Question for Silkie owners about Silkies and mixed flock

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by bobbieschicks, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

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    My Coop
    So I'm getting ready to move my new babies: 3 silkies (by attitudes only I'm thinking 1 roo & 2 pullets) and 5 lavender orpingtons (I'm thinking it's 1 roo & 4 pullets based on comb & wattle growth & color). They are 6 weeks old tomorrow and all hatched/brooded together. They've done pretty well getting along to date. The two potential roos have butted heads a few times, but overall they've gotten along swell. So I'm wanting to merge them into my coop with the older flock = there are 5 in there right now, two almost 19 week old white leghorns (1 roo & 1 pullet) and three pullets (1 Ancona & 2 unknown potential EEs) that are 15 weeks old as of yesterday.

    Here's a pic of my babies running loose in the run.
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    I've had all of the ages together in the same coop for two weeks now but the babies are sectioned off on the right side with hardware cloth and chicken wire.
    [​IMG]

    And they have had a few times of outdoor play in the run when the bigs were locked outside the run. This morning I left the run door open by accident and the WL pullet came into the run while I was cleaning the coop and the babies were loose. She chased a few and pecked at them. I expected she would do that because she's the head hen. So I shooed her back out and the babies ran around for awhile longer safely. Then I put everyone back in their perspective areas.

    I'm not worried about my lavender orpingtons I think they can probably take a few pecks on the head and survive - but how deadly would it be for the silkies to get pecked? Just how hardy are the silkies' heads? Do I have to move them to their own coop/run or can I keep them altogether and just keep a watch on them? Anyone have success merging and keeping silkies into a mixed flock?
     
  2. dwegg

    dwegg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes it's an interesting question...as I am in the exact same boat as you. First time with silkies and they have grown up with the ameraucanas in my grow up pen but I think I am keeping my silkies separate and having my own silkie coop/run. My ameraucana girls will go into the big girl coop soon.
    [​IMG]

    This will be their coop and run as I don't want the silkies to be picked on and get hurt...but I know lots of people have silkies with their flock of mixed....
    [​IMG]
     
  3. C17

    C17 Out Of The Brooder

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    I would seperate them, Silkies dont have any defense..
     
  4. mammat

    mammat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have always had my silkies in with the bigs. Never had any problems or even b lood drawn. Silkies do have a soft head so I would only but them together when you can watch closely for a few days. If they start on them you need to get them out of there!
     
  5. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

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    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    So I've done alot of googles and searches and gotten some input - the bottom line is that about half say separate the silkies and half say keep them in there with option to pull if bullying starts. I've seen a bunch of mixed flock pictures and posts where there were large fowls mixed with bantams/silkiess and they are together with multiple roosters. With that in mind I've decided to keep them all together and merge the whole subflock into the greater flock.

    My reasoning is that the babies were all raised together and seem to be have formed a strong protective bond - the Lavender Orpingtons often shield the Silkies when I open the door to take care of them - and whenever I separate any from the others they all chirp like crazy - I would hate to break up the family they've formed. I realize the risk in putting the Silkies in with the older hens and will trust that the same God that takes care of me will watch over them as well. I will also be ready to pull them and put them back in the separate area if more then the usual pecking order stuff happens.

    I do plan on having a separate coop for use in the spring for any hens that might go broody and need to hatch some eggs. I've already purchased it and it is sitting in my shed for assembly when the days are warmer. I also plan to extend the run size when spring hits. But for now everyone will have to learn to be cozy together, huddle up and get along.

    This weekened the weather will be great (60s/50s) so I plan to merge everyone after cleaning out the coop and I'll be praying everyone gets along!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Both of my silkies were killed by a hawk, but before that they lived with the rest of my flock of different breeds - EE, SF, turkens, SS, and for the first eight months of their lives, meat birds without a bit of trouble. They grew up with the other birds and in fact, my one silkie was at the top of the pecking order.
     
  7. MontanaChickenLady

    MontanaChickenLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know that I am so new at chickens that I probably shouldn't be saying anything but I think you should know.......Don't base a Silkie's defense on it's size. I had one black Silkie rooster in a mix with 4 large hens and they all grew up together. He took very good care of the girls but became VERY over-protective of them. At 7 months old I became his enemy for some stupid reason and I just recently had to give him to another home because I could not break him of aggressively attacking me. He was small but mighty!! I don't know that he's still alive and won't ask the people who took him.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  8. TinyChickenLady

    TinyChickenLady Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have 8 silkies and 5 standard mutts. They all live together and always have. The standard "head hen" is more focused on keeping smaller chickens in line to care about the silkies and my "head roo" who is also a standard doesn't pay any attention to the silkies unless they jump on him when getting off their roost.
    I do agree, don't integrate until you have the time to watch them. At the worst, I think the standards will get a little curious and follow the silkies to make sure they're okay but otherwise, I don't think you'll have too much to worry about.
     
  9. NewToFarming

    NewToFarming Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have always kept the silkies with my biggies and did not have a problems keeping them together. My head roo is a silkie so they can hold their own and he is a very good roo. My only problem boy is a younger silkie and thinks he needs to peck me everytime I enter the coop!
    But I have never had a problem and it really depends on your flock. If your girls are aggressive, it might not go well but my flock is pretty laid back. I would keep an eye on them once you do merge them to be sure all is OK.
    The only problem I have is when there are too many boys. My silkie girls tend to not want to go out the coop as much when the boy population increases. The head roo will not let the younger boys near "his girls" which are all of the big girls so they tend to overwork the silkie girls. When I see this happening, I know it is time to decrease the boy ratio in my flock which is very soon again!
     

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