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Country of Origin: China/Japan
Bird Size: 2.0-2.5lbs
Comb Type: walnut, bearded and non-bearded
Primary Use: Ornamental
Egg Production: Good
Egg Size: Small
Egg Color: White, Tan
Temperament: Friendly, Docile
Hardiness: All Temps
Type of Environment: Small Range
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Silkie is considered a bantam chicken (smaller fowl) with 5 toes. Because of their gentle and docile nature, they make wonderful pets and adapt quickly to attention and handling by people. Their tendencies towards broodiness or setting on eggs are amazing and Silkie hens will hatch and raise most any kind of poultry or fowl. Once a Silkie hen has decided to set her eggs, there is very little that will bring her from the nest until those eggs have hatched. They will even go broody without the presence of eggs.
In many cases even the males can possess some of the maternal instincts and can be very gentle towards the chicks, calling them over when he finds a tasty tidbit and as soon as the chicks are old enough to venture any distance away from Mom, they will be seen running around with Dad just as often. We have several males together with the hens and they generally all get along pretty well. Since Silkies are docile they tend to be lower in the pecking order so keep this is mind when determining your flock make-up. All Sugar Feather Farm chickens are vaccinated for Marek’s Disease and Non-GMO. Silkies tend to be more susceptible Mareks Disease.
Because of their frequent inclination towards broodiness, they are not prolific layers like the commercial breeds, we consider them ornamental – they are fun, docile and a great chicken for families and cuddling. “Broody” means when a hen is wanting to sit on eggs and have babies. However when they are in their lay cycle, which seems to vary with each individual hen, they are very dependable layers and mothers. Needing a hen to hatch eggs for you? This is the breed for that. You can expect 4 white to cream colored eggs that are small to medium in size (75% the size of a large chicken egg) when not broody but laying can vary. These fluffy chickens are so adorable, from the first day of hatch well into old age. Worried about them in the rain and the snow? No need to be! When raining the silkies are always out running around in the rain more than any other breed on the farm. The outer coat of fluff will get wet while their inner layers of downy goodness keeps them nice and toasty. They do well in climates that are chilly but don’t generally like to be in the snow, but that is ok we give them plenty of space in the winter and opportunities for them to go out if they want, they are spoiled! They can also tolerate heat well but need lots of water bowls for hydration. They do very well here in our harsh Vermont winters. We would say to take a little more care of their legs due to the feathering and check for parasites often.
Silkies are crested and have a walnut comb, generally black to mulberry skin, legs and toes. They also have five toes instead of four, with very feathered legs! We have several different color patterns here on the farm, and our focus is on them being super fluffy and multi-colored this season, so all color variations are together. Depending on timing and orders, special requests on coloring can be accommodated but never guaranteed. Silkies don’t fly and some choose to perch while others don’t and just like to not use any roosts.
Our colors here on the farm:
- Black and White Laced
- Many other colors – there are SO many variations and feather types
We have the typical, silked, and have some frizzled as well.
Sexing Silkies: Silkies are VERY hard to determine male or female. Many times they act and behave like the other. Many say you can’t sex a silkie until they crow or lay an egg. I have been fooled several times. We here at the farm don’t offer sexing on any silkie, we just don’t want to break anyones heart and be wrong. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause but everyone loves a Silkie so if you do end up with a male, there are many people who would gladly take one for their flock!
Feed Recommendations: we recommend starting baby chicks out with Sugar Feather Farm chick starter for the first 3 weeks, then switch to our Chicken Grower. However, Silkies tend to need more nutrition longer so we recommend using the chick starter 5 weeks. Use the Grower Feed until they hit maturation (which is when they start to lay) then switch to Sugar Feather Farm Adult Feed.
We highly recommend using the Oil of Oregano in their water daily as a supplement to aid with digestion and overall health.
The date and place of origin of the Silkies is not known, however Marco Polo wrote of the fur-covered fowl with black skin during his journeys to China in the 13th century…hmmm. It is safe to assume that Silkies had been around quite a while before Marco Polo. The Silkie of that time and the modern Silkie do not resemble each other in many other respects, being that the ancient Silkies evidently did not have leg feathering or any crest to speak of. As a matter of fact, the Silkie seen in the showroom today has changed considerably in the last 30 to 40 years. Their crests are larger and the feathering down the legs is more abundant than seen previously. Also a larger variety of colors are found today. The original Silkies were white only, today there are several color patterns. Bearded and non bearded varieties.
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Pre-ordered adults and hatchlings may be picked up by appointment. To safeguard our birds from exposure to disease brought in by visitors, in accordance with the provisions of the National Poultry Improvement Plan, areas where birds are kept are off limits. However you are welcome to look at all the breeds and interactions, it is a site to see.