Qusetion about hatching eggs?


In the Brooder
10 Years
May 26, 2009
I was wondering if someone could explain something to me. I am sure its a simple answer to you experienced chicken folks. I always am reading about temp. spikes and humidty issues during hatchings, some saying that if the temp spikes to say 105 or 106 the eggs will die fairly fast, ok, so how do any eggs hatch under a broody hen in lets say San Antonio ,Texas where the day time temps reach reg. between 105 to 110 day after day during the summer months, and the chicken does leave the eggs during the day to eat, drink etc. Does a chcken then have to cool her eggs during this time or what happens? Just curious, I know that nature does alot better job then we ever could.
Ken from Maine
I live in the Austin, TX area and temps in the 105-110 are not common most summers. Temps around 100-102 are fairly common during the summer months. Last year, 2009, was a hotter than normal year and we tied the record for days 100 or over. When birds are incubating eggs in high temps, they tend to take longer breaks from the eggs and sit less tightly. Some times they just stand over the eggs during the hotter part of the day. Remember, birds, including chickens, are nesting in the shade and shade temps are at least 5 degrees cooler than in the sun.
thanks, I just picked San Antonio cause i have family down there and I have heard them mention over 100 many times, just an example. I was just wondering kinda "what if" stuff. Ken
I live in Dallas, in the hottest part of the Summer, we get several days of 100-102, usually not more than that. But there are other places I am sure much hotter than TX, for example Las Vegas.
Yeah, as said earlier - A hen will usually only brood over her eggs in a dark, shady area, which is about 5-10 degrees cooler. And really, there aren't many places where the eggs will get that hot. It would have to be preeetty hot outside, and she'd have to leave them for quite some time.
I do not live in Texas, so I may be way off base. But, I did grow up in Montana. Right, it is the Northwest, BUT, believe me, especially in the prairie part of the state, which is where we were, it could get very very hot.

Our hen house was very well ventilated, and if it got hot enough that it threatened the lives of the chickens, which didn't happen too often, but it did happen occasionally, well, we air conditioned.

Now, I am talking about homesteaders in Montana. They didn't even have electricity most of the time I was growing up (my grandparents I am talking about.)

So here is how you air condition a chicken coop in those circumstances. You take a wet blanket and hang it over the doorway.

This would not work here in West Virginia because there is not enough wind most days, and it is too humid.

But in Montana, and in Texas, I presume, it is windy all the time, and it is also very dry, creating a lot of evaporation, so a wet blanket over the door cools a room, be it chicken or human, very nicely. (A real wet blanket, not a cranky person.) (I could just see the puns coming.)

I don't think the eggs would die in any event, because the hen would be on them. But if it is really hot out the chickens can suffer and even die, and that is what you can do about it.

I think, Ken is rather looking at this as a hypothetical question, not a local weather survey...

1) They do tend to find a secluded shady spot and are therefore not likely to get that hot.
2) Hens don't tend to go broody, if the weather gets too uncomfortable for them. Individual heat/cold tolerances vary between breeds. So that circumvents the problem right there.

Hope that helps!
Thank You Sciencechick:) that is what I meant exactly, I had just picked a spot that I thought would be hot. I new nature would take care of it self but was just wondering. It seems the more I think about chickens, the more amazing the whole thing is. In 21 days from an egg to a living chick that instinctively knows how to eat and drink and go under a brooder light it just is amazing.
Thanks again
Ken from Maine
They DO get too hot where I live. It gets over 110 here for months during the summer. I've had to do several things to make sure chickens & eggs don't die from the heat. First is coop location, it MUST have deep shade. Since it doesn't really get cold in the winter I always build my coops with only 3 walls facing away from prevailing winds. Lots of ventilation openings. I have an old parachute that covers the entire coop that I wet down for evaporative cooling. Plus I spray down the run around the coop with water every day.
The first summer my hens tried to hatch eggs, none hatched until I learned how to help them.

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