Are Silkies a Healthy Breed?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by chloezoebob101, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. We have had a bad experience with our silkies before. We got one, and then it was too stupid to move, or even run away from a dog that wanted it as a chew toy. To make a very long story short, We got her back from our neighbors dog, who usually never hurts one of our chickens, and she was all slobbery. She got mites, then she died. My parents think they are an unhealthy breed, are they? I was going to get one from a hatchery, but i don't want to get one that is that dumb.
     
  2. Debbi

    Debbi Overrun With Chickens

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    Silkies have a hard time seeing due to the amount of feathers around their eyes. For this reason, I do not let mine out of the run. You could also trim the feathers around the eyes so they can see better. She wouldn't run from something she couldn't see.

    Secondly, it sounds like any Silkie would need you to watch over it more. They are small and in no way could defend themselves from a dog. If she had mites on top of it, she probably was too sick to run even if she could see. Mites are blood suckers, and birds with heavy infestations will die, and the smaller birds will be affected more quickly. She also may have died from the stress of the dog attack. Stress is a major killer of ALL breeds of chickens. Do some more homework on Silkies before you buy any more. There are quite a few good Silkie threads here on BYC! While my Silkies have goofy little personalities, I wouldn't call them dumb by any means, and mine are all healthy and happy little birds. Also, if you have other chickens, I would be treating them as well, for the mites! If one has them, all of them will. Good luck..
     
  3. hmm, so how often would i have to trim their feathers?
    I could not possibly not let mine out of the run, Then nobody else would get to play outside! But i don't think that animals are going to be a big deal anymore, because we have built a better coop near our house so we can see them at all times. Before, they were out of eye sight and earshot.
    How do I prevent mites? is there something i can give them without making their eggs unfit to eat? I do not want to give them chemicals, because that would go in their eggs, something natural i can give them? I believe my chickens might have mites, so i do want to treat them. Thank You!
     
  4. Debbi

    Debbi Overrun With Chickens

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    Trim the feathers when they are starting to have sight problems. I can't tell you an exact length of time, because I don't trim mine. For the mites, you should try using the wormer "Eprinex", an Ivomectin based pour on cattle wormer. It will kill worms and external parasites. It supposedly has no withdrawl time, but I hold off on eating the eggs for a week.

    Since you don't want to use chemicals, you might try adding DE (diotamacious(sp?) earth). Use ONLY FOOD GRADE!!! Some feed stores readily carry it. Do NOT use the stuff for pool filters, ONLY Food Grade, and it will be marked as such on the bag. Rather expensive, and for me, even with a respiratory mask, leaves me coughing for days! Dust the coop with it, put it in the nest boxes under the bedding, and put some in their dust baths. I don't like it, and the 50# sack I have here is still 3/4 of the way full.

    You might also try bathing the chickens with a Flea & Tick shampoo, after cleaning out the coop. You can use a flea & tick spray inside the coop, keeping the chooks out for a day while it airs out some. Depending on how much energy you have and how many chooks you need to bathe, this might be the best way for you? It won't do much of anything though if you don't thoroughly clean the coop and run!
     
  5. we have some DE that is food grade. My mom bought it a year ago for our dogs bc they had fleas.. BAD FLEAS!! and we have a lot of it left over, so i will try that. We have 22 chickens, but i don't believe they would let me catch them to bathe them! We clean our coop about once every two months, is that enough? If not then i will do it more often, i want my birdies to be healthy! I will spread some of the DE after lunch, and we will see how we do!
     
  6. Debbi

    Debbi Overrun With Chickens

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    Just make sure to remove all the old bedding in the coop and nest boxes. Dust with the DE, getting it into cracks, and on the roosts too, top and bottom! Just throwing it on old bedding will not work. If you can't catch the birds, make them a dust bath with some dry dirt and DE, and some wood ash from a stove/fireplace if you have it. Keep in mind, if the infestation is too far gone, you may have to resort to the chemicals. Mites will cause the hens to quit laying and possibly cause death if bad enough...
     
  7. RhodeRunner

    RhodeRunner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't consider Silkies unhealthy, but they do require more maintenance then the average chicken. They need safe, and dry living quarters. You should check for mites/lice monthly (for all your birds), but Silkies are more likely to get them. As Debbi said you may have to resort to chemicals to rid your mites, but for now spread some DE (particularly in their dusting hole, and in their coop). You can also add some sassafras branches to their coop or some drops of peppermint oil, as both repel mites/lice. Since, you have this problem, I would also suggest looking up deworming as well.
    When it comes to sheer brainpower, Silkies are probably the dumbest breed I ever raised. But, if you take care of them properly, they will be happy, healthy, and affectionate little birds.
     

  8. When we clean our coop, everything comes out, don't worry. We dust up high, on the roosts, the ground, the walls, EVERYWHERE! Nesting boxes get new bedding, roosts get all the poop scraped off, it is like a whole new coop! If it does get bad enough though, chemicals will be used. I would rather have my hens live and use chemicals, than my hens die bc i didn't use the best stuff.

    We already do a lot of maintenance with our chickens, I can't imagine anything else we have to do to keep them healthy! ours have very safe and dry living quarters, and are all very happy. what is a sassafras branch? we have lots of trees around here, so i bet there are sassafras trees too! I will google it [​IMG] . We have dewormed before, but i didn't like that they had to drink it. Is there any other way?
     
  9. Debbi

    Debbi Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes, the Eprinex I mentioned before. It is a cattle, pour-on type of wormer. I put one drop on the back of their neck on the skin, and one drop under each wing. I take out some of the wormer from the original bottle and put it in a small bottle with an eye dropper, and use that. Do NOT get it on you, and if you do, wash off as soon as possible. After years of worming herds of cattle and sheep, I can almost guarantee I am worm free! [​IMG]
     
  10. ok! we are trying DE but first, today we are trying to get the coop cleaned!
     

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