Broody Hens in Winter

Hens go broody at the strangest times.  It is Dec 13th and two of my Silkies have decided to sit on eggs.  I know they will keep the eggs warm and the baby chicks, too once they hatch.   But winter is not a great time to have baby chicks outside.

Predators are very hungry and brave during the winter and that is when we have lost a chicken or two over the years.   Our three dogs bark so it helps to keep most animals away.  Lately, we have had a stray cat in our chicken yard.  Hopefully, it is just there for some water but we did lose a little two week old chick about the time the cat showed up.

Hens will sit on their eggs for 21 days and only get off the eggs once or twice a day to eat, drink and poop.  It can take a toll on the chicken’s health especially when they want to go broody again  thirty days later, which is when she starting laying eggs again.  After you take the eggs from under her, it is not unusual to see her remain sitting.   But if you don’t want more chicks, keep taking the eggs away.   She will eventually get the idea.

Silkies are great chickens for many reasons but they are definitely GREAT moms.    I often put some of my Americauna (blue/green) eggs under her to hatch for me.  Silkies are a smaller breed chicken so they can sit on about 8 eggs.

I live in Northeastern Florida and day-old straight-run Silkie chicks sell for $5 each.   Straight-run means you do not know the sex of the chick.   You don’t have anything invested in the chicks if the mom hatched the chicks out, so it’s pure profit.

If the chick is not a specialty breed, you can expect to get $3 a chick.  I have heard that the Black Cooper Maran chicks sell for $20 each.  They lay the real dark chocolate colored eggs.

Again, go on Craigslist under Farm and Garden and find out what your local area charges for chickens.   Read up on chickens and determine what kind best suits your needs.  Some chickens are known for being good egg layers and some for their meat.

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