How cold of night temps have you had outdoor chicks w/ broody hen?

StruckBy

Songster
7 Years
Apr 2, 2012
146
28
108
Marcola, OR
One of my cochin hens has decided that she is going to hatch some eggs come hell or high water....or, in this case, me going in and petting her-which she hates-and trying to harrass her off several times a day. Considering she is sitting on fake eggs I put in there to deter the corvids from egg raiding, I don't give her high odds of success. :lol:

I was going to pick up a couple chicks to humor her, but this week it's been low/mid 30s at night and 70s during the day. What do you think....could she keep 2-4 chicks warm enough? She is a BIG fluffy girl.
 

my sunwolf

Songster
7 Years
Apr 22, 2012
2,236
173
208
Southwest Virginia
My Coop
My Coop
I have had mothers keep eggs (and then babies) warm in 5˚F temperatures for days on end in an outside chicken shed, no insulation. Now granted, the hatch rate was only 50%, but she still managed to get babies. I have routinely had moms get decent hatch rates and do well raising the chicks with temps in the teens and twenties. So I would not worry about temps
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The thing I would worry about is that not all moms will accept "grafted" chicks, even ones you put under them at night. Sometimes they just know the difference and will abandon or, worse, kill the intruder chicks. So be cautious with that particular plan.
 

StruckBy

Songster
7 Years
Apr 2, 2012
146
28
108
Marcola, OR
Yes, there's always a risk grafting chicks but I feel it's acceptably low with this particular hen. She is all about motherhood. If worse comes to worse, I already have a brooder that I'm about to move the birds outside so it wouldn't be a big deal to move them back into the house.
 

StruckBy

Songster
7 Years
Apr 2, 2012
146
28
108
Marcola, OR
Successfully grafted 4 three-day-old chicks onto her last night. I was going to two at a time but she went into mother-hen protective mode when she heard them peeping my hand before they were even under her. She tucked them under her instantly & I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get close enough on night 2! This morning, everyone is alive & happy but no pictures of the babies. She won't let them out from under her if she hears us. I reached under her just enough to determine they were all still alive & will now leave them totally alone (except for feeding obviously) for a couple weeks...she is definitely in touch with her inner velociraptor!!
 

StruckBy

Songster
7 Years
Apr 2, 2012
146
28
108
Marcola, OR



Momma decided to teach her new babies about sunshine & foraging. She was so mad at me for getting close enough to take pictures that she was actually rattling her feathers at me. My fears about the cold were clearly groundless...all four chicks are thriving.

 
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