Do chickens mate in Winter?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChickenGirl555, Mar 15, 2018.

  1. ChickenGirl555

    ChickenGirl555 Songster

    Oct 22, 2017
    My Coop
    Long story short, I want to breed chickens but by the time they are mature, it will be winter. I want to try using a broody hen in Winter to raise the chicks but in order to get the fertilized eggs, they need to mate. Will they mate in Winter? Or only Spring?
  2. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Pullarius

    Aug 1, 2015
    My Coop
    They'll mate, but how are you getting a broody hen in winter? And why? Unless you have a big reason to hatch now, waiting for spring is a much better idea, especially in Wisconsin. Often pullets won't even lay until spring, IME.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
  3. HenOnAJuneBug

    HenOnAJuneBug Crowing

    May 20, 2015
    From my experience, roos don't know what seasons are when it comes to mating, and pullets go broody from early spring to late fall.
  4. JedJackson

    JedJackson Crossing the Road

    Jul 6, 2016
    NW Washington state
    They do mate in winter but not as much from what I've seen. Eggs should still be fertile. And I agree you are better off waiting until Spring has sprung to raise chicks. The season is better and you'll get better fertility and chicks from birds that have been laying for a little while.
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    That’s my experience, too. The mating isn’t going to be a problem, but getting a winter broody probably will be.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    A question many want to know the answer to,
    how to 'get a broody' any time of the year! :lol:

    Tho I have had a broody in the winter, and I let her hatch(never again).
    Had 2 pullets go broody last fall, broke them both immediately and easily.
    Luckily one of those went broody again just a couple weeks ago,
    so I set her up in the isolation area and she's 'due' in just a few days,
    finally perfect timing!
  7. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

    May 11, 2010
    You can't force a hen to go broody. They seem to do it when the notion hits them. Must be hormones which you think is related to the amount of light they get. But chickens don't follow the rules. Silkies will go broody 15 months out of the year. I know there are 12 months in a year but you ain't going to convince a broody Silkie that!
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    A fair number of people hatch chicks in winter for their own reasons. If you want chickens for a specific chicken show you might want to hatch them early enough so they are ready. The way my schedule works out with freezer space and such I normally hatch in January or February so I can get meat in the freezer before I run out. We all have our own reasons for doing things.

    Some of us raise chicks outside in winter, even in your climate. If you are brooding them inside they don't care what the outside. For us to get fertile eggs in winter they have to mate in winter and they do. Some people have noticed a worst fertility rate in winter but it's usually not that bad for me. It's also a bit more challenging to collect hatching eggs in the winter in Wisconsin without them going bad because of the cold.

    A hen can possibly go broody any time of the year. It is possible but for the vast majority of us it is really rare. Pullets are even more rare. Even in spring and summer you can't count on a hen going broody when you want her to. Some hens never go broody. If you are going to have any control of when you hatch or even if you ever hatch you'll need an incubator.

    Another issue for you is that you often do not get good hatch rates from pullet eggs. When a pullet first starts laying her eggs are usually really small. Also the egg has to be put together pretty close to perfectly if it is going to hatch. Pullets often don't get their first eggs perfect, they sometimes have to get the bugs out of their internal egg making factory. It's fairly common to get weird eggs when pullets first start laying and that's just the stuff you can see. There are a lot of things you don't see that have to be right.

    You can hatch pullet eggs and they can do OK, but I normally have a worse hatch with pullet eggs plus since the eggs are so small the chicks that hatch are pretty small. I find my mortality rate is higher with the chicks hatched from the small pullet eggs. I still hatch them but I don't expect them to do as well as they probably would if I waited a bit. I find that if the pullet has been laying about a month most of these problems go away.

    To answer your question, yes they will mate in winter, though fertility can be a bit off. It is highly unlikely you will get a broody hen in winter, especially if they are pullets. If you do get a broody you can put the eggs under her but don't expect great results.
  9. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Crowing

    Sep 25, 2015
    Chickens will mate all year.But not nearly as much,and it’s likely they will be too cold to fool around and is very likely they will be molting.Hens will be sore and not up to the mating,roosters will be sore as well.although young roosters tend to not care too much about weather I have realized .But it’s also very rare for a hen to brood in winter as it is also rare for them to breed as beginning layers,I would just be patient and wait till spring or by a mature hen and rooster
  10. ChickenGirl555

    ChickenGirl555 Songster

    Oct 22, 2017
    My Coop
    Alright, I guess I’ll be waking until Spring again. I’m really bummed, but I guess it won’t even be possible until they mature in December or January.
    Abriana likes this.

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