Babies hatching under broody silkies

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by kbbeale, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. kbbeale

    kbbeale Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 26, 2007
    Adkins, Tx
    I'm so mad I could spit!!!![​IMG] What the heck is WRONG with my silkies?? They're supposed to be the best mothers, blah blah blah. Well, NOT MINE!!! I have picked up over the last 48 hours, probably 6 dead babies, kicked out of the nests. Fluffed up, look fine - and they're dead on the ground.

    I have five hens that are sharing one big nest. I go out at least 3 times a day to rescue baby chicks - but I DONT understand what the hell is happening here. I know people all over that have their silkies raise their own babies - WHY not here? Nothing is getting the babies. There are no apparent wounds or anything. Its like they are thrown out of the nest once they are born and thats it, they're dead.

    The ones I rescue and put in the brooder are great, thriving, healthy birds. WHAT IS GOING ON!!? I'm about ready to kick the silkies off their nests and say screw it! Of course all the dead babies are my beautiful blues I have been waiting for..................[​IMG]

    HELP!!!
     
  2. M@M@2four

    [email protected]@2four Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2008
    USA
    The problem is you are allowing them to share a nest. Most likely it's the other ones that are not the, "mother" of that baby(meaning they did not sit on that specific egg). so they can become aggressive towards babies that are not, "theirs"...I had this happen once with my silkie hens that were sharing a nest and learned to take them right after they hatch--i know it's annoying to have to keep checking! SO sorry this has happened!! Good luck!
     
  3. daisychick

    daisychick Incubator Tetris Master Consultant

    Feb 8, 2009
    Colorado
    Is there any way to separate the hens? Then they could each be in charge of their own nest. Put dividers in the nest?? Wire or cages to contain them? [​IMG]
     
  4. birdlover

    birdlover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    Kristen,
    I don't think it's your silkies doing it. I think they are falling out and can't get back in and the get too cold. That is, if their nest isn't on the ground. Or, the ones that aren't broody very well could be the ones chasing the little ones out. If a hen isn't broody, she isn't going to go "awww" over the babies. They will see them as intruders. Also, a broody silkie(s) needs her own private nest...on the ground, partitioned off from the others with chick feed and shallow water holder for mom and babies. Hope this helps. I'm so sorry about the babies.
     
  5. kbbeale

    kbbeale Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 26, 2007
    Adkins, Tx
    Thanks everyone. The silkies are on the ground, so they're not falling OUT of a nest, just being pushed out or something. All the babies that I have found dead have been within 5 or 6 inches of their nesting area. There are other non broody silkies in the coop........so I see your point here.

    I have some boxes, could I take some of the eggs for each silkie and put them in the boxes and stick them in it to help protect a bit better?
     
  6. daisychick

    daisychick Incubator Tetris Master Consultant

    Feb 8, 2009
    Colorado
    I would say if you think the hens would stay in the boxes that would be good. Give them food and water in the box and I would say it might work. Anything is better than what you are dealing with right now. [​IMG]
     
  7. kbbeale

    kbbeale Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 26, 2007
    Adkins, Tx
    Alright, so I got three boxes, filled them with shavings and put eggs in each one, the hens didnt move while I did this, except one that got kinda wiggy on me, and she walked off. The other four hens stayed put and I'll check back on them in a bit.

    Kristen
     
  8. birdlover

    birdlover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    I'm confused. How many broodies do you have and how many NOT broody? Is it a staggered hatch?
     
  9. kbbeale

    kbbeale Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 26, 2007
    Adkins, Tx
    There are 5 broody hens in an enclosed area which houses 18 or so silkies. Started out that one hen went broody, then another....then another...so they had one big nest that all 5 of them began to sit on together. I didnt think anything of it, I have a friend who says that he lets his hens nest wherever they want, so I thought I'd give it a try. He also has community pens.

    So here we are. I just dont get how you're supposed to prevent other hens that arent broody from harming babies once they start to venture out.....certainly this isnt this difficult........
     
  10. kbbeale

    kbbeale Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 26, 2007
    Adkins, Tx
    Here's an update:

    I moved nest boxes into the silkie pen. Put eggs in boxes (using plastic tubs from Wal mart....and all looked well. Everyone had their own nest.

    So, then I go out that evening to find a baby out of the nest dead in the pen. I have an empty coop, so I moved my three white hens to the coop along with their nests. All looks good again - everyone is still sitting and in their own boxes.

    Today, two babies dead IN the hens nestbox. I dont get it. I have NEVER had any other breed of chickens do this. I mean, they at least hatch them out and I can go get them and not worry about them being murdered beforehand!!!!

    What should I do? Im getting ready to pull them off the nests completely and quit letting them hatch out their own - but geez.......it's supposed to be EASIER this way!!!!!

    What to do?
     

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