Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cautiously Optomistic....

I was given some disconcerting news a couple of weeks ago. When I had the vet out to do health papers on some lambs that I sold, he noticed my Silkie hens wandering in the paddock and mentioned that he didn't know that I had chickens. I explained that I just had two hens and a rooster. It turns out, my vet raises Silkie chickens. He said he was surprised that I didn't have any little chicks running around as Silkies are known to be so "Broody" (like to sit on and hatch out their eggs).

I explained to the vet that my girls hardly ever even lay eggs any more. I'm lucky if I get two a week! At this, he informed me that my hens are OLD. My precious, little Madonna ~ my pet, who runs to me to pick her up and pet her, is OLD. This made me very sad. Suddenly, I am filled with the desire to have Baby Madonnas...

I even thought about picking up an incubator and letting my Grandsons hatch out a couple of eggs for me!

However, Dear Madonna has taken things into her own "hands"/wings(?) Look what she has done!!!

I put a dish of food and a pan of water right outside the door to her nest box (a covered cat litter box), so she doesn't have to go far for nourishment. She stays on the eggs all most all of the time!

She's been sitting for a couple of weeks now. Although there were only three eggs, most of that time. I don't even know how long it takes to incubate eggs! And I'm worried about keeping the chicks safe! Do I need to build a pen for Madonna and her babies? The chickens have always had free-range of the barn/paddock/pasture & yard!

Oh my! So much to do to get ready.....

BELLA says...

..."Woof"

11 comments:

  1. I think it's 21 days. (It's been awhile since hatching any eggs!!) I would recommend penning the new family up for a little while, since they will be so tiny (might tempt the kitties). I hope they all hatch. What fun! All my hens are around 4-7 years old and still laying fairly well. I have 12 hens and get about 4 or 5 eggs a day. Not bad for old ladies.
    Take care,
    Tammy

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  2. I know Tina has even older chickens than Tammy who are still healthy and laying eggs. I'd say "ignore the vet!" (Sounds like Madonna did. :-)

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  3. Katie4:47 PM

    I'm so excited for chicks!!! There better be some when I get home. Remember every year I'd try to get you to buy me one at the county fair. NOW look who wants a chick. Hmph ;)

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  4. LOL!

    I do so love (and MISS!) my Beautiful Baby Girl.....

    Thanks for the note, Sweetie!

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  5. I, too, think it's 21 days (trying to remember back to when we hatched some in my high school biology class....).

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  6. Yup, 21 days :). I know a lot of people who buy Silkies for the sole purpose of hatching out their other chickens eggs since Silkies are such broody little fuzz balls.
    Good luck!

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  7. Lois & Brook Moore11:33 AM

    Good for Madonna! Congratulations to you!
    Only a week to go now...

    We have kept hens for 8 to 10 years...but I am sure that some breeds live longer than others. Naturally egg production drops over time (the oldies didn't lay at all), but the answer is a few more chickens and you can have all the eggs you need.

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  8. Just remember, if none of Madonna's eggs hatch, it may not be HER fault (pointing at the rooster, who may not be the hot stuff he thinks he is)....

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  9. Hi Nancy - it's 21-23 days.
    I raise silkies as well - they are incredibly broody. When your chicks hatch - take them away from the mom or she may smother them - literally.
    Contact me privately if you want to get more information.

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  10. Normally it's 21 days. Yes, sometimes a chick will get caught on a silkie hen's long belly feathers (you can clip them shorter as a safeguard), and sometimes a mother hen will step on a chick inadvertently, but I wouldn't take a hen's chicks away from her after she does all that work setting -- in fact, I've been known to go out and BUY chicks for a poor hen with infertile eggs. Hens will do a much better job of raising chicks than you will and it's a heck of a lot easier too. Those silkie hens are excellent mothers! Hoping you hear the pitter-patter of little chick feet in a couple weeks. ;-)

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  11. I agree, the momma will do just fine with her chicks. I can tell by her pictures ;-). Nice blog. I'll be back.

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