Breeding Silk Bantams!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by WindStep, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. WindStep

    WindStep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2014
    Hello, Back Yard Chickens

    OK I am thinking on breeding silks, but I was wandering What are the pros and cons? What are the color genetics? What is some helpful hints on taking care of them and breeding them? And if you have the time to type what are the instructions to breeding them?

    Thank You So So Much, "WindStep"

  2. RockerHen

    RockerHen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2011
    Chappells, SC
    Hi there! The breed name is actually 'Silkie'.
    Pros: They're fabulous broodies, they are gentle and not flighty, and good quality ones are beautiful.
    Cons: Obtaining good quality ones can be a challenge. Show quality birds can be quite pricey. Fertility can sometimes be a problem, as the typey males may not be interested in breeding or may not be able to due to all the fluff. Large crests and beards obscure vision, so often trimming or tying back is necessary. Vaulted skull chicks are prone to wry neck. Breeding to standard is a challenge, as correct type, color, combs, wing carriage, beard and crest size, toe number, and foot feathering are a lot of variables that can change. They can hide mites and lice in all of their fluff easily.
    Breeding white to white will always give you white. Breeding white to any other color is generally not recommended, as it results in a wild array of colors, many of them not recognized depending on what genetics they are hiding behind their white.
    Breeding blue to blue gives 25% blue, 50% black, and 25% splash.
    Breeding splash to splash gives all splash
    Breeding black to black gives all black.
    Breeding blue to black gives 50% black, 50% blue.
    Breeding black to splash gives all blue
    Breeding blue to splash gives 50% blue, 50% black.
    Partridge and gray are variable colors, I can't give any definite advice there.
    I bathe mine in flea shampoo if I notice any mites/lice. I also have whitening shampoo if they get too dirty (which they will. They always head straight for the mud)
    They do not respond well to getting wet when it's cold- a silkie in the wet, cold rain is a silkie that might not make it. They also do not do very well in extreme heat. In the summer, I wet them down to keep them cool if it is 100+ and make sure they always have shade and fresh water. They fare well in the cold. As long as they can get out of the wind, they do just fine.
    To keep them clean, keeping them on clean sand, shavings, or wire is usually the norm. I keep mine on sand in the hot months, and shavings in the cold.
    The large majority of silkies do not roost. Be prepared to provide them with a house on the ground. At night time, they snuggle together in a big 'pile'. My silkies' pile house is an old large dogloo filled with shavings. They will usually also lay their eggs there if you do not provide another nest box.
    Their toenails require a bit more work than other birds. They don't seem to wear them down as quickly as other breeds, so trimming is sometimes necessary, especially on the 5th toe which doesn't touch the ground.
    I feed all of mine purina flock raiser. I don't like my roosters ingesting the excess calcium of layer feed, and silkies also benefit from the higher protein.
    They are prone to predators, as they can't see well through their beard and crest, so a predator-proof pen and supervision when free-ranging is a must.
    They do not mature very quickly. My hens usually begin to lay after 8 months, and both my pullets and cockerels continue filling out well into their first year.A broody silkie hen will hatch (or attempt to hatch) anything you put under her. I use mine for turkey hatching (the poults they raise end up being as docile as them). This broodiness, of course, cuts down on egg production, as hens and pullets may go broody four or more times a year.

    Hope some of this helps! Here's some of present and previous guys (first two pictures) and gals. I love them, they are one of my favorite breeds for sure.





  3. WindStep

    WindStep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2014
    Ok thank you!
    You said that the mateing may not be sucsesful! So how can I tell when it is?
    You said breeding white to another color is not recommended! I have one white one blue and getting 2 reds hopefully so...
    Oh and how much coop space do I need to breed silkies my dad said he would build me a coop!
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
  4. WindStep

    WindStep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2014
    How much room would I need to breed Silkies?
  5. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 28, 2008
    Well, you need somewhere to keep the breeders, somewhere to keep a brooder and somewhere to grow out the juveniles. More room is always better.
  6. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2011
    When you breed white to any other color, its anybodys guess as to what color chicks you'll get. Imagine you have a cabinet full of canned goods and your whites are cans without labels. When you start mixing those cans with the others, you have no idea how the recipe will come out because of those blank cans.
    Breed white to white, black to black or blue or splash, partridge to partridge, red to red, ECT.
    Sometimes, with really fluffy Silkies, mating is unsuccessful because their feathers block the way, trimming around the vents or artificial insemination will fix that. But, my Silkies are very fluffy and manage just fine without my assistance.
    When you're making their run, keep in mind they are very vulnerable to predators, especially from above, so a covered run isn't a bad idea. Most don't roost very high of the ground either.

    There are several Silkie threads in the Breeds, Genetics and Showing section, they're a great resource for beginners. Good luck.
  7. WindStep

    WindStep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2014
    Thank you all for posting any one else?

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