Silky Brooding Behavior

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by jjdent, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. jjdent

    jjdent Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 20, 2013
    Rustburg, VA
    I got a silky hen specifically for sitting on eggs, but have no actual experience with it. I've heard they nest on the ground. She and her rooster share a little coop, in which she lays her eggs in a little laying box, just like the rest of my chickens. I'm wondering what it looks like when a hen goes broody. Does she go broody on eggs in the nesting box? Do I have to leave some in there for her to decide to sit on? Would a silky be more comfortable nesting on the ground? How should I best accommodate her? I have a small fenced-in wooded area with lots of cover in which she and the roo reside. I know I'd have to protect the chicks when they're small, but I'm wondering what to do before all that to get things started.
     
  2. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 29, 2013
    Southern Illinois
    When a hen goes broody, she will get up off of the nest only to eat, drink, and poo (although I've had a few who do that in the nest, which is a major pain). Typical broodys will often puff up and get defensive when you approach the nest. As far as nesting goes, I would put the box on the ground, so when the chicks hatch, there will be no risk of them falling. When one of my hens goes broody, I always separate them, considering I have four roos and twenty four other girls. However if it's just the one hen and a roo you might not have to, as I have heard of Silkie roosters being fine around chicks. If choose not to separate, I would keep an eye on the roo to make sure he's not harassing the hen. She'll be happiest hatching her eggs in a peaceful, stress-free environment. If the roo is OK with the hen, and her eggs hatch, keep an EXTRA close eye on him and the babies to make sure everything goes smoothly.
     
  3. jjdent

    jjdent Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 20, 2013
    Rustburg, VA
    I guess what I'm asking is how to set up the hen's brooding situation to best accommodate her ahead of time and have her sit on the eggs I want. I've put a liner in her laying box with the eggs I want sat on in it that I can easily lift out and put into a brooding pen when the chicks are closer to hatching or when she decides to sit. My question is: should I wait til she appears boody before doing all this, like just leave her own eggs in the laying box to see if she'll sit and then add the others I want her to sit on, or do it all ahead of time? Or maybe there's some other better way. I have no experience at all with a sitting hen, just got hens six months ago. I have some larger eggs I want sat on. That's why I got the silky hen.
     
  4. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 29, 2013
    Southern Illinois
    I would wait until she starts showing the signs of a broody hen to put your actual eggs in the nest for her to set on. Until you are sure she's broody (say after she's been on the nest for maybe two days), I would put some fake eggs under her which can be bought online, or the local Rural King here sells them individually which is kind of stupid, as from Murray McMurray you can buy them by the dozen. I've also used golf balls. Anything that looks like an egg will do, really. If she doesn't set right away, don't worry. A majority of my hens go broody in the spring and sometimes early fall. Putting a few egg-like objects in the nest will help encourage her. Keep in mind that it is common for first time setting hens to abandon the nest after a few days. This has only happened with my JG hen. All of my Silkies have finished the job.
     
  5. Poulet des Bois

    Poulet des Bois Out Of The Brooder

    Hi, I'm responding here becuz it's they closest thread related to my current situation.
    I have a Silkie pr. Both housed in a sm. Dbl decker coop all winter w/ a light for extra warmth. She was determined to brood so I finally gave her some eggs to hatch. He has stayed by her side this whole time, even climbing on the nest with her at times.
    She should be hatching out this coming Sunday.
    I sure would like to talk out my options to decide what to do.
    I could put him in the space below w/ another light to ad warmth.
    Or leave them to work it out.
    Or move one or both to the bigger coop,
    Together or separated.
    I've read about numerous Roos that are very motherly.
    My sm. Coop has 2 nest box areas above with an easy cleanup tray in front of the nesting areas. This upper area is closed off except for a doorway at the far end that has a ramp leading to the lower level that is 3Xs as large. & a snug eye level access door & little window.
    Removable roosting bars lay just 3/4" above the tray; the silkies tend to not use them.
    I was thinking that the upper space would be a great maternity ward, but need to assure that babies can't fall down the ramp, & everyone stays warm enough together or apart.
    Any ideas or conversation on this would be Much appreciated.
    Thanks.
     
  6. pagumby

    pagumby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 24, 2013
    Hummelstown, PA
    I would leave them where they are for now and see how he is once they hatch. If he is fine no sense in stressing anyone out by moving them. Keep the ramp closed off for a week or 2 and then open it up so momma can show the babies how to do it. Do they have access to the outside once the ramp opening is clear? Don't worry that if they go outside in cold weather they will freeze. My broody Cochin hatched her eggs just weeks before the below average freezing temps hit us and she had the chicks outside. They were and are fine. They were too cute running around on top of the snow/ice we had.
     
  7. Poulet des Bois

    Poulet des Bois Out Of The Brooder

    Well a couple days after posting I went to change out papers n bedding that he messes, trying to keep things very clean daily. He had taken 4 eggs that day & hidden them under the outer layer. Ice cold. Chickentopsy revealed 4 perfect chicks but dead. Next day one darling chick hatched. 3 days later today, no more hatches, pipps or peeps. Took the eggs. Had given her a 2 day old chick last night to go w/ little Olivia ( our first & only Olive Egger) today both were up & springing around. ; ) so that's all SUCCESS.
    Upon finding the cold dead eggs I had moved him to the lower area & closed Mama off for peace n quiet. He hears them, well see.
     
  8. Poulet des Bois

    Poulet des Bois Out Of The Brooder

    Update: we replaced the unhatched eggs with 6- 2 day old meat chicks. All the chicks got along. Eventually most of the little babes stayed under her, she took them, then she packed some when they were rambunctious, I just kept putting them under her one at a time till she kept all but 1. She let it stay near, & kept trying to look at it, figuring it out I suppose. It kept peeping. I think it was all just a lot of commotion for her to figure & adjust to, so rather than fearing her & giving up; I trusted her great instincts & smartness & helped. With this little Silkie it worked. Just returned from checking on them; all 8 chicks quiet under Mama!!
     

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