Silkies and Free Ranging

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chickens-246, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. Chickens-246

    Chickens-246 Songster

    Mar 12, 2007
    I have read that Silkies are not that bright (is this true?), would they do well in a free range situation? My standard breeds spread out pretty good all day (except for siesta time) and can go as far as they care to walk. Will Silkies pal up and/or follow the "old timers"?
  2. Picco

    Picco Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    Like some other crested breeds, silkies' feilds of view are obstructed by the feathers of their crests. Since they can't see as well as the noncrested breeds they fall victim to predation more frequently. Silkies are also more effected by bad weather since their feathers do not resist water as well and the wind can chill them more quickly. Other than these considerations silkies do fine free ranging.
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    They aren't that dumb if they can see. I used to let my big crested birds free range, but everyone with the big crests got killed by a hawk so they aren't allowed out without being watched. If you trim off their crests around their eyes they can do better. I found that my little silkies had a hard time following the larger birds at times through brush because they got their leg feathers stuck in the black berry bushes, and because they are so small, would have to walk around some stands of grass because they couldn't push over them.

    It's so funny to see a silkie walk right into something it can't see and wonder what happened.
  4. I give my silkies a haircut to help them see better. I get my son to hold her really still and use blunt end scissors, I even give some a mohawk!!!
    they look really cute and love to be able to see better as soon as your'e done.
  5. jimnjay

    jimnjay Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bryant Alabama
    It is true, the difference trimming the fluff from around their eyes is amazing. I have some very nice quality black Silkies. They are from exibition stock and have all the right show stuff but I am not into showing so I don't see any reason to keep the birds confined and they are almost blind without the trim. One of my little girls appreciated the trim so much she just blossomed. I have 4 acres so I just fenced an area about 30 x 50 ' to allow my birds to more or less free range. Dogs are a problem here. They love to eat grass and occasionally they can even find bugs. If you watch them even being hand fed they don't really see very well.

    If your range is predator free they would love it but they really are much more vulnerable. Their range of view is extreamly limited.

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