The Silkie (also commonly spelled as Silky) is basically the glamorous supermodel of domesticated fowl. And you can see why, these chickens are very cute! They have fluffy plumage which is said to feel like silk where the name was dirived from.
Silkie chickens are gentle, docile and they like people. And with the nature of their feathers, they do not fly well. These chickens also do not mind being confined. Despite being unable to fly, they are rather lively birds. They can be kept with very low fencing and they also do very little damage to the garden when they get loose. Their feathers are described as "soft","downy",and "fur-like". Unlike other chickens, Silkies do not have barbicels which allow their feathers spread out rather than hold together which looks like fur.
With the Silkies' distinctive beauty, these chickens are commonly raised as pets because they are well known for their calm, friendly temperament. They are fair layers that can produce up to 3 eggs per week. Some breeders also keep them because they easily get broody and because they are good mothers. They are commonly used to hatch eggs from other breeds and bird species.
Aside from its silk-like feathers, this breed has other unusual qualities. Silkies have black skin and bones, blue earlobes, and five toes on each foot (most chickens only have four), the flesh is dark beige and some internal organs are pitch black. They are often exhibited in poultry shows, and appear in various colors.
Caring for Silkies
Because Silkies do not have waterproof feathers, they need to be kept in dry conditions. However, they require little room so can be kept in smaller space. They are also susceptible to scaly egg. But they are as well vigorous and can withstand cold very well. They start laying eggs during the holiday season. And even if the eggs are removed, the silkies remain broody. They stop laying eggs during summer months.
It is also wise to separate these chickens from the other breeds. Because they are very docile and good-natured, Silkies are sometimes bullied by aggressive breeds.
In the Western world Silkie chickens are sold mainly for ornamental purposes, but in some Asian countries it is believed to have special healing properties. Silkie is said to be a super food and are appreciated for its deep flavor. The bone is pulverized and used as medicine. Chinese women consume its meat after they have given birth to get a boost of energy. Overall, the black-skinned and black-boned ("wu gu ji") silkie is considered a delicacy in China and valued because it is said to have a positive effect on the yin, blood, lungs and stomach.
Recognized Varieties: Beared & Non-Beared: Black, Barred
White, (Silver)Partridge, Buff, Gray, Blue
Egg Laying: Good (3/week)
Egg Color: Cream or Tinted
Egg Size: Small
Comb Type: Walnut Comb
Feathered Legs: Yes
Number of Toes: 5
Suitability to backyard life
Hardy in winter: Yes
Bears Confinement: Bears confinement well
Especially Docile: Yes
Personality: Sweet, tame, mothering
Life Span: 9 years