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

trailrider330

Songster
6 Years
Aug 4, 2013
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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?
 

Bullitt

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 16, 2012
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Texas
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?


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

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Feb 18, 2011
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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.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
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10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
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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.
 
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16 paws

Songster
9 Years
Aug 14, 2012
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I have to agree with chickencanoe,
Mother will keep them warm enough.
Marie
D.gif
 

ChickenCanoe

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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.
 
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Animol

In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 8, 2012
72
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England
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.
 

MANNA-PRO

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