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Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by bubbacheese, Sep 9, 2016.
Do you think silkens would be an easy breed to start with?
glad to have you join us.
I have no experience with Silkies - but here's a link to a Silkie discussion: post #1
IMO decide why you want your own flock and what will be their purpose. And then explore the breeds that will suit your needs.
You should visit the Learning Center - there are lots of articles there to help you get started.
Greetings from Kansas and . Pleased you joined us! Like Sunflour I do not have experience with that breed. But you have some great links to check out. Best of luck to you!
Silkies are adorable and friendly for the most part. If you're looking for pets, they're great. If you want lots of eggs or meat, there not what you should look for. Also, unless your buying adult silkies, they usually only come in straight run, which means you'll have a 50/50 chance of getting a rooster.
Silkies are very popular with kids- generally docile, and some will put up with being carried around or pushed in doll strollers etc. They aren't great layers BUT, they are among the best Hatchers . In other words they will sit on fertile eggs when they feel "broody" and will hatch and raise them.
Hatchery stock generally has the broody instincts bred out of them. But silkies from a breeder have that intact. Many people like to have silkies on hand to hatch "fertile eggs," from other breeds so they don't need to bother with an incubator.
The problem with silkies is they are very difficult to sex at an early age. Generally they cannot be sexed accurately before 4-5 mos. of age. And in some cases NOT till they lay eggs or crow. If you MUST have females, it's best to buy one older enough to be sure of sex, or buy one already laying to be certain. Buying "straight run," of almost any breed just about guarantees you'll have mostly roosters.
You may want to check out the "silkie thread "for more information on the breed. There are exceptions but, I understand silkies do not do well in excessive heat or cold. Their feathers are not at all like a regular chickens and don't provide the same insulation. Also they are not fliers though they can jump high when inclined to do so. Their beards and big crests can obscure their vision(unless you trim them back) which makes them a favorite for predators seeking an easy meal.
Lastly unless raised as chicks with other breeds, they tend to get picked on badly because they look so different. If you still want silkies, they are worth the effort. My friend has had house chickens for over 25 years. Mainly silkies, - they are small, trainable, and usually very docile, they are tolerant of confinement. They don't need to free range - are quite content in a safe, covered run. When my friend has them out in her fenced backyard - her dog is always with them - and they run to hide by him if anything startles them.
Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us!
Welcome to BYC! It's great to have you.
I think the answer to that would depend on how you source them and what your goals are.
Silkies are generally ideal as pets, not layers. If you do not eat many eggs, then their production might suit you well. They are decent producers (I'd say they give 100-150 a year) but are very seasonal; they produce mostly in the spring, beginning and end of summer, and fall, and tend to quit during the heat of summer and the colder months of the year. They give an egg which is big for a bantam but definitely small compared to a standard. They are of course not any sort of useful meat fowl.
They are also the one breed I always recommend sourcing from a breeder for the Real Silkie experience. There is such a world of difference between hatchery and exhibition style Silkies that I hesitate to refer to them as the same breed. One is no tamer than any other fowl; the other is extremely docile and lovable. One is "kinda fluffy" and the other will probably need it's beard and muffs trimmed just so it can see properly! One is rather... eh... the other is magnificent and sure to gather many second looks. I really see no point in getting Silkies from a hatchery... they have ruined the breed and made it useless, as their stock is no better or more docile pet than any standard laying hen and yet it is still a poor layer!
Then there lies the main issue with Silkies... sexing. They are near impossible to sex as youngsters, and mostly you will only find them as a straight run, or as very pricey adults. Mypetchicken claims to sell sexed Silkies, but I believe their accuracy is only 75% (a pretty poor rate for chicks going for $10 each!). And of course these chicks are hatchery quality, which again, I see no point in purchasing. Most people choose to simply get a straight run of chicks and hope for a goodly amount of hens. Personally I wouldn't get any fewer than 10 to ensure at least a few are hens. They then rehome or cull the cockerels they don't want. Note that it is close to impossible to rehome a rooster, and often takes several months to do. Culling is much easier but many get attached and do not wish to cull birds who were raised as pets.
Beyond that... let's say you find a way to get a few nice pullets for your starter flock... they are a fine breed for a beginner, perhaps even excellent thanks to their docility. Aside from being a bit less tolerant of dampness (have plenty of covered areas in your run!), and a lot less predator wise (a covered and fully enclosed run is a must... no free ranging for these guys), they are just like any other chicken in their care and hardiness.