Hatching in Fall & Winter - lets talk about it!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by MommaBee, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. MommaBee

    MommaBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We do not have a broody right now but we finally have fertile eggs. We live in West Texas and we usually get our first freeze around Halloween. (Hatching time if we started incubating now) In the past we have kicked them out of the house pretty young, and we have NEVER had one die from this. If we had a broody I would not be worried, but at what age would we be able to "harden" them off and get them out of the house/garage/barn. Our area is known for winters with 70-80 degree highs in winter and an occasional freeze every month at night.

    Any tips or suggestions are greatly appreciated!
     
  2. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You want them to be fully feathered (6 weeks old) before putting them outside.
    If it is during winter, you should acclimate them to the lower temps over a period of weeks (start when they're 3 weeks old lowering the temps).
    Just give them a minimal amount of heat (enough to keep them from huddling).
    They will feather out faster and thicker in order to handle the cold temps.
    If a broody hen were raising them, they'd be outside in the snow on occasion walking around with mom.
     
  3. MommaBee

    MommaBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh good to know! 6 weeks is managable! And I agree about the broody part, it's amazing how we underestimate nature. I was reading about people who kept them inside ALL winter.
     
  4. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    I've recently had 2 broody hens hatch chicks and it just started warming up here recently (we're heading into Spring now). When the first chicks arrived it was still quite cold, similar temps to what you mentioned, and the chicks spent most of their time running around, only ducking under mom occasionally to warm up. They are tough little creatures! The recommended temperatures for new chicks is 90-95*F for the first week and a reduction of 5*F each week thereafter, until they are 6 weeks old/feathered out. I have kept new chicks at lower temperatures than that (85*±) and they were fine. I also took them off the heat during the day after 4 weeks and they were fine. it depends on your temperatures really. But let the chicks behaviour guide you. As the above poster said, if they huddle/dogpile they are cold. If they run around and spread out comfortably they are fine.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
  5. MommaBee

    MommaBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 25, 2012
    Texas

    Thanks, I figured I was not the only one who was wondering about all of this during the cold season! Hope this helps.

    Sumi are you still in Ireland? That is crazy that it is just now warming up there. And I really do think people do not give chicks enough credit for being tough cookies. Today the high is 90, haha thats fall for us! But it will eventually get cold. I wish I had a broody doing the work. They never seem to listen to me though when I tell them when I want them to go broody. Haha
     
  6. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    No, gosh when last did we talk? We had to go back to SA in May to sort out MIL and our farm, decided to stay here for a bit and see how things work out. But we're going back, sometime. We're heading into Spring here now.

    With chicks it's important that they stay warm enough and the recommended temperatures are safe, but I found I can go lower on the temperatures and they'll be fine at that. I've been watching my previous broody hens with their chicks as well. Summer or winter they're running around outside and the little ones were fine. As long as they can warm up under Mom now and then. In a brooder it's important that they have somewhere to warm up now and then or are kept at a temperature they are comfortable at. Like I said above, let them guide you. They'll let you know when they're not happy!
     

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