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#41413 - 12/30/03 05:49 PM Winter Chicken Hatch
Vesper 35 Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 01/16/03
Posts: 243
Loc: Canada
I would dearly like to hatch some chicks in January. My bantams are always broody so I have the machines. My concern is the weather. Our hen house is not heated but is well insolated (the water seldom freezes even with our cold climate -30C).Can eggs survive any length of time that the hen is off feeding, etc.? I just noted that CJR has settings now and her climate would be close to ours but she may have heated housing. Any comments would be appreciated. Thanx.

#41414 - 12/30/03 07:45 PM Re: Winter Chicken Hatch
Shahbazin Offline

Registered: 12/18/02
Posts: 76
Loc: California
Well, if the temp. stays above freezing, it should work. I'm in a mild climate, but my pens are pretty exposed, & it does drop into the 20s at night. I have 3 hens with chicks right now (6 weeks old, 3 weeks old, 2 days old) & 2 more hens on eggs. I would give broodies fewer eggs than usual in cold weather (freezing - 40s), & make sure they have a draft free shelter, but I haven't had problems.

#41415 - 12/30/03 09:29 PM Re: Winter Chicken Hatch
Rogo Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 12/05/03
Posts: 469
Loc: Arizona
My hens lay eggs and hatch chicks all year around. No coop here, just chainlink pens with a tarp on top. No added heat (would be senseless!) and no added light.
Winter nights can go down to the low teens.

The hens will lay eggs for up to 2 weeks before someone decides to sit. The eggs hatch.

I stand there in my heavy winter jacket watching the naked chicks run around the pens! They nap under mom. At dusk, all the hens take the chicks back to the nest boxes to snuggle down for the night. The nest boxes are large covered cat litter boxes that sit on the ground.

I've never lost a chick! The birds are a lot heartier than folks give them credit for.

The hens have hatched eggs that have been in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. At 42, the fridge is warmer than outside!

#41416 - 01/01/04 09:32 AM Re: Winter Chicken Hatch
Vesper 35 Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 01/16/03
Posts: 243
Loc: Canada
Thanks for the replies. While we get quite abit colder weather then California and Texas, I am going to try it. Like you say, I'll use fewer eggs so as to be sure they are covered. I can also see that the chicks could be healthier in the long run. Thanks again.

#41417 - 01/01/04 10:32 AM Re: Winter Chicken Hatch

I know my broodies can hatch eggs at zero degrees in a partly insulated coop, but I always remove the chicks to a brooder in the garage if I do that. We are in Montana and the chicks always prosper but on deep sawdust in a draft free brooder.

#41418 - 01/01/04 10:40 AM Re: Winter Chicken Hatch
Raven Offline

Registered: 09/12/03
Posts: 121
Loc: Canada
Hi Neighbour!
I'm in NS, and currently have 6 9 week old chicks that hatched under a broody and have lived without any other form of heat. Also 12 more that don't have a mom and are under a brooder lamp in their own area of the barn, with 6 more bantam Brahma and Mille Fleur chicks in my aviary in my house. (10 X 2 X 8, houses a couple canaries and my tiny chicks.)
I do know I won't EVER intensionally hatch any more chicks in winter, as it's too hard on my nerves-I worry incessantly about the chicks in the barn, though everyone is doing well. Temps haven't been bad yet,nothing below zero, and we currently have not one drop of snow, but that will change.
If you have a broody, it's SO much easier- when they are cold, they'll run to Mom. She teaches them the rules of the road, and it's just so much easier on everyone.
Can't remember who said it- maybe robb or CJR? mentioned that if you have chickens in heated barn and you lose your power- you could have serious problems. Much better if they are used to colder temperatures, but that doesn't work well with chicks, who need to be brooded at the right temperature...
Then there's the 6 in the house, who think I'm the Mom. They dance around peeping when they hear me, fly up when I open the door, & roost on my arm, they really don't think they are chickens. Sweet, yes- but not everyone has the benefit of an aviary and 5 tonnes of sawdust at their disposal. smile
That's been my experience so far, it's been VERY intersting and educational, but not something I plan on repeating next year, having learned my lesson.

#41419 - 01/01/04 11:34 AM Re: Winter Chicken Hatch
Kaalnek Online   content
Flock Leader

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 397
Loc: California
Hi- if you're worried about the eggs, could collect and store the desired eggs someplace cool(and turn them once daily), but leave some 'sacrifical' eggs in the nest to encourage broodiness. Replace with desired eggs once the hen has obviously gone broody..

Another reason for setting fewer eggs would be the chicks 'fit' under the mother for a longer time than if it was a full clutch.

#41420 - 01/02/04 11:18 AM Re: Winter Chicken Hatch
R. Okimoto Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1498
Loc: Arkansas
I've collected and hatched eggs when it was cold enough to freeze the eggs if they were left overnight in the coop. You just have to collect at least twice a day, keep the ones that are still warm and eat the ones that have sat overnight.

You should keep the eggs that you want to hatch in the house until you set them all under the hen at the same time. The hen will do her usual thing and get off the nest once or twice a day, but the eggs barely have time to chill. I used to hatch 8 or 9 standard sized eggs under a bantam Partridge Rock in the summer, but only 5 or 6 during the winter. Mortality was practically zero as it is most of the time that you let a mother raise the babies even when it got cold enough to freeze the water in the cups. the chicks just grow more slowly. They might not reach their full potential size, but I didn't care because I was more interested in their color. The difference in growth rate is very apparent if you have to raise some chicks inside in a brooder. The guys that don't have to waste energy keeping warm and can eat under 24 hours of light in the brooder initially grow much faster than their clutch mates that are left under mom, but the hen brooded chicks tend to catch up later.

My coop was completely enclosed in my garage and there were no drafts, but it would still get pretty cold.


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