Winter solo chick advice wanted

Fluffy_Butt

Songster
Aug 18, 2020
99
151
106
Wisconsin
Hello Peeps!

I put 5 eggs in the incubator 10 days ago (there was one particular rare eggs from a hen I wanted to breed) and after candling last night, it looks like only 1 is developing (of course not the one I was hoping for, lol). I was wondering what would be the best approach for a solo chick? I'm trying to contact local feed stores and a friend that sometimes hatches, to see if I can get another few chicks for roughly my loner's hatch date, but that's looking like a long shot.

I could put more in the incubator, but at best, the chick would still be alone for the first week of it's life. I can't imagine that's a healthy start, right?

The other potential option I'm considering is a broody hen, because although it's frelling mid-winter in Wisconsin, I have TWO hens that have decided to go broody in the past week. They're not sitting on any eggs, but my cochin (Cutie) is particularly determined. I could give her the egg, which could result in companionship for the chick and motherhood for a hen who I wasn't keen on breeding, but I'm worried about a few things.

a) This is Cutie's first time going broody so, although she's been unwavering for about 5 days now, she could lose interest at anytime?

b) Daytime high temps here have been a bit below freezing (and not likely to get much better any time soon).
Even if Cutie accepts and hatches the egg and cares for the chick, does the chick have a real chance at survival this time of year?

INFO: They're in a large pole building turned coop. There's a semi-insulated shelter in the corner of this building and my wonderful husband put a greenhouse-like wall behind the south-facing garage door, so that helps keep the chill down during the day, but it's still not warm by any means.

What do you guys think is the best route? Thanks in advance for the help!
 
Last edited:

SueT

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
May 27, 2015
9,371
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SW MO
A solo orphan chick is going to PEEP PEEP PEEP all the time and drive you crazy.
A broody can keep chicks warm in the winter. I'd go for that option.
 

Mmanist

Crowing
Jul 20, 2018
1,440
5,544
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Ohio
My Coop
My Coop
It's a lovely 15 degrees this morning. These chicks hatched a few days ago! Long as you have a good broody, they should be fine! 🥰
20210124_081827.jpg
 

Fluffy_Butt

Songster
Aug 18, 2020
99
151
106
Wisconsin
Alright! I'm going to trust Cutie :rolleyes: She was very quick to get the egg under her and hasn't gotten up since, so fingers crossed! Hopefully she wont be too disappointed with only 1 chick, but at least they'll have each other. Thanks for the advice!
 

Fluffy_Butt

Songster
Aug 18, 2020
99
151
106
Wisconsin
Update: So far so good. I candled this morning and the chick is still moving around :) Cutie's doing her best, although Banshee kicks her off daily to lay, but at least she's keeping it warm.

What is up with these girls going broody in the cold though?? I now have THREE hens going broody. In January. In WISCONSIN. :idunno
 

Fluffy_Butt

Songster
Aug 18, 2020
99
151
106
Wisconsin
LOL, I don't know, the incubator route is looking good to me. It's fast approaching what would be "lock down" time and I don't know how well Cutie is going to be at keeping the egg in one position. It seems to move around the blanket an awful lot, depending on where Cutie has migrated/been shoo'd to. I'm going to set up a barrier around her tomorrow, give her food/water and let her twice a day and then hope for the best!

What breed(s) do you have? My broody girls are cochins and silkies, who I've discovered are notoriously broody (I was looking for cold hardiness, fluffiness, and demeanor when deciding on breed).
 

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