Winter brood hatch- inside or outside & when?


8 Years
Feb 25, 2013
Might have been too hasty šŸ˜ -

It's cold (down to teens Fahrenheit at night) but my one of my 5 production hens went broody. Because I *think* this will be a rare occurrence, I put some eggs under her just to see if it would work.
But since I didn't have a maternity ward (coop too small), and she was getting picked on, I moved her inside the mud room in a dog kennel. She seems pretty dedicated to her nest and now it's day 6 of the hatch and 10/12 eggs look good at candling.
The other hens are being rough with my broody hen during water and food breaks, and so I'm pretty sure reintegration will be tricky (since she was at the bottom of the totem pole anyhow).

So my questions:
When would you move hen and eggs/chicks outside again?
Should I just do a brooder box in the garage for the first 6 weeks? (I have a fridge box -that would be easy.)
If I do need to move her outside sooner, how big does the maternity/ brooder box need to be? (lots of pack rats here, so it's gotta be pretty secure.)
I'm hoping for 8 hens total, so the others will be given away once I can determine sex. Should I not integrate until I know the sexes?

I know these are a lot of newbie questions! Sure appreciate your patience and experience. :)


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Hopefully someone that has been in this situation can help.
I normally keep the broody in the coop but put up a chicken wire wall so that she has her own area with her chicks and still part of the flock so integration isn't a big ordeal. I only have experience with a broody hatching in spring.
My best broody is the lowest on the pecking order, no one messed with her when she had her babies but they were also part of the flock since they hatched.
I let broodies stay in the coop in a fenced off area too. I have a winter broody as well that just hatched.
Can you give her her own pen outdoors in the same area as the rest of the flock so that they can see but not touch once the babies hatch? I prefer to brood where the rest of the flock can see the babies so integration goes more smoothly. With a broody theyā€™re usually in the flock by a week or two old, and without by 5 or 6 weeks. Lots of space, hiding places for the chicks, and extra feeding stations all help with this.

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