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Need advice for breaking a broody Silkie

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RunnerChick, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. RunnerChick

    RunnerChick In the Brooder

    Apr 30, 2012
    I have a broody Silkie that has gone way past 3 weeks of setting. I can't be exactly sure when she went broody as I didn't write it down, but I'm going to guess it's been at least 4 weeks and possibly longer. Right now I just remove any eggs she steals and take her out of the nest box 1-2x daily so she'll eat/drink.

    1) if I let her try to hatch a couple now, will she be strong enough to continuing sitting? If our eggs don't hatch (we have 1 roo for 14 laying hens, so not sure they'd all be fertile), how much longer can she go without getting out and moving around/eating/drinking/etc?
    2) is it getting too cold for babies? I know she'll brood them, but I'm in PA, and it's really getting cold now...possibility for heavy snow any time. I have nowhere to separate her and babies if I need to.
    3) What is the easiest option for trying to break this if that's the best solution? I was really hoping that after 3 weeks or so she'd give up, but she is really determined to sit on eggs. She manages somehow to gather everyone else's eggs (a feat I've yet to witness), because sometimes she'll have up to 6 eggs under her!
    4) Should I let her try to hatch some (this would be a last resort), what should I expect from a Silkie cross? I have Silkie roo, so if I let her hatch some babies, they'll all be mixes. She's my only Silkie hen that was laying, and now she's not. I should have just let her sit on her own eggs when she first started, but I didn't and now here I am, worried about what I'm going to get. Possibilities for the cross are EE, BR, GLWyandotte, and Buff Orps.

    I really don't want this rooster's babies, as he's really not breeding stock. Plus I'm not sure anyone would want the offspring if I don't keep them. But I really would love for my Silkie girl to be happy again! If I could get her laying again, then when she goes broody next, I'd just let her sit on a couple of her own eggs. Then I'd have Silkie babies instead of mixes. Maybe even my other Silkie hen would lay by then...

  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Songster

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    1. She could go the distance if you put eggs under her now it depends on how well she has managed herself to this point and if she can maintain the pace.
    2. Winter isn't the best time for for them to raise chicks, but if they have a good coop they can do. I currently have a broody raising her chicks with the flock. At seven weeks now, they bring a smile when in the morning I leave them out and they push through and under the older chickens to get out. But mine did brood in September/ October and are fully feathered now that I had my first snow in SE Pa.
    3. If I were to break a broody I would use the wire cage method. Put her in a wire cage with no nesting material for a few days until she has broken.
    4. Letting her hatch some is something of a risk, as you have stated with winter coming on. Me Would break her and hope she tries again latter, in late February or March. Not knowing what the other breed is I can't say what the Silkie cross would be.
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    I think you should break her broodiness and let her try again at a later stage. Being broody and sitting for too long is bad for a hen as the broodiness takes quite a toll on them. Silkie hens are legendary broodies, so she will very likely go broody again and then you can let her have some eggs to hatch, if you want.
    Try the wire cage method the above posted suggested. I heard it works very well.

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