broody in canada? questions for silkie experts.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by romea, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. romea

    romea Chirping

    Nov 4, 2014
    okay, so... recently we got our first silkie hen and after observing her for a while, we felt she was a reincarnation and named her dodo - but a few weeks later and all joking aside, i was getting seriously worried. her intake of food is low as is her range of movement and she seems to be nodding off all the time. when i caught myself researching "narcolepsy in silkies”, i felt it was time to find an avian vet...

    so today i was about to get a stool sample analyzed when i realized that the lab was closed for the day. instead i called a silkie breeder and an hour later drove dodo to him. he hardly took a look at her inside the carrier and smiled: "yeah, i can already tell you what’s wrong with her…." i was holding my breath. "she’s broody!" she’s whaaat?!? it is the beginning of december, we are located in canada, the temperatures are way below freezing and dodo hasn’t laid an egg since i got her!

    anyway, apparently all this is ‘normal’ when you are a silkie. so now i am wondering what to do. obviously and after several weeks in this 'state' it is a bit too late to try and 'break her'. so i am thinking of giving her some eggs from my other hens.

    with that being said, you need to know that soon after getting her, i was wondering if she might, in fact, be broody and offered her some eggs to sit on in order to check if she would exhibit any 'motherly' behaviour - but i did not see any of that. no "OMG" reaction from dodo, no instant jumping on top of the eggs, no eagerness to rearrange them underneath her - nothing. admittedly, i had taken her out of the coop and this 'test' was conducted in the middle of our livingroom but she had been inside for a while and seemed very comfortable, calmly sunning herself in front of my startled cats.
    apart from this non-reaction, i am also seeing her perch - for instance at night. how does this fit into a broody hen’s lifestyle? she is also not puffing up or exhibiting any other signs of defensiveness.

    so apart from being puzzled by this behaviour, i also want to make sure i am doing the right thing at this cold time of year.
    can someone please enlighten me if this is, in fact, 'just' broodiness? and if so, what kind of environment and food can i offer her to keep her in good shape? we also have various other hens and could give her eggs from another bantam hen but also from our ameraucanas. would she be able to handle such big eggs?
    so many questions...
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    I would only give her three eggs, if they are large fowl eggs. If she doesn't set on them and she goes to roost at night, then she's not broody. Broody hens are OBSESSED with hatching those eggs. They only get up to take a poo, eat and drink once or twice a day and then they scurry back to the nest.

    That's my experience with a broody silkie. Heck, my friend had a silkie hen that was so broody, she tried to hatch a corn cob. And another friend could just sit an egg on the ground, and this hen would run over and set on it! It's comical.

    Let me know what happens! I really hope she's not ill.....
  3. romea

    romea Chirping

    Nov 4, 2014
    hatch a corn cob, eh? that is hilarious!

    thanks for the input, chicmom and yes, i, too, hope she’s not ill… hmm... at least the poop sample appeared to be okay. this, of course, was just a visual inspection and i will follow up with a vet if things remain this way.
    today, she appeared a bit more active. each time i entered the coop during the morning, she was out eating. then, later in the day, she resumed her contemplative stance.

    i then offered her a fairly freshly laid bantam egg, placed it and her in what i assume could be interpreted by a hen as a nesting area. when i left, she appeared to be standing, not sitting but inactive. when i returned a few hours later she was off the improv-nest, contemplating...
    man, oh man… i don’t know what to make of this…

    btw: the one (and only) thing that the breeder found were a few mites. it didn’t sound alarming but as i mentioned in another thread, i see this more as the symptom of an immune-compromised animal. i will treat her (and others) with DE first before reverting to meds. again - everybody else is doing great so i don’t see this (whatever ‘this' is) as something that seems to be effecting the whole flock.

    romea, puzzled.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2014
  4. silkymom

    silkymom Songster

    Nov 20, 2009
    tellya what ive had very broody silkies , wouls sit on 20 eggs all the other hens layed next to her, i marked the first few and had to fight her off to get the everyday eggs layed in there, she would hatch anything, i fed and watered her on site, good luck she finally got her chicks and was ok, till the next time, she would hatch anything
  5. romea

    romea Chirping

    Nov 4, 2014
    she is roosting at night and not interested in the eggs i present to her.
    i am starting to wonder if she has a brain tumour since narcolepsy is seriously what describes her behaviour best.
    can intestinal worms solicit such lethargy?
    maybe i should ask these questions in the section on Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures...
  6. rebrascora

    rebrascora Crowing

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    She doesn't sound broody at all to me.

    I had a similar silkie. I named her Dippy because she just wasn't "all there". She never laid an egg. She had problems with her eyes gumming up and I had to bath them daily or they would get matted shut and I thought this might be part of her dingbat behaviour but I never got to the bottom of it. She certainly never showed any inclination to be broody unlike other hens I have. Unfortunately one day, she just wasn't there at bedtime when I lock them in the coop (they free range during the day). I looked all over for days but never found any sign of her. Everyone said, "Oh she's a silkie, she will have a secret nest somewhere and turn up with a brood" but I had never seen her show the slightest inclination to lay an egg. Anyway, she didn't turn up and I can only assume she either crawled into an inaccessible hole and got stuck or a predator took her. I had grown really attached to her too because of all the attention she needed for her eyes. She had a really cute "whoop" sound she used to make. I do miss her!

    Not sure that helps you any, but hope you get to the bottom of it and find something to help your Dodo.

    Best wishes

  7. ocap

    ocap Crowing

    Jan 1, 2013
    Smithville, Missouri
    one of my silkie hens has laid about two dozen eggs and if I keep them removed she does not go broody (so far). She went broody four times in 2014 if I leave the eggs in her coop/nest.

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