Broody silkies question (never had broody silkies before!)

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by shelleyd2008, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    I had 2 broody silkies, and 2 that were not laying yet, or so I thought. I went to check one of the broodies, just to make sure she hadn't gotten any 'donations'. Not only did she have extra eggs, she had a whole 'nother chicken in there!! One of the other silkies, who hadn't even started laying to my knowledge, evidently had started laying, and is now also broody. [​IMG]

    The first broody is due any day, and the other one just started brooding today.

    So my question is, when the first broody's eggs hatch, will both hens leave the nest?
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  2. monarc23

    monarc23 Coturnix Obsessed

    Jul 18, 2008
    Indiana, Pennsylvania
    hmm i'd like to know this too!? [​IMG]
  3. therealsilkiechick

    therealsilkiechick ShowGirl Queen

    Jul 18, 2007
    Northwestern, pa
    lol, gotta love them stuburn silkies. i have had 4 hens and a roo to boot guard and sit on 31 eggs in 2 nests all at once. [​IMG] they all took turns with the babies and helped each other but after babies started hatching they started fighting over who mom was. the roo would stand guard over them and sit on the divider of the nestbox watching. every time a mom got up to eat or drink he'd sit till they came back. [​IMG]

    i ended up haveing to take the hatched babies from them cuz they flattened a few trying to crowed the nests. i put mom's in the next coop with door shut cus it was almost winter and getting pretty cold and didn't want babies to fall out so food and water went inside with them. i put 4 nest boxes in and eggs for all 4 and they all kept to their own nests till the rest hatched out but if a baby got out another adopted it and still sat on eggs. poor roo was lost didn't know what to do when all his women and babies were gone all he did was pace looking for them. [​IMG] they speratic hatched for 3 weeks. [​IMG] my girls shared the brooding and didn't leave till all eggs were hatched or they gave up cuz they were duds. it is possible though one or both may give up early do to chicks though.
    best of luck!
  4. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    That's kinda what I thought, that they would share the nest. I wouldn't think that the one that just started brooding would be like "oh my! That was fast!" [​IMG] and leave them all, but I'll definitely watch them. Like I said, the new broody is sneaky, I didn't even know she had started laying! And I just checked the one she is brooding with 3 or 4 days ago, and she had no new eggs [​IMG] So this one evidently doesn't want to be 'shown up' by her sister! [​IMG] They are the silliest birds! The poor roo is usually just walking around clucking to himself, while the non-broody girl is wandering around ignoring him. All mine free range, so the other mama who is hatching now is hidden under the front porch. We don't use that door, and that's where the dog sleeps, so she (the silkie) picked a good spot! That dog won't let anything near that area, except the silkies. No problems with predators or other chickens starting a ruckus around her.

    I have heard that silkies were good mamas, but what does that mean? When I think of good mama, I think of taking care of the chicks well, but also guarding them (think OEG with a baaaaaad attitude!) Are they real protective of their chicks? My 4 y/o is the one that found out that the one broody's eggs were hatching. He goes everyday and takes her off her nest to check for 'donor' eggs. So I'm thinking, if a kid can go and pick the hen up, she can't be all that mean when it comes to other animals? What do you think?
  5. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    I don't let hens share a broody nest for the reason mentioned--babies getting squashed. It is NOT fun to go out to look at your new chicks and see if any more hatched and find one flat as a pancake.

    I know some people have had success with hens sharing a nest, but I have not, and would not recommend it.

    Make a 2nd nest nearby, and physically enclose each (an upturned laundry basket would work if you don't need to worry about predators). Candle the eggs and separate them into developmental stages--give the most developed ones to the hen who has been broody longest and the less developed ones to the pullet.

    After chicks begin hatching keep a close eye--if the hen abandons setting (usually a couple of days after the first baby hatches), be ready to take any remaining eggs, candle them, and if they appear viable put them under the pullet.

    For a few days after the hen leaves the nest you may be able to give newly hatched chicks to the hen to add to her flock--just watch to make sure she accepts them. The general advice is to give them at night; I prefer to give them when they are all up and moving around, eating, etc. and I can watch the interaction to make sure she is accepting them. Usually works.

    I have had a pullet go broody before she ever laid, so that could have happened with yours. When you have your girls free-ranging it is hard to tell who is and isn't laying.

    I handle my broodies all the time--they know me, and while they generally don't like being disturbed, tough. I am looking out for them, making sure their nest is okay, that they have eaten and drank sufficient, that they aren't pooping in their nest and on the eggs, etc.

    If someone they didn't recognise handled them I expect that they would be far more annoyed and upset than with me--could be the same with your son--they are used to him.

    I have had some mama hens be very protective and others who were not--where is you hen in the flock pecking order? The ones nearer the top tend to be more protective, whereas the ones lower seem to have less self-confidence.
  6. jimnjay

    jimnjay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bryant Alabama
    I have also had a communal nest with three and four broodies and had to juggle eggs just as Sonoran Silkie has mentioned.

    Another problem with allowing the young pullet to sit on the nest when the eggs are so close to hatching is that she may not understand what is going on and peck the eggs and kill the chicks. I had a young Silkie go Broody and I had eggs that needed to be separated due to staggered dates. The eggs I put under her were due in 5 days. When I went out to check on her on day 4 of her sitting she had pecked the egg open and the little baby was dead. I figured she was new and instinct told her that babies should not be due yet and she instinctively attacked the thing that was threatening her clutch when the chicks started to pip and peep.
  7. sben451

    sben451 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2008
    Anniston, AL
    I have only one Silkie hen, not quite 1 year old, who just hatched out six beautiful chicks a couple of weeks ago. When she started to go broody, she started, then got off the nest, then started sitting again. After a couple of days, when I was pretty sure that she was broody, I put some of her own eggs under her (I had been saving to put them in the incubator). She was the model broody. Some days, I could not tell if she even got off the nest to eat or poo. She stayed on the nest faithfully and 6 of the 8 eggs hatched. After a couple of days I removed the two eggs that didn't hatch. She's been a great mother. Since we have I Silkie roo in the same pen, we put the hen and chicks in a large hutch type cage where they have room to walk around and still be protected from the roo when he's in the pen.
  8. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    Thanks for all the tips [​IMG]

    Broody #1 is done. 3 of 4 eggs hatched, but one of them died. [​IMG] Not sure what happened there, as it was still wet looking. It also looked like it had some blood on it, but I can't be sure. And of course, it was the only one that was white [​IMG] I had a white roo and a grey roo (who has recently passed), so it was kind of a toss up whether they would be pure. I have had 3 others hatch in the bator that were white, so there was a good possibility that they were. One of her chicks is from an OEGB egg that I gave her, and the other chick looks black?? So I guess Brutus the ugly grey roo has a legacy! [​IMG]

    Anyway, the mama and two chicks are doing fine. I moved mama and babies back to the silkie tractor and out from under the dog porch. She burrowed her way under the other silkies, and her chicks burrowed under her [​IMG] She is not mean at all. I was yelling at my son all day to quit picking up her babies!! [​IMG] I will have 2 tractors empty after I take some birds to auction tomorrow, so I think mama and babies will move in there. We have some young pups running around the yard, and I don't trust them.

    Broody #2 looked to have a pip yesterday (Friday) when we checked her, so maybe we will have some more babies tomorrow? [​IMG] It should be all right to put both the mamas and their babies in the same pen, right? I think that would be the best way to do it, and just leave broody #3 in the other pen with the 'general population'.

    Oh, and broody #3 evidently layed 2 eggs before going broody, so she isn't a total nest stealer. [​IMG] If she does happen to leave the nest (she was off for a long time today, but broody #2 was setting tight on them), I have an OEG hen that is also broody, with eggs just a few days older than broody silkie #3's eggs are.

    How do you tell your silkies apart? This is kinda confusing: broody #1, #2, #3... They all look the same!! [​IMG]
  9. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    Oh, and Sonoran Silkies, I don't have a clue as where she is in the silkie pecking order, but the silkies are the boss of all the birds on the place! The guineas don't even mess with them, and they hate all the chickens [​IMG]

    Maybe the guineas don't realize they are chickens? That's my theory as to the lack of hawk predation on them. Who would want to eat a cotton ball that is 'blowing' across the yard? [​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2009

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