Silkies

Silkie Colours

Silkie Chickens are one of the oldest of the rare breeds of poultry. It is said that Marco Polo wrote about seeing Silkies in the Orient in 1200 A.D. during his travels.

They are a bantam with standard weights allowed by the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection 1993 listing as Cock (Adult male) at 36 oz, and Hens (Adult females) at 32 oz.

DESCRIPTION:

Silkies are very unusual looking chickens. Their feathers are missing the barbules that hold them into the traditional rigid feather. Their feathers appear to look like hair, they also have black skin, bones, five toes and feathers on their feet, mulberry colored walnut shaped combs, light turquoise almost iridescent looking earlobes all combine to make Silkies one of the most unusual breeds of poultry.

WHY KEEP SILKIES:

Silkies are one of the most docile, sweet tempered chicken breeds I have kept. Silkies great functionality are their ability to sit, and sit they will. Most of our domestic breeds of poultry have had all their mothering skills breed out of them in the process of improving meat or egg production. Anyone who has raised chicks and had to deal with Turing eggs, worrying about lights and temperature of the incubator and brooder knows this is a lot of work and a mother chicken does a better job anyway. Silkies are tremendous sitters and, wonderful mothers. I have heard the stories about roosters hovering chicks but wasn't until one winter when I saw my Partridge rooster move and four chicks popped out from under him I believed it! Silkies make good pet birds for kids. It is hard to get egg production out of them not because they don't lay, but they go broody (want to sit on eggs) so often interrupting their laying. If they don't have eggs, any round rock will do, no rock, they will sit on empty nests! Mothers will steal any other hen's chicks she can.  Silkie hens will also share mothering with a batch of chicks.

SILKIE VARIETIES:

Silkies come in White, Black, Buff, Blue, Splash, Partridge, Grey. Bearded and non-bearded. Whites and black have been breed for show and are more developed in their body types than the colored varieties, usually having larger crests, shorter necks and smaller combs.  

SILKIE HOUSING AND CARE:

They need to be protected as they are very docile, with their crests and inability to fly as well as most chickens they are more susceptible to predators. I recommend housing that will protect them from ground and flying predators. Silkies don't seem to like high roosts or housing preferring to stay about 2 to 4 feet above ground at the maximum.  They camp in great piles on the ground with several roosters, hens and young birds all sleeping together. Most feather-footed breeds don't do well with their feet in the mud. Baby Silkie chicks are hardy for their size, but feeders and water bowls need to be adapted to accommodate their tiny size.

 

Young splash and white silkie hens

Below you will see a display of this year's chicks.

click for larger view of each one

2 partridge.jpg (34158 bytes) partridge.jpg (46121 bytes) red chick.jpg (37209 bytes) red chicks.jpg (37430 bytes)

Partridge

side of Partridge

Red chick

side of Red chick

splash.jpg (35412 bytes) dangling.jpg (39076 bytes) rainbow.jpg (29438 bytes) buffy.jpg (6374 bytes)

Splash chicks

hen or roo?

rainbow of colour

Buff

black & blue.jpg (8711 bytes) Cotton Balls.jpg (82333 bytes) heads.jpg (82657 bytes) rainbows.jpg (9277 bytes)

Black & Blue

White

cotton balls

Assorted colours

rainbow.jpg (49821 bytes)

nameme.jpg (50545 bytes)

whatcolor.jpg (48686 bytes)

red buff and what.jpg (56035 bytes)

rainbow colors

one is buff..other?

splash white/red?

?..buff..partridge

                        Silkie Links

Hattrick Silkies a wonderful site for information and pictures!
American Bantam Silkie Club organization formed for silkie breeders

 

Wondering about Chicken Genetics?

 

American Poultry Association

 

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