Minimum chick age into winter

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by yyz0yyz0, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm currently waiting for one of my hens to go broody so I can hatch some of my own eggs.

    I live in NY so it starts getting pretty cold by October.

    With all the Chick stuff going on lately(chick days at TSC, broody photo contests, etc), I'm getting worried if I'll be hatching in time so the chicks have a shot at surviving the winter. Seems like last year I had a different hen going broody almost constantly. Of course now that I'm waiting for that to happen it seems forever. I don't remember when they started last season.

    So how old should I plan on the chicks being before Oct. to ensure their survival? I figure it will be about 1month from the time I find a broody hen till I have newborns(incubation period plus several days to collect eggs for her to sit on). So is there a "rule of thumb" about age of chicks come cold weather or a date after which you should not hatch eggs?

    thanks
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm not in NY but it can get into the minus teens here and I often start with baby chicks in October so they're laying come spring. A broody hen can keep chicks well in almost any weather. I also hatch in mid winter. If you have electric to your coop or a broody hen I don't think there is a rule of thumb. I prefer not to have babies under 20F. However by the time they're 7 weeks old, IF ACCLIMATED, they can handle pretty much anything.

    Here's a thread of someone that had their hen go broody in Michigan in the middle of this past winter.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/947046/broody-in-michigan-winter
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    How old do they need to be to survive with a broody in cold weather? About one day. You might want to read this thread. (Edit: I see Canoe beat me to it.)

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/947046/broody-in-michigan-winter

    There is no doubt it is harder for the broody when the weather is really cold. What could be only a minor inconvenience in summer could become life-threatening in winter. That’s why it is better to hatch in spring or summer, but fall isn’t all that bad.

    In my experience if the chicks are five weeks old before your first freeze they will do fine without a broody, but who can really predict when the first freeze will occur?
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Like minds @Ridgerunner .
    When I have a broody in winter, I put her in her own apartment coop with a heat lamp over the food and water. She'll keep the chicks warm in the nest and while foraging but the heated food/water area makes life easier on her and the chicks.
    A couple years ago it was getting into the single digits for a couple weeks. I took the chicks away and put them in the cellar. It was amazing to see the reunion when I put them back with her. She clearly thought they were gone forever. She instantly recognized them and they her.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
  5. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thanks for all the reply's, I guess i was worried about nothing. I guess as long as one goes broody before summer then I'll be fine. Don't really want chicks that need their broody mother to keep them warm.
     

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