Sad Silky Story

AlexandrainMA

Hatching
10 Years
Mar 11, 2009
8
0
7
Dear Chicken Folks-

This is my first post to your forum.

I live in northern central Massachusetts with a mixed flock of longhorns, a red star, a barred rock, a buff orpington, and a rooster of unknown ancestry. Until recently I had a grey silkie that looked as if he sneezed and blew his feathers inside out, so we called him "Gesundheit" or Gizzy. He was the apple of my eye. Very sweet personality, and just a joy to have around. Actually, we called him Gay Gizzy because he would sit on the eggs every day.

I have a tight coop with a heat lamp for winter, and everyone did fine except Gizzy. Last week there was a freak windstorm, and a gust blew the coops little door shut. The chickens were trapped outside for several hours in the cold rain. Disaster! They looked like feathered drowned rats, miserably huddled up against the coops shut door, waiting for rescue. I let them all in.

The next day Gizzy didn't look right. His feathers (what passed for feathers) were matted together like the strings of an old fashioned wet mop. I brought him inside, and fluffed him up gently and combed him out. (Should have taken a video! Chicken Combing on Youtube.) I figured that he couldn't stay warm if his silk was matted, it couldn't insulate.

The next day he was a bit off of his feed. The day after that I found him collapsed, and he passed away a few hours later in our hospital cage near the woodstove. Very, very sad.

I don't know anything about the reasonable range of the silky. Is chilly New England a bad place for them? I hesitate to get another for fear that the climate will kill it. I know that just getting cold and wet is very hard on chickens in general. They did have another sheltered place to go, but were too dumb to use it! (A pick up truck cap on the ground.)

I would love some advice on the care of siklies, and what climates are good or not good for them.

Thank you,
Alexandra in MA
 

thechickenchick

Born city, Living country
11 Years
Mar 8, 2008
9,468
18
271
Eaton, Colorado
First of all WELCOME to our family!

I am so sorry for your loss. Montana has been really cold this winter. In fact it was 18 below this morning! My silkie roo is having problems with his one foot but my tiny silkie hen seems fine. All of my other breeds are fairing well. I don't open the coop door to let them out if its under a certain temp. They are out right now though and it is 13 above. However the wind isn't blowing and the sun is shining. Hope this helps.
 
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Birch Run Farm

Biddy up!
11 Years
Sep 5, 2008
2,251
14
191
VERMONT
What a bummer. People that I know here in Vermont bring their silkies in for the winter. They have told me the feathers don't insulate them very much.
 

meriruka

Songster
12 Years
Oct 18, 2007
1,388
8
171
Poor Gizzy. Too sad.
Do you know how old he was?
Cold & wet will certainly lower resistance in chickens. I've found that silkies do just as well as other chickens in cold, but do not do well when wet. (Like Gremlins). You would probably be ok with another, as long you could keep him dry in the cold weather. Mine are not smart enough to stay out of the rain, in fact the silkies are the worst culprits.

Sorry about little Gizzy.
 

LilPeeps

Songster
13 Years
Jan 13, 2007
3,925
13
221
SE Mass
I'm in southeast Mass. The main thing with silkies is that their feathers aren't waterproof so if they get that soaked, they need to be brought in and blow dried ASAP. They should be then kept inside until they recover. I have had silkies here for the past 7 or so years, they are a lot more cold hardy than they appear. I'm sorry you lost Gizzy
 

jimnjay

Songster
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
1,911
36
201
Bryant Alabama
I am SOOO sorry about Gizzy. It is those precious Silkie roos that really steal your heart. They are so bad about coming in out of the rain and I lost one during a storm that he decided to stay out in. I towel dried him that night but it was to much for him and I should have taken him in under a light for warmth. I don't have much to add to what the others have to add. I live in the South East and it does get cold but not as bad as what you folks face. I try to keep a light for heat during the 20 degree or lower temperatures.
 

AlexandrainMA

Hatching
10 Years
Mar 11, 2009
8
0
7
Dear Chicken Folks-

Thank you for your replies. I think Julie in South East MA probably hit the nail on the head. I should have brought him inside the house for the night and fluffed and combed him right then and there, letting him dry slowly. (Sigh...) But I did not know. It was a hard way to learn.

Gizzy was an impulse buy at a parking lot sale at a Tractor Supply store last fall. I have no idea how old he was, but he was just so charming that I had to have him.

The single thing in life that he wanted above all others was the love and respect of my shapely barred rock hen, Tina. Tina would not give him the time of day, and occasionally he got her foot in his ass when he made romantic overtures. He followed her everywhere, he was her shadow. He never lost faith that *maybe*, today would be the day. He was an eternal optimist.

Alexandra in MA
 

Solsken Farm

Songster
12 Years
Hi, and welcome. I am so sorry. I have a silkie here in Central Maine. We have had plenty of minus 20 before the windchill factor. He is doing great. He hasn't chosen to go out much, and seems totally happy in his coop with the other hens and roos.

Get your self another silkie or three, and maybe you can come up with a way to look the door open to prevent them being locked out again in bad weather.

 

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