New mummy to some grown up silkies - help!

PouleChick

Crowing
Apr 6, 2016
2,158
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SW France
Hi lovely knowledgable chooky people :D I got my first 3 chickens at Christmas time - 5/7 week olds - a light sussex, brown lohmann and a Harco. I have been handeling them every day as they have been living in a little coop in the laundry and being taken down to their run in the day and then back again. They are just gorgeous and come running when they see me, are positively placid around my very bouncy, loud 3 year old, eat from my hand etc.

On the weekend I launched part 2 of my chicken adventures and bought 2 silkies - a cuckoo and what I think is an Isabel (I'll post pics when I manage a decent one of them). I mainly want them to be mummies. The ad said 10 months to 1 year but when I asked about the ones he picked he couldn't say exactly but definitely under 2 years. I decided this didnt' really matter as I want them as broody hens (decided this route better than incubating - too many power cuts here!) and he said both had already been mums. I stupidly went with the 3 year old so was struggling to think of all I needed to ask (and doing it in French :hmm), choose the ones I like the look of and try to stop said preschooler dive bombing into the very muddy yard!

I was a bit worried about them when I got them home, I left them in a large box with lots of clean wood shavings, food and water with a hardcloth wire frame on the top of the box but they just kid of sat there doing nothing and weren't happy at all if I picked them up, I even got a light peck from the Isobel. I maybe should have asked more questions before or walked away because he did say they didn't really pick them up etc. I have now moved my big girls temporarily out of the coop, moved it into the run (big girls in a temporary sleeping enclosure (which they aren't happy about which is making me a bit sad and stressed) just for a few nights as there has been a delay on the finishing of the coop due to poor hubby doing his back in :rant) and I have the silkies in there. The first day I'd let them have some time in the run (I fenced off one end) but they seemed pretty freaked out, then the Isabel panicked when I came in and managed to squeeze herself through the fence I'd put up to separate them from the others and my Lohmann ran over and pecked her :( it took me ages to catch her and they were just so scared. I realise now I have probably mismanaged the whole thing :barnie:hit:hitlessons learnt that is for sure! Any way they have now been in the little coop (it is the sort with wire one side and a covered nesting area the other - I think it is for a rabbit hutch really) and I cover up part of the front at night with some clear plastic sheeting to stop the worst of the wind while allowing lots of air still. I have not let them out again and they don't seem bothered at all. I am just so new to chooks in general and now Silkies so I'm not sure if thier chilled out'ness is normal or if there is something wrong with them. I have started them on vitamin stuff in thier water and they seem more active now to be honest and both are eating. Plan is to build a semi permanent day run for them as I'm now terrified of letting them in with the others (although the others are visiting and looking through the fence with no aggression so not sure if just having them near is doing it's job).

So my questions are:
  • Is it normal for them (silkies I mean - my big girls are always moving about like crazy dudes!) to happily sit confined to a coop without seeming bothered or stressed about it?
  • If the above is normal is this a Silkie thing or an age thing (big girls 15 and 17 weeks now - so old teenagers!)?
  • How long will it take for them to get used to the move?
  • How long until they would be likely to start laying again?
  • Again for stress reasons how long should I expect before they go broody - weeks / months?
  • Is it a hopeless case in terms of having friendly animals? I'm really sad about this - I just thought they would be and I'm sad they are so scared of me :hit.
  • What should I do to help them like me?
  • At what point would it be safe to integrate them? Or should I go to plan B and not bother and just keep them in a seperate coop and run? My neighbours have silkies (and other bantams) and about 6 other varieties of chooks plus ducks, turkeys and geese all together running around the garden and I love it so I know it is possible. Theirs sleep in thier own bantam coop I think
Thanks so much if you have got to the end of this mammoth post adn TIA for your help / advice! I'll try to get some pics to put up for you and hopefully you can confirm the colour of the beige one for me!
 

PouleChick

Crowing
Apr 6, 2016
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SW France
Oh and sorry other question I forgot - they have now had 2 days in their little coop with minimal handling from me (just putting hands in to change food / water really). when do you think it would be OK to let them out for some outside time? If it stops raining - my other nightmare this week since I got them! And in their own fenced off area of course - I'll use smaller size fencing so there are no escapees! I think Iv'e overstressed them in my excitement and am trying to just totally take a step back and let them be calm and happy before I cause them more potential stress! Oh adn the cuckoo has a huuuuuge fluff ball head - will she be happier, less scared if I tie her hair back or give it a trim?
 

Jesusfreak101

Songster
Sep 2, 2015
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I don't know much about silkies. But they should relax after a few weeks and start laying eggs again. They where probably stressed over the move and terrified not knowing what was going on. Give them some time then you can go in there and sit with them after you feed them to get them use to you or sit outside at first just move slowly you can tame them.
 

PouleChick

Crowing
Apr 6, 2016
2,158
6,273
407
SW France
Thank you for your reply @Jesusfreak101 at least I won't worry about eggs for a bit! And glad to know I can have hope of taming them.

They did seem better today - I have made them a safe run around thier little coop - it is about 5x15 feet so not too big and scary but seems to be roomy enough for them to be happily foraging. After 2 days locked up they were probably very glad to be allowed out! The chicken that attacked the isobel the other day was trying to peck them through the fence which is freaking me out about intergration - and it was the chicken I'd least expect too! They seem to have perked up a lot - I'm actually wondering if the vitamins in the water is helping - I know when my Mabel was a bit funny and lethargic she picked up within a day or 2 so it could be they were lacking in something so were scared and a bit low nad now they are just scared bless them!

Weird question but I wonder how they can just stop laying like that and not get egg bound or one of the other terrible ailments I've heard about! I guess though it is just the same as us missing a period when we are too stressed.

And would still love to have some answers from some of you knowledgeable people on my other questions if anyone can help?
So my questions are:
  • Is it normal for them (silkies I mean - my big girls are always moving about like crazy dudes!) to happily sit confined to a coop without seeming bothered or stressed about it?
  • If the above is normal is this a Silkie thing or an age thing (big girls 15 and 17 weeks now - so old teenagers!)?
  • Again for stress reasons how long should I expect before they go broody - weeks / months?
  • Is it a hopeless case in terms of having friendly animals? I'm really sad about this - I just thought they would be and I'm sad they are so scared of me :hit.
  • What should I do to help them like me?
  • At what point would it be safe to integrate them? Or should I go to plan B and not bother and just keep them in a seperate coop and run? My neighbours have silkies (and other bantams) and about 6 other varieties of chooks plus ducks, turkeys and geese all together running around the garden and I love it so I know it is possible. Theirs sleep in thier own bantam coop I think

Oh adn the cuckoo has a huuuuuge fluff ball head - will she be happier, less scared if I tie her hair back or give it a trim?
 

Jesusfreak101

Songster
Sep 2, 2015
2,129
383
196
Texas
My Coop
My Coop
They will peck one another to establish a pecking order to see who is the boss. You lowest hen on the ranking will be the most aggressive usually trying to insure she doesn't go lower. They figure it out. And yes the viatems probably helped them for sure stress can lower the immune systems severally. Mine have went from laying to completely not laying right after the started (they molted and started back up) because it snowed one day... They went on strike apparently lol they are very interesting animals for sure.I remember when we first got ours I was shock by how each had a different personality.
 

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