Silkie chickens, also called silkie or silky chickens, are an extremely popular backyard pet. They’re a widely held, decorative breed that’s loved for their distinct, feathery, waxy texture and delicious taste! They’re named silk because of their silky, waxy feathers! They’re also named because of their extremely soft, silky-like down feathers that are much like down feathers from other birds; yet more like fine fleece than down.
Silkie chickens lay yellow, white or brown egg clusters in addition to laying white down fur and dung (duck chincher). These hen eggs are very fertile and can produce several eggs at once. Once all the eggs have been laid, silkie chickens usually become quiet and withdrawn and nesting stops. After about five years of age, silkie chickens begin to produce eggs which are generally round and buttery-smooth with dark spots on them.
Silkie chickens are not Quaker, so care must be taken if you want to hand feed them. Silkie hens can be very finicky eaters, and so it’s important that they receive daily nutritional supplements and extra attention. Silkie chickens require fresh air and lots of room to roam about, so an uninteresting yard is not a good place for these wonderful pets. They love to scratch in the dirt, but can get bored sitting in one spot all day long! They will require plenty of activity to keep them amused, including cleaning, playing in fresh flower beds and hanging bird toys, roosting, perching, and running around on perches, etc.
Because the hens lay so many eggs each day, they are also very prone to losing their young, and developing abnormalities. In addition to their regular broken or cracked eggs, silkies also sometimes develop “crows feet.” The resulting condition looks like a badly scratched and torn patch of skin where the hen’s beak used to be. However, unlike normal wrinkles, this type of defect can’t be repaired. If your silkie chickens do develop crows feet, it will usually look worse than it did when it was new, and it may require surgery to remedy.
As lovely as silkie chickens are, they can make some owners nervous, mainly because of their habit of scratching. But the beautiful chirping of birds can be soothing to most people, and silkie breeders who provide adequate housing, food, and exercise can alleviate most people’s fears. Most silkie breeders emphasize the fact that their eggs are free from any chemicals, and that they’re also healthier than red-breasted chickens, judging from the reports of consumers. For these reasons, many people choose this wonderful poultry for their pets.
When selecting a silkie, be sure to find one with small beaks and soft bodies, since these chickens don’t lay many eggs. Another option is bantams; these are smaller chickens with finer beaks and tails. These animals also have a shorter life span, but they are often bred in captivity and have much less maintenance needs than full-size silkies. When choosing between bantams and silkies, be sure to choose ones that are of the same age and have similar daily activities. Bantams are great for those who want to raise very little, compact poultry and who don’t have a lot of time to spend caring for full-sized hens.