Why would a hen go broody in winter?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by erinchelsea, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. erinchelsea

    erinchelsea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2010
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    Simply a theoretical question....why would a hen go broody in the winter? I just noticed my 2nd hen of the past few months (both Dark Cornish) acting broody. wouldn't you think they would wait till it warmed up a bit...would chicks stand much of a chance of surviving in freezing temps? [​IMG] If it was march or april I'd be giving her some fertile eggs to sit on....grrr, bad timing! [​IMG]


    On the other hand, it was kind of cute how she got all mad when I tried to take the eggs under her and she tried scootching the eggs back under her warm belly. [​IMG]
     
  2. erinchelsea

    erinchelsea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Doh! sorry, just saw someone recently posted on this subject already. I did a search before I posted and everything...not sure how I missed that. [​IMG]
     
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Because they don't have access to drugs to stop the hormones from ruling their lives. [​IMG] Poor things have no control over it. Genetics and hormones. It is what it is.

    As for keeping eggs - and later, chicks - warm, they can certainly do that!

    Babies can take a lot of chill in short doses, running out from under momma and back under her again when they need to warm up. Our artificial brooding methods, for so long, have led us to think baby chicks need 90-95 degrees 24 hours a day, every day, for a week, then 80-85 for the second week, and so on and so forth.

    Once I got an EcoGlow brooder heater, which does a great job more nearly like broody hens, I realized it's more natural to provide a dark, warm place for chicks to huddle, sleep, and warm up but they can get out from under it and run around. I no longer second guess how a hen can incubate and hatch in the winter.
     
  4. erinchelsea

    erinchelsea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Webster City, IA
    Ok, well yes, I see your point about the hormones, lol. I thought maybe due to the lack of light that insitnct would be lessened, like egg laying. Our girls have still been laying almost all full production with no artificial light however.

    Good point about the mamas keeping them warm, I suppose you are right- they can keep them warm just fine. I'd rather have chicks in the spring so they can go outside ASAP but I'm sure they'd be fine without it.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Hormones involved with broodiness are endogenous (coming from hen herself). Her nutritional status is adequate for producing eggs so interactions involving contact with eggs a other endogenous factors set stage for broodiness. Chicks can survive even worst winter if you step in with quality feed and provide broody him with protection from wind and dry nesting site once chicks off nest.
     

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