merrits of using silkies as egg incubators

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by centrarchid, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I will be building a brooder house this winter for setting and rearing groups of 36 hatching eggs (ultimately 72 in following years). Brooder house will be pressed into service when temperature is prone to vary and power supply has historically been unreliable. Each group will be made up of six lots with 6 medium sized eggs each. How reliably could I set up six silkies to be at the "broody" when eggs need to be set? I have never even touched a silkie so advice needed.
     
  2. rebel yell

    rebel yell Chillin' With My Peeps

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    they do go broody very easy, but they cant cover very many eggs.
     
  3. Rathbone

    Rathbone Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My silkie hens go back to back broody. 19 - 21 days on the eggs, taking care of babies, begin mating when babies are about 4 to 5 weeks old, laying when current babies are about 5 to 6 weeks old, broody again when babies are about 8 to 9 weeks.
    I always set 7 eggs under them. More than that, and usually an egg is always peeking out.
     
  4. bargain

    bargain Love God, Hubby & farm Premium Member

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    I cannot wait until my silkies are old enough to lay eggs and go broody...But guess I must:)

    In hopes of more broody incubators, I'm setting another batch of silkies tomorrow!
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Each hen will be tasked with 6 eggs. Upon hatch each chick will be given a wing band. Two weeks later broods will be combined and hens allowed to rest before receiving next lot of eggs.
     
  6. Rathbone

    Rathbone Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I set seven because (accurately or inaccurately) I heard that hens do better with an uneven amount of eggs.
    What you are doing sounds very organized. It leaves me to wonder if you are taking the babies away at two weeks of age, if the hen will go broody again faster. It also makes me wonder how upset the hens will be when babies are suddenly taken away?
    Our personal family goals for raising chickens, is just enough to feed us so we take a more relaxed approach. It is perhaps the laziest way, but also the way the hens seem happiest, just to let their own bodies decide when it is time to ease the babies off and the hen move to her next new batch of babies.
    Let us know how it works out.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:I suspect both parties will be upset. This year I want 4 cohorts / batches at roughly six week intervals so two week weaning almost required. I will also be playing with use of broody roosters that has potential of reducing stress on bitties. Need to get the little guys outside ASAP and they will require direction, especially for roosting and avoiding rain and the like. The broody rooster setup is what concerns me most. Need to find good candidates since some seem not qualified.
     
  8. Rathbone

    Rathbone Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will keep following this thread - I am excited to see how it all works out for you.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:Thanks. Be prepared to provide guidance.
     
  10. Rathbone

    Rathbone Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One difficulty I have had is having multiple new mommies at a time - the dominant personalities at times bullied the submissive ones so much (sometimes physically beating them up - sometimes don't even have to do that) that the more docile hens could hardly take their babies out to feed. I have one hen whose babies didn't develop nearly as fast because she stayed back in a corner with them - afraid of the other hens attacking her. When I put food down close to her and babies, the aggressive hens would move into her area and eat the food, backing her further into the corner. She is one of my prettiest hens - but doesn't stand up for herself enough to make a good mother.
    Just be prepared to have to seperate them at times.
     

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