10 Most Common Silkie Questions....


Poulets De Cajun

11 Years
Jun 14, 2008
Houston MetroMess, Texas
Thought this might help the beginners...

10. Is it a chicken?

Answer: Yes, a Silkie is a chicken. It is a true bantam, meaning that it was not selectively bred from larger birds to gain its small stature. It is not known where the Silkie originated, but Marco Polo wrote about them in the records of his travels of China during the 13th century.

9. Can you eat them?

Answer: Yes you can eat them. Although they are not commonly used as meat birds in the US very often, they are sometimes considered delicacies in Asian cuisines. It is thought that the black skin/bones has healing properties and health benefits.

8. Do Silkies make good pets?

Answer: Silkies make great pets. They are a very docile breed, and with regular human interaction will sometimes learn to follow their human owners like puppies.

7. Why are Silkies fuzzy?

Answer: Silkies are fuzzy because they lack the cartilage material found between the individual strands of "hair" on the feathers shaft. This cartliage material is called Barbicels, and acts as microscopic "hooks" holding each hair together. These barbicels are what give a "hard feather" their shape. Because Silkies lack these barbicels, the individual hairs on their feathers fly free, and thus appear as fur.

6. Can Silkies fly?

Answer: No. Silkies cannot fly because of the structure of their feathers. Their wings will not hold air to carry them.

5. Do Silkies make good free ranging birds?

Answer: No. Because Silkies cannot fly, they are often the target of prey animals such as dogs, rodents, and hawks. They are not able to effectively escape from other prey animals.

4. Can Silkies see?

Answer: Yes. Silkies can see, although not very well. Silkies have large crests called "top knots" that sometimes impair their vision. Birds with smaller top knots will see better than those with larger ones. (This is another reason that Silkies often fall victim to prey animals such as hawks.)

3. How do Silkies fair in winter?

Answer: Silkies tolerate winter as well as any other hard feathered breeds. They do not require any special accomodations other than what you would normally provide to other birds. Even though their feathers are shaped differently than other birds, they still have down to keep them warm.

2. Are Silkies good mothers?

Answer: YES! Silkies are some of the best poultry mothers around. Its been said that a Silkie would try to hatch a door knob if given the chance. They are often used to naturally hatch out game birds such as quail, and other non-broody poultry breeds.

And for the number ONE Silkie question of all time......

1. At what age can you sex a Silkie?

Answer: This is the million dollar question. Silkies are one of the hardest breeds to sex until they are nearing six months old or better. Even at six months of age, it is sometimes still an educated guess. Breeders who have raised Silkies for 10, 15, even 20 or more years, will tell you that it is nearly impossible to accurately sex a Silkie until they are at least 6 months old.
I wouldn't put them with a Standard Sized flock for sure. As for which breeds they get along with best, it would be trial and error I'm sure. I've never raised them with any other breeds so I really couldn't tell you.
I've found conflicting information on Silkies egg-laying and broodiness. Are they really terrible egg-layers? We wanted to get 3-4 hens for our 3 person household. Maybe we'll swap one for a different breed.
I have a Buff colored Silkie and she/he is about 6 months old, neither laying nor crowing?? Are there any telltale signs of the sex? I will post a pic tommorrow in the daylight
In my experience, when they are laying I usually get an egg a day. They are bantam eggs so they are half the size of standard eggs.

The problem is that you can't keep them laying regularly. They tend to go broody for what seems like once a month. When they go broody they quit laying.

So really, they are good layers, when they want to be. If your looking for egg production birds, you'd probably be better off swapping a Silkie for a better layer, instead of constantly fighting broody cycles.

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