How long will my poor Silkie try to hatch an unfertilized egg?

SVTechChick

Chirping
Mar 2, 2016
56
31
91
Mountain View
My poor little Floof started being broody with no egg, then absconded with an egg from our BR...We took it away, she say on nothing for another two days, and she managed to get another from the BR (who never lays in this area). We have no fertilized eggs, and are maxed out in chickens as it is. I might be able to "borrow" a couple of eggs for her to hatch, but an concerned about having to give the chicks back, and that this just reinforces the behavior. What happens if we just let her sit it out? Will she give up? We drag her out of the coop for food and water, but she just sits there waiting for her baby to hatch. :(
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
6 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
14,924
761
Oregon
My Coop
Sitting it out can work - but it often takes several weeks and the process of brooding can be extremely taxing on the hen. A simpler solution would be to employ the use of one of the many approaches to breaking a hen's broodiness (though silkies are notorious for being broody and she may either be hard to break or break and go right back to being broody a short time later) - my preference is the "broody buster cage".
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Sep 29, 2014
6,452
17,104
861
New Zealand
Silkies love to be broody and they will try it often whether they are sitting on eggs or not. You aren't reinforcing any behaviour if you decide to let her hatch chicks - she's doing it because her hormones tell her to. Some chickens just love being broody. You can try and break her, but she might go back to being broody in another 6 weeks (I have an Orpington who gives me about 10 eggs then goes broody all summer long). Eventually she will figure nothing is going to hatch and give up but it might take 6 weeks. I had a pullet who was broody for 10 weeks before I caved and bought her some chicks!

Hens generally look after their babies for 5-6 weeks, sometimes longer, then the chicks are just like anyone else in the flock and the mother doesn't treat them any differently from the other flock members. She won't miss them when they are gone, but don't take them away before she is ready because she will spend days stressing and looking for them.
 

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