Silkie chickens are adorable and can win the hearts of anyone who looks at them. With their unique hair-dos and mild temperaments, you will want to add a few to your flock. They will be the talking focus of every backyard gathering. But they also look so delicate. Do they require any special care? Let’s talk about Silkie chickens: what you need to know.
The Silkie Temperament
The first thing you need to know about Silkie chickens is their demeanor. Silkies are some of the calmest and docile chickens you have ever met. And that goes for roosters as well. Owners find that these birds don’t worry much about pecking order, and they love when you hold them. When you are near, your Silkies will be right at your heels.
They do best when in a flock just as docile as them. If they are in flocks with blunt and dominant hens, your Silkies are a walking target. Their fluffy heads are a walking target for your other hens to peck at. And if a fight happens, your Silkies are likely to lose that fight.
Are They Good Layers?
Silkie chickens: what you need to know is that they aren’t prolific egg layers. On average, you will get anywhere from 3-5 eggs a week from your Silkie chickens. That Silkie chickens eggs are a beautiful cream color. You can start to expect these eggs when your pullets are around 7-9 months old. And your hens will lay consistently for four years.
Are Silkies A Broody Breed?
Your Silkie chickens are fantastic mothers. They do go broody fairly often, and they even willingly sit on other hen’s eggs. Your Silkies will raise their eggs and chicks dutifully. So if you have a few Silkies, you will never have to use a brooder again.
Many people like to raise chickens for fresh meat and eggs. So it’s only natural to be curious if a Silkie is a dual-purpose breed as well. And while you won’t see many Silkies on the table here in America, they are widespread in other parts of the world. A Silkie chickens meat is black and has a deep flavor, unlike ordinary chicken. But they aren’t the largest and only reach 3-4 pounds.
Why Do People Keep Silkies?
You might be wondering if Silkies aren’t good for eggs or meat, why keep them? Most people keep Silkie chickens as pets because they are so calm and fascinating to watch. Silkies are so docile that they are great around kids. If you have taken a look around on Instagram lately, a few people keep them as indoor pets.
While we don’t recommend keeping chickens inside for sanitary reasons, they make fantastic yard pets. Your Silkies will follow you around the yard and chatter to you all day. And if you sit down, they gladly jump into your lap. Some owners have even compared their personalities to a cat. Combined with a long lifespan of 9 years, and you have the perfect pet.
Are Silkies Winter Hardy?
Silkie chickens have fluffy feathers that act as insulation during the winter months. And since their feet have feathers, it helps prevent frostbite. So you never have to worry about your Silkies getting too cold with a little weatherizing. Some can even withstand temperatures as low as 0 degrees. As long as your hens stay dry, they fair well.
Normal winter-proofing is needed, especially on the roof. A leaky roof could cause your hens to catch pneumonia. And if they get wet as well, they could freeze to death. And keeping your Silkie chickens inside if it’s too wet will prevent the same ailments. Melting snow and cold rain is a bad omen for these ornamental hens.
If you were wondering about eggs in winter, you might want another breed. Silkie chickens halt most egg-laying during the winter. Even pullets that come to age won’t lay until the next spring.
We mentioned that Silkie chickens have a lot of plumage that keeps them warm. This is great for winter, but what about summer? Silkies are prone to heat exhaustion if the temperatures get too high in the summer. Lots of cool water and ventilation prevents heat stroke. The heat of summer is also the only time your Silkies should ever get wet. They will even enjoy the fun of splashing around in the refreshing waters.
Silkie chickens: what you need to know about where they sleep. As you can imagine, the Silkie’s fine feathers are all for show. They can’t fly or jump very high. That means that your Silkie chickens can’t roost with the rest of your flock.
So instead, you should give your hens ample nesting boxes on the ground. And always make sure these boxes are far away from the roost to prevent the others from pooping on them at night. If your Silkie’s get dirty, you will have to groom them, which isn’t as easy a task as you can imagine.
Do They Need Special Feed?
Silkie chickens can eat any food that the rest of your flock eats. They don’t have any special needs or nutritional requirements. A simple layer feed is perfect for adult Silkies with a side of crushed oyster shell is all your Silkies need. They will spend the rest of their time eating bugs from the yard.
Everyone knows to predator proof your coop and run. But this is especially important for Silkies who can’t get away from predators as quickly. So you should make sure to prep the chicken’s area well to prevent accidents.
Another thing to consider is only to let Silkies free-range when supervised. And always make sure to keep shelter nearby. If a predator moves in, your flock will need a quick escape that doesn’t include flying away.
As you can imagine, that hair-do might need a little maintenance. Some owners like to use cute little headbands to keep the feathers out of their hen’s eyes. Other owners find that trimming the hair out of the eyes and away from the vent keeps the hens clean. But none of this is absolutely necessary.
The only thing you should ever be concerned about is keeping your Silkies dry. The Silkie’s fine feathers take a long time to dry, and no chicken likes to be wet. If your Silkies become soaked, you will need to use a cool blowdryer to help with the drying process.
Are Silkies Prone To Illness?
Silkie chickens might look delicate, but they are one durable breed. They don’t get the common illnesses like egg binding or sour crop often. And they don’t carry genetic diseases if they come from a reputable breeder. But alas, no breed is totally immune.
Silkies seem more prone to Marek’s disease than other birds. If your birds get this, Silkies likely won’t survive as well. But you can prevent the disease with a quick and easy vaccine. So it technically doesn’t have to be a concern.
The only other medical concern your Silkies have are mites and lice. The fine fluffy feathers are the ideal breeding ground for mites to invest. If you have a mixed flock, you might even find that they like your Silkies more. So daily checks are a must for these guys to prevent an infestation from happening.
Silkie Chickens Colors
The most common are White Silkie chickens. But did you know that not only do these birds come in several colors, but also patterns? There are also black, blue, self-blue, and buff Silkie chickens. And some patterns are paint, splash, partridge, and gray.
So your flock can be as colorful and as varied as you want. But to make it even better, some Silkie chicken breeds come from hybrids. For instance, the naked neck Silkie is a Silkie Turken cross that makes for an interesting bird. There is no end to what your Silkies could look like.
We have one more thing to make choosing a Silkie even more challenging. Your Silkies can come in standard or bantam sizes. In the USA, only the bantam sizes are available. But the regular sizes in other countries are the original size.
These smaller birds are so cute with all of the same personality that you know and love. An American Bantam Silkie will only weigh 1.5-2 pounds. So they aren’t great for meat or eggs, but they are the best pets you’ll ever have.
Where To Get Silkies
Now that you want a Silkie, you might be wondering where to get one. Most people get their Silkie chicken baby from breeders online at $4 apiece. But you can always seek out local breeders at a higher price. For superior breeding, you can expect to pay about $10-$15 per chick. And the average price for an adult Silkie is $25-$50.
Now You Know Everything
Silkie chickens: what you need to know? That’s it. You know everything there is to know about these chickens. And now that you see all of the fantastic features of them, go out and get yourself a few!
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!