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 fantastic and Silkie hens will hatch and raise most any kind of poultry or fowl. Many breeders of quail or pheasant who prefer to hatch naturally as opposed to an incubator will keep a flock of Silkie hens for this purpose! 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.
Because of their frequent inclination towards broodiness, they are not prolific layers like the commercial breeds, as chickens do not lay while in the “broody cycle”. However when they are in their lay cycle, which seems to vary with each individual hen, they are very dependable layers. 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. These fluffy creatures 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 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, shanks and toes. They also have five toes instead of four, with very feathered legs! They come in black, white, buff, gray, blue, splash, and partridge. We have several different color patterns here on the farm, and our focus is on them being super fluffy and bearded 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. All our fowl is Non-GMO raised.
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.
Sugar-Feather is member of the following groups: