to hatch, just not sure what may be fertile, I only checked 2 out of the 10, 1 looked like yolk, 1 looked like a chick, but again, only did this super fast, she was only off the eggs for a few minutes and got right back, she is a great broody hen, she hatched 4 last summer, we'll see. We will watch to see what happens and will bring the chicks inside if we need to, we already have 2 in a brooder we hatched in an incubator, which are 3 weeks old, so we'd have to keep the new ones in 1 half of it, away from the others for a bit. The others don't need the heat much now anyway. We may be able to change the 3 week old ones in a different box, or whatever, they are silkies, so they don't fly or jump high. Thanks again,
  5. tick22

    tick22 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2012
    Vanceboro, NC
    The last winter one of mine hatched 2 eggs, she did it all with us putting the chick feed under the raised nesting box (approx 5 inches high, she crawled under to protect her babies, I guess) she ended up using it to raise the chicks til they were big enough to be on their own. The biddies after a couple days would see me with their food and run to the spot I feed them. It was also, their escape route when picked on... So maybe you need to make sure there is a place for her to hide from the others.....

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