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Do broodies take care of chicks longer in the winter?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by rcstanley, Nov 16, 2015.

  1. rcstanley

    rcstanley Songster

    Aug 2, 2013
    Utah County, Utah
    Do broodies take care of chicks longer in the winter? I'm wondering because I have two broodies right now, one that has had her chicks for 10 weeks and the other 9. (The one broody stopped caring for her chicks at 7 weeks when she brooded in the spring. The other is a first time broody.)

    What has been your experience?

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Well at those ages, it doesn't matter. Those chicks don't need a mother any more.
    To answer your question, they tend to but each hen is different. She will usually quit before the chicks are ready (in their mind) to be weaned.
    Physically, yours don't need her warmth any more.
  3. rcstanley

    rcstanley Songster

    Aug 2, 2013
    Utah County, Utah
    Yes, I'm just really surprised they're caring for the chicks this long. I was wondering if the season had anything to do with it.
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    They might just be extra motherly hens.
  5. My experience is that chicks hatched and brooded during the Winter are seldom worth the wear and tare on the hen's bottom.

    While a chick hatched and brooded at this time may well live and grow up, it is seldom as healthy or as vigorous as Spring chickens are.

    I am perfectly capable thank you of staying busy or finding work to preform and obstacles to overcome without taking on raising special needs biddies.

    Will all late hatched biddies fall into the special needs category? No, but enough of them will to cause some people to give up raising backyard poultry. This is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby, not basic training.
  6. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I think it depends more on the individual broody hen than time of year.

    My experience is a bit off norm. During this past summer I was raising a second batch of three hatchery chicks. For some wild reason, when these chicks reached six weeks old, a five-year old GLW hen decided they needed adopting.

    They were roosting by this time, and she would let them hunker under her wings on the perch. One night I could only see two chicks on the perch beside her. I looked and the third had stuffed itself under her.

    One chick was a cockerel and he's been re-homed, but the hen is still sticking pretty close to the remaining two pullets, now almost four months old. Up until a week ago, she was still feeding them tidbits when she located them.

    And during this entire period, this hen was actually broody. She would emit the low, brooding popping sound typical of all broody hens as they move among the flock.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I suspect season has a bit to do with it. Broody hens on the nest take longer breaks in hot weather than they do in cooler weather so they can tell the difference. I think it has a lot to do with the individual hen too. Practically all mine are broody in the spring/summer so I just haven’t had any real experience with broody hens in cold weather. They may hatch while it is still fairly cool but by the time they are ready to wean them, it’s warm.

    I’ve had broody hens wean the chicks at 3 weeks. I’ve had some wean them after 9 weeks. I’ve had broody hens stop caring for them during the day but protect them on the roosts at night. I’ve had them care for them during the day but leave them on their own on the roosts. All I know is that chickens are inconsistent. They are going to do what they are going to do.

  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO

    They'll take up to 2 hours off in hot weather. 20 minutes in cold.
    I've had hens brood in November and the chicks were no less viable.
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I think the season has to do with it. What usually triggers weaning chicks is resumption of egg laying. If the hens aren't going to start laying again due to winter, they're likely to nurture chicks longer.

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