Silkie Egglaying Behavior Issues - how to resolve?

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

  1. RoxyBird

    RoxyBird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 5, 2012
    Hi all!

    I am about 7-8 months into my first flock.  I have a variety at the moment - two PBR's (laying), one BO (laying), 4 EE's (nearly laying/practicing), 2 lorps (about 3 months old), 1 black star (same age as lorps) and a lone silkie named Muppet (laying).

    I have a large (big enough for 3X the birds), well-suited coop with an open run and all of my other ladies roost in the coop at night, lay their eggs in appropriate places inside the coop during the day, and generally do all the predictable things that you'd expect normal, happy chickens to do.

    EXCEPT for Muppet (the silkie). I have two big issues with her (perhaps Darwinist...) and I'm not sure what (if anything) to do about them.  I tried searching the forum but couldn't find anything quite like this- although I am pretty new so my search terms may be bad.

    Issue 1:
    She lays her egg as far from the coop as she can get (about 25 feet - out in the open at the edge of the run with no cover - literally right on the ground). The run floor is just dirt with some straw mixed in to prevent run-off- nothing cushy or bedding-like. I even raked her corner to bare dirt to no avail. I did read that you can try locking them in a nest box to break the habit- but she wouldn't lay there (even if I left her all day). Do I lock her in there full time with food/water to get her used to it or is that counter-productive?

    Well that leads to... FROZEN EGGS.

    ... but also (and I have no clue why I didn't see this coming):

    Issue 2:
    Today (of course it's breezy and it's dropping to 18F tonight), she decides to go broody on NO eggs... outdoors in her laying spot with NO wind protection. She has been growling and screeching at me for a couple days now whenever I approach to relocate her to a nest box, and I'm guessing that's why? Anyway, I found her around 11pm out in her corner, fluff blowing in the breeze and retaining very little heat... had to bring her indoors to warm up. Normally she squeezes between the two PBR's on the roost (under them like a snuggling tribble), which is hilarious and effective... but not tonight.

    Is there a technique for correcting this? Should I just cave in and build her a little wind shelter in that corner so she doesn't freeze if I forget to look for her? Does she need some grown silky buddies to show her what to do? (IS THE ANSWER: MORE CHICKENS? :D)

    Could it be something besides brooding? She doesn't seem sick...

    Or perhaps... is my chicken just an idiot?
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  2. cluckcluckluke

    cluckcluckluke Overrun With Chickens

    To me she doesnt seam sick, if you've only had her a short time she may still be getting used to things, if i was you i would get at least 1 more silkie hen roughly the same age as a friend.

    As for being broody you can build a small box the same size or a bit bigger of your nest boxes with a lock on the front put some straw in it and put her in it around dusk and lock her in all night then place the box with her in where your other nest boxes are, no need for water or food (may seem harsh but she would starve hers self any way its what broody's do) and in the morning open the door/hatch and she should stay there if she is properly broody.
  3. RoxyBird

    RoxyBird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 5, 2012
    Thank you so much for the advice! I am going to work on a better nest box solution this weekend- it has thankfully warmed up a bit. I was very much worried about the food/water thing, but that's a great point.

    It does seem like she could use a buddy!! :D

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