Draft free housing, lots of deep bedding (most tend to roost on the floor), plenty of fresh water, and good food with higher protein in the winter. If it gets really extremely cold, like minus 10 for a week or more, you may want to add some heat source. The weather here has been very good to us so far this year, but it has gotten down to 12* here some nights. I have 14 Silkies in a small coop, that cuddle up on the floor and are doing fine. I've not even had to close the coop pop door at night yet! Most important is to keep them from getting wet when it is freezing. Silkie feathers do not shed the rain and snow like hard feathered chicken feathers do, so they get soaked to the skin very quickly! A roof over their run area will help to avoid this. ETA: This is my first winter with Silkies. I do not use lights or heat sources for any of my other chickens. Power outages usually occur here in the winter, and if they get used to a heat source, and then suddenly lose it, there may be major problems! My chickens are my pals, but they are also chickens, and need to be self sufficient too! Keep an eye on them to see how they are doing, and adjust accordingly.
Although I will add one thing, a platform of some type. I've had Silkies for years and its only been recently that I realized they actually like being up on something at night, most of them do any way. I've got a couple of roosts attached to the wall two feet off the floor but most of my pens have long platforms for them to hunker down on. Its nothing more than a one by four laid flat over a couple of pieces of two by four.
Keep the wind from underneath the building if its raised at all. That leaches a lot of heat out and has the birds where all that cold is traveling through.
Thank you for all the info! This will be my first time with silkies also. I always put plastic on 3 sides of my run for the "girls" in the winter to keep the wind and snow out and dry leaves on the sand in the run. They seem to love it! Maybe I will give silkies a try!
I only have two silkies in my flock. We don't get Wisconsin winters, but those two little gals bip and bop around in the cold much more enthusiastically than my hard feathered LF birds. I'd figured on them being more delicate than they are - they're tough little birds. Mine do roost - just a 2x4, although my roost is only about 20 inches high (and has a ramp leading up to it...lol). Their achilles heel is in getting wet, as was mentioned already. Unlike hardfeathered birds, they end up looking like drowned rats if they're out in the rain. And you might want to watch the furry feathers on their feet if they're around snow.
Jackson-- I too am in wisconsin. Milwaukee area. I am looking to get 2-3 silkies myself, adults preferably, but i will raise chicks if i have too. How has the winters been treating them?
Especially after this past winter Polar Vortex?
....and if you have any tips on whete to find some Silkies, fill me in please.
I'm from the La Crosse area and my flock consists of only silkies. This past winter was my first and, as you know, it was brutal. All of my silkies survived. I only added heat when it got to 20-30 below zero. From what I've heard from other silkie owners, I probably didn't need to give them heat, but it made me feel better. Just make sure the coop is dry (get a hygrometer), draft free, and properly ventilated. I don't recommend insulating because it holds moisture in, and too much moisture and not enough ventilation was my #1 biggest problem. I had all sorts of respiratory issues in the winter so I added more vents and hopefully that's not a problem this coming winter.
Awesome, thanks. Good 2 know. Ive had Buff Orps and cochin bantams before, ...that was a year or so ago. Now i just have an empty coop waiting for some action.
Ive heard silkie roosters dont crow AS much or as loud as other type roosters.
True? I live in city and if i buy chicks, they are not sexed......
Other info is much appreciated.