Silkie acting odd

Sep 22, 2019
52
73
66
Ontario Canada
hello . We have a small backyard flock of mixed chickens. All same age and raised together and about 30 weeks. We had two silkies but one was a rooster and had to go. The remaining one has done fine and although she is timid and at the bottom of the pecking order, she has always done fine. She eats and drinks with the rest and has always roosted with the rest. She was actually the first to lay a month ago and is laying about 4-5 great eggs a week. She has never laid her eggs in the nest boxes but chooses to make a nest in the corner of the coop in the straw. This week she has decided to just sit continually in the coop in the straw. With the short days , it’s dark when we leave and when we get home. I came home Monday night and she wasn’t on the roost bar but on the floor. I put her up on the roosts and ten minutes later she was back down Each night since, we put her up by hand and some nights she has stayed and some she hasn’t. She doesn’t go into the covered run at all unless we put her there and she doesn’t stay long. She may during the day when we are not here but we don’t think so. We are not sure if she is drinking or eating much. I did take her out yesterday early and she drank but very little. My wife got her to drink as well a bit. It hasn’t been to cold either. It’s been as low as -8 to -10 degrees Celsius which isn’t bad and a few nights it was barely below freezing. Today I went out after all of them were up and again she was just sitting there. I pushed her out the door and she went down the ramp and straight to the water bar and drank a little bit. Shortly after , she went back in to lay in the coop. The others birds come and go and when they are in the coop , they are walking around and all over , but she just sits there. She has not laid in three days but that’s not too abnormal. She has laid two early this week. The only other thing that happened was Monday , I came home to the water frozen. Don’t know how long they were without it as I didn’t check in the morning. I assume that it froze Sunday night and they had no water all day Monday. That’s about the same time this behaviour started bout t no other birds are acting different. Is this something to worry about.
 

ShannonR

Crowing
Sep 17, 2015
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Yes, it's something to worry about. I hope someone more well versed in abnormalities of the "egg machine" part of a chicken comes along soon to help explain.

Is her abdomen swollen at all? What does her poop look like??

What are you feeding her?
I'll let someone else take over from here...

An Epsom salt bath and maybe some Tums won't hurt anything, whatever the problem happens to be.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
Nov 27, 2012
70,868
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SW Michigan
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I assume that it froze Sunday night and they had no water all day Monday.
That could do it, better get a heated waterer.
Did they have access to snow while water was frozen?
Some electrolytes may be in order.

Could she be broody?
Is she on nest most the day and all night?
When you pull her out of nest and put her on the ground, does she flatten right back out into a fluffy screeching pancake?
Does she walk around making a low cluckcluckcluckcluckcluck(ticking bomb) sound on her way back to the nest?
If so, then she is probably broody and you'll have to decide how to manage it.
 
Sep 22, 2019
52
73
66
Ontario Canada
I had a heated, circulating system but had a glitch. I have it sorted out now and have a heated 5 gallon pail as a back up now.
I guess she could be broody. I don’t really know the signs of that. She laid and egg Saturday and Monday but none since. This behaviour started Monday. Today , when all the others came into the coop to see what I was doing , she actually snuck out and into the covered run by herself and went to get a drink. The door was open for them today to go out if they wanted and she actually ventured out into the yard where I had cleared some snow away. I shut the others in the coop for 20 minutes to give her some time outside and easy access to water.
I just came home from being out and heckled in and she was on the floor again. I placed her up on the roost and will see tomorrow.
She doesn’t squat like the others are doing when I touch her. She makes the usually fuss when I pick her up.
I’ll research broody behaviour and see what to do.
 

SilkieLoverFarm

Chirping
Dec 5, 2019
71
85
61
Idaho
How long ago did the rooster leave? If it's been in the last few weeks, her eggs are/were probably fertile and she was probably laying her clutch.

I'm betting she's Broody too. Her screeching at you, is because all she wants to do is be a mama and be sitting on eggs and hatching them. And as long as she's doing that yes you will want to make sure she has food and water everyday and is eating and drinking. Broody silkies will forgo food and water, often.

You can check her eggs for fertility if you want to allow her to hatch them. She's going to want a quiet space to sit. It's normal.
 

SilkieLoverFarm

Chirping
Dec 5, 2019
71
85
61
Idaho
When you pull her out of nest and put her on the ground, does she flatten right back out into a fluffy screeching pancake?
Does she walk around making a low cluckcluckcluckcluckcluck(ticking bomb) sound on her way back to the nest?
I laughed out loud! Such a good discription!! Hahaha!

Does she flap her wings like a crazy lady, run around psychotically and screech like something's possessed her if she goes out for a minute? Act like she's going to die if shes moved from her nest and wants nothing more than to take you with her? Does she growl and put her face to the ground and butt in the air if you try to pet her? Yep, broody. :lau

... And this is all perfectly normal...Lol. I sOO lovE silkies!! Haha :yuckyuck
 
Sep 22, 2019
52
73
66
Ontario Canada
The rooster left long before any of them ever started to lay eggs so the eggs are not fertile. The more I read , i am thinking and hoping broody as well. She has never used the nest boxes so the does this anywhere in the coop. Blocking off. The nest boxes won’t work.
My coop is a small , raised coop . She sometimes gets in a corner. I blocked off the corners, now she just does it anywhere in the middle of the floor. She lets the other birds walk all over her and just sits there. I will try today to keep moving her or maybe lock them all out in the covered run for the day. Problem will be when we go back to work tomorrow , I can’t be here to keep moving her.
 
Sep 22, 2019
52
73
66
Ontario Canada
Well today I have gone out every 20-40 minutes and kept her up and out of the coop. She easily gets up and down the ramp and straight outside. It is a great day here today just above freezing. She spends some time outside and acts normal and then goes back in again. But at least she is getting out. I have seen her several times eating lots and has spent lots of time drinking too. I plan on keep punching her out of the coop as often as I can but at least I know she has drank and eaten well today. Tomorrow though she will be here without us all day so hope she goes out on her own to drink at least.
 

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