Silkie Chickens: Everything Worth Knowing

This Bantam Breed is Best Known for its Silky Soft, Fur-Like Plumage

Promoted by Stromberg's

Breed of the Month: Silkie chickens

Origin: Silkie chickens are an ancient bantam breed most likely originating in China, although India and Java may also be their place of origin. Europeans first heard of Silkies when Marco Polo returned from his Asian travels in the 13th century. Silkie chickens were admitted to the Standard in 1874.

Standard Description: The breed name comes from the Silkie’s soft, fur-like plumage, resulting from the inability of the feather barbs to lock. Its plumage is said to feel like silk or satin. Their fluffy appearance makes the birds look bigger than they are.

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silkie-chickens
Photo by Kate St Cyr

Varieties: Bearded, Non-Bearded

Egg Color, Size & Laying Habits:

  • Cream / Tinted
  • Small
  • 100 eggs annually would be a good year
  • Silkies are one of the broodiest chicken breeds

Temperament: Docile and friendly

Ideal Conditions for Raising Silkies: Adaptable to confinement. Not ideal for extreme hot or cold conditions. Silkies don’t fly well, a feature that makes them easy to keep within a fenced yard.

silkie-chickens
Photo by Kate St Cyr

Testimonials from Silkie Chicken Owners:

“Silkies make the perfect first chickens, especially for young children. With their fluffy fur-like feathers, Silkies are decidedly cuddly. They’ve been favorably compared to kittens and teddy bears. Without any special effort to tame them, Silkies are naturally friendlier than nearly any other chicken breed. Silkies are the Charlie Chaplins of the chicken world. They can always be counted on to make you laugh.” – Gail Damerow

“I’m new to raising Silkies, but I have high hopes for them to live up to their reputation for broodiness and being good mothers. That really is the sole reason I got them.”  – Kate St Cyr

silkie-chicken
Photo by Kate St Cyr

Coloring:
Comb, Face and Wattles: Deep mulberry, approaching black
Beak: Leaden blue
Eyes: Black
Ear-Lobes: Light blue
Shanks and toes: Leaden blue
Skin and bones: Dark blue
Colors: Black, Blue, Standard Buff, Gray, Partridge, Splash, White.

Weight: Cock (36 oz.), Hen (32 oz.), Cockerel (32 oz.), Pullet (28 oz.)

Popular Uses: Pets, eggs, show

It’s Not Really a Silkie if: There is an absence of a crest. The shanks are not feathered down the outer sides. The feathers are not truly silky (except in primaries, secondaries, leg and main tail feathers).

Promoted by: Stromberg’s – quality poultry and reliable equipment since 1921.

strombergs-silkie-chickens

Sources:

Video provided by Gail Damerow
Photos by Kate St Cyr – Follow her on Instagram @TheModernDaySettler

The American Standard of Perfection
Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds by Carol Ekarius
The Chicken Encyclopedia by Gail Damerow

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