Last Updated on February 9, 2021 by Pauline G. Carter
When one thinks of the Silkie Chickens, one thinks of soft silky, fluffy hair – its lovely plumage. That’s the Silkie, and with that, comes an equally lovely personality. No one is 100% about the Silkies’ origins, although it is believed they started somewhere in China or India; somewhere in Asia.
However, being so popular, they made their way to other countries too, such as Europe and North America. Now they are to be found all over the world. Another name for the bird is the Chinese Silk Chicken, which shows its Chinese origin.
However, nevertheless, the origin of the Silkie is not sufficiently ascertained. Marco Polo, the explorer commented about a “furry chicken” he had seen on his travels, and it is thought this was the Silkie.
Silkie Chicken | Breed Profile
|Country of origin:||China|
|Weight:||Male: 2-3 lbs. Female: 1.5-2 lbs.|
|Recognized Varieties:||Blue, Black, Gray, White, Partridge, Splash, Buff|
|Egg production (annual):||100|
|Egg color:||Tinted, Cream|
Characteristics Of The Silkie Chicken
Silkies are unlike other chicken breeds in that their skin is a dark blue-black color. They also have good maternal instincts, willing to sit on other birds’ eggs, even turkeys. People say that the Silkie has like a UV-cone in their eyes, enabling it to see shades of color which helps them to be such good forages, and even to determine the health of their chicks!.
That is just another interesting observation about these unique birds! It has an interesting crest. This consists of a puff of feathers atop its head. Some of the Silkie breeds have a skull which arches upward, making the crest look more prominent.
Other chicken breeds also have crests. These include the Crevecoeur, the Sultan, Polish, and Houdan. In an attempt to increase the crest size of the Silkie, the birds have also been crossed with the Polish.
The Silkie chicken doesn’t fly well at all. They are not noisy either, being quiet in nature. They also have quite dense ‘under fluff’, and sometimes the tiny chicks get caught up in this which sometimes results in fatalities.
The Silkie has 5 toes compared to most other breeds which only have 4. You get the non-bearded variety and the bearded variety. Sometimes the feathering on a Silkie’s head is so profuse that it’s difficult to see its face. This feathering also extends down their legs.
The Silkie has turquoise earlobes that are oval shaped with dark wattles; the beak also grey-blue in color. The eyes are black. This bird’s feathers don’t hold together; the reason why it can’t fly. It also means the feathers aren’t waterproof, so when the bird is wet, it looks like it’s waterlogged.
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Colors of the Silkie are blue, black, white, buff, splash, partridge, gray, lavender, red, cuckoo and porcelain. Their eggs are creamy in color and size of eggs is small-sized to medium sized. They can lay anything between 100-120 eggs a year, but they can also stop laying eggs altogether during summer time.
The standard sized Silkie weighs in at only 3-4 pounds. In the USA the Silkie is classified as a bantam breed, and these can weigh in only at around 18 ounces. Original Silkies were standard sized, shown more in the UK.
Behavior / Temperament
Silkie chickens are sweet, charming chickens, calm and docile. They seem to enjoy plenty of attention and become rather tame.
The pros and cons of the Silkie Chicken …
- Wonderful personality, not aggressive.
- Good foragers.
- They don’t mind smaller spaces.
- Good mothers.
- Because they are docile, they can get bullied by other chickens.
- Not suited to cold, wet conditions.
- Because of their small size and personality they are better off not mixed with other chicken breeds – tendency to be bullied.
- Don’t get them if you want them for eggs or meat.
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Is The Silkie Chicken Right Choice For You?
- Silkie chickens are bred more for ornamental purposes than for the meat and the egg-producing abilities.
- Many people want to keep them as pets because they have such sweet personalities and they look so striking and cute.
- The Silkie is a delicate bird to sex, and this is difficult to determine until they are around 6 months old already.
- They are also known to be susceptible to a disease called Marek’s Disease. It can affect all chicken breeds though. With their fluffy feathers, they can also be vulnerable to lice and mites to you need to pay attention to the health of these gorgeous birds.
- It might be necessary to trim their feathers around their eyes so that they can see a bit better as well. Silkies also need to be near fresh and clean water at all times because they can drink up to half-liter of water; keep their water containers filled. The fluff around their tails also might need trimming for breeding and hygiene purposes.
- When looked after, and that also means keeping them clean and dry, they can live around 9 years old.
- Before you decide on buying Silkies, get acquainted with their characteristics and needs, so you know what to expect to avoid disappointment.