Originally Posted by tjo804
Ok so I am adding too much human emotion to this whole deal I think. I have been known to do that
Sigh!! I just tonight was irritated with myself and blessed by God All at the same time. Seems another chick hatched while I was out there tonight. She re positioned and I snapped a picture real quickly but I cannot tell what is going on under her if its hatched eggs broken eggs or still waiting eggs. Man oh boy did I mess this up for her.
Here is the new one
You didn't mess anything up...you've got 3 healthy chicks out of 5 (?) eggs? I think I see 3 spent shells and 2 unhatched eggs in your photo....it is not uncommon in cold weather to have about 60% hatch rate, sometimes closer to 50% as the temps sometimes keep the outside eggs from getting warmth. Average for me is about 50 to 75% hatch rate depending on brooding hen and season. Some eggs may not have been fertile. Some embryos die in the shell due to internal issues, nothing to do with brooding. Some chicks die in shell during hatch as they can't adjust to breathing air or some other structural issue...often an unclosed umbilical cord that gets infected if the chick is tardy after pipping to zip and hatch. So much can go wrong, and right with each hatch.
My chicks stay under momma for a full 2 days, especially in cold weather. You will hardly see the little babes for the first 3 or 4 days, sometimes up to a week, as momma keeps them well covered. After that, the babies are running around in their little down jackets in the cold, tucking under momma's warming hutch for quick warm ups. They will grow hardy and thrive in spite of sub freezing temps as long as they are out of wet (direct rain, snow, puddling water). If you look at my BCM hatch below, that was in the dead of winter, and cold, cold December or January (forgot which) that had sub freezing temps and wind chill with heavy wind, snow, freezing rain in the single digits and sub digits all day for 2 weeks. Momma kept them snug as a bug in the broody hutch. It was 3 weeks before they could go into their run as the snow had to melt down enough so they wouldn't get lost in it....and the little babies grew and grew and matured early and laid early (except for the roo which I sold).
So, yeah, it is totally counter-intuitive after you've artificially brooded and worked so hard to keep that lamp at the perfect 96 degrees, then carefully lowered it each week until they slowly feathered in, then slowly acclimated to the ambient temperature. But momma does just fine in the cold weather without a heat lamp. She is their heat source. Just supply fresh water and good chick food for momma and babies. Chick Saver in the water is a good treat for momma as she begins to rebuild her stamina. Chick food is high in protein, which she needs to rebuild her muscle mass. Cracked corn, in limited quantities, helps her rebuild fat (but you don't want the babies eating too much as they won't eat their dinner after the candy corn). Momma will also likely molt (nature's way of cleaning momma up after the long stinky brooding process).
Silkies are awesome mommas and brooders...it is really hard to mess anything up with a Silkie. They are the Rock of Gibraltar when it comes to brooding and mothering, almost without exception.