silkies.....to raise or not to raise?

Discussion in 'Games, Jokes, and Fun!' started by gottaluvsilkies, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. I have this obsession with the silkies.....I love love love LOVE their crazy feathers and the funny headdresses and their petiteness....but I have found them to be very delicate....they come with some very interesting problems that I as a newbie to chickendom have learned about the hard way, unfortunately 3 of my silkies paid the unfortunate price for that little bit of knowledge.

    My husband and I had a flock of chickens before we moved out here to Oregon, they were all barred rock hens and a rhode island red rooster. They were a very hardy lot. We only had two deaths, one by Owl, which was like coming home to a scene from a horror movie....headless dead body, and a bloody smear up the wall.....all the other chickens standing in the corner as far away from the scene of the crime as physically possible...... the other death was a freak weather front, and the hen had fallen in the water bucket and froze to death. (we IMMEDIATELY changed our bucket to something smaller than a chicken's body with a continuous trickle of water supply BTW).

    So this time, we felt brave and got a nice variety some sex link, americaunas, rhode island reds, barred rocks (cuz they are sooooo inquisitive, brave and sweet), some buffs and 3 silkies. The 3rd day, I noticed what appeared to be a growth on the little white silkie's bottom---- it looked cancerous!!!....it was VERY ominous...plus she appeared to be weaker and just not interested in moving much...so I called the Grange CO-OP and they said it was poop and that it was urgent that I remove it STAT!!!!! or my chickie would DIE if I didn't!!

    I freaked, but did what I needed to do... I soaked my baby's butt and got the poop off--- but it was too late, she died that night. I was devastated.... so my dear sweet hubby went and got me another to replace her.

    The next chickie died when we put them out in the coop with a heat lamp. We had the lamp hanging up near the shelves so they would feel the warmth when roosting for the night, but it did not occur to us that the warmth did not reach the lower lever and if any chicks stayed down there for whatever reason, they may die of hypothermia....which is what happened to my little gray sweetheart, my cutest of them all......I came home from work that morning, we had had a particularly cold day and my husband told me what happened and I spent the next two hours trying to resuscitate this little chicken, but I think she had died too long before for me to warm her up and breathe life into her.....

    So we went on, taking care of our flock day after day until finally, one day we felt they could try free ranging for a short bit.... this went quite well for a good 2 weeks, and by then, our flock was staying in the yard, making a small circuit and returning to the coop long before dark. Then- it happened.... the chickens were nowhere to be seen, I looked everywhere and finally found them hiding under the trees, all dug in, almost buried in leaves and making not one sound. They were terrified! I got my husband, and we chased them into the coop, which was weird 'cuz they usually love to go back in, but they did NOT want to leave their hiding places..... As they entered the coop, I counted my babies and there was one missing.... my sweet little orange and brown speckled silkie.... she had the silliest headdress I have seen yet.....such a dandy little flapper.....we searched and searched and finally found a little pile of feathers....

    So now my dilemma is this: we are moving to Tennessee, and when we get there, we are -of course- going to start a new flock, and we wanted to get silkies. But I am wondering if they are just too delicate. They seem to be the preferred victim when the predator is given a choice... and they don't seem to tolerate cold as well as the other breeds.... I can check their butts for poop daily- no problem now that I know poop can be life threatening to them....but the other issues? Am I being overly protective? Is this just the normal problems with having chickens and I am just being a drama queen? Give me input my friends, cuz I am learning this as I go....and I don't want more chickies dying because I don't know any better... I know stuff happens and chickens die...but it sucks when it is because you didn't do your homework before taking on the responsibility......
     
  2. j-a-m-i-k

    j-a-m-i-k New Egg

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    Feb 12, 2014
    Australia
    We have two little silkes (and I agree btw! The cutest, most sweetest and charismatic chickies silkes are)

    Personally, I haven't has a single problem with my silkes. Are chooks are 100% free range, and we've never had one taken by a predator or die of any other causes. For us, the only problem with silkes is that they are ALWAYS at the bottom of the pecking order :(

    Due to their size, I think silkes are a little delicate compared to some of the larger breed chooks, but this has never been a problem for us. Maybe you've just been unlucky? I don't think silkes are that more likely to be preyed upon or die of other causes, but this is all based on personal experience

    Maybe this is just where we live, I'm over in Australia so I've never had any problem with our chooks getting too cold >.<
     
  3. You are so right about them being on the bottom of the pecking order!!! The other chickens sit on them and chase them away from the food!! I think that may be why the one froze to death.... they either wouldn't let her up the walk to the roosting shelf where the heat was or she was just too weak, but I think it was the first because the other two silkies made it up the walk... they were all the same size and age....
    Anway they have the most amusing personalitities!!! I love having them around! They are like little muppets!
     

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