Buff Silkie either broody or ill, I can't tell!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Aerielle, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. Aerielle

    Aerielle Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 9, 2012
    Orange, CA
    Hello friends, looking for some advice. Yesterday a gentlemen came by and donated his beautiful Buff silkie hen, about a year, to me. He background: she was recently acquired a week ago by him from a family that was moving, and she was getting picked on by the three larger breeds she was raised with. Which led to the donation. He said she was sitting in the nest box all day and getting into fights as the other hens wanted the nest box she was in.

    I thought she must be broody. But when I checked on her an hour later her head with droopy and I thought she had died. I immediately gave her water from my hand and catfood mixed with grain and layer mash (she was fed layer pellets). She seemed to perk up and liked the cat food. I let her in the run (large 10x20' aviary run) and she seemed ok. Preening, scratching, stretching her wings and checking out her new digs. I put her back in the coop (large 8x6') and she immediately went back to the corner and put her head down. I checked back an hour later again, and moved a water dish to practically underneath her chest and she started drinking heavily without getting up (I put a splash of apple cider vinegar in it) and she had some more of the catfood mix. But after that it was back to head down in the corner and droopy.

    I moved her inside my house for the night, as I didnt want her to get chilled if she is sick. Or is this broody behavior? Her poop seemed normal in the am, albeit a lot (4x in 20 min) and later in the afternoon much more watery - which I attributed to the heavy water intake from the afternoon.

    Do you think she was being bullied and dehydrated/hungry and now stressed from moving twice in a week? Or being broody? [​IMG]
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It's really a guess, but she sounds more shook up by the move and the strange new chickens than broody. She may be hiding to avoid encounters with her new flock, especially if she's used to being picked on. I would give her some time, and encourage them to move around together, as with treats. Certainly they are affected by change and it will probably be a while before she feels like this is home. I would think she would be less likely to go broody while feeling unsettled, though that's a guess, too.
  3. Aerielle

    Aerielle Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 9, 2012
    Orange, CA
    Thanks Judy. My entire previous flock was killed tragically in January, so she has the place all to herself. That's why I'm surprised she acting so strange. I thought she would be happy to be free from the bullies and be Queen for awhile. I have pullets coming in March. I moved her inside my house in a cat carrier last night, it was a thunderstorm and didnt want her to be chilled. Her head is up this morning and I'm going to take her out to the run in an hour so she moves around. My other concern is if she is broody, she may think the cat carrier is her new nest! I will just have to wait and see.
  4. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2011
    Aw, she's gorgeous! Just a heads up, my Silkies aren't the most active breed I've ever had. With their big crests they get picked on and sometimes can't see well enough to locate their feed and water. Try not to move the food/water location too much, it could throw her off if she isn't seeing well. She may benefit from a haircut. I have a couple of broody Silkies right now, and they stay on their nests all day either with their head tucked behind a wing ir looking zoned out. They get up once a day to eat, drink and leave giant poops behind for me to clean up. They also growl and fluff up and one of them likes to peck me every chance she gets. If she's doing these things, she may very well be broody. Good luck!
  5. hehahn

    hehahn Out Of The Brooder

    May 21, 2010
    South Texas
    I just got a 7 week old partridge silkie, does anyone know when they will start setting?
  6. Je33ieg

    Je33ieg Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 10, 2012
    Clemson, SC

    Honestly it sounds like she's broody and a little shook up from the move. I have a broody hen who was doing the exact same things that you've described. She WAS my friendliest hen, but she wouldnt leave the nesting box and would try to attack my hand if i tried to move her. I had to buy welding gloves and get her out of it so she would eat and drink. after about 5 days of that battle, she started getting off the nest herself and has been great since. Still broody, but at least being self sufficient and not trying to kill me.

    the head droopiness is whats weird. was she well taken care of before? she could have been dehydrated or underfed.
  7. Aerielle

    Aerielle Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 9, 2012
    Orange, CA
    Thanks for everyone's feedback. I took "Goldie Hawn" to a chicken dr. and yes she is broody, combined with dehydration and malnutrition - hence the droopy head. I moved her into a dog carrying case with her own water and food dish, literally underneath her nose. Feeding her hardboiled eggs mixed with catfood and layer mash has helped. I also picked up 3 fertile eggs for her to sit on. So who knows, I will find out March 15 if they hatch. I do have to pick her up and force her to walk and use the bathroom. She is too timid of the other hens to leave the carrier, so I keep it shut for her sense of peace and to avoid them stealing the hardboiled egg (they all are jealous of her special food).

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by