I've been wanting to hatch silkie chicks for a long time. I had my first silkie hen, Millie, for many years. She was constantly going broody and wanting to be a momma. One year I let her hatch a few eggs from our flock, and that's how we got our Brown Rooster. But all the while that I had Millie I never had a silkie rooster. It's been a dream of mine to have a silkie momma raise silkie chicks ever since I saw what a sweet momma hen Millie was. I hesitated to introduce a silkie rooster to Millie because once a hen grows up living without a rooster, it can be a hard adjustment for them to make. Also, Millie was so tiny, and I didn't want to traumatize her by bringing a rooster into her life. We lost Millie a few years ago, and I really missed not having a silkie. Now was my chance to start again with a silkie pair.
I bought three silkie chicks at the feed store two springs ago, hoping to wind up with at least one hen and one rooster. But wouldn't you know it, I ended up with three roosters! The good news is, they tend do be a very mild mannered breed, including the roosters. I moved all three roosters down to the turkey yard to find their place among the mixed flock of mischievous turkeys and chickens. We lost one silkie rooster to a predator, but the other two boys, Rocky and Reiki, have been living quite happily down there ever since.
Last spring I tried again, and I bought three more silkie chicks at the feed store. This time I wound up with one hen, who I named Bella (short for Bluebell) since she is a blue variety of silkie. I also wound up with two more roosters! I rehomed one rooster and kept one, so now I finally had my silkie pair. This spring I let Bella hatch chicks. I only gave her five eggs, because we don't really *need* more chickens, but there's always room for a few more! She hatched three chicks, two are a lighter blue color like she is, and one is a darker almost black color like their daddy, Bart.
It's such a wonderful experience to see a momma hen raise her chicks. The mommas make a lot of adorable little sounds as they teach their chicks about good things to eat and drink, how to scratch and peck, and dangerous things to be careful of. As much fun as it is to hand raise chicks, the majority of the time I let a momma hen do the work for me. It's less mess in the house ;) and it's just as much fun. The one thing you do have to keep in mind is that hen raised chicks will typically not be quite as "friendly" as the chicks you raise yourself. That's because they will be bonded to the momma hen and not to you.
There are still things you can do to make sure that the chicks will grow up to enjoy spending time with you. Treat training starts early here. I always make it a priority to spend time with the momma and her chicks from a very young age. I sit with them and let them learn that my hand often contains something good to eat, and this encourages them to come close to me. As they get more accustomed to my presence, I gradually start lightly touching their feathers, and eventually I'm able to pick them up. There will always be those few that are a bit more skittish, and most of the time, those are the roosters! Bella's babies are almost three months old now, and they are having fun exploring the yard under the watchful eye of Bart. I don't want to curse myself by saying this, but I think the two lighter colored chicks are girls and the darker one is a boy. It looks like my rooster streak may be broken for the time being, and I couldn't be more excited about my sweet little silkie flock!