Edited by wallace707 - 11/8/15 at 9:06am
Chicken Breed Focus - Silkie - Page 7
Featured Stories on BackYard Chickens
Batchelor pad with 8 boys in it at present whille the girls have a break. When the hormones ' kick in '
They will often have a few tussles , but once the ' pecking order ' has been established harmony is usually restored.
I'm a fan of the Buff Silkies.
This is Dixie Doo...
You'll note she is small crested. She is not a showbird. She works in our flock of free ranging birds. Basically because she can see. She's spunky enough to tolerate larger flock members and she has proved her worth in our flock as a broody hen and excellent mother. She has quite a bit of character & tenacity as you can imagine. She winters well in the upper midwest. A silkie with a larger crest would not really work well in our set up.
I was very curious about this Bogtown.. Do the silkies have a heard time seeing?
Silkies like all chicken breeds have personalities all over the page - flock politics still occur and pecking orders established. When broody the hens can have outright squabbles and claw attacks until they work it out or the broodiness has subsided -- fairly typical of any chicken breeds except in my personal experience in a small cottage backyard I keep my breeds under 5-lbs to give my Silkies a fair chance in flock politics.
We had a heavy 7-lb Cuckoo Marans that I was told this breed was calm yet she terrorized/bullied my Silkies and at roost she made sure she sat next to one of them to chew off their fluff. We had egg-layer Leghorns and they are downright cannibalistic when they turn mean. They might be ok as pullets but at maturity heavy dual purpose or egg layer breeds can turn into bullies toward smaller or gentler breeds like Silkies. Tilly's Nest website had such a problem with a Silver Wyan being mean she was turning the whole flock infectiously mean and she had to be re-homed. Do the math - in flock politics - can a 2-lb Silkie really have a fighting chance against a 6 or 7-lb heavy large fowl? How about you try to defend yourself against something 3x heavier than yourself! Chickens are not nice to each other as much as we'd like to think so I stopped mixing dual purpose or egg layers with Silkies. As stated before I only have a timid non-combative 2 y/o Blue Wheaten Ameraucana and a Blue Breda with my 2 Silkies now. I thought the new Breda might be a problem as she started to test the flock for position but she is only 3.5-lb and my oldest matriarch Silkie quickly fought her on somewhat equal terms and the Breda knows to be respectful now. If the Breda had been a 6 or 7-lb bird there's no way my little 2-lb Silkie could've maintained a non-injury outcome.
My one Silkie roo was a sweetheart - sweeter than our hens - but I never had more than one Silkie roo. He was so darn noisy crowing we finally had to re-home him. I miss him but we aren't zoned for roos
THESE ARE MY FIRST THREE BACKYARD CHICKENS FROM 5 YRS AGO WITH OUR SWEET LITTLE PARTRIDGE SILKIE BOY, HIS PARTRIDGE SISTER, AND A LEGHORN PULLET THAT WAS ACTUALLY A NICE SWEET LEGHORN TOWARD THE SILKIES UNTIL SHE WENT AGGRESSIVE AT AGE 3 AND WE RE-HOMED HER.
MARANS EGG, 2 WHITE LEGHORN EGGS, AND 3 SILKIE EGGS. AFTER SEEING THE SIZE OF SILKIE EGGS I DON'T REALLY NEED LARGE FOWL EGGS!
THIS IS THE HEAVY CUCKOO MARANS THAT WAS NASTY TO HER FLOCKMATES. THE LITTLE PARTRIDGE SILKIE ALWAYS KEPT HER DISTANCE USUALLY HIDING BEHIND THE LEGHORN -- THE WHITE LEGHORN WAS THE ONLY ONE THAT COULD PUT THE MARANS IN HER PLACE WHEN THE MARANS GOT NASTY. EVENTUALLY BOTH THESE LARGE FOWL WERE RE-HOMED. THEY WERE TOO BIG AND TOO AGGRESSIVE AROUND OUR GENTLER SMALLER SILKIES.
So, Sylvester (or anyone that knows), do you think then that even Buff Orpingtons and Black Australorps are too assertive? I always hear how friendly and gentle they are. what about easter eggers? Cause we now have all those as you can probably read but I'd like Silkies eventually. Maybe they'll either have to wait or be kept separate. I can understand Barred Rocks though as I've heard they're more assertive or RIR but I always thought the Orps would be friendly. But I guess maybe they're only friendly to birds their own size.
Well, I've never had Buff Orps or 'Lorps but my friend had a Buff Orp, Leghorns, red Sexlinks, some mixed breeds, EEs, and BCMs and her 2 Silkies had to hide most of the day behind a feeder or a waterer or a nestbox to keep away from these large dual purpose/layer breeds. The LF can be on equal terms with breeds their own size but can't resist the temptation to bully a breed gentler or smaller than themselves - it's a chicken thing! Orps and 'Lorps I understand can be sweet birds but my friend didn't find her Orp or dual purpoe very kind toward the Silkies or toward the EEs. RIRs, BRs, Wyans, Marans, Orps, Sexlinks, Leghorns (or any Mediterranean class breeds) or any hybrid egg-layer breeds are on equal terms with each other but around Silkies I woiuldn't trust them - especially in a confined run or a smaller backyard.
EEs on the other hand like our APA Ameraucana are known to be mostly non-combative hens and would prefer to flee rather than engage in conflict. In fact, that's what gives them a reputation for being jittery jumpy kooky spooky wary alert birds because they will be the one running around the yard to get away from other chickens. No breed in my flock can catch our Blue Wheaten Ameraucana once she perceives a threat and starts running on those long legs of hers LOL! She has never fought one of our Silkies even when one of the Silkies got pissy broody nasty towards her. Amer's and EE's are not the best layers after their 2nd year but they are great non-combative flockmates if you don't mind getting less eggs from them.
Might be coincidence only but I found through research some of the gentlest or non-combative temperament breeds happened to be either crested, bearded, muffed, tufted, vulture-hocked, feather-legged/feathered-toes, walnut or pea-combed breeds - Ameraucana, Araucana, Brahma, Breda, Cochin, EEs, Faverolles, Houdan, Polish, Silkie, Sultan. Out of LF breeds it is reported that Australorps, Crevecoeurs, Dominiques, Dorkings, Dumpies (short legged breeds), Jersey Giants, Sussex, etc are gentle but I still wouldn't put them with Silkies simply because of their sheer size to bully something smaller than themselves.
Spend some time on various website forums reading reviews by owners of breeds you're interested in. There will always be pros/cons to every breed but after reading several reviews a general theme starts to emerge about what the breed is really like and if it's a quality you do or don't like. Wyans was a breed I truly wanted to try but with a 50/50 pro/con feedback about them I realized they would be a risk to try in my small backyard with Silkies. We had a sweet Dominique pullet that never made it to point of lay and someday I would like to try one again to see how she does around two Silkies. I have a good home for her should she not work out for us since chickeneers are always wanting a decent layer breed. GL with your decisions and glad to see you are asking your questions and doing your research before adding any more breeds to your flock.