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Silkie Chicken

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Other common names: Silky Chicken; Chinese Silkie Chicken; Bearded Silkie; Bantam Silkie; Standard Silkie

The basics:
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.

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Member photos

from breeders/sellers

(Breeders and sellers have to jump through hoops to get RightPet listings, literally, we make them do circus tricks. Unfortunately no one has met our high acrobatic standards for this animal yet, but hopefully they will soon!)

from shelters/rescues

(We've had no luck finding any of these frisky fellas so far, even though we've put up wanted posters and everything! But don't worry, we're working on it!)

Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard

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