Frozen feathered silky


In the Brooder
8 Years
Jan 23, 2012
This is a question about a concern about the condition I found my silky in this morning after our first cold weather.

Yesterday we got our first good snow here in our part of Utah, and it got pretty cold. In the late-dusk evening I went out to close the coop door. Usually my silky and the two silky adolescents go inside on their own. But last night our adult silky girl was standing super still, outside having not gone in. She looked half wet (from light intermittent snow during the day) and I put her in the coop with her little warm buddies, and she was sluggish.

This morning when opening the coop, she looked the same. Her furry "feathers" were clumped like hair gets when wet, and hard from the cold. So she hadn't thawed out. She was still sluggish and didn't exit the coop with the others.

Is this normal for silkies?

Silkies are new for me. Last night got at least into the low twenties. "Regular" chickens we've had (RIRs, Wyandottes, EEs) have had no problems huddling together in the coop at night, or even outside in the elements, even when we've had cold snaps much colder than this. I don't use a heat lamp because of this experience, and from research where many others say most chickens do fine even in extremely cold weather, provided they are sheltered well enough. But I figure 1) either silkies are different, or 2) it's because of the fact that this particular girl is weak and tends to not thrive (she moves a little slow, doesn't lay, doesn't do dirt baths, always has a messy bum that makes her head dirty from cleaning... worms I believe despite not seeing any, but I haven't got Valbazen yet for her) so I need to take extra special care of her and use a heat lamp.

I've researched on the site but not seen anything about feathers/furs being frozen or not dried out in the morning so wanted to throw this out there. I really value everything I've learned here and appreciate your comments, thank you!


(my girl with the two younger ones, about a month ago in warmer weather...)
First I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm NOT a silky expert either, as I have only had them the past two years. But their feathers are very deceptive..My guess is was she was running around outside, got super wet and chilled before you saw her and put her inside...They may look like they can withstand the cold, but really they cannot if it is a wet cold - which I consider snow or blowing winds, especially wet. I'm guessing that she may have been going through a moult and enjoying the cool weather outside and unfortunately got chilled past recovery unless there were any other changes in her behavior. Our silkies are very susceptible to rain and wind in cool weather and we try to keep at least 3 sides covered on the side of our coops for them.

Because of their feather formation I would say that if any of them got soaking wet in cooler weather or even windy weather, I'd likely bring them in the house, blow dry them off and keep them warm. I am trying to design a better winter housing for them over the next few weeks as winter will soon be approaching us here as well.
Thank you - fortunately she is not dead :) but just her feathers never weren't thawed out this morning, which was unusual from my experience with non-silkies. Those are really good points. Thank you! Never a dull moment huh? ...
I have two silkies and we are heading into an Ohio weather here, which by nature of being in Ohio, is very varied. My two girls are only 6 months old and appear broody, so maybe that won't be a bad thing for them, curled up in the nest boxes instead of being in the elements. I had to separate them out when they were 3 months old, when I integrated the rest of the bantums in with my flock because one got picked on and was bloodied, when my next brood was coming along, I threw them in with them, and that is the group they hang with. Anyway, thanks for reminding me to keep a close eye on them. They are curious little birds. Mine really hang with even the large birds in my flock without any apparent problem now. They even cuddle at night (before they became broody) with a large buff orpington rooster!
Thank you - fortunately she is not dead :) but just her feathers never weren't thawed out this morning, which was unusual from my experience with non-silkies. Those are really good points. Thank you! Never a dull moment huh? ...

Oh My I read that wrong and I'm glad I did. You are welcome for the points and no, never a dull moment with all our beloved birds or families:} Glad she warmed up and is soo good!!!!!! Yippee that made my day!
My Polish had frozen head feathers from dipping head in water pan. Gonna have to get a normal chicken waterer. They stay locked up in the building at night, lots of shavings. And I'm in GA!


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