Well, my 2nd-best little silkie (Fidget) has successfully hatched another brood. She takes smaller nests than the others. I can usually put 8 eggs under another hen, but this girl pushes them away if there are too many, so I only give her 6, and she hatched 4.
I think I actually made a mistake with her the first time out. She was identical to my best silkie (Pearl) in looks, and Pearl had set a nest faithfully. I failed to block it off from the other chickens because everything seemed to be going fine, and about two days before the eggs were due to hatch, Fidget joined Pearl on the nest and stole some of the eggs. When the chicks hatched, the girls started fighting over them, so I had no choice but to remove one hen. Pearl was pulled out, and Fidget got all the babies.
I think it’s made Fidget lazy. She sometimes will set for a few days and give up, so I have to lock her in once I’m sure she’s broody. Don’t worry, the broody box is large for a silky, she can walk around, has her own food and water, can scratch and stretch her wings. But if I let her out to free-range for a bit, she seems to forget she has responsibilities and home and I usually end up chasing her all over the place to put her back in before it’s over. She has successfully hatched and raised several batches of chicks of her own, though.
This time she hatched 4 chicks. I’m really hoping to get hens from it, because for much of the fall I had ONE hen laying. I was glad Fidget went broody when she did, because I loaded her nest with eggs from that single layer. If I get another long slow molt, I want to have hens from THAT line out there, so I can at least have a few eggs a day. As usual, we shall see. At least with chickens, it doesn’t take as long to measure the productivity of what you are breeding as it does with milk goats.