Crazy Silkies?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by donnap1967, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. donnap1967

    donnap1967 Songster

    Mar 15, 2008
    Northern NJ
    I got some silkie eggs on ebay and hatched them and I have four babies. They are so hyper and fearful though. I thought silkies were supposed to be friendly.

    I have tried spending time with them, just putting my hand slowly into the brooder and letting it sit there...tried feeding them from my hand....nothing seems to be working. They run around cheeping like mad in the brooder or hide in the corner.

    Sometimes I take them out and let them stretch and run around a bit in the room the brooder is in while I sit on the floor and watch them. If I get too close they run like mad.

    Has anyone else had crazed silkies? Is it normal for this breed to be so frightened? I thought they were sweet and docile and great pets but I am getting very discouraged. [​IMG]
  2. Kanchii

    Kanchii Songster

    It really depends on the lines. I have two crazy silkies also, it's a bummer.
  3. fancyfowl4ever

    fancyfowl4ever Songster

    Mar 17, 2008
    Cranbrook, BC, Canada
    I think the more show type ones are the docile ones, they are too blind and incapable of proper walking they have no other choice. I can see the big difference with the ones I had, Show quality =calm etc. very pet quality ones(lil crest, over all more chicken shaped then a undefinable puffball) = flighty and not so keen on contact( but they are fierce when with chicks while the poofy silkies just sat there clucking and let the magpies pick of their babies :mad: ).

    I had one silkie roo who was the exception, he was very pet quality yet loved to chill out with people but he was that way since he was a chick.

    I know several local people who have hatchery quality silkies which said they are nothin like they read they are supposed to be, they are wild hens running loose in the yard who have 2-3 clutches a year with which you don't mess with.
  4. cyanne

    cyanne Songster

    May 19, 2008
    Cedar Creek, TX
    I recently bought 5 pet quality silkies from a breeder that are all around 6-8 wks old and mine were really timid and standoffish at first also.

    I've found that they are VERY receptive to treats, though, and I've made a lot of progress with them using my secret chicken taming method...I will share it with you, but you must promise to use your powers for good and never for evil. [​IMG]

    First of all, whenever I pick one up to handle it, I never put them down or let them go as long as they are still acting scared or panicky. I just hold them gently, but firmly, until they settle down and then I gradually move them until they are standing on the floor in front of me but still held so they can't run off. Usually at this point, when they feel their feet touch the ground they start to freak out again, thinking they can escape and run away. Very important not to let go, though, because then they still think you are a big bad monster and they just managed to escape with their lives!

    I hold on until they calm down again and then gradually decrease the amount of pressure I am using to hold onto them until they are just standing their calmly with me barely touching them. THEN I slowly take my hands away and let them wander off. By then, they often will stand there for a minute or two just looking kind of bemused and then slowly amble away.

    I got the idea from working with horses. With them, you never want to reward any bad behavior by letting them use it to get what they want or else they do it ALWAYS.

    My second nifty trick is to go into the coop in the evening or nighttime after everyone has settled down to sleep. They are usually all sleepy and calm at that time so it's easy to walk over and pick up any one that I want and give them a snuggle without much fuss. I stumbled onto this trick by accident because I had a really timid EE pullet that was tough to catch and would scream her head off if you tried to hold her. One night I was in the coop checking on them and decided to pick her up while she was sleeping. The next day she walked right up to me and let me scratch her neck like we were best friends. since then she has been much more tame and will even hop up into my lap on her own.

    I have ZERO idea why this works, but I've tried it with my other chicks and they seem to respond to it.

    Good Luck!
  5. laughingllama75

    laughingllama75 Songster

    Feb 13, 2008
    Cyanne......."The Chicken Whisperer"................[​IMG]
    I love it. I will try it one my one mental hen.....I will start with the bedtime whispering.
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I've had silkies as flighty as leghorns, and silkies who would walk up to you and want to be held. Even had a silkie so flighty she never sat on eggs, while all her off spring were cuddle bugs. Lines and individual birds can make a big difference along with how much you socialize with them. One thing I've noticed with my own birds is that the ones who cannot see, and then if for some reason can see due to a wet head poof or moult, go crazy when they can see. I think it might be over stimulation for those since they are used to only seeing their feet instead of the world.
  7. Sandrachx

    Sandrachx Songster

    Oct 16, 2007
    Chelsea, MI
    cyanne - i do the same thing! i hold them and go shhhh shhhhhh shhhh all the time rubbing their breast with my finger. when i put them down, i don't let them run away. i keep my hand around them as well and when i let them go, the just meander off. i have a flighty cochin mix that was given to me and she stirs my other cochins up - one minute they like me and trust my presence and then she whispers something to them and they run from me. sure are cute though!

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