It’s times like these that I’m thankful to have 5 silkie hens. Yeah, there’s more poo than I’d like and more dirt bath craters than I’d care to re-fill, but these girls unmistakably outweigh these extra tasks with their charm, sweet nature and delicious eggs.
I have been riding a huge learning curve since I became their mama in September of ’11. Before then I’d never even held a chicken! Late last week one of my girls (none of them have names because they all look so alike that it’s too hard to tell them apart!) became broody. Since I only have hens and no rooster, there are no fertilized eggs to be hatched. This one hen just camps out in one of the nesting boxes literally all day, only getting up briefly to eat and drink. She does not go out into the yard anymore with the others. I collect eggs quickly and frequently, so she’s not even laying an anything. Something has clicked in her mind and altered her hormones to make her broody and try to hatch eggs, even when they’re not hers and even when they’re not fertilized. Silkies are a notoriously broody bunch, so if one or two are broody (which means they do not lay during that time), I’m glad I still have the others to lay regularly.
I’ve dunked her bottom half in cold water to lower her temp (it increases during broodiness in order to aid in hatching eggs) and repeatedly taken her out of the nesting box and closed it off during day light hours. Nothing’s worked. So, now I will up the ante and dunk her a few times a day and isolate her in a rabbit cage on cold ground to additionally lower her temp. I’ve been getting advice from the chicken owner who gave me my girls and also on backyardchickens.com. I love this website for info and a plethora of member feedback.
I’m hoping it’ll be just a few more days and she’ll be back to her normal self and laying soon-there-after, too! I’ve read that some hens are just more stubborn than others and you can just let it run it’s course, which could be as little as 3 weeks or up to a few months. No thanks. I’m going to put up a good fight!