Silkie chicken is famous for the texture of their feathers which is almost silk-like in appearance. Famous for their black meat, five toes, and blue ear lobe. Silkie is classified into the Ornamental chicken breed. Also famous for their calm nature and friendly behavior towards humans.
They are originated from China or some parts of South Asia. Silkies are predominately seen in North America and Europe.
The only evidence that Silkies are from China is Marcopolo wrote of the fur-covered fowl with black skin during his journeys to China in the 13th century. Due to a lot of selective breeding, the present silkie is much different from the old ones.
Let’s know in detail about silkie temperament, physical characteristics, egg-laying capabilities, and their unusual black meat.
Table of Contents
- 1 Silkie Chicken Characteristics
- 2 Silkie Chicken Temperament
- 3 Silkie Chicken Eggs
- 4 Why is Silkie Chicken Meat Black?
- 5 Are Silkie Chickens friendly?
- 6 Does Silkie make a good house pet?
- 7 How long does Silkie live for?
- 8 Broody Silkie
- 9 What can I feed my Silkie?
- 10 Can Silkie survive winter?
- 11 How much is a silkie chicken?
Silkie Chicken Characteristics
Silkie is quite different in both physical characteristics as their silkie plumage keeps them apart.
Feathers of Silkie chicken are fur-like smooth feathers. The feather’s texture is silk-like which makes it different from other chickens.
Silkies have a puff of feathers on top of the head, which looks like a mini crown.
The blue earlobes of Silkies are quite distinct to the breed.
The Silkie chicken meat is black, bones are black and even skin. There are like Kadaknath Chicken from India. Most of the internal organs exhibit intense black coloration which is due to the deposition of melanin pigment in the connective tissue of organs and in the dermis.
Silkie has feathered legs and has five toes, most of the chickens are four-toed.
Silkies also come in a Bearded and Non-bearded variety and can be found in many different colors like White, Black, Blue, Buff, Gray, Partridge and Splash.
The Eggs are of the medium in size and colors from white to light brown.
Silkies are very good brooders. They love to brood most of the time. Silkies lay very fewer eggs since their inclination is towards the brooding cycle. Few more chickens which are alike are Iowa blue chicken, shamo, Ancona chickens, sumatra chicken
Silkies have poor flying skills, always good to keep them away from predators.
Silkie Chicken Temperament
Silkie is beautiful, cuddly, kind and friendly at the same time. Any novice or seasoned chicken owner can take care of Silkie.
Silkie chicken’s incredibly sweet temperament make the best choice as a family pet.
Silkies love being handheld, sometimes they fall asleep.
Silkie is exceptionally friendly, docile and calm, which are the best qualities to make best friends with children
They will easily sit on your lap, never try to jump around. Silkies seek your love and attention.
Silkies are considered wonderful mothers for their exceptional brooding characteristics. They even adopt other bird eggs like goose, ducks and other game birds too. They just brood brood brood even if there are no eggs. their sole intention is to be a good mom.
As for their temperament, silkie roosters are known for taking good care of chicks by calling them when they find food.
Silkie Chicken Eggs
Silkie eggs are medium in size and colors from white to light brown with a capacity of 100 eggs a year.
Are Silkies good egg layers? Silkie Chickens lay around 100 to 120 eggs each year. During the peak production period, they may lay one egg per day. Silkies are a bantam breed and lay a small-sized light brown egg.
Silkies are not kept for laying purposes. But they are good brooders. So for the chickens which are good layers but bad brooders, Silkies come for their rescue.
Breeders keep Silkies for brooding other chickens’ eggs. For natural breeding, Silkies are best to brood on any given egg.
Why is Silkie Chicken Meat Black?
Silkie meat is black in color and even their skin and bones. The hyperpigmentation of a genetic mutation gives this black coloring. Read more on this hyperpigmentation in Silkie.
The taste of meat is no different from other chicken. But the meat is considered as a superfood, very rich in antioxidants.
Another interesting thing about silkies is their high content of carnosine, a naturally occurring peptide that is sold as a dietary supplement. Carnosine is used to increase muscle mass, ward of the effects of aging and alleviate diseases like diabetes or autism. Studies have shown that black chicken is one of the richest sources of carnosine.
From the seventh century, the black boned chicken is famous for its medicinal value called “wu gu Ji” or “black-boned chicken”.
Chinese women consume it after they have given birth to get a boost of energy, but it’s also said to have a positive effect on the yin, blood, lungs, and stomach. Silkie meat is rarely roasted.
Silkie chicken tastes like any other traditional chicken, but some say it’s a little sweeter. Read more one Naturally Black Chicken: The New SuperFood.
Are Silkie Chickens friendly?
Silkie is famous for its friendliness.
The Silkie loves the attention and enjoys the company of their owners.
Silkies are very friendly to children. They are docile and calm, love to hang out with humans.
Does Silkie make a good house pet?
Silkie Chickens docile and friendly characteristics alone make them good house pets.
Silkies do not fly, so they can be easily kept in one place. They love to be in Chicken coop. Like any other chicken, they hate wet and muddy places.
Silkies being the most beautiful chicken for their fluffy looks makes them best show pets.
Keeping them as house pets will gain a lot of attention from your neighbors.
Silkie Chickens are gentle by nature, other chicken breeds in their flock can bully them. So they are last in the pecking order.
Keep the Silkie in a separate pen, to avoid bullying by another breed of chicken. Silkie always requires some extra attention.
How long does Silkie live for?
Silkie can live up to 7 to 9 years.
Silkie feathers which are almost fur-like in appearance are the biggest drawback for them. The silkie texture will not prevent from rain or wetness, they can easily get drenched.
Silkie required chicken coop all the time if you are in any wet weather conditioned place.
Silkie makes an excellent mother. They love to brood even for other chicken eggs.
Some breeders keep silkie for their brooding characteristics. It acts as an incubator for other eggs. They can hatch other breeds of chicken’s eggs, duck eggs or even peacock eggs. They will then raise these offspring as well.
Tricks to break the broodiness in Silkie
- Collecting the eggs quickly and not allowing her any to sit on.
- Remove the hen from the nest and put her out in the run with lots of interesting treats to eat.
- Put frozen water bottles or ice cubes in the nest.
- Remove all nesting material and close down that area of the coop.
What can I feed my Silkie?
You can also prepare feed at home, silkies love homemade scraps. The feed is made of bran, grated apple, and carrot mixed with meat meal and a little vegetable oil once or twice a week. Toss out table scraps such as vegetables and bread for your chickens.
Grit is a necessary part of a chicken’s digestive system, allowing it to grind coarse feed in their gizzards. Birds, in general, do not have teeth to break down food. So the food passes gizzard which has small stones( from Grit ) which helps in breaking down the food.
Like any other chicken, you can use the feeders or free-range scattering of feed. In order to maintain the complete healthy diet a mix of layer crumbles and some grit to help digestion. A healthy silkie is happy and busy.
Grit is essential part of the diet. The naturally available grit on the farm can be consumed by free-range silkie. But for the ones which are confined, the grit needs to be given along with the feed to help indigestion. Even the oyster shell acts as grit, based on availability choose.
Silkie loves whole grains. Also, check out for Non-GMO grains. Some of the wholegrains – oats, wheat, barley, maize are excellent for them. Good to give as a ‘scratch feed’ (one which is scattered on the ground so that the silkies have to ‘scratch’ for it). Too many grains make silkie fat, so be in limits.
Layer crumbles are a good source for proteins that helps silkie to produce feathers, make eggs, and generally grow. While your chickens are molting, they may need extra protein.
Silkie love greens like cauliflower, cabbage, and even chicken scraps. needs plentiful greens. If they’re free-range, they’ll nibble at weeds.
Silkie love mealworms and corn. They are a perfect snack. Some ready-made chicken treats available on Amazon check mealworms.
Feeding Silkie Chicks
Silkie chicks are adorable as their parents. They require some heat and plenty of freshwater at all times. Care should be given when the temperature drops low. Most of them keep them in an enclosure with a heat lamp.
Silkie chicks are not allowed out to free-range. Due to predator, temperature and feed problems, they are kept inside. Feed them with chick friendly grit and ground up of whole-grain cereals, like oatmeal, wheat, or rice. Now everything will be available online, the only decision is what brand to fee. Check online reviews from fellow farmers, and choose them wisely. Silkie chicks are sensitive.
Silkie should avoid these Food and Plants
Some food and plants need to be avoided. Silkie can figure out but do not toss them in their coop.
- Anything high in salt
- Citrus fruits
- Raw beans
- Chocolate and candy
- Apple seeds
Can Silkie survive winter?
Depending on your climate, consider using heat lamps during the winter season, to keep your silkie chickens warm. Heat lamps will also help to keep water in the coop from freezing.
But they’re not suitable for every kind of climate.
For summer always keep your silkie hydrated, full of fresh water and keep them in the good ventilated coop.
Silkie chickens cannot handle the cold. Their fluffy feathers are the main reason for them to be vulnerable. Always provide warm shelters for your silkies.
How much is a silkie chicken?
Silkies cost from around $20 to $120 per bird, it’s best to buy them from a breeder. Always buy them in pairs. They are fun to have them on your farm.