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Is my silkie broody, or...?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by pixiechic, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. pixiechic

    pixiechic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2008
    North GA
    I'll apologize up front, I'm fairly new to raising chickens, so I'm sorry if this is a noob question...

    Mellow, my little 9-month-old silkie pullet, was laying adorable little eggs almost every day until last week. 4-5 days ago she stopped laying completely, and now she's spending almost all of her time on her nest. Yesterday when I went to check on her, she was sitting so still that I was afraid she had died, but I petted her gently and she started to coo.

    This morning Mellow came out of the coop for long enough to eat and scratch a bit. I noticed that she looks more rounded in shape. When my silkie cockerel approached her, she put her head down and fanned out her wings at him, which I've never seen her do before. My buff orp cockerel went after her and she led him on a good swift chase around the yard - she certainly had no interest in giving him what he wanted. Now she's back in the coop, hunkered down on her nest again.

    From what I've read here it sounds like she may be broody, but there are no eggs under her. It also seems like the wrong time of year. We've had some very cold weather (teens to 30s) alternating with nearly 70-degree days. Is there anything else this could be? My girls are all about the same age and I haven't been through this before.

    I have no problem with broodiness - I don't exactly need little Mellow for egg production, and I'd love to have some baby silkies. If she's broody, is there anything I need to do? Will she lay some eggs to hatch, or is this maybe a practice run? Should I try putting some of the other girls' eggs under her? We have plenty of cockerels around so there is a good chance that some are fertile.
     
  2. KellyHM

    KellyHM Overrun With Chickens

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    Silkies don't pay attention to what time of year it is when they decide to go broody. They just do it whenever. Sounds very possible that she is broody. You could stick a few eggs under her to see if she'll hatch them, but just be aware that they don't always sit the whole time if it's their first time being broody. You could always get a little incubator for back-up in case she abandons them. [​IMG]
     
  3. danischi24

    danischi24 Loves naked pets

    Aug 17, 2008
    Australia
    She is broody. Silkies don't care what time of year it is. If your weather is mild enough & you want to hatch eggs, put some under her but all at once so they will hatch at the same time. She wont lay any now-the ones you have been taking are the ones she thinks she is sitting on whether they are actually there or not! Good luck!
    P.S. mark the eggs you put under her so you can remove any new eggs she gathers which would just die if they aren't put in at the same time as the 1st ones.
     
  4. pixiechic

    pixiechic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your quick responses! I wish I'd known Mellow was going to go broody, I'd have left her some eggs to hatch. There's no way to tell which eggs are fertilized without cracking them open, is there?

    danischi24, Mellow isn't likely to gather any eggs herself - the other girls' nest boxes are raised about 18" off the floor and I don't think she could get an egg out of there without growing some opposable thumbs:

    [​IMG]

    For Mellow's nest, we just leaned a pallet up against the wall in a corner of the coop, and she seems quite happy nesting right in the pine shavings on the floor under it.
     
  5. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    Virginia
    I have a few broody Silkies, too. I was really shocked that they would brood this time of year - why would they decide that now is a good time to raise a family? So far, they've done a good job incubating and raising their babies with no interference from me. I hope Mellow does a good job!
     
  6. pixiechic

    pixiechic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2008
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    Quote:Now that I think about it, Mellow went broody right after the winter solstice. I wonder if she knows the days are getting longer now?

    I'm a little concerned about giving Mellow some eggs to hatch this time of year though. The weather here is fairly mild compared to much of the US, but it can still get pretty cold in December and January, and our coop is not heated. I guess we could always bring mama and babies inside temporarily if needed. Hmmm. Thoughts?
     
  7. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    Virginia
    Mine brood in an unheated coop and they have done great. One of my broodies just hatched 3 out of 4 eggs just a few days ago. She's keeping them very warm - if I want to see one of them, I have to pluck one from underneath her because she's just been sitting with them. She even pulled the chick starter under her wing so they don't have to leave her to eat! [​IMG]

    Another girl went broody today and I'm going to give her 5 eggs.

    You're even further south than I am, so I think Mellow will surprise you! I don't move my broodies if I can avoid it, if they can't find their way to their nests they freak out and broody poo STINKS! If you're really worried, move her after the chicks hatch - she won't mind that.
     
  8. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

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    I've got a broody silkie without eggs too... It's dark 19 hours a day and -25°F, silly broody!
    If you don't want her to hatch any eggs, then you will probably want to break her out of the broody. Some hens will sit on the nest and never get off, which is not good. Be sure she gets off the nest at least once a day to eat, drink, and poop the big stinky broody elephant-poop, or she'll wither away. [​IMG]
     
  9. pixiechic

    pixiechic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mrs. AK-Bird-Brain :

    I've got a broody silkie without eggs too... It's dark 19 hours a day and -25°F, silly broody!
    If you don't want her to hatch any eggs, then you will probably want to break her out of the broody. Some hens will sit on the nest and never get off, which is not good. Be sure she gets off the nest at least once a day to eat, drink, and poop the big stinky broody elephant-poop, or she'll wither away. [​IMG]

    She's still broody, but definitely gets off her nest at least once a day - usually first thing in the morning - to eat, wander around a little, scratch, and yes, poop the giant poop. Yesterday she rejected the EE egg I stuck under her, but she's still sitting on the nest.

    Just out of curiosity, I cracked open the rejected egg (it was stone cold), and it had definitely started to develop. So I know we have some fertile eggs, and I could try putting another one under her. How long is she likely to be broody, does anyone know? It's only been a couple of weeks now, but seems like much longer!​
     
  10. pixiechic

    pixiechic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2008
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    Mellow has answered my question - she's off the nest, out and about every day now. Just in case anyone needs to know, our silkie's first broody cycle hit her at 8 months of age and ran for about three weeks.
     

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