I couldn't let my broody hen hatch some eggs in the winter, could I?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Scooter&Suzie, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. Scooter&Suzie

    Scooter&Suzie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a broody Silkie, and it is really tempting to get some fertile eggs and slip 'em under her. This would be the first time hatching eggs with a hen. I don't have an incubator, so if she stops... uh oh. And I don't feel like paying $50-100 to get an incubator, as I am "youngish" and don't have that money. My mom has put her food down to have any more chicks in the house (I got away with it 4 times, I think I'm lucky) so they would have to stay outside. My worry is the cold... and my other hens. I can put mama hen and babies/eggs in an insulated dog house, turned chicken coop, though. But will the Silkie get frostbite, or worse freeze to death, from the cold? If I kept her with the other chickens would the other hens hurt the babies? Also how would I keep the chicks from not eating the grown-up feed and keep the adults from eating the baby feed?

    Any other detail is much appreciated!
     
  2. tinydancer87

    tinydancer87 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a silkie on 5 large fowl eggs as we speak, they are due to hatch in the next few days. I let my golden comet hen hatch out baby ducks this winter as well.

    My other chickens don't really seem to care about babies--they are curious, but the mom doesn't let them get too close, lol. As long as the mom is kept warm, she will be just fine keeping her babies warm too. The only issue I have had is my giant cochin laying her egg next to the silkie, who steals it. So I marked all the fertile eggs and just remove the cochin egg everyday.

    I have more of a problem with adult chickens eating the baby crumbles. I usually barricade a corner of the coop just for mom and babies, with their crumbles and water, for the first few days. After that, I let mom take them wherever she wants. It won't hurt chicks to eat little pieces of corn or pellets; I find that the moms will usually prefer crumbles for herself as well as the chicks. I have also mixed crumbles in with the adults' food, and the chicks will seek that out since it is easier to eat.
     
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  3. Scooter&Suzie

    Scooter&Suzie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! This is a wonderful answer, more than I was expecting! Just wondering... If I put a brooder lamp in the insulated coop and kept the coop at lets say... 50-60 F do you think she would be in no danger of getting dangerously cold (if she is alone, just her and her eggs/chicks)? Their current coop is pretty small... I don't think I could block off the other chickens too much. But maybe a bit, I could probably give her the nesting box and 1' by 3'. You think that would be enough? I can't give her any more than that, or the other chickens will be squished.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  4. tinydancer87

    tinydancer87 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would think that 50-60 degrees would be fine. Tonight's low here is going to be 55, tomorrow 34, and my silkie does fine on her nest. You could position the lamp so it shines on her a little. She could probably tolerate down into the thirties if she had to.

    If the other chickens don't bother her, you probably don't have to separate her, just be prepared to go through a lot more crumbles than usual, lol. Adult chickens seem to love them. I have done this and just kept the smaller feeders/ waterers full, had no issues.
     
  5. Scooter&Suzie

    Scooter&Suzie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for all the answers! I'll make sure to put the adult food where the babies can't get it. My Silkie is trying to hatch 8 golf balls right now! So silly! I've heard that Silkies can sometimes suffocate the babies because of their fluffy feathers. Anyone have a problem with that?
     
  6. tinydancer87

    tinydancer87 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have not had a problem with my hatchery silkie, but once I had a better quality one, her feathers/fluff were longer, and many times when I picked her up she had a baby hanging tangled with her fluff around its neck, I had to cut out several that year. We let her hatch quail, so I don't know if the smaller size of the quail babies had anything to do with it. None of them died, but it was scary to see them just hanging by the neck. Ended up just trimming her fluff down, solved the problem.
     
  7. Scooter&Suzie

    Scooter&Suzie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, thanks for the reply. Her "fluff" seems to be shorter, so hopefully I won't have a problem [​IMG]
     

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