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Broody hen - too late in the summer to let her lay due to molting?

 
steward
Posts: 7181
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
2044
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One of my hens went broody a couple weeks ago.  We're debating giving her some eggs to hatch.  I'm in a colder part of the country but I think they'd hatch and feather out before it gets too cold.  My biggest worry is if the hen molts.  Our adult chickens hatched last Memorial Day (late May) and haven't molted yet.  I don't even know what molting really is yet (new chicken keeper) so I'm not sure how denuded they get.  If the mother hen molts while she's trying to keep fresh chicks, will she be able to keep them warm?
 
steward
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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If you set eggs under the broody hen today, the chicks will be 8 weeks old in the first week of November. That seems plenty old for chicks to be going into winter. The hen can molt whenever she gets around to it, whether or not she is sitting on eggs or keeping chicks warm, which are also sharing their heat with her...  I'd aim for a smaller clutch size, say around 8 to 9 eggs.
0819181851-07.jpg
[Thumbnail for 0819181851-07.jpg]
Newly hatched chicks.
 
Mike Haasl
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Thanks Joseph!  Since I haven't seen a chicken molt I don't really know what to expect.  We'll stick some eggs under her so she can stop growling at us
 
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