Silkie wants to be a mom - natural hatching PLEASE HELP!!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by technodoll, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quebec, Canada
    Should I let my broody Silkie hatch some eggs??

    She's about 8 months old and just started laying recently, but just went broody, very very broody!

    I have so many questions...

    1 - would 3 or 4 eggs keep her happy?

    2 - my silkie roo does a great job at fertilizing the flock but what happens if one of the eggs isn't fertile? will it rot under my hen?

    3 - can I put her in a sectioned-off corner of the coop with the eggs, or will she ignore them and want to get back to the nesting boxes she knows?

    4 - i want to do this the natural way, meaning no chicks in the house and she's responsible for hatching, protecting and rearing... can this be done in sub-zero temperatures? we're in north-eastern canada, it gets super damp and incredibly cold, my coop is only half-insulated! I do have a heating lamp though.

    Oh my gosh... so exciting, and I have so many questions!!

    help!!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. BirdMom

    BirdMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 15, 2009
    I'd say let her go for it. Nature knows pretty well what it's doing.

    No, she normally won't let an egg rot under her, she'll kick out the non-fertile ones. Is she on any eggs right now? Three or four would probably keep her happy.

    She should be able to keep the chickies warm pretty well. Any time they're cold they'll just burrow under her.

    That's my opinion, I'd go for it. Others may disagree, and I do have to say so far I haven't had a broody hen rearing chicks yet, but from what I gather they'll be fine.
     
  3. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you Birdmom...

    She was sitting on 7 eggs this morning, including hers, and I took them away because I panicked and didn't know what to do.

    I'll let her sit on some eggs as of tomorrow... 4 should be plenty?

    Will have to move her off the nesting boxes though as I can't let chicks be hatched there.

    Thank you for the information re: infertile eggs!!
     
  4. bufforp89

    bufforp89 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    Chenango Forks NY
    I would let her if she were mine. 3-4 eggs would be fine, as long as there is more then one chick so they have someone to play with although I have heard that moms will be fine with one baby too.

    I would seperate her and let them have a heat lamp once they are hatched. I really wouldnt worry about the cold, they can keep eggs at nearly 100 degrees for 21 days with their butts!

    I also agree with BirdMom, she isnt going to let eggs rot under her. She will know if she needs to dispose of them. They have been doing it for hundreds of years without our help or concern!

    Good luck and I hope you end up with some silky babies!
     
  5. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you!!

    Unless Blossom lays a fertile egg tomorrow, no silkie babies... she's the only adult silkie hen I have right now.

    Wow I'll soon be gramma to SuperMutts! [​IMG]
     
  6. LastChanceRanch

    LastChanceRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd totally let her go for it. I had a BO go broody with a whole mess of eggs (about 23! LOL) I didn't realize she was setting at first, but when I finally figured it out my DH and I carefully moved her to a sectioned off brooder area for her to finish up. I know most people will probably tell you DO NOT DO NOT move her, but we did and she was just fine. We moved the whole nest at once using a piece of plywood we slid under the whole nest, hay and all and just moved it to the brooder.

    She ended up hatching out 5 eggs, we candled all the eggs when we moved her (she was about 18 days along) and she had 5 or 6 with embryo development so she did pretty well. She did kick out the ones that were not developed as the final days progressed. She was a great mommy and stayed with the youngsters until they were ready to be on their own. It was so cute to see them walk around the yard every morning.

    I'm sure they wouldn't have been outside as much if it were a winter hatch but i do think she would've faired just fine with the little ones. As long as they have a dry place to go and some supplemental heat if it gets crazy cold they do just fine. I live in mid-Michigan and we get cold her often and all my chickens do just fine.

    Good luck to ya! Hope she makes it for ya! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2009
  7. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I won't have a choice but to move her, since my girls all use the three laying boxes I don't want to block one plus I can't rig up a heat lamp there, it's NOT a place to hatch babies!

    Right now she's sitting there waiting in empty nests since I picked up all the eggs from this morning, my gosh she's stubborn!

    If she's still broody tomorrow and is sitting on some eggs, I'll fix a corner of the coop for her with a special nesting box and move her with the eggs. If she won't sit on those we'll just eat them and too bad for her, no chicks!

    But I kinda hope she'll accept the move and hatch a few babies... [​IMG]
     
  8. TXmom

    TXmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    I say let her go for it! I don't have experience with those extremes temperatures, but I have a similar Silkie. [​IMG] She went broody when she was 7 months old (in August) and hatched and raised 2 beautiful babies. She was a wonderful broody and mother. And yes, she did kick out the infertile eggs, they didn't rot.

    Now, she's decided she wants to do the "Mommy" thing again...so we let her have 8 eggs over the weekend. They'll be due around December 12. I'm sure it will be a bit "cold"...for TX, relatively speaking...LOL...but I think she and the babies will be fine. She's been sitting in the nest boxes all week, but on Saturday we put her down on the floor where she brooded back in August. Sunday morning, I think she got a little confused and went back up to the nest box, but the eggs were still warm so we picked her up and put her in front of the eggs...she immediately sat on them and tucked them under her, and she hasn't left them again. We put food and water very close to her.

    Here's a pic of my little "Sammie" with her newly hatched babies in August:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You guys have all convinced me [​IMG]

    One last question: she got into mud a few days ago plus with her dust baths she looks like a drowned rat (more beige and mucky than white)!

    Should I try to towel her off?

    Is it ok for a "dirty" hen to sit on eggs? I doubt she will leave the nest for more dirt baths anytime soon and just want her to be comfortable...

    Thank you!
     
  10. TXmom

    TXmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    She'll be just fine the way she is! Actually she probably WILL get up and dust-bathe every now and then. Sammie would get off the eggs for about 15 minutes a day to eat, drink and dust bathe. If your Silkie NEVER gets up, then I would suggest picking her up and putting her outside for a few minutes every once in a while. If it's too cold to go outside, then just put her somewhere else in the coop, near the food or favorite dust-bathing spot to give her a break. Don't worry...she'll get right back to the eggs when she's done.

    When I took that pic of Sammie, it had been very hot and dry, so she was white and fluffy and pretty. Right now, she doesn't look so great because of the drizzly wet fall we've had.

    OHHHH...One more important thing. Make sure that she's in a SAFE spot to hatch those eggs. Safe for her, safe for the eggs for the next 3 weeks, and safe for the chicks after that. I hate to mention this because I don't want you to worry too much, but my Sammie actually hatched out 4 babies, but 2 of them went missing the same day they hatched. I can't be 100% sure of what happened, but something got them...either a snake (I'd seen several in my yard around that time) or possibly even the other big chickens. Our sweet little hens can be brutal when it comes to small defenseless creatures. I thought Sammie would protect her babies, but she's just a sweet nurturing kind of mommy, not the fiercely protective type. This time, I will cover her broody corner with hardware cloth so the babies can't get out and the big girls can't reach their heads in like before.
     

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