silkie is going broody, OH NO, lots of questions!!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by BBK, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. BBK

    BBK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    first off, i'm in upstate NY where it's pretty darn cold outside. today's not bad..but it won't stay like this..

    I took her egg yesterday when she got off of the nest, to eat, but i see she got right back on. So, i don't know if there are any eggs under her.

    So, my first ??, is there a way to stop this behavior? Broodyness?

    If not, should i put back the egg from yesterday? I didn't put it in the fridge yet. So she'll at least have 2 eggs. Now, if there is no eggs under her, should i put an EE under her? that's all that I have, but I don't know if it's fertile or not. i see the roo trying...but that's about it...

    I'm really worried about the cold weather, do you think they'll be ok, outside? Even if I bring her into the sunroom, it's not heated....I don't know what to do.... Should i just let nature take it's course? with only the one egg? or two? three?

    Will one chick survive? I've read it won't...(that's why I want to add another egg)

    please help....
    thanks...
    Melinda
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    First, I suggest you look at this thread. I think it will help you a lot.

    Isolate a Broody? Thread
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=213218

    As far as the cold, odds are she will do fine hatching the eggs and raising the chicks in your weather. There are always risks any way you go and the weather is harsh so the risks are a little greater, but I would not let the weather stop me. You can find posts on here where hens have hatched and raised chicks successfully in very cold weather.

    If she is staying on the nest at night she is broody. To me, that is the best way to tell. I'd watch her for two or three days before I gave her any eggs to hatch to make sure she is serious about being broody. If you want to break her from being broody, put her in a cage with food and water for three or four days. You can try letting her out after this time period. If she goes back to the nest, she needs more time in confinement. It helps a lot if the cage has a wire bottom so her undersides cool off and it also helps if the cage is not in too dark an area. They are looking for a secure place to raise babies and bright light seems to mess that instinct up. Also, do not give her anything that looks like a nest or any nesting material. Some people think it is cruel to treat her this way, but I personally think it is a lot more cruel to allow her to stay broody without giving her eggs to hatch. Being broody is hard on a hen.

    Read the link above for more information and better detail, but a couple of things I think arevery important if you leave her in the area where other hens can get to her nest. (BTW, Many people do this successfully so don't get stressed out by what others may write about it. Just evaluate your situation and decide what is best for you as far as isolating her or not.) Give her all the eggs you want her to hatch at the same time. Mark the eggs you want her to hatch (a black magic marker or sharpie works great) and make sure you daily remove all other eggs the other hens lay in her nest. The eggs are safe to use as long as you remove them daily. Only give her the number of eggs she can completely cover. Take into account that other hens will probably lay in her nest. If an egg starts developing and she cannot keep it warm because there are too many eggs in the nest, that egg will die.

    As long as the egg is fertile, it does not matter if it is her egg or another chicken's egg. She will try to hatch golf balls or ping pong balls if you give them to her. You can mix silkie and EE eggs. It won't matter. There is no guarantee that every egg you give her will hatch. If she only hatches one chick and you let her raise it, that will work out fine. But they are social animals, so if you plan on taking the chicks from her and raising them in a brooder, I'd absolutely want more than one. You can wait several days to collect the eggs you want her to hatch. Just keep them in 60 to 70 degree Fahrenheit and do not wash them. If you keep them less than one week, you do not have to turn them while storing them for incubation. I'd try to not keep them more than a week before I gave them to her though.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!!!!
     
  3. BBK

    BBK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the link...and the advice...sounds like a couple of good suggestions.

    now I have other concerns. if i let her do her thing in the coop, and if all works out, the babies will not make it down the ramp or up for that matter....it's too steep. We made another coop, but it snowed B4 we could finish it and move it....so we kinda put that on the back burner till the spring.... and we winterized the coop they are in at the moment. I pick them up every night to go back into the coop....except for last night, Mrs. B was in the nest, all big and fat....like.... just try and take me out of here...lol She wouldn't even look at me...

    I took her egg out of there this AM and i'm going out soon to see what everyone is doing. I have one other hen and a roo in there, along with 4 juvies banty cochins. So the only other bird that would lay would be the other silkie.

    thanks
    melinda
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Then let me give you another link to consider. As with many other things, there are risks both ways but to me the two most important considerations of whether or not to raise them with the flock is how well your broody will defend her chicks (usually quite well, but not always) and how much room you have.

    Raise with flock? thread
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=215937&p=1

    As far as the ramp, you will be surprised what they can do. And Mama can be quite encourging. But Mama and the chicks do not ned to return to the nest every night. You can give them a sheltered place on the ground or just leave them be, depending on how much space you have. If necessary, Mama will just sleep on the ground in the coop and the babies will sleep under her. She can keep them warm. She is wearing a down coat after all.

    How high is your nest box? I have seen hens get chicks down from a 10 foot high hay loft with no injuries. Mama says jump and they do, trying to fly down. Of course they cannot fly, but spreading their wings and flapping keeps them upright and does soften the descent a bit. As with everything there are risks, but it would not bother me to have Mama get them down from a three or four foot high nesting box. This is an argument to isolate the broody while she is hatching, having her hatching nest close to the ground. But a nest up high is not insurmountable.
     
  5. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

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    Ridgerunner has given you great advice. [​IMG] All of my silkies prefer to go broody when the weather is deplorable. [​IMG]

    The only point I differ on is the ramp. My experience is that while babies get down the ramp just fine, until they are a little bit older they cannot figure out how to get back up the ramp. I have lost a couple of babies because they couldn't figure out how to get back in to mama and they got chilled. Mama apparently is fine as long as some of the babies are back in with her. They seem too be fine after a week or so, but that first week they aren't as coordinated as they will be later.

    Also, if you can block mama and babies off from the others for the first day or so, it helps keep everyone safe. Mama will sit on the nest until everything hatches or you take the dead eggs away. Meanwhile, the hatched babies are getting braver. I put mine in a dog crate in the coop. That way the babies are safe from the very inquisitive adult chickens and mama doesn't have to worry about protecting the babies while sitting on the nest. After a couple of days (and all the eggs are hatched) I take the door off the crate so they can all come and go at will. Again, it just helps the babies until they get their legs up under them. [​IMG]

    I use my silkies to hatch everything from the tiniest of banty eggs to the largest of large fowl eggs. Mine have always handled about 8 LF eggs just fine. Put whatever eggs you want to hatch up under her. She'll be fine. [​IMG]

    Congrats on your first broody. It is so much fun watching a mama hen take care of the babies. [​IMG]
     
  6. BBK

    BBK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thanks again for the second link. It's not the nest box that I'm worried about, b/c that's on the floor of the coop. It's a plastic box. It's getting down to the run, that's bothers me. this is why we made the other coop. It's all ground level.

    This is her FIRST time for being broody, too. So, I don't know what degree her defenses are. But I guess, if you're a momma, something must kick in...

    i'm thinking that's i'm going to let her hatch 2 eggs.

    Do you know, if she's becomes broody, then she knows that her eggs are fertile? I've checked them B4 I scramble some of them and some are and some are not....but they come from both silkies...

    I hope i'm doing the right thing....

    Melinda
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    The hen has no idea if they are fertile or not. She will try to hatch non-fertile golf balls or ping pong balls if you let her. In your circumstances, if you want two chicks, I'd give her an extra egg or two. For reference, let me give you yet another link. This one concerns vent trimming. Some thick feathered chickens like silkies can have reduced fertility because the feathers are so thick, either on the rooster, the hen, or both, that the rooster does not always hit the target. Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't. This might be something for you to consider for the future. I'm not quite ready to hatch my eggs yet, but I will be trimming my Orpingtons for this very reason. I somehow doubt this will be your only attempt at hatching chicks. It is too much fun and way too exciting.

    Vent trimming
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=153319

    I understand your concern better now. A photo of the ladder to the run might help. There are probably people on here that have had your set-up that can advise if they can negotiate it or not.
     
  8. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

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    My coop is about a foot off the ground. The ramp is several feet long and goes up that foot rise. The babies were not able to do even this ramp for a while. Actually, for the most part the babies ignored the ramp and finally figured out how to fly up the foot. Anything more than that and they are going to have trouble for a while. You need to provide wither a secure area in the coop for the first few days or you need to check on mama and babies a lot to make sure that they are not having trouble. Tiny chicks cannot navigate ramps initially.

    Assume that you will maybe get a 50% hatch rate given your fertility issues and the weather. You might consider giving her at least 4 eggs to ensure that you get 2 chicks out of it.
     
  9. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

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    Oops! Double post.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2009
  10. BBK

    BBK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2009
    upstate NY
    Well, at this point i didn't want babies...just wanted to help her get out of the broodiness. I put 2 eggs w"X" in the nests yesterday and she NEVER came back up to sit in the nest. So, does this mean she's no longer broody? And why would she act like that for just 2 days?

    We don't have the space to put her in a dog crate, not until we get the other set-up going, then we'll have room for a lot of things....
    I guess i'll just keep an eye on her.....fickle female...lol

    CityGirl...good to know about the ramp... I kinda figured that was the case. i have to pick up the silkies every night (big ones) to put theein the coop...it's a pain, but i get to inspect each one, everyday and handle each one,too...so, there are pluses. The cochins go right up the ramp every night... [​IMG]

    thanks... Ridgerunner and CityGirl for all of your help...don't go far away tho....lol..'ll probably be asking again... [​IMG]

    melinda
     

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