Silkie Chicken Bantam Information
The Silkie chicken can make you look twice. With its extraordinary appearance. It’s soft and fluffy feathers. Silkies have been called a “little bizarre” because of this.
This distinctive bird’s plumage has several colors. No other chicken has five toes. Their turquoise blue earlobes, black skin, and meat complete their uniqueness. Silkies can have a beard or no beard.
The Chinese believed there were healing properties in the Silkie chicken meat. They have several colors and depending on which part of the world you live in, may determine the color. Here are some Silkie chicken colors:
- Red Splash
Silkie Bantam Characteristics
Silkie Chicken Qualities
Silkies are not the best egg layers, producing only around 100 eggs a year, nor do they make the best fryers. Commonly, Silkies work best as decorative chickens and show birds. Also, as the hens are extremely broody, they work great as foster mothers.
The Silkies are popular as an ornamental breed. They’ve been known as a cuddle chick. They like to sit in your lap, be petted and talked to.
The Silkie chicken meat is believed to have been eaten for decades in and about the Asia area. The Silkies have black meat, it is categorized as a superfood in China. It strengthens the immune system.
The Silkie can be eaten in a soup for an example. They are also noted to be eaten to enhance female fertility. Chinese uses black meat as medicine, as it has carnitine in double amounts than other chickens. The Silkie chicken eggs taste like a regular egg, but smaller.
Silkie Chicken Temperament
Silkies are a friendly breed who are very easy to train to eat out of your hand. Silkie hens are one of the most famous brooders, making them a great choice as foster mothers should you ever need a flock of chicks taken care of.
You’ll be excited to know that Silkies are exceptional broody hens. Meaning, they like sitting on their eggs only leaving the nest to eat, drink or poop. It usually is in the spring and summer months they go broody.
Moving your Silkie to a larger nesting box will allow her to move around without stepping on her eggs. Being a docile hen, other hens may try to get her off her eggs, you may need to isolate her from others.
It usually takes around twenty-one days before they hatch. Silkies are great mother hens after their chicks hatch. She is constantly protecting them.
It’s not unusual to hear the mother hen being vocal in a low pitch to the eggs that are hatching. Listen closely and you’ll hear the babies chirping back.
The eggs will hatch on their own without your help in about one to four days. If there are eggs left after that time could mean they are not going to, and need to be removed. The hen will want to continue sitting on them if you leave it there.
Silkie Chicken Appearance
Silkies are on the small side of the larger chicken spectrum, though a bantam variety also exists. Their defining characteristic is the silk-like appearance of their feathers, creating a fluffy, poofy look as their feathers fill out their bodies and heads entirely. The standard Silkie will have a low stance and a nice round body. What their comb is, exactly, is sort of confusing. Technically a rose comb, it is actually called a mulberry comb, though it’s entirely covered with feathers. They have blueish legs, beaks, and skin, and a fifth toe.
When you purchase your Silkie chicks, you won’t be able to know what gender they are until they are older or starts crowing or laying eggs.
Depending on the rarity of the Silkie and how many you want to purchase can determine the price. You now have a chicken house and purchased several Silkie chicks. What can you expect and when?
- Chicks are babies up till 4 weeks
- Juvenile chicks up to 15 weeks
- Laying hens start about 22 weeks. In or about this time you can guess the gender maybe.
- Start their molting about 18 months
- May stop laying eggs about 8 years old
Silkie Chicken Upkeep
Silkies don’t need a lot of space for their run and cannot fly, making it easy to have a few Silkies in a small space. Their feathers keep them warm in cold weather as well, making them even easier to care for.
You may allow your new chicks to meander around your back yard, however, they will need a low place to roost at night. Since they don’t fly, they will need a perch they can get on. Their favorite place is to burrow close together on the ground. Provision for more space is important.
Protecting your Silkies from predators may lead you to provide an enclosed pen with a roof. Hawks and owls love easy prey. Silkies love to have around eight to ten square feet of run area. Providing at least four-square feet in their coop.
Regular chickens fly up to their roost for the night. Since Silkies stay on the ground and burrow close together, chickens roosting higher up can poop on them during the night.
Silkies are known to bathe themselves with dust. Providing them with extra dust will keep them healthy and happy. They are good about keeping their feathers clean themselves.
Sharing a pen with other breeds of chickens could be a problem. Since Silkies are so good-natured, they tend to be bullied by other chickens. The Silkies will not fight back and can be hurt badly or even pecked to death.
Silkie Chicken Health Concerns
Vitamin deficiency can happen to the new Silkies while they are on the medicated starter feed. The medicated feed can block the vitamins being absorbed. You can use Poly-Vi-Sol without iron.
Another problem observed was splayed legs. With proper care, splints on legs, and hand-feeding, the chicks recovered and started walking.
Silkies can get sick quickly if not dried off from getting wet. Their feathers don’t protect them from the cold, nor are they protected from getting too hot. A controlled environment will help your chickens stay healthy.
Protecting Silkies from Predators
There are several predators that love the taste of chicken. They can swoop down or tunnel under the fence. Some can climb up and over the fence. Knowing what type of predator to look for will help you protect your Silkies.
The predator is known for the way they attack the chicken and knowing how they do will help determine which predator attacked. You are dealing with a hungry and wild animal. Use precautions to protect yourself.
Believe it or not, one of the most known predators is a raccoon. The raccoon will attack during the day or night.
The signs that you could have a raccoon are if the attack has multiple kills, chewed off limbs, stolen eggs and bite marks on the neck or head of the chicken. Raccoons are clever animals and find a way into the pen.
The next varmint is the opossum. They come with lots of sharp little teeth. A sure sign of the opossum is they only attack at night.
The chicken has gashes on the abdomen and neck that can lead to death. The opossum will eat not only the eggs but the chicken and chicks.
The weasel and mink are terrible predators as they kill all that are in the pen. They don’t eat all the chickens. They leave bites on the neck, bite off the heads of chicken and tear out the intestines.
The fox takes a chicken leaving feathers scattered. There is very little blood, meaning the sly predator took the chicken home to eat.
There are a few different types of snakes that will visit the chicken coop leaving with a chick or egg. Snakes can sneak in and get them one at a time once they realize there is free food there. Small chicken wire can help prevent a snake from getting in.
With the bobcat, you’ll find chickens that have been killed or missing. Claw marks are evidence it may be a bobcat. They take the chicken to eat away from the pen.
There’s a stinky predator that may hurt the chicken but not kill them. The skunk loves the eggs and eats as many as it can and takes a “to-go” egg.
The house cat or feral cat will bite the chicken on the neck that causes paralysis. Usually, they like the smaller chickens. It depends on the size of the cat.
Eagles, hawks, and owls find easy meals when there’s no protection above for the chickens. The eagles and hawks swoop down to grab a chicken. The owls hunt primarily at night and very efficiently and quickly dives into the pen to get their chicken supper. Their big eyes allow them to see very well at night.
There is one predator that doesn’t really eat the chicken. They love to chase and catch the chicken for sport. The chicken may die of shock or bite injuries. The family dog just can’t help themselves when there’s something to chase and play with.
The best way to win the war over predators would be a sturdy pen with a small chicken wire fence. The fence can be buried about five inches into the ground to help keep predators from digging under the fence. A top of chicken wire on your pen will give your Silkies more protection.
There are working dogs that don’t chase the chickens and will keep predators away when needed. The excessive barking will let you know somethings close by that shouldn’t be there. Not all family dogs are a threat to chickens.
Silkie Bantam History
Silkies are known to have originated in Asia and is mostly documented in China. There is evidence that they appeared in Java, Japan, and India.
Their unprecedented appearance allows them to be easily remembered. They have a remarkable sweet personality. Silkies are great to get along with family and pets, thus making them a great backyard chicken.
They can be raised open range fashion or in a coop. They do like security as night and a place to roost. Since they don’t fly, they’ll need a low to the ground rooting perch.
The Silkie Chicken was a popular item to trade on the Silk Road which was on the way to Europe. Marco Polo got the Western world’s attention when he described the furry fowl he encountered in his travels across Asia.
The Chinese called the Silkie, wu-gu-ji, which means black-boned, and can be identified as far back to 206 BC. Another name the Chinese have for this amazing fowl is Chinese Silk Chicken.
The Silkies were even described as a cross between a chicken and a rabbit. Their plumage was soft like a rabbit’s fur. The crest is a tuft of feathers located on top of their head. It most likely a good way to get the customer’s purchase at the time.
The British Poultry Standards named the Silkie as a large fowl light breed in 1865. However, the American Poultry and Bantam Associations categorized it as a bantam breed in 1874.
As of 2020, America has eight Silkie Chicken colors that are popular. The UK recognized only five varieties of Silkies.
People enjoy presenting their unique Silkies in popular poultry shows. This sweet chicken is completely happy being your pet.
Silkies Difference from Other Chickens
It’s amazing how adaptive the Silkies are when it comes to motherhood. The Silkie chicken eggs are cream-colored and small to medium size. They aren’t known for being great egg layers.
Hopefully, you can get three eggs weekly. They have also been known to hatch out any type of egg and love it like their own little chicks.
When it comes to your Silkie, you need to know they aren’t like other chickens. They can’t fly due to their peculiar feathers.
Most feathers are stronger with a quill and shaft. There’s a vane which is on each side of the feather call barbicels, and this holds the feathers together. The feathers protect a regular chicken from the weather, and they can fly when needed to get away from most predators.
Silkies’ feathers don’t have the barbicels. That’s why their feathers are so soft and furry looking and extend onto their legs.
A Silkie rooster is about four pounds, and the hen is around three pounds. There may be a time you’ll need to trim the feathers around the eyes so they can see better.
Keep in mind that their fluffiness makes them susceptible to have lice and mites, so you may want to check them often.
The weather needs to be taken into account when raising Silkies. Their beautiful feathers don’t offer any type of protection. Their plumage doesn’t repel water as other chickens feathers do. Silkies can’t tolerate extreme cold or hot because of this.
They are sensitive to being wet and need to be dried off or use a blow dryer to get them dry. They do look shabby when they are wet.
Enjoying Your Silkies
There’s no sound that is compared to the early morning crowing of the rooster. Beginning at first dawn, the proud rooster introduces the day to all.
Chickens can be comical to watch as they wander around pecking here and there. They keep their baby chicks close by. They cluck and cackle as though they are talking to their chicks. Any type of threat they call their babies to gather around her and she covers them with her wings.
Chickens have their own personalities. You can talk to them and they will answer you in such a manner that makes you believe they understand you. Who knows if they do or don’t? As an alpha female, they’ll be the first one to respond and the others will follow.
My mother’s hens have been known to repeat a behavior. She had three hens that perched on the deck railing waiting for her to get up and feed them. This was every day. One hen would appear on the porch each morning to lay an egg. That went fine for a while. It was convenient to have breakfast brought to the porch each morning. That is until the family dog started to play with egg. Of course, it eventually cracked and the dog liked the taste.
After that, she had to race the dog to the egg. It helped that when the hen laid the egg on the porch, she would cackle loudly. Mom shared that she enjoyed talking to her pet chicken and their friendship.
Reasons to Choose a Silkie Chicken
Silkie Chickens love people and you want a chicken that’s good around children. Their out-going personality allows them to be loving and friendly. They are usually more of a pet than anything.
This fluffy and unusual chicken is fun to have because of their appearance. They can be the talk of the neighborhood. Everyone wants to know about them.
With Silkies, you’ll enjoy their company as they peck and scratch around the garden. They’ll keep you company while you work in your garden knowing they aren’t destructive.
Every Silkie loves being in the yard but will be comfortable in a chicken coop. They are easy-going and respond well to confinement.
It’s a personal trait with a Silkie to be wonderful at hatching their eggs. They will adopt any egg you give her and hatch it like it was her egg all along.
They can’t fly, so Silkies won’t fly over the fence and get away. You’ll, however, need to keep a watch out for predators.
It’s not only the rooster that will wake you up in the early morning hours. The hens want to be let out early and will make a ruckus until they are attended too. Great alarm clock.
Children will learn about caring for Silkies and gathering fresh eggs is a wonderful experience. Allow them to feed and water chickens so both will be comfortable around each other.
Amazing Facts About Silkie Chickens
1. A Silkie ready to hatch has a small toothlike attachment on their tiny beak. This allows the hatchling to peck from the inside cracking their egg to get out. The little tooth will fall off a few days after hatching.
2. There’s a Naked Neck Silkie Chicken breed that’s truly distinctive. This Silkie doesn’t grow feathers on their neck. Males and females are called showgirls. They happen to be the loudest and friendliest, however, they are the most curious of the breed. This could get them in trouble.
3. No matter what color their feathers are, Silkies have black skin, meat, and bones.
4. Silkies meat is used in China as a type of healing medicine and used for female fertility issues.
5. This chicken loves mothering and will adopt any type of egg to hatch and treat like their own.
6. The Silkies are called ornamental chickens and are often shown in poultry shows for competition. They are in a class by themselves because of their feathers. It makes them fun to have.
7. Until Silkies start laying eggs or crowing, it’s hard to tell which gender they are.
Silkie Chicken Pictures