Letting a hen hatch in winter yay or nay?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kylen2007, Feb 14, 2016.

  1. kylen2007

    kylen2007 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a broody hen... In February! I took her egg this morning and she still has not left the nesting box. I have golf balls in them from when I first was training them but they all seem to like them so I have just left them. Anyways she is out there trying to hatch a golf ball. I dont know if she will lay another egg while broody or not but if she does or if she switches nesting boxes and atarts aitting on someone elses egg is there any harm in letting her try to hatch it? I know it is not warm wnough out for the chick to survive and it still probably won't be 3 weeks from now. I will gladly bring the chick/chicks inside and out in my brooder. Is this a bad idea? I would love to eventually start hatching my own chicks. Eapecially if I don't have to do any work.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    She won't lay anymore eggs if she's broody, so you will have to give her some from another hen. If it's not to cold she can comfortably hatch and raise them in the coop or shed, she doesn't need to be in the house, she will keep her babies warm. It's certainly better now that spring is on the way than a few months ago.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Hatching this early is a pain in the butt. Your biggest issue if hen outside is keeping them in water. Water needed more when their nutritional needs are met by formulated feed. If you are going to all that trouble then put 10 fertile eggs under her.
     
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  4. kylen2007

    kylen2007 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok. :) I have a heated waterer inside the coop and the feeders are inside as well. According to the current weather prwdictions after tonight it shouldn't get below 25. My coop stays about 5 degrees above outside temps at night and during the day even more bc it sits in the sun and heats up. I guess if she is still there in the morning I will just put the eggs I get tomorrow under her. Correct me if I am wrong but I have 6 pullets that just started laying end of December... I do not want to try to hatch those. I have 10 other layers well 9 if she isn't laying. Then I have a chicken jail under my roosts I can put them in and just put up something to make sure there is no draft when the coop door is open during the day. Any extra advice I would love to hear.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Eggs from females exposed to a rooster where eggs are not pullet sized should fine. If the hen and chicks are in good nutrition and dry they can handle the cold. I have raised chicks at -10 F where they in a large breezy barn without issue. Make so have hay / straw to be on most of the day and have so feed is close to that location. Partially stuffing an animal carrier with hay can be a good location for hen move brood to once they leave nest. Get her on ground once chicks hatch make so they have no trouble getting to her. What you want to avoid is stragglers getting caught away from mother for even a few minutes when temperatures are low. My favorite approach is to set to hay bales on the ground to form a V with a third bale of the top to help block drafts. Chicks will have the open area of V in which to scratch about with mother for eats. Also line ground nest with straw so it absorbs moisture from feces pronto. This when you want to use the high end chick feed as conditions will be more stressful. By the time chicks are two weeks old they will be tougher and things will be warming up markedly as well.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Do not use eggs that have been frozen / exposed to temperature less than 27 F.
     
  7. kylen2007

    kylen2007 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How long is considered "exposed." When I go out in the morning to let them into the run all the eggs are nice and warm still. I never leave eggs in there over night. Also my coop has pine chips on the floor is that ok or should I throw some hay there as well?
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    If the eggs are warm they should be fine.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Exposed I am concerned about is before incubation begins. Actual core of egg becomes the same as ambient. Overnight is the time and duration that concerns me. Eggs too cold crack but not always. Once incubation is under way it takes a couple of hours for embryo to cool to point where you might have problems which is seldom since hen usually off nest no more than 30 to 60 minutes with shorter end of that realized if hen not reliant upon free-range foraging.
     
  10. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Lots of people do it, and I'm certainly not going to tell you not to. But may I ask you to read the story of Scout before you make a final decision? He is the entire reason that if I have a broody in the colder months I will not let her hatch out eggs. In fact, his mom, Agatha, just came out of the broody busting box - again! Stoopid Easter Egger didn't read the book that said they aren't good as broodies - she's been broody 4 times and she's not even 2 years old yet. [​IMG]

    If you do decide to do it, make sure she's truly stick-to-that-nest-no-matter-what-else-is-happening broody. Most folks let them sit on the golf balls or fake eggs for a few days to decide how determined she is to stick it out. The one thing in your post that struck me was when you said that you'd be willing to bring the chicks in and raise them in a brooder, but then you also said you'd love to let them hatch eggs so you didn't have to do any work. Seems to me if you let her hatch eggs, then bring them in, isn't that kinda taking the work from her and making more for you? [​IMG]

    Scout's Story

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/frostbitten-feet-the-adventures-of-scout
     
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