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Question about young silkie mating behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SleepyHollowFnF, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. SleepyHollowFnF

    SleepyHollowFnF In the Brooder

    Hello world. I have been loving reading this site since I first got chickens this July. I finally got around to making an account, because I can't always locate answers for my questions.

    So, here's what I'm wondering about. I have about a dozen silkies, two flocks raised separately then integrated last month.

    Two of my first flock turned out to be roos, and they have taken a liking to one of the "girls" I bought in my second flock (supposedly all female but still no eggs).

    My question, sorry if it is a silly one, is: The two roosters seem to know this chicken is a hen, is it unusual though for roosters to mate with a hen before she starts laying? She's been a little lethargic the past few days and has very slightly droopy wings. Is it possible that she's ready to lay eggs but something is wrong? Perhaps the symptoms are just being tired from being the most popular girl in the coop?

    Thanks for any and all help! [​IMG]

  2. Young Cockerels are bad....They mature faster than Pullets....You could separate the two Cockerels till your Pullets start laying....About the lethargic Pullet, she could be stressed or something else is going on..?

  3. SleepyHollowFnF

    SleepyHollowFnF In the Brooder

    Yeah we are thinking about separating. The hen had a head injury about a month ago but seems to have mostly recovered. I just worry about her because she's absolutely beautiful (in our opinion) and we'd love to see her become a momma. So the fact that she is attracting roosters has no relation to her sexual maturity? It's the roos, not her.

    Her very slightly droopy wings worry me because two other silkies (and one barred rock chick) had that symptom a few days before dying.

  4. Yes, its the Roosters.....Has she started to squat for them or are they chasing her down?

    What are you feeding the birds? Do you give lots of treats?
  5. SleepyHollowFnF

    SleepyHollowFnF In the Brooder

    I was recently told it's better to be feeding them grower / finisher at this point in their age. Before I was giving them the layer food that my other hens had been eating. As far as treats go, they get all sorts of veggie / fruit scraps of ours which they always get really excited about.

    I can't quite tell if she is squatting or being pushed to the ground. the other apparent hens run away and have a few feathers tugged out, but they seem to be able to get on top of her. Is this maybe because she is squatting or just because she's slower?

    These are the things that keep me wondering. \

  6. You would know for sure if she was squatting....She would even do it for you if you touch her back.....I would take out the two Roosters.....Wait till your pullets start to lay first...

    The grower is fine....Once they start laying provide oyster shell....and layer feed....I mix grower and layer till my birds are a year old....

    Cut back on treats to 5% of daily ration, 1 Tablespoon per Bird per day.....I only give treats/snacks once or twice a week...To much can go wrong health wise if they do not get a balanced diet....Provide granite grit....
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    How old are the birds?
    How big is their coop and run...in feet by feet?

    When integrating 2 groups you will have territorial battles, a crowded space can make these battles much worse.
    Integrating birds from different sources also brings the risk of pests and disease transmission.

    Squatting and mounting is not always about mating/reproduction...it's also about dominance and submission.
    If birds are young, 4-7 months......males can be immaturely aggressive and are sexually active before females of same age.
    Having multiple males creates an environment of competition and males can become even more aggressive.

    Separating the males from the females until females are laying is a good suggestion.
    Getting rid of one males is also something to consider.

    BTW.... FYI:
    Males are called cockerels before one year of age......cocks(or cockbirds or roosters) after one year.
    Females are called pullets before one year of age......hens after one year.

  8. SleepyHollowFnF

    SleepyHollowFnF In the Brooder

    Okay good to know about squatting, my big layers (in another coop) do that when I corner them trying to pick them up. I assumed it was a defensive stance or something.

    I've got plenty of access to oyster shell and was planning on introducing that.

    So fruits and veggies are considered treats? Our soil is granite based (our forest is covered in glacial granite formations and its super rocky) Will that suffice or should I also add more? They peck around their run all day long which is a mix of grass and soil.

  9. Yes....Anything besides the Feed is treats......I would still purchase the grit and have it out in the run free choice.......My birds eat pebbles as they free range but I still provide the grit.......Oyster shell for the layers...Usually they wont touch it if not laying.....So young birds with layers will be fine...

    1 person likes this.
  10. SleepyHollowFnF

    SleepyHollowFnF In the Brooder

    The birds are all between 5 and 7 months.

    Their coop is 6x3 with a miniature run between it and the other coop 4x2 connected, they have a larger run that is roof and walled with chicken wire, its 25x25 even mix of raw soil and grass.

    The battles really are fairly minimal, most of the day they stay very docile and forage together around the big run or crowd around the water fountain and drink.
    I wouldn't really call them battles but we are definitely considering separation.

    We wouldn't be wanting to get rid of the excess males, but we have been investigating building them their own coop & run. We have been told by some local folks that males do alright when there are no females around and folks that raise and sell chicks keep a few males for genetic diversity. Plus, my girlfriend, who is the decision maker when it comes to the silkies, loves both of them so my hands are tied there anyway.

    Do you know anything about having them isolated with a few other males?

    As far as the terminology goes, I was are of that but I just haven't gotten in the habit of using those terms yet. Still learning and getting used to the language.


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