Silkie Chickens are a domestic breed named for their feathers, which are almost silk-like or fur-like in appearance.
They have a crest of feathers on the top of the head, and may be bearded as well. Their legs are also feathered, with
feathers continuing along the middle toe on each foot. The feathers can come in many colors, including white, black,
blue, buff, brown, splash, red and gray. They are the only chickens to have black skin. Their eyes are black,
the beak, legs, and feet are usually grayish-blue, and exposed skin on the face is usually mulberry-coloredwith blue ears.
They probably originated in eastern Asia, and are now kept domestically worldwide.
If kept outdoors, they need a warm and dry habitat. They do not fly well, so they require
low perches and nesting boxes.
Their diet should consist of Layer pellets and scratch mix and fresh vegetables if you have
them on occasion.
Silkie Chickens lay medium-sized eggs, ranging in color from white to light brown. They
are dependable, prolific layers, and one hen can easily raise a clutch of 8-12 eggs. Among poultry breeders, they are
known for their gentle nature and well-developed parenting skills. Many breeders of quail or pheasants will keep a flock
of Silkie hens to hatch any extra eggs – the Silkies will hatch and raise almost any kind of poultry or game fowl.
In many cases, the male will help to raise the chicks, leading them around their enclosure and calling them over to share
food. Silkie Chickens can live up to 9 years.
Did You Know?
· Most birds have tiny hooks called
barbicels that keep their feathers flat. Silkie Chickens’ feathers do not have barbicels, so their feathers fluff
out like fur, instead of laying flat like most birds’ feathers.
· This domestic breed probably
originated in eastern Asia and was “discovered” by the western world when Marco Polo encountered them during his
travels in China. He described them as “fur-covered fowls”.
· Silkie Chickens can be kept as
pets. They are gentle and docile, and seem to enjoy attention from people.
· They are becoming popular show
birds, and have recently begun to win top prizes at major shows.