Chicks raising happy, healthy chickens

Hatching Chicks Outside without a Broody Hen

Up until very recently, we haven’t had a lot of rain. And we’ve had triple digit heat. Some people have lost livestock, while some have lost other animals to the heat. But we actually gained one single chick from the extreme temperatures. So let’s explore hatching chicks outside without a broody hen.

No, I’m not talking about incubating chicks outside, at least not with an electric incubator. Although the conditions started out with a broody hen, those two particular hens aren’t the brightest out there. Why any hen would want to sit in a coop in 108° weather for weeks is beyond me. Though I’ve stopped trying to figure those two out.

black and white fluffy chick under person's chin
This is Lil’ Bit, treating me like its mom.

Yes, I’ve used the broody breaker box, trying to break their brood, because, as I said, they’re not very intelligent. Some chickens have bigger brains than the rest. Those two weren’t so gifted. Every spring it seems we have 1, then 3, then 5 or 6 hens that all want to have chicks at the same time. However only 1 or 2 are actually good broody mother hens. But those 2 just persisted, no matter how long we left them in the broody box.

One in a Million Chick

5 different colored fluffy chicks on tiled floor
We had to get Lil’ Bit some friends.

And they kept getting off their eggs, trying to switch things up. Thus, we took all their eggs away, except someone gave one of them only 1 egg and dated it. Then just a few days ago my husband found a chick in the middle of the coop all alone. And the two hens rejected it. Of course they rejected it, because they never actually did any of the sitting.

So my theory is that the temperature and humidity in the coop was perfect. And that the other hens, going into the coop to lay eggs, was just enough movement for the fertilized egg to rotate it and keep it viable and bring it to hatch. In other words, we have a miracle chick. Miraculous that no one stepped on it. And miraculous in that the temperature and humidity was just right. No other time would have been right out there for that to happen.

Don’t Try this at Home

black chick, buff colored chicks on tiled floor

Generally this isn’t the recommended way to incubate chicks. We certainly weren’t expecting a chick to hatch all on its own without one of the broody hens to claim it. (Although I did p0int out the two in the coop now are on the slow side.) But if you’re planning on raising chicks, it’s best to have a good broody hen that knows what she’s doing. Or to just incubate inside. For more information on incubating chicks, click here.

In Conclusion

Heat can kill, as the heat wave we’ve all been experiencing has done with livestock, marine animals, and some pets. But miraculously, it can also bring life, if the conditions are just right. Do you have any stories about animal miracles? Your comments are appreciated.

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I breed pure Black Ameraucana chickens and Easter Eggers that are Black Ameraucana mixed with either Cuckoo Maran or Barred Rock. And I donate eggs to people or organizations in need.

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