Taking Care of Silkies - Two have moved in - Question re free ranging

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by livenwpeeps, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. livenwpeeps

    livenwpeeps Chillin' With My Peeps

    129
    2
    91
    Jun 6, 2011
    King William
    Hey Guys! I have been a lurker for awhile now but have decided to come out of the barn to say hi and ask a question regarding silkies. I have only owned guineas - great for ticks and alarm system! So I am new to chickens however two silkies have showed up with the guineas one day and have been free ranging close to the coop and coming back in the coop at nights with the quineas so they can be locked up for the night. They act as if they have been doing it for years and the guineas don't even give them the time of day. I don't have any idea where they came from, how they got to my place but they have the greatest personalities and I have fallen in love with them. They are eating the game bird feed I feed the guineas. I didn't think they would stay but here it is a month later and they are still here. So my question is this, since they can't fly, is free ranging not a good idea? I live on a 1000 acre farm, hence why we needed tick control . Fox, stray dogs, owls and the road have been my main preditors for the guineas but these two don't roam far. My coop is close to the house so I think that is why they seem to be safe close to the coop. I have a coop and a run that is totally enclosed so they are safe at nights but it's during the day that I am worried. I let the guineas out in the afternoon after work and put them in at night. I trained them to come to my call and the silkies usually get back to the coop before the guineas. The silkies are soooo funny and they make me smile. I don't want anything to happen to them so any suggestions or answers or tips would be greatly appreciated!!!
    Thank you & I know silkies thank you too!!
     
  2. NewToFarming

    NewToFarming Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,305
    24
    193
    Apr 28, 2010
    Millersburg, PA
    Wow! Lucky you!! [​IMG] I wish I would have silkies just show up on my farm!! Some of my silkies free range and some don’t. It does seem like the boys do better than the girls. I do not have a predator issue as of yet! I do find they do not wander far at all…maybe 10 to 20 feet from the coop. My head silkie roo goes the fartherest but he is trying to keep up with the standard girls but he is really the only silkie that goes that far.
    Right now I have my silkie girls in a run. Not because I don’t want them to free range but I have too many roos and this gives them a break. Once I get my roo population down, I will let the girls free range as well.
    If you have a predator problem, keep in mind the silkies don’t fly well, can’t see as well and not run as fast so they are at a disadvantage. But I have not had a problem so far.
    Enjoy your silkies! It seems like they found themselves a prefect home!!! [​IMG] It does make you wonder how they got there….1000 acres is a lot for them to roam!! Maybe someone dropped them off???
     
  3. Teresaann24

    Teresaann24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 29, 2008
    Eastern, Kentucky
    I use to let my silkies free range a few still get to but only if I am outside. I started loosing some and never figured out what it was but since I quit letting them out with out me watching them I have not lost one. Silkies can't fly nor run very fast or see very well I suggest if you can't be out to watch them when they are out to make them their own run and coop so they can be protected.
     
  4. livenwpeeps

    livenwpeeps Chillin' With My Peeps

    129
    2
    91
    Jun 6, 2011
    King William
    Thanks guys for your fast replies. I agree, I think they were dropped off. We have had puppies, kittens, dogs, cats, old hunting dogs and even a male peacock but haven't seen the peacock in awhile for some reason he stays down at the pond. We are off the beaten path and you wouldn't beleive the things people drop off the side of the road. One day we spent all day cleaning up the washer, drier, hot water heater and a dozen tires that someone dropped off with the dump not more than 5 minutes up the road and its FREE!!!!

    You should of seen my face when the two silkies walked into the coop right in the middle of the guineas and nobody seemed to think any different and guineas know when something is different. One is black and a little bigger. The other one is buff. Five toes and all. We named them Henny and Penny. They let you hold them and they sit on your lap. They even broke through my Dear Old Hubby's hard shell and he likes them. He made a comment on the phone today stating he better get started building a place for Henny & Penny to live if they are going to stay. Now this is the same man that said they could live with the guineas and free range with the guineas for all he cared. I will pass on your info to him and maybe he will get started sooner on that silkie coop.

    Thanks again guys!!! Will keep you posted on the homesteading silkies.
     
  5. NewToFarming

    NewToFarming Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,305
    24
    193
    Apr 28, 2010
    Millersburg, PA
    Tell your hubby to make their area a little bigger than what you think you need because silkies are addicting and I am sure you just might end up with more! [​IMG]
    I am so glad they found you!!!
    I just don't believe how people can be sometimes!!!
    I love the names and I would love to see a pic of them!! [​IMG]
     
  6. robin416

    robin416 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2007
    Hawks. That is the one word to keep in your mind. I generally let my hard feathered bantams out to free range. That is until yesterday when a huge Red Tail attempted a grab of some chicks out with their Mother. Amazing stuff to see this tiny bird hot on the heels of a predator that out weighed her by quite a bit. He missed but for now everyone is up.

    Depending on the quality of the birds that found themselves in a super set up they might not last long if they can't see what's coming at them from above. My Silkies have outside access but in wire covered pens to protect them from over head attacks.

    adding: They really shouldn't be on the high protein game bird feed. They should be on a lower protein diet no higher than 20%. It can cause health problems, one being kidney failure.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by