Hi! So I'm going to preface this avalanche of questions with a little bit about me: Most of my life, I've been a city dweller: Chicago, Milwaukee, Houston, Portland. I mean, big city dweller. Studio crammed in a closet kind of city dweller. Well, as luck would have it, a long life adventure and love has ended up putting me in what I like to call bum*@#@ egypt. Like, my cell phone is a paperweight out here. I have a pig. I'm not sure how that happened. And now, I have chickens. Rewind a little bit: My girlfriend is a huge country girl. She was in the horse industry for a long time, and when she married for a while (that didn't go well), she was kind of shoved out of that life and into cubicle living. She's slowly working back towards that, but we're still minus horses. We do, however, have a nice few acres to ourselves that we're trying to make the best on. She has a long history here in Alabama. And I mean like, her grandparents grandparents grandparents style history here in Alabama. She's had her share of country living, but she's trying to do a few interesting things with our flock, and thus even her country upbringing is giving her some questions. So while we're aware of basic chick raising (coops and brooders and temperatures and oh my god I think I about had a heart attack when she asked me to cook an egg for our roo [I think it's a roo...] that was losing weight "YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT?"), I'm sort of a series of weird, arbitrary, breed specific questions. I just wanted to give a bit of an introduction as to why I am COMPLETELY out of my element personally. Okay so first of all, she got a batch of general egg production. Easter eggers, nothing to write home about, but cute little things. That's not the heart of it. The heart of it is all kinds of curious questions about our specialty flock. The Silkie Okay so. Silkies are usually bantam sized, right? Is there a particular reason our silkie chick is the largest chick in the pen when they're all about the same age? (the Easter Eggers are like two days younger). I read something about European silkies being more average sized; is this a thing that sometimes turns up in american birds too? I know silkies have an extra toe, and that's exhibitedin our flock, but is it normal to almost look like it's almost growing OUT of another toe? It looks... weird. Is it true that Silkies tend to crow late? We were given one that was older and told it was a roo, but he's about 3 months, clucking up a storm in the morning and hasn't crowed yet. Did we get a hen, or are they late bloomers like I read somewhere on these forums? Is it true that Silkies have incredible melanism like cemanis under their feather, meat included? All sources point to yes. (At the risk of being shot dead by strict breeders) would it be some kind of sacrilege, in the distant future, to breed our Cemanis (? Question mark? More on them below) to our silkies for diversification of genetics in the hopes of maintaining strong melanism? Am I going to be hunted down by some sort of Cemanilluminati? What could I expect out of that in the future? Cemani...? So we got some Ayam Cemani (?) too. They came from a long pedigree with papers, we saw the parents, but I'm a little confused and concerned. First I've read that cemanis are never really phenotypically the same as their parents, so is it possible for a Cemani to have a Kedu as a child, or something similar? I saw the parents, they're black as night, but the chicks have some white floof - or more of a powdering, mostly on the belly; and the older one that's feathering out has a lot of crazy marks on it. Is that normal? How can I tell if they're going to be true ayam cemanis? Is this some "wait and find out" kind of thing? I read something about feathering rate sometimes being an indicator? Can I get some clarification on that? I also have a sizzle. This is of no relevance to the other questions but something I am irrationally happy about. They're all very young (about a week and a half now), spare for one silkie roo (?) and one cemani hen (?), the latter of which is four weeks or so The Cemanis (?) were a steal, and while the paperwork and the parents check out I'm still kind of worried about how they'll turn out. They were trying to clear their stock out though, to make room for the next batch, so we got three for 50$, which... I'm under the impression is really cheap if they're actually Cemanis? Help me navigate the specialized breed waters! Until lately I thought chickens were just tasty cluck clucks. Only in the last few months have I realized there's like, lamborghinis of chickens. Designer chickens. THIS CITY SOUL IS CONFUSED.