Silkies in the winter time


12 Years
Jul 22, 2007
Southwest VA
I know they don't have "real" feathers so how hardy are they in the winter? Do I need a heat light on them? I live in the mtns so it gets pretty cold here, not below 0 normally but in the teens a lot. We have a basic built coop for them but it isn't insulated, but does have 4 walls.


Staff PhD
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
13 Years
Jan 25, 2007
Everett WA/Corvallis OR
I treat my silkies just like my other birds. They do soak up water more sponge like than the standards, but other than that, they are often fluffy enough to stay warm in their tractors. They don't have four walls but our winters also only get into the teens for a week or so, and maybe into the 20's for two weeks. Usually lows in the 30s here.

Shared Acres

11 Years
Aug 10, 2008
Northeast Fla
I was curious about that too. I'm in Fla, but we do get an occasional night in the twenties.

I was thinking of piling up hay around the hen house to insulate it in the winter.

Poulets De Cajun

11 Years
Jun 14, 2008
Houston MetroMess, Texas
A Silkies feather is a real feather....LOL

The only difference between a Silkie's feathers and a normal feather is that the Silkie doesn't have barbicels between the individual hairs on the feather shaft. The barbicels are little "Hooks" made out of a ligament like material that hold the feathers shape. If you've ever held a feather and separated the hairs, when you run your finger back up the shaft of the feather you can "stick" the hairs back together. Its because normal feathers have the barbicels between each hair.

Other than the lack of barbicels, a Silkies feather functions the same as any other birds feathers. Like Silkiechick said, they do soak up water faster than normal birds, water doesn't bead up and run off like some. But it functions the same way when it comes to keeping the bird warm. Do the same thing with your Silkies that you would with any other bird.

Block the wind, heat lamp in extreme freezes, and keep their water from freezing.

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