How many full-size eggs under a bantam silkie?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by iamcuriositycat, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm sure this has been asked a thousand times, but a forum search only shows threads about silkie eggs under silkie hens. I want to know how many full-size (barred rock, buff orpington, Ameraucana, EE, etc.) eggs I can expect a first-time silkie broody to hatch successfully.

    So far, my silkies have never laid more than four eggs in a nest before deciding to sit on them, so I have no idea what their normal capacity is (although I read in other threads they can handle up to 9 or even 15--wow!).

    I'm hoping my younger silkie (I have two hens and one is currently raising a batch of babies--the other started laying for the first time a couple months ago) will go broody in the next few weeks. I want her to hatch some eggs to add to my dual-purpose flock, and I know I can get BOs and/or barred rock eggs to do it with.

    Thoughts? Experiences? Thanks!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    It is a good question, but not necessarily easy to answer with a hard and fast number.

    Just saying it is a Silkie doesn’t narrow it down a whole lot, even if she is a bantam. There are different sized bantams. They don’t all come in the same size.

    Same with eggs. Some just lay smaller eggs than others.

    I deal with regular full-sized hens that lay fairly regular full-sized eggs, but I can still get a lot of difference in actual egg size. I typically set a dozen eggs when one goes broody, but I’ve seen a hen hide a nest and successfully incubate and raise 18. There is no one answer that fits every case.

    The hen needs to be able to cover all the eggs easily with none showing. What I’d suggest is give here eggs until you see one showing, then take out one or two so she can comfortably cover them. It has to be your judgment based on what you are seeing. I can’t do that for you.

    Something else I suggest you consider. What will the weather be like when they hatch? In warmer months I don’t worry about this, but in cooler weather the hen needs to be able to cover the chicks a little longer. In warmer months as long as she can cover the eggs she’ll do OK with the chicks. But they grow pretty fast. In cooler months I’d give her a bit more flexibility to work with.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
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  3. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great information, thank you! I'll buy a dozen fertiles then, and use your method. We'll eat whatever don't fit. :)

    Around here, the weather will be mild by the time they hatch in four or five weeks (depending on how soon she goes broody). Still not reliably warm, though, so I'll keep the number lower. In summer, I'll know I can go a little higher.

    Thanks for the practical tip. :)
     
  4. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, another question! If she decides to sit and there are only two or three eggs under her... is she likely to protest at suddenly having six or eight?
     
  5. SilkieSensation

    SilkieSensation Overrun With Chickens

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    From my experience, a broody Silkie will try to sit on 50 eggs if you offer them to her...LOL My girls can usually handle 5-6 Jumbo eggs, 7-8 medium-large eggs & 9-10 small eggs. Bantam eggs they can do 12-15. You just kinda have to watch & see how well she gets them tucked under her & take any extras. If you give her nice deep nesting material she can handle more because she can keep them from rolling away & tuck them under herself better. On a flat surface she will only be able to handle half as many as in a hollowed out "hole" in the nesting material. Some hatchery stock Silkies are on the larger side & can handle more eggs. Just keep handing her eggs until they start popping out when she stuffs the next in & then take 1-2 back to make sure they fit comfortably.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    No they cannot count. You can add or take away and it won't phase them.
     
  7. SilkieSensation

    SilkieSensation Overrun With Chickens

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    Typically it won't bother them, but you have better luck if all eggs are close to the same size. Sometimes they will push out the odd eggs just because they don't all feel they same when they are sitting on them.
     
  8. Debs55

    Debs55 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have my silkie sitting on 4 barred rock eggs and she seems comfortable and is covering them well. I think she may could handle one or two more but I think four is best for my silkie since she is small and a first time broody
     
  9. 1zooman12

    1zooman12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The silkie bantam is without peer when it comes to going broody, incubating and mothering! In short, "Ain't none better!"
    Let me tell you a story about one particular silkie who lived in our front yard, way out in the country… I noticed that she would go broody "on cue" simply by putting a half dozen medium sized eggs in her nest box - she would be broody in 48 hours or less! I decided to test her mettle by getting her broody and then switching her eggs for two emden goose eggs. It did not phase her. She set about incubating; remember that goose egg incubation is a week or more longer than that required by chickens. Sure enough, one morning we noticed that she had managed to incubate, rotate and hatch those eggs. Can you imagine the effort that must have been necessary to properly rotate two goose eggs? Also keep in mind that geese do not normally brood their babies except in extreme weather. No matter. Since the silkie will mother "anything that moves" she set about brooding those babies and they loved it! Each night she would settle down under our mulberry tree and brood those "kids" all night long. When the goslings were about 10 days old we noticed that mama still intended to brood her geese and lo and behold they had grown so large that there she was, infinite mother, a babe under each wing, "raised up in the air" too small she was to touch the ground, with feet dangling below in open space. Now that my friends is maternal devotion!
     
  10. chickencrazy999

    chickencrazy999 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My silkie bantam is sitting on 6 silkie bantam eggs nicely and is covering them well I suppose she could fit a few more but I am happy for what she has got as I don't want eggs poking out and getting cold
     

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