I want silkies! But don't know where to start.

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Rustic Chicken, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. Rustic Chicken

    Rustic Chicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 2, 2010
    My husband and I have just gotten our first 8 layer chicks which are now almost 7 weeks old. Don't get me wrong, I adore them, but I am fascinated with the silky bred. Before I jump into the silky breed, I want to educate myself regarding all things silky. Are there any good resources about the raising these beautiful chicks?
     
  2. GotGame

    GotGame Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 13, 2010
    NE of OKC
    The only thing I didnt like about the silkies is they werent smart enough to get out of the rain. Everytime it rained we had to run out there and physically put them into the coop, as they would not go themselves. We really enjoyed them while we had them, but they are a 'special care' kind of chicken. Their feathers do not shed water at all, they absorb water just like a sponge.
     
  3. ScaredOfShadows

    ScaredOfShadows Chillin' With My Peeps

    So true - Silkies are such strange critters. I have 15 of them now - lol. They will go under shelter (they free range in the daytime) when it rains, but not their coop...or they decide to try for their coop 20 minutes after it starts raining and thus get soaked - and then their crests are in their eyes and they run around like their head's been cut off - lmao.


    Silkies are bantams, they are small. They come in all kinds of colors - but only so many are recognized in the breed standard but if you aren't breeding to sell and show - it doesn't matter - lol.

    They are just about like any other chicken - they just tend to be easier going, more docile, and hens go broody and make one of the best chicken incubators/mothers [​IMG] thats about it thats different from other chickens fundamentally unless you look to breed and show them.

    Also - silkies don't tend to use regular nestboxes or roosts - they tend to nest and sleep on the ground or very close to the ground - so you may want to make special amenities for them. Also I wouldn't add silkies into a mix of established layers (same coop) because A.) bigger older chickens are going to pick on anything new B.) silkies are small - standards are big - they're going to lose C.) they sleep on the ground and the layers who roost above them are going to poo all over the poor silkies.
     
  4. joe17

    joe17 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2009
    Louisiana
    Mine actually go in the coop when it rains lol Some are stupid and some arent. I would suggest getting silkies from a BREEDER not hatchery. MOST hatchery silkies barely have no crests and feet feathers. I love silkies and they are the best bird ever! Ohh and MOST dont roost. They sleep in piles most of the time. I know many people also put the nesting boxes on the ground too. They are great pets! If they arent popular where you live, you will get people begging for them. I live in Louisiana and no one has silkies. I put a sign up for some and I sold them all the next day I am still getting phone calls. I highly suggest getting atleast a few silkies!
     
  5. joe17

    joe17 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2009
    Louisiana
    Nicely said ScaredOfShadows! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. GotGame

    GotGame Chillin' With My Peeps

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    NE of OKC
    I agree, go with some from a breeder. We got ours from a well known breeder, they were good quality, crests, foot feathering, etc...we had to trim a few crests as they couldnt see, but out of 28 silkies, the only one that would get out of the rain was our first one, she was a silkie/cochin cross...best comparison I can come up with for them is they are just like sheep....very cute, very fluffy, and about as smart as a bag of hammers...I miss mine, but not the hassle...
     
  7. joe17

    joe17 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2009
    Louisiana
    lol Gotgame! Thats funny!
     
  8. Rustic Chicken

    Rustic Chicken Out Of The Brooder

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    We have a beautiful playhouse that were were considering turning into a coop. I would like to have a more ornamental breed and something that I could actually breed. We live in Kentucky and I'm not familiar with many silky breeders in the area.

    I would also love some insight into the ornamental classification. Specifically, how often do they lay eggs and what do you do with the eggs if you are not ready to hatch them? (Sorry, I know that is a stupid question... hard to believe I'm a PhD researcher but this is all new to me).
     
  9. birdsNbeesNseeds

    birdsNbeesNseeds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 24, 2010
    Where are you in KY? I'm in KY and I have silkies - some full size and some bantam. I started some from eggs and some I got from a great breeder in MI. If you look around you can find them, but you also have to be careful too. Mine are molting right now so they aren't laying.
     
  10. Three Cedars Silkies

    Three Cedars Silkies Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 17, 2008
    Gainesville, Fl.
    Silkies do have special personalities that are unlike large fowl...at least in my experience. Because of their large crest, they do need some special considerations. If you are not going to show them, then trimming the feathers from around their eyes with round-tip baby scissors can alleviate most concerns about them being able to see their food, water, predators, etc.

    My large fowl don't come in out of the rain, but my silkies run back into their coop at the first rain drop. I do believe it's important for them no to get wet in cold weather because they take longer to dry due to their feather structure. We don't let them out in their courtyard if it's below 60 and wet. It's just how I try to keep them healthy...others may disagree.

    If you are wanting to breed them and raise chicks, then I would suggest picking one variety (color) unless you have plenty of room for multiple coops and the ability to keep them separated by color. Silkies are very "broody" (want to sit on eggs) and generally make excellent mothers. They will hatch anything! Usually one rooster for about 6 hens is enough to keep them fertile but not overbred.

    Although most chickens can become friendly and easy to handle, the difference I find in the silkies is that they WANT to be held and loved on. My boys stick their head in my hair and make cooing noises when I hold them and talk to them. I can pick up my large fowl girls but it isn't their favorite thing in the world!

    There are bearded and non-bearded silkies and both are lovely. The bearded variety is generally the most coveted by breeders. There are all qualities of silkies...pet quality, breeder quality and show quality. Below is a photo of a show quality white cockerel and pullet and then below that a picture of a breeders quality white hen. The difference is that the breeder quality hen, although she has no disqualifications for a show, doesn't exhibit quite the "typey-ness" that the show birds do. Pet quality birds generally have something that would disqualify them from the show ring...not enough toes, poor type, small crest, wrong color of eyes, bad wings, etc. The last pic is one that I took at a swap/sale of a little girls holding one of our pullets. So sweet!!

    Generally my girls lay about 4-5 eggs per week...if they aren't broody! Yes, you can just eat any eggs that you don't want to hatch. They are a bit smaller than a grocery store egg but still just as tasty. Hope this answers some of your questions.


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    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2010

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