Other common names: Silky Chicken; Chinese Silkie Chicken; Bearded Silkie; Bantam Silkie; Standard Silkie
The Silkie Chicken is a small, unique breed of poultry aptly named for its fluffy plumage that is said to feel like silk. Originating in Southeast Asia, most likely in China, sometime before the 1200s, the first written record of silkie chickens comes from Marco Polo, who wrote of chickens with fur-like feathers from his Asian travels in the 13th century. Silkies made their way West via the Silk Route and were officially accepted into the North American Standard of Perfection in 1874. Today, Silkie chickens come in bearded and non-beaded varieties.
Types: Bantam, Largefowl
Varieties (Walnut Comb): Black, Blue, Buff, Calico, Cuckoo, Gray, Lavender, Paint, Partridge, Porcelain, Red, Splash, Gray and more
Uses: Brooding, Ornamental, Pets
Bantam UK: 18 - 22 oz
Bantam USA: 32 - 35 oz
Largefowl UK: 3 - 4 lbs
Personality: Calm and gentle the Silkie makes an excellent pet
Broody: Yes, hens are known to adopt chicks
Preferred climate: Any
Handles confinement: Yes
Egg production: Fair
Egg color: Cream
Egg size: Small
What else you should know:
Silkies should be checked over weekly for lice, mites, and changes in health. Dust baths should always be available to Silkies, and should you find mites and lice, a chicken friendly pesticides should be used.
Silkies also have the potential to get very dirty, depending on their housing. You may need to bath your Silkies with warm water and mild soap.
Silkies need extra care to stay safe, clean, and happy. Silkies cannot fly well, so nesting boxes and roosts should be close to the ground. They also can have difficulties fleeing and seeing predators, so they should be kept in a safe enclosed pen, with at least three square feet per bird. Pens should also be well-drained and as dry as possible. Silkies should not be expected to walk in the mud, or snow accumulation.
Silkies docile nature and their inability to fly tends to keep them lower on the pecking order if they are housed in a mixed breed flock. Special care should be taken to make sure they are not bullied.
Silkies with vaulted skulls, are more prone to suffer from brain damage. This is linked to vitamin and mineral shortages, or an actual injury to the head.
Silkies are very broody, and can be difficult to break from a nest. Try not to let your hens brood over 24 days, as this can be trying on your hen’s body. The longer she broods the longer she is without proper nutrients, sunlight, and exercise.
exceptional brooders, fluffy feathers, friendliest chicken, fantastic pet chickens, fine show birds
high temperatures, freezing, poor layers, wet weather, predators, blue chicken meat
remarkably fluffy crests, comical way, GREAT GREAT parents, petting, endearing personality
Silkies are definitely one of the more interesting breeds I have had. They are cute and sophisticated with their pretty silky hair-like strands in place of feathers. They often go broody and make good mothers. They are fun to breed because they come in all different colors so you never know what you're going to get.
All that being said, they are pretty darned stupid. I think it's partially that their face fuzz often grows in front of their eyes so they really can't see what's going on around them. They also can't seem to figure out things that the other chickens figure out, like how to find the gate to get in to their yard.
I currently have a flock of 17 with a Silkie rooster keeping everyone in line. He is a good little rooster and does his job even with the much larger hens of different breeds. He is friendly to people but has been known to attack when a threat is near, i.e. a lawnmower coming towards him.
Another interesting Silkie trait is their very small eggs. We like to hard boil them to be little "egg popper" snacks. They can also be used for scrambled eggs and omelets. If you want to use them for baking, it's best to measure by weight.
I will probably always keep a few Silkies in my mixed flock. They add interest, comedy and can usually be trusted to hatch out a nest of eggs for you. One word of caution, they are NOT swimmers! You cannot have deep water anywhere you have Silkies. We found out the hard way and now only keep dishes of water instead of the deep tubs..
From starletblue Jun 24 2015 4:04PM
Are Silkie Chickens the Right Bird for Your Flock?
Our chickens are our family's babies. Never in our life did we ever expect to become suburban chicken owners. After all, we live in the 5th most populated city in New Jersey and we have more malls in close proximity than we do farms.
It was actually a recent change in our way of eating that brought about our surprise chicken ownership. Healthy eating became more important to us and organic foods were the food of choice in our home. One day I saw an article that stated that it was suddenly very trendy for urban hipsters to have their own backyard flocks. "Chickens? Lots of organic eggs! That sounds neat" I thought.
We were definitely not hipsters but further research showed us how great and easy it would be to raise our own chickens. After a lot of research and some prodding, I convinced my family to make the leap.
We purchased our chicks through an online website that ships chicks directly to your home, just one day after they are born. We purchased multiple breeds but for this review, I will focus on our silkie chickens, Ducky and Pingu. Ducky is a Buff Silkie Bantam chicken named Ducky because she looks like a duck and Pingu is a Black Silkie Bantam chicken named as such because she waddles like a Penguin.
Out of all of the chickens that we own, Ducky and Pingu are definitely the most interesting to watch. Though they should be sisters in action for protection, they don't really get along because Ducky thinks she's a giant chicken while Pingu KNOWS she's the lowest one on the totem pole. They stay away from others in the flock because they are lower in the pecking order, they're very vocal and they are 'scaredy-chickens,' that are afraid of everything. Unfortunately, for them, they also don't seem to be very bright. They're always the last chickens to figure things out, like, 'how do I get into the coop?!
My father had recommended that we get some silkie chickens for our flock because he had raised silkies while growing up in Taiwan. Silkies have some very unusual characteristics. Their skin and their bones are black, their feathers are very fluffy and they have turquoise ears. They lay small eggs and aren't the best egg producers. Since our silkies are bantams, which are in essence are a miniature type of chicken, their eggs are even smaller than most. Their meat is thought to be extremely nutritious and their eggs are prized for not only their nutritional value but for their role in gourmet cuisine - but we love them too much to eat them.
Chickens all have very different personalities and genetically bred-in tendencies. So while Silkies are known for being affectionate, it will really depend on your chicken. Ducky screams bloody murder if we try to pick her up while Pingu is tolerant but not affectionate. It's a good idea to fully research what sort of breeds you decide to eventually bring together. Silkies, because they are so small and docile, will always be at the bottom of the pecking order and because of this, you don't want to have a silkie chicken with a large, aggressive breed of chicken. Chickens can be quite violent towards one another and it's not rare to hear about chickens killing each other so plan accordingly.
Do your research before you decide to own a Silkie chicken. They're great around children, wonderful egg setters and mother-hens and are absolutely beautiful little birds but they do have special needs. In their first few weeks of life, they need a lot of care and attention. Housing and food are not cheap if you want healthy chickens. If you want lots of eggs, Silkies are definitely not the chickens for you.
So, are silkie chickens the 'right pet for you?' They definitely are for us! As long as we have a flock in our backyard, we will always have a few silkie chickens..
From zajiue Jul 20 2015 3:36PM
Originally I acquired this breed for my daughter. She wanted a pet chicken and so I sought after a bird that would be unique and stumbled upon this breed. I immediately fell in love with the unusual feather and the wild markings on their face. She loved them because of the softness of the feather which save for the wing and tail, doesn't really resemble most feather I had seen at all; unless closely inspected.
One interesting thing I noticed when introducing them to my flock was that they blended right in and the dominant rooster needed little to convince or paid little notice to them and they just fit right in. After some time though, things changed and one of the Silkie roosters occasionally (as he got older) would challenge things. I usually leave them be in this matter but this guy slowly grew to become too determined and aggressive for my taste.
I understand as well that not all roosters are alike but this particular guy I ended up having to trade off to another farmer.
As for the hens, they seem to be pretty decent egg-layers and they grow at a decent pace and their attractiveness is their biggest attribute in my opinion although, I have yet to see a single hen be attracted to a Silkie rooster. All my hens have done their best to reject every Silkie rooster I have presented to them and this gets me to think, are they ugly in a bird's world? I often wondered if the Silkie rooster feels the same way and out of three different roosters, they have all had to be overly aggressive to my hens in order to breed; which is not welcomed in my flock so I stopped keeping them altogether.
My particular experience with them and predators was not a very good one either, they seemed to be easy targets and I found myself watching over them a little more than the other birds of the flock. In their defense though, in my area I try to keep birds that are more camoflaged to their surroundings or at least painted in a way that they don't stand out so much and these guys were bright white and could be seen from too far away for their safety..
From aqualife1000 Feb 1 2015 7:27PM