Broody Hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BeccaNS, Mar 23, 2017.

  1. BeccaNS

    BeccaNS Out Of The Brooder

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    My mother has a silkie that is very determined. My mom has been battling it out with her for a couple months now, nothing has worked for long. She is the lone silkie and lone survivor from last year chicks. She is super lonely and my mom wouldn't mind letting her sit if she had a rooster. So my question is what would happen if my mom stuck some day old chicks under her? The silkie is currently back on an empty nest. We feel so bad for her, her little group of friends are all gone. My mom has thought of trying to rehome her but she is tiny and we are worried she will get picked on no matter where she lives. I even thought of bringing her to live with my three chicks but I think it's to late. Mine are already 6 weeks.
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Since she has been broody for some time, let her sit on some eggs for 3 or 4 days. Then exchange those eggs at night with baby chicks from wherever you get them. Aim for the smallest/youngest chicks. Removed eggs can be eaten since they were only under hen short time. If you have reservations about that, then cook them up and feed them to your chicks. Silkies and cochins are the BEST MOMS. Many peeps keep them exclusively for such deeds.
    WISHING YOU BEST and [​IMG]
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Good plan^^^...but I would not eat eggs that had been under a broody for 3-4 days.
    You could use fake eggs or golf balls..... or rocks, or nothing as determined as she is.
    Definitely get the youngest chicks you can.

    Are there other birds in your moms flock?
    Has this bird ever hatched/brooded chicks before?
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2017
  4. BeccaNS

    BeccaNS Out Of The Brooder

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    My mom has four total left, the silkie, a RiR, one I don't know, and a Wyandotte the other three range from 5-3 yrs. the silkie is the youngest at 1. I'm thinking maybe my mom should try to move the silkie first, maybe out of the coop. It's a large coop and they free range but the older hens do run the show.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Or maybe set up a place in the coop for the broody to set without being bothered by the others yet still 'with' the flock.
    A large wire dog crate or fenced off area large enough for her nest, feed/water, and room to stretch her legs and poop.
    Think ahead to integration of broody and chicks....might be herd for a silkie to reenter the flock dynamic and protect her chicks.
     
  6. BeccaNS

    BeccaNS Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh I didn't even think about that. Does it matter that she rarely free ranges with the rest of the flock? About the time her group was lost is when she started this so she is always alone. The chicken used to have three groups but after losing 6 of the 10 the three older girls made a new group and the silkie was alone.
     
  7. BeccaNS

    BeccaNS Out Of The Brooder

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    This chicken has been a constant worry for us! She is just so tiny. She was about half the size of the other silkies.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I think it's important to leave a secluded bird within sight of the flock, especially a loner/low bird.
    You want the flock to remember that she is one of them, regardless of her pecking order status,
    or re-integration will be even harder than it might be due to her size.

    Unless you plan on having two separate flocks, silkies and large fowl, depending on what kind of chicks you get for her.
    I've never had bantam/silkies but have read many times that is can be best to keep them separate, tho many keep them in a mixed flock.
    There are many variables to consider.
     
  9. BeccaNS

    BeccaNS Out Of The Brooder

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    Since they are free range most of the day and have a large coop could she in theory keep two flocks in the one coop at night? I know they do not want to build another coop. If I bought the silkie two larger sized birds as chicks do you think they could/would make their own flock? The silkies original group only had one other silkie in it.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    That’s a hard call. I let my hens hatch with the flock and raise the chicks with the flock, but you are in a different situation. Your Mom doesn’t have a rooster, I think a rooster often helps with young chicks in the flock. For whatever reasons it sounds like the Silkie has not truly joined the flock. At one year old and with that shake-up to the flock pecking order that’s kind of unusual, but it is what it is.

    In your case I would suggest you isolate her before you give her the chicks. Make sure your fencing has tight enough mesh so the chicks can’t get through. Make sure the area is predator proof for nighttime, that’s where your greatest predator danger will be. Then, after a week or so, I’d turn them loose to roam. By that time the other hens should have accepted the new additions and not go out of their way to harm them. But let them loose when you can observe. My hens usually don’t bother the chicks anyway, my broody hens protect their chicks from any threat from other chickens (usually juveniles but possibly from an adult hen), but you never know how living animals will behave.

    If at all possible, build that isolation pen in the coop. That should be predator proof and will keep the hen and chicks with the others. But after keeping the hen and chicks in that isolation pen for a week, the hen will almost certainly take her chicks back there to spend the night. If that is not in the main coop you will have to transition them at some point.

    They should be able to share a coop, just try to not leave them locked in there together late in the morning for the first few days. I do that when I integrate young chickens, make sure I’m down there early until I’m confident it won’t be a problem. It’s never been a problem, usually two days is enough to convince me it won’t be, but you can never tell with behaviors.

    I don’t know how the flock dynamics will work out when those chicks mature. You may wind up with roosters. What I’d expect is that the chicks will form a sub-flock and avoid the older hens until they mature enough to force their way into the pecking order. With cockerels, who knows when that will be? With pullets it’s usually when they start to lay. When the Silkie weans her chicks they may form three flocks until they mature. They may stay with the Silkie even after they are weaned. If they join the main flock when they mature they may take that Silkie with them. You just don’t know what will happen with chicken behaviors. But I think it is worth trying.
     

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