Silkie

General Information

Breed Purpose
Ornamental
Comb
Walnut
Broodiness
Frequent
Climate Tolerance
All Climates
Egg Productivity
Medium
Egg Size
Medium
Egg Color
Light Brown/ white
Breed Temperament
Friendly, Easily handled, Calm, Bears confinement well, Quiet, Docile
Breed Colors/Varieties
Grey, Blue, Splash, Partridge, Buff, Black, White are the standard colors with many off standard & derivative colors in existance today.
Breed Size
Bantam
APA/ABA Class
Feather Legged
Color
Grey, Blue, Splash, Partridge, Buff, Black, White are the standard colors with many off standard & derivative colors in existance today
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The Silkie breed was developed in the southeast Asian countries or China. It's named for its atypically fluffy plumage, which is said to feel like silk. The breed has several other unusual qualities, such as black skin and bones, blue earlobes, and five toes on each foot, whereas most other chickens only have four. They are often exhibited in poultry shows and come in various colors. It was valued as a medicinal food item in Asia, because of its black skin and bones, and was thought to be particularly good to reinforce body immunity and protect from emaciation and feebleness. It also is reported to treat diabetes, anemia, female reproductive functioning and postpartum disorders. Marco Polo gave the first accounts of Silkie chickens in the late 13th century. As trade route between East and West were established, the Silkie was brought to Europe. Records have shown that in the Netherlands, they were sold as the product of crossing a rabbit and a chicken!

Nowadays the breed is very popular for the purpose of pet chickens as well as exhibition. They are not good layers, averaging 3 eggs per week, but are known and valued for their exceptional broodiness and are often used for hatching eggs from other breeds. They are also considered very good pet chickens, especially for children and are known for their friendliness and docile temperaments.

The breed was officially recognized in North America by acceptance into the Standard of Perfection in the first year of publication which was 1874.

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Silkie juvenile

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Silkie chick

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Silkie rooster

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Silkie hen

For more information on Silkies and their owners' and breeders' experiences with them, see our breed discussion here:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/chicken-breed-focus-silkie.1048544/

Latest reviews

Pros: This is a nice friendly breed with soft downy feathers. I loved my silkie hen's eggs and she was (and still is!) a sweet bird.
Cons: My full-sized hen only layed for 4-5 years compared to my other hens that layed 6-7 years. The full-sized silkie is a commercial meat breed that is not recognized by the American Poultry Association.
I have a sweet full-sized silkie hen who has only ever bought joy to me!
I have heard many people say that they get sick very easily however my silkie hen is a free-range bird who has never gotten sick.
Pros: 1. Very fluffy and fun to cuddle
2. Very friendly and sweet
3. Great winter layers
4. Great danger alarms
5. I have heard from just about every silkie owner around that they are great mothers, but I have not yet had one go broody myself
Cons: 1. They can't fly very well, I once had a cockerel hurt his leg, probably by falling and not being able to catch himself, it wasn't his fault, it's just the way their feathers are (and it doesn't really matter to me, I just thought I'd put that in)
I love my silkies, they are in my top three favorite breeds. Mine are actually very good layers so far, each of my three pullets average about 5 eggs a week, and they are very new layers too! They started in the middle of winter 2019, so I don't know how they do in spring and summer yet.

Mine are very mellow and go-with-the-flow, even though I haven't worked with them much at all.

My silkie roosters give the alarms all the time, even for little songbirds that fly overhead. I have only heard my game bantam rooster give the alarm a couple of times, while my silkies give it several times per hour.

I got silkies to raise chicks for me, though they haven't done it yet because I haven't let them. No broodies yet, but hopefully there will be soon!

I think everybody should get silkies, they are a great breed!
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Reactions: ChickenGirl300
Pros: Great mothers
Cons: Not good layers.
Kittiek
Kittiek
Your silkies are so cute!!! I will be a first time silkie mamma next week and i cannot wait!!!
cra8ychix
cra8ychix
Thank you. They are such good mamas. And my Roo is so good with the babies and protective.

Comments

Silkies are truly wonderful birds. I raise them and their personalities are so sweet. They are perfect for children. I did not see where you are located. I have been looking for a blue silkie roo for over 2 months now. Could you tell me where you found yours?? I have a nice blue splash that I want to breed one to. Thanks so much!!!
 
I agree with the "drowned rat" observation! ;0 wet silkies definitely lose their supreme cuteness when they are wet, but fluff back up to their usual feathery self in a couple hours
 
it's true that they do brood early I have a hen ho is 2 and she doesn't lay but she's still broody:D and I love her too
 
I plan on getting a few silkies....just cuz I love them....but I never had in mind that they could be good layers. I've read everywhere that they are poor layers.
One question though, if they were born in May 2010, did they not start laying til' August 2011?!?! That seems like a very long time to wait. I never heard of a chicken waiting that long. Or did you not start recording til' then?
 
That chick is way too cute! I can't wait to get mine! I'm on a list to get some around February 14th. I've been wanting these little guys!
 
Can you have other kind of chicken breeds with silkies? And if so what kind of breed? My neighbor needs to give away her silkies she has two hens and 3 roosters my first on having chickens I was planning on taking them any advice???
 
only take one rooster unless you plan on separating the roosters. Silkes are very non-agressive so put them with other bantams because the big birds are well......big! my laving hens wanted to tear up my silke, but other bantams did not.
 
Should I give away 2 of the silkies roosters or put a price on them and try to sell them somebody told me it would be better to sell to assure a better home for them?
 
oh and the general rule is 2 or 3 hens per rooster. or for a small enclosed flock 1 rooster. If you have more than one rooster let them be free range so they can keep their space.
 
try not to let silks free range unattended because that are dumb and can't see very well because of there fluff. therefore they will get eaten.
 
I agree. Silkies are the most cuddely chickens ever.
I took my bantam silkies to a fair where we were with our animalclub and they let everybody pet them and sat very nice on there harness and line.
Someone came to me and asked what kind of rabbit i had with me, and then she was close enough to see, she was shocked to see it were chickens, she liked it and tought they were very funny.
 

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