Itching to Get a Silkie...Bad Idea?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by hokankai, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. hokankai

    hokankai Songster

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    I really want to get a silkie. I've never had one and they just seem so dang cute! So I have a couple questions to see if it's a good idea for our setup. Just as a note, we have 8 LF girls who are 8 months old and are getting a few more chicks this spring.

    Our roost is about 3 feet off of the floor with a ramp up to it. There's a poop board (counter) so the girls can walk and hop up onto the roost which is a foot above the board. Is this too high for a silkie? I don't know anything about their needs so any insight would be great.

    We also let our girls out during the day for a couple hours while we're home. Will silkies do alright and enjoy wandering a bit?

    Are there any special care requirements that need to be taken into consideration?

    Will a silkie get picked on if she's the only bantam? My girls don't tend to pick on each other I don't think, but I have no idea how they would react to a puffball.

    Is it best to keep silkie's in flocks of just silkies?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. <3ChickenForever

    <3ChickenForever Fire Is Catching

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    I have a silkie. He is great with my other chickens. and my other chickens aren't bantams.. maybe some, but I suggest silkies! I love them!! I let my chickens out and my silkie loves to rome around and loves being with my other chickens.
     
  3. aubreynoramarie

    aubreynoramarie designated lawn flamingo

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    I hear horror stories adding silkies and polish to already established standard sized flocks. Not my experience... My girls let the pecking order be known then leave it at that. Theyve been very welcoming to the silkies I've integrated... Silkie should be fine if you keep a good eye on em [​IMG]
     
  4. kitkatnoah

    kitkatnoah Chirping

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    We have a mixed flock of Bantams with Silkies thrown in & they all do fine. The Silkies free range with the rest of the flock and I've noticed that they are quieter than the rest of my flock. Our Silkies don't like to roost up high, so we made them a roost low to the ground just for them and they have no problem getting up the ramp into the coop. Hope you enjoy yours when you get them.
     
  5. GAchick

    GAchick Songster

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    I added a silkie roo to my flock of 9 LF hens. He is the boss, and the girls know it.... He was about 6 months old when I added him about 5 months ago, and I have eggs he fertilised in the incubator, now.


    DON"T get "A" silkie, get several silkies!!! (I have 6 on order from my feed store right now)

    eta:
    And they free range every day!
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2011
  6. hokankai

    hokankai Songster

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    Hmm I'm very tempted. We'll have 12 birds in a 12 bird coop by this spring...but would it not be a big deal to add one or two silkies if they hang out underneath where the other girls roost? Is it best to get a pair of them so they can hang out on the floor together?

    I'm quite intrigued! Never even considered them...but now I'm wondering why not?!

    Also, we're planning on building a second coop sometime in the future, so if I do go over the recommended capacity it won't be permanent. Also, with time roaming the property is it still really bad to go over capacity by a chicken? (I consider each silkie a 1/2 a chicken [​IMG])
     
  7. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Many people on BYC keep their silkies in with their LF and have no problems.

    I have done both, so I will tell you MY experiences (I am sure others have had different experiences, as I have read many of them):

    1. My silkies don't like ramps. They will resist going up them. But if they really have to, they will use them after awhile - maybe.

    2. The roosts 3 feet up are too high for my silkies. I found one silkie flapping its wings hopelessly trying to keep its balance and fell down 3 feet, hitting the floor with a sickening thud. That very next day, I moved them out of that coop. I was afraid she would break a leg.

    3. There will always be one silkie that refuses to roost. Silkies in general don't like to roost, and prefer to sleep in a pile on shavings. One time I had a silkie that slept on the floor alone in the cold. I brought out hot water bottles to her every night so she wouldn't freeze to death in the 12 degree cold snap. The heat lamp was up near the ceiling in the cold metal shed and did her no good.

    4. They get cold before my other chickens. They really act like they are freezing to death when my Buff Orpingtons are just getting comfortable. I like to run my 100 watt bulbs for them even when no one else's are on.

    5. They can't see. I had silkies standing there, with a pallet to hide under within reach, when a hawk dove down and (I was watching out the kitchen window) BOUNCED off the bird netting overhead. The silkies looked up at that point. Their crests prevent them from being able to free range safely without supervision (I let them out when I'm in the yard to watch them).

    6. Silkies walk into walls and step off "cliffs" because they can't see. I removed a ramp from their little coop once and forgot to put it back before opening the door. One silkie pullet stepped off the ledge and fell HARD onto the ground. I felt terrible.

    7. Silkies can be near the top of the pecking order (mine were when they were integrated), but all it takes is one peck to the head in the wrong place for death or wry neck to occur (their skulls have a soft spot like a baby). It is dangerous for them to be bullied. There is a website with pics of silkie skulls if you PM me I will find it for you, if you are interested.

    8. Silkies cannot see what they are eating on the ground. I throw out seeds and treats on the ground. My silkies walk among a bunch of cracked corn or seeds on the ground and peck ...nothing. The seeds and corn remain. Then a chick wanders by (my lone 9 week old marans chick that is currently housed with them until a little older and has bonded since very young with them) and eats all the grain and seeds up until they are gone. The silkies got none.

    I am just letting you know that silkies are really different chickens...they can get along great in your setup but I just wanted you to be aware of the differences.

    Also- their feathers don't keep out the rain like hard feathered birds- they are soaked to the skin. This is dangerous on those freezing damp nights and I would recommend using some kind of heat for them when the fog rolls in and it is 29 out (after being soaked all day standing in the rain- just my opinion- others don't like the idea of heat on chickens).
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2011
  8. hokankai

    hokankai Songster

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    Interesting...what if I kept their crest clipped like the silkie in the picture of the week? Would that help with the sight issues? We do have a ramp that goes up to our pophole, but I'm wondering if I started socializing them to it early on if they would get it.

    Interesting stuff! They remind me of dog breeds that need a lot of special care because of what they were bred for, haha!
     
  9. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:Absolutely- if you trim the hair it will work wonders. I have since trimmed mine (but they still don't see that well RIGHT in front of them).

    Yes, they are trainable. Just like a dog. I had one set of silkies trained to go back into their pen with a certain call I made.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2011
  10. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

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    I have 5 that I am intergrating with the flock.
    The sleep on the floor opposite the roost area . Made them a cozy nest to sleep in and they still prefer the floor.
    Yes they are cuddly.
    Only 2 hens pick on them. The rest pretty much ignore them. The hope is that the pecking order will be set soon and they will be like everyone else in the flock.
    We just seperated 4 roosters who are in a bachler pen which is working to the silkies advantage
    I think it really depends on how your flock reacts and it is good idea to be prepared to get them their own coop incase the integration goes bad.
     

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