How late is 'too late' to let a hen go broody?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by trailrider330, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. trailrider330

    trailrider330 Songster

    Aug 4, 2013
    Midwest America
    I live in Michigan. As winter will soon be here, I was wondering if it is too late to let a hen go broody. Our hens have developed a clutch of 7 eggs but have not taken to sitting day and night yet. If someone finally decides to sit, and we have chicks born in October, will the chicks be able to survive? Or, am I better off removing all the eggs in the clutch so no one goes broody?
  2. Bullitt

    Bullitt Songster

    Jan 16, 2012

    The chicks will probably need you to provide heat in the coop. A heat lamp would work.
  3. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    It would also depend on the set up where you expect the chicken to raise her brood. And, what kind of chickens are they, some breeds are better in the cold and better mothers than others.
  4. Luckytaz

    Luckytaz Songster

    Mar 28, 2010
    Rogers, Mn.
    Take the eggs, this is way to late unless you were in the South or have a fully heated coop.
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I'm of a differing opinion.
    The hen will keep them warm no matter how cold it is outside. Her body temperature is 103 and the chicks are about 107.
    They'll stay under her for a few days and then start venturing out.
    After a week or so they'll only go under her to warm up then out into the cold again.
    I raise chicks with broodies and in a brooder most of the year.
    I've had broody hens when weather at night got below freezing and 30-50 during the day. The chicks did fine.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  6. I have to agree with chickencanoe,
    Mother will keep them warm enough.
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I have probably started about half as many chicks in October as I have the rest of the year combined. A couple heat lamps (in case one goes out during the night) for the first few weeks with lots of cool space so by November/December when the cold nights come they are acclimated and well feathered, they handle the dead of winter quite well yet their combs and wattles are small enough there's never frostbite issues. Chicks started in October also start laying in March.

    This is a 150 watt ceramic heat emitter

    Notice how far from the heat they are.

    If it's real cold or I have lots of chicks I'll use a hover. They rarely go under the hover but hang around the edges.

    This is the outside of the building same day as the last picture.

    They don't hang out under mom that much either.


    IMHO the 90-95 first week temp and lowering 5 degrees per week is for raising thousands of chicks where one can't provide a more natural setting.
    Regardless of time of year, in natural rearing, a hen can't make the ambient air those temperatures. She simply provides a spot for the chick to warm up till they're ready to run around with friends again.

    Oh, and I never use a heat lamp with a broody hen.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013
  8. Animol

    Animol In the Brooder

    Nov 8, 2012
    I agree with ChickenCanoe too. I've had a broody hen on a chick that hatched in the middle of winter. That chick is now larger than some of my girls raised in the spring/summer time and pretty much free ranged with mum after the first four weeks.

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