Home Blog Breed In Detail: Silkie

Breed In Detail: Silkie

2013-03-09

With so many chicken breeds it’s really worth presenting a couple of them in detail.

Today we want to introduce you to the Silkie or Silkie Bantam. Silkies are one of the most beautiful and oldest chicken breeds. Due to their soft and fur-like plumage, the silkies have become particularly popular. But this chicken breed has a lot more to offer.

Have fun while reading.

Silkies

Wild Rose Silkie
Wild Rose Silkie

The silkies is a breed of domestic chickens. We may distinguish three kinds of them: the Japanese Silkie, the Siamese Silkie and the Dwarf Silkie.

The exact origin of the classic silkie chicken is unfortunately unclear. But in the travelogue of Marco Polo, we may learn that the silkies must have already existed in 1292. In his travelogue about China and Mongolia, he mentions catlike hairy black chickens.

Then we find comments about the silkies made by Conrad Gessner in his bird book published in 1555 and again in his records dating back to 1793, which refer us to the presence of the silkies in Holland, Westphalia and Burgundy.

In Germany this chicken breed was officially recognized only in 1988.

Colors, Plumage and Body Shape

The silkies are somewhat smaller than normal chicken breeds in general. In addition to their five toes, soft and wool-like plumage, the specifics of these chickens include a blue-black skin. However, this unusual skin color does not occur in cuckoo-colored silkie chickens.

The fur-like plumage leads to a lack of anterior barbules on the side branches of the contour feathers and makes these animals flightless. So, while keeping this breed you do need a high fence.

Other features of this beautiful hen include a dome-like tuft on its head and a plumage that reaches down to its feet. All recognized color varieties characterize a silkie chicken with or without a beard.

The following color varieties are recognized:
  • White
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Pearl gray
  • Yellow
  • Red
  • Splash
  • Cuckoo
  • Wild-colored
  • Silver agouti

A blue color variety is genetically split, which means that if you cross a blue silkie chicken with another blue silkie, the descendants of these two chickens won’t all be blue-colored, either. One part of the chicks will hatch with a blue, some with splash-colored and another part with black plumage.

The body shape of the silkies is described by breeders as squat, rounded, cube-shaped with a slightly rising topline and a strait medium-high posture.

Other Facts:

Weight: Rooster: 1.4-1.7kg, Hens: 1-1.4kg
Laying performance: up to 80 egg /year
Eggs weight: 40g
Eggshell color: Light brown
Ring size D12 for both sexes

As usual at the end of our short post we recommend you books and links from breeders, associations or other sources:



by: -

Looking for more information about Silkies?

We learned everything we need to know about Silkies from "SILKIES. Silkie Chickens or Silkies Owner's Manual". Available in paperback or ebook, it's a comprehensive overview of raising this beautiful breed. While it has a lot of useful information about keeping Silkies in particular, much of the very useful information can be applied to keeping any breed of chicken.

Button: Buy   from amazon


by: -

So you want to raise Silkies?

Raise happy Silkies with "Silkie Chickens. Silkie Chickens Care, Breeding, Eggs, Raising, Welfare and Keeping Them Happy". We found lots of useful information including avoiding health problems, egg production, and breeding. It's a simple and straightforward resource covering all aspects of keeping Silkies and is an excellent choice for beginning Silkie breeders and keepers.

Button: Buy   from amazon

Links and sources:

Comments

  1. wrote on October 4th, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    dreamofchicken

    Very informative! I’ve always had my eye on silkies. But now I’m completely in love with them.

  2. wrote on October 5th, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    dreamofchicken

    Dear backyard chickens team!

    I want to ask one question. How loud can a silkie rooster crow? I live in the town in a residential area with a large backyard. My neighbors’ houses stand not so close to mine, but I still don’t want to have any rows!

    Thanks in advance!

  3. wrote on October 24th, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Elfi

    So, we have 5 silkie hens and a rooster. The rooster crows from early morning till evening. I think, it doesn’t make less noise than a big rooster. The laying performance of hens is very good, more than 80 eggs in the first year. We still need more experience.

    • wrote on May 29th, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      Klaus Dachdecker

      Is it a problem of yours as Maria reported that your hens sometimes succeed almost to death?

    • wrote on July 4th, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      Janine

      Hello… tell me the size of your chicken run.

  4. wrote on December 21st, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Trixi

    I am interested if they lay only one egg or several at once??

  5. wrote on April 1st, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    Maria

    Hello everybody.
    I just want to warn you:
    silkies are beautiful animals, no doubt at all. I have some. However, if you want to breed such chickens, you have to understand (and unfortunately it is not mentioned here) that silkies are productive hatchers. They hatch not just once, but several times a year. So if you do not want to repeatedly have chicks, you have to “wean” the animals. It does happen that a silkie hen may breed dead chicks. The procedure of weaning takes each time up to a week. It requires much time and additional space in the coop. Silkie roosters crow as loudly as any others.
    If you want to buy a rooster in a residential area, you should first talk to all neighbors within 50 m. It would be a shame to give away the animal.

    • wrote on May 29th, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      Klaus Dachdecker

      Thanks for info! I know quite well that they are such insane hatchers, but is it so even if there is no rooster? I mean if the eggs are not fertilized and there is no rooster, do they overlay, either? And what do you mean by weaning? I have heard of methods when the chickens are placed in cold water, I just find it terrible! Best regards.

Add a comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Ads

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This