This is my first time breeding chickens and I want them to have a good first batch, so I want to try and do this as perfectly as a first-time chicken breeder can. I have three Silkie hens and one Booted Bantam hen who are all 10 months old now. They've laid eggs and have learned the proper places to lay, but haven't shown any signs of wanting to brood. I think this may be a lighting issue, the nests I have were intended to just be used as a place for hens to lay and not really a place for them to lay and incubate eggs. I'm going to try and see if I can maybe make that area darker for them, but if anybody have suggestions or advice regarding why they aren't brooding, I'll be more than happy to listen! Anyways, the roosters and hens are separated into two different pens. I did this because I don't want the Booted Bantam crossing with a Silkie and I don't want the Silkies to breed with the wrong color. I have a small breeding area for them though. I figure I should put them into this area for a couple days, then switch to the next pair. I want the hens to raise the chicks themselves, so I've sheltered a part of the hen area in case of a storm and so that I can put heating lamps out there until summer starts. Summer temperatures around here can easily reach the 100's, so I figure heating lamps at that temperature is a bit overkill. I'll keep the chicks for about a month, then sell them. I'm waiting to sell them because I learned first hand how hard it is to raise day old Silkie chicks from the store and I figure it's really not healthy for them to be moved around so much after just being hatched. Aside from this, I don't know what else I can do to help ensure the chicks will survive nor do I know if I should go ahead and breed my hens. I realize they are of age to breed for normal chickens, but since Silkies take so long to mature and my hens were no exception, I don't know if it's safe to go ahead and breed them. If anybody needs to know, I live in central Texas. Thank you!