New chicks in Cold New England

4HchicksRI

Hatching
8 Years
Jan 4, 2012
1
0
7
One of our hens went broody on us (what happened to spring chicks???
) and just hatched 11 (or possibly 12) chicks yesterday. I pulled them inside once they started hatching (with mom) because of the cold (10 degrees last night and not expected over 20 today). We've had chicks before, but purchased the babies and brooded them ourselves - never with the broody hen. Most of the information I have found is about chicks alone, so I am not sure what to do to let her do her job (she is being a great 1st time mom), especially due to the cold temperatures.
-can she raise them outside (after the 1st couple of days) with New England winter and temperatures like those described above?
-can they be in the coop with the other chickens or do they need a separate coop? or just a box with an extra warming light within the coop?
We appreciate any help you can provide. Honestly, we were doubtful that they would hatch out and figured if they did, to brood them like we had in the past, but I can't bear to take them from their mom, now, but don't know what to do.
This is a great experience for us and our two little 4Hers, but just worried about doing the right thing.
 

theoldchick

The Chicken Whisperer
Premium member
9 Years
May 11, 2010
30,150
9,073
727
My maternal instinct says to keep them inside until the chicks get their feathers. The farmer in me knows nature is cruel and sometimes it is kinder to step in and help the youngsters out. If it were me I'd pull the car out of the garage and make another Cardboard Corral for mama and her chicks.

 

NottinghamChicks

Songster
9 Years
Aug 31, 2010
1,029
8
143
Tip of Rockingham County, NH
Welcome to BYC! I have had just three hatches with a broody but never with temps this cold. I would get her a rabbit cage for your basement and keep them there. It is going to be hard to integrate them back into the flock and I have no experience with that because mine were always left in with everyone. Hopefully someone else has some insight to offer.

ETA the pic above is exactly what I had in mind with the corral added for exercise room. I have had a broody with chicks with temps into the 30 with snowstorms but it was short lived and then back to the 50's last Spring so I kept them outside with no heat and they were fine. This may be a bit too much right now. Maybe my thoughts are based on my selfishness of wanting to be more a part of their lives by keeping them inside
 
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Ole rooster

Songster
8 Years
Jun 25, 2011
2,083
35
196
Milner, Georgia
I've thought about this winter chicks thing since one of mine pullets hatch a few. I believe mother nature tells them to hatch in the winter to be sure snakes are not a problem. I think the worst predators for chicks and a clutch of eggs is rat snakes. And we all know they're not a problem in the winter.
 

buckabucka

Crowing
10 Years
Jan 13, 2010
3,143
145
272
Fairfield, Maine
My Coop
My Coop
I don't know. It was below zero this morning, and I can't see chicks thriving in that. My inclination would be to keep them somewhere a little warmer, or provide a heat lamp, if you can do that while being very careful about fire risk.
As far as keeping them all with the flock, people have varying results on that. The only time I had a broody, her chick was attacked when it was a week old and received a bloody gash on his chest. The chick survived, and I ended out having her raise the chick separated off from the flock (but able to view the flock through chicken wire). I know other people have had success letting the mother hen integrate the chick without injury, so you'd have to keep an eye on things and see how it goes.
Good luck!
 

nuttyredhead

Songster
9 Years
May 3, 2010
1,064
13
206
Southern NH
I had a broody hatch out chicks last feb. It was extremely cold and they were find in the coop. I did seperate them from the rest of the flock but that was it.
 
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