do baby chicks need heat lamp?

Minky

Crowing
Nov 4, 2017
1,505
2,371
286
Ontario
My hen is setting on 15 eggs due to hatch April 4. Locally, it should be hovering around freezing over night, and hitting low 40's during the day. Should i put in a heat lamp? They are in a barn with an earthen floor. I can provide straw and wood shavings.
I am trying to picture what the hen will be doing while they hatch?? does she just remain sitting on top of them?
Its her first time.
Thanks
 

GrandmaLorna

Chirping
Feb 25, 2017
16
46
59
The chicks will be fine. Mama will keep them warm. It is best if she is in a place where they won't be bothered by others. If not, hens have been known to disappear into a corner and show up later with chicks following behind.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
24,604
36,212
1,122
Colorado Rockies
No. The new babies do not need a heat lamp. Their broody hen is at their beck and call and will hasten to spread wide her skirt of warm feathers any time they signal to her they need a warm up.

As the eggs hatch, mama hen remains on the nest until all the eggs are hatched. Then as her new chicks become restless, her hormones switch over to chick care from incubating eggs, and she allows the chicks to start exploring away from the nest. It doesn't matter how cold it is. Chicks are hatching in Alaska as we speak and doing the same thing.

As the chicks start to become chilled, they signal the hen by "trilling". It's the sweetest sound baby chicks make. The hen hears it and spreads out carefully so the chicks can all dive underneath her for some 100 degree comfort. After a warmup and nap, the little squirts are out from under exploring again with mama hen standing ready to provide warmups as needed.
 

jadip4

Songster
Mar 6, 2018
181
558
176
South Carolina
As the chicks start to become chilled, they signal the hen by "trilling". It's the sweetest sound baby chicks make. The hen hears it and spreads out carefully so the chicks can all dive underneath her for some 100 degree comfort. After a warmup and nap, the little squirts are out from under exploring again with mama hen standing ready to provide warmups as needed.

.. and it's amazing to watch. My hen (also first time Mama) will follow the noisiest chicks and fluff out until they come in from the cold. Then she sits there and purrs contentedly. Can't wait to see your little fluff-butts!
 

Minky

Crowing
Nov 4, 2017
1,505
2,371
286
Ontario
Great-!!! thanks

so right now she's in a temporary cardboard nest box, inside a nursery, in the coop. shall I get rid of the nest box? she certainly wont be able to spread out in it. Its 12x 15 deep. or shall I replace with a larger cardboard nest box? The whole nursery is only 4x 4. I was planning on moving her and all the chicks to their new private coop which is right next to the real coop (its all inside one barn) when the chicks are 3 days old...

and i will be posting pics for sure
 

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