Questions about hatching with broody...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by chickenmomma16, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. chickenmomma16

    chickenmomma16 Chillin' With My Peeps

    485
    42
    131
    Jul 16, 2012
    Buckley, Washington
    Is there a general rule as to how cold is to cold for raising chicks using a broody hen in an outside coop with no extra heat?
    As soon as my girls start laying and going broody I would like to let them hatch out a few chicks but I don't want to loose chicks to cold weather. I raised a few chicks early fall this year and I will be raising a few more batches this coming year but i want to get as early of a start as I can. I live in western WA so it can get cold at night even in spring.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    452
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    They stay warm from the mama's body heat. You'd be surprised how cold it can be and have 2 or 3 day old chicks running around outdoors. Fascinating to watch them run around and forage, then run under mama, and see her sit on them wherever she is. Then in a few minutes, they're out and about again. A good mama will manage this fine. Maybe there is a lower limit, but then I imagine a mama going broody in a northern winter is unusual. I've seen mamas raise a healthy hatch with night temps below freezing and daytime highs not reaching 50. Extra heat does little if any good because their warm spot is under mama, which of course doesn't get any heat from a heater or heat lamp.
     
  3. TurtlePowerTrav

    TurtlePowerTrav T.K.'s Farm

    3,382
    116
    208
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oregon City, OR
    My Coop
    My broody hatched 2 chicks on Nov. 29. We lost one chick to a small hawk and lost my broody yesterday to a large hawk. They are very vulnerable while covering chicks while free ranging. So if you free range them, be prepared for possible losses. I hate loosing birds, but I also know that it will happen when letting them "be" chickens. So now I have the remaining chick in with my wife's Silkie chicks same age. If the orphan was feathered, he would have stayed out with the flock since he was part of it, but at 3 weeks he is only half feathered.
     
  4. chickenmomma16

    chickenmomma16 Chillin' With My Peeps

    485
    42
    131
    Jul 16, 2012
    Buckley, Washington
    That's comforting to know. Those temps are about as bad as it gets in Spring. Temps are a bit colder this time of year but start to look better come March.




    Mine do free range. I know I will loose some but that is a risk a choose to make for amazing quality eggs and happy chickens. I tried cooping them up in a more then suitable size run and they got depressed and started pecking each other.




    Fully feathered and they should be able to handle what type of low temps at night?
     
  5. TurtlePowerTrav

    TurtlePowerTrav T.K.'s Farm

    3,382
    116
    208
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oregon City, OR
    My Coop
    If you weaned them off the lamp by decreasing temp by 5 degrees every week, they should be able to go outside when fully feathered. Unless your temps are below freezing, they should be fine without heat. They will have each other to keep warm. If it gets real cold, like down to 0 then prolly should have some heat to keep around 25-40. And momma should be able to keep them warm if she can cover all of them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    39,653
    1,177
    516
    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Agree.

    Just don't give her too many that she can't cover them all until they are feathered out. Broody raised chicks tend to feather in faster. While 6 chicks would probably work fine (depending on the hens size), giving her 12 chicks wouldn't be such a great idea in winter.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by