Broody silkie feathers strangling chicks?


12 Years
Nov 14, 2009
Boyers, Pa
This can't just happen I'm posting to see who else is having this problem. My silkies raise a lot of babies each year. Every one that goes broody, is allowed to raise babies. I have 13 hens. I sell a lot of chicks and letting them raise the chicks keeps everyone happy. (I never take all the chicks away to sell...always leave them with 1 or 2 to raise till they start laying again.)

Today when I sent my son out to feed the broodys/babies he came back with a dead 4 day old chick with fluffy dark lavender feathers wrapped around it's neck. Now normally, I hear them screaming and go out and free them when this happens but I was working today. I didn't hear any shreeking when I got home, so I'm guessing it happened between 10 and 4. What has been happening is the babies get the mommy's belly feathers wrapped around their neck. Momma drags them around (shreeking) till they either suffocate, break their neck...or I save them. How in the world do I stop this? I have saved probably 4 this summer and lost 2. I don't even understand how it happens since most of the broodys pluck their bellies bare!

I have been just shrugging it off as something that happens, but this was a special chick that both my son and I wanted to keep. I gave it to one of my best broodys to raise....and of course out of her 6 chicks, that was the one. I'm sad every time we loose one, don't get me wrong. Dalton really wanted this chick though. I brought its twin in (almost twin...more black on this one) to the brooder....but Pooka is a good mamma bird, I know it wasn't her! UGH So frustrated!

So tell me....has anyone else had this happen?
I'm sorry for your's not just you. It happens all the time with the broodies that don't pull their own feathers out. Silkie breeders either pluck or trim the belly feathers so the chicks aren't strangulated.

"It is not uncommon for breeders to trim the 'undercarriage' of their broody hens as knotted feather strands can strangle chicks."

Others (here on the board) say that if the henfeathers are clean and dry it shouldn't happen and a good wash and blow dry should fix it. I strongly disagree. Chicks are wet and slimy when they hatch - even if the hen's feathers are clean and dry they will quickly become a sticky wet hot mess if a newly born chick is twirling around in her feather(s).

I say trim her belly a little. =] I'm against plucking unless it's a dead chicken getting ready to be eaten...I wouldn't want someone to just start yanking out my hair =(
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Hello, I am just leaving my story on all of these threads as a warning. Silkies have wonderful mothering instincts, but I have picked six caught babies out our silkie's feathers and today I was too late and lost a beautiful month-old crested polish baby. I will never work with a silkie broody again. Our two pekin bantams always pluck themselves clean and I have never, ever had this problem.

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