About Silkie Chickens: The Fluffy Bantam That Will Win Your Heart (2024)

Is it a chicken or is it a rabbit? A question asked by more than one curious person while staring at a Silkie and trying to figure out where the head is.

Silkie chickens certainly don’t look like your average chicken due to their lack of feathers. Well, Silkies do have feathers, but they don’t have the barbicels that hold most feathers together. When a bird preens, it is clicking the tiny barbicels together, so their feathers stay in place and look neat and orderly.

Since Silkies don’t have barbicels, their feathers fly freely everywhere with no rhyme or reason.

About Silkie Chickens: The Fluffy Bantam That Will Win Your Heart (1)

About Silkie Chickens

There is no specific documentation of the origin nor the breeds that went into creating Silkie Chickens. These birds seem to have originated in China.

Silkies were accepted into the American Standard of Perfection as of 1874.

There are two types of Silkies, bearded and nonbearded Silkies. Bearded Silkies have a muff around their faces. There are several different color varieties in Silkies, such as black, blue, buff, grey, partridge, and white.

Silkie Characteristics

1. Size and Weight

While Silkie chickens are technically categorized as bantams, many people consider Silkies a different class of bird altogether. These are rather petite birds, with hens weighing about 3 pounds and roosters approximately 4 pounds.

2. Temperament

Silkies are probably best known for their affectionate and gentle dispositions. Always ready to cuddle up with their owners and happy to sit in your lap, you won’t find a much sweeter breed of chicken.

Silkie hens are also famous for their constant desire to go broody and raise a batch of chicks. Many chicken breeders keep a small flock of Silkies purely to use them for their mothering tendencies.

3. Egg Production

If you are after a breed for egg production, Silkies probably aren’t your bird. Silkies average about 100 small and light colored eggs per year.

The primary purposes of Silkies are as pets, brood mothers, and exhibition.

4. Meat Production

Silkies are small birds, so they definitely don’t make the best meat producers. However, if you are after some exotic looking meat, it doesn’t get more exotic than a Silkie.

These chickens have black skin and bluish tinged flesh, so they are startling in appearance on your dinner table.

Despite their odd color, Silkie meat doesn’t taste any different than regular chicken meat.

Taking Care of Silkies

1. Feeding and Nutritional Needs

Silkies are rather small birds, and it is best to feed them crumbles rather than pellets so they do not have a hard time eating and digesting food.

When raising chicks, feed them chick starter/grower for the first 16-18 weeks of their life.

Once your birds are nearing laying age, switch them to a good quality laying crumble feed. Provide supplemental calcium, such as oyster shells in a separate dish so your hens can eat it as needed.

2. Housing and Fencing

Because Silkies are small and lack feathers that lay neatly on their body, they can have a hard time staying warm and dry. You will need a draft-free, but well-ventilated coop where your Silkies can seek refuge from the weather.

Inside the coop, provide 2-3 square feet per bird, and 7-8 square feet per bird in the chicken run.

You can also consider Silkies as house pets; these fluffy little birds are gaining popularity as a good house pet.

3. Health Issues and Care

Silkies can be prone to a few different health issues, including scaly leg mites and Marek’s disease. Scaly leg mites are a parasite that are especially attracted to feather legged chickens.

Keeping a clean coop and making sure your birds have good dust bathing areas will help prevent this.

Marek’s disease is caused by the herpes virus and transfers from bird to bird because it is viral. There is no cure for it, so it is best to be proactive and prevent the disease. Don’t crowd your birds, keep living conditions as sanitary as possible, quarantine new arrivals, and some even vaccinate their chicks against the disease.

4. Breeding

Breeding Silkies is a fun and rewarding process, and often you’ll have built-in incubators with broody hens.

There is a high demand for Silkies, so you should have no problem selling extra adults, chicks, or hatching eggs. With several different color variations out there, you can pick one that you enjoy and have fun with it!

Breed Alternatives

1. Sultans

You won’t find another breed quite like a Silkie, but Sultans do share some characteristics. Sultans are white birds with feathered legs and an exciting top knot on their head. Unlike Silkies, Sultans don’t have an incredible tendency to go broody, but you will find these birds fun and charming to raise nonetheless.

2. Cochin Bantams

CochinsBantams do not have the silky feathers; however, they are very similar to Silkies in personality. With a strong tendency to go broody and very affectionate towards their caretakers, these little birds are a joy to have around the yard.

3. Showgirls

Showgirls are half Silkie and are a cross of Turken Naked Necks and Silkies. You will find Showgirls to be remarkably similar to Silkies, and just as fun to have around.

Fun Facts About Silkies

Unlike most breeds of chickens who have four toes, Silkies have five! There were also many myths spun about these charming birds, including one told by Dutch breeders, claiming they were the offspring of a rabbit crossed with a chicken.

Although sometimes Silkies can require a little extra care, they are 100% worth it with their adorable feathers and sweet dispositions.

About Silkie Chickens: The Fluffy Bantam That Will Win Your Heart (4)

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About Silkie Chickens: The Fluffy Bantam That Will Win Your Heart (2024)


About Silkie Chickens: The Fluffy Bantam That Will Win Your Heart? ›

Silkies differ from all other chicken breeds in that they look, well, silky. This is because their feathers don't have barbicels, the miniscule hooks in feathers that hold the vanes together. In the United States, Silkies are considered bantam chickens, which are very small breeds.

What is special about Silkie chickens? ›

It is among the most docile of poultry. Hens are also exceptionally broody, and care for young well. Although they are fair layers themselves, laying only about three eggs a week, they are commonly used to hatch eggs from other breeds and bird species due to their broody nature.

What are Silkie bantams good for? ›

Silkies can be entered into poultry shows, which can become a fun pastime to get involved in, and they also provide a natural form of pest control as they gobble up any insects they find. And probably the largest benefit, silkies provide their owners with fresh eggs to eat themselves or sell.

What are the pros and cons of a Silkie chicken? ›

Chapter 9: Pros & Cons of Silkie Chickens
Good with kidsSusceptible to live & mites
Relatively quietGo broody often
Great if you're looking to hatch chicksCan get picked on by other chickens
Make for the best petsCan have issues in wet/cold climates
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Jun 15, 2023

Do Silkies like humans? ›

Silkies don't mind getting up close and personal with their human friends, in fact, they quite like being cuddled, kissed and groomed, making them eggcellent pets for young children.

Do Silkies like to cuddle? ›

Silkies love attention, cuddles, and bear confinement well; they are often kept as indoor house birds. The Silkie rooster is generally calm and docile as well. A Silkie rooster also makes an excellent rooster choice for someone just adding a rooster to their flock.

Do Silkie chickens like to be held? ›

She is loud (most Silkies aren't) but loves to cuddle and adores treat time. If you're considering adding this fun breed to your flock, I highly recommend them! They do go broody more than other breeds, but they're sweetness and personalities outweigh their cons.

How much do Silkies cost? ›

Blue Banty Farm
Straight Run
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Do Silkie chickens need special food? ›

Do Silkies Need a Specialized Diet? In most backyard flocks, Silkies do not need a specialized diet and can eat the same high-quality feed that you would choose for other breeds in your flock. Silkies are true bantams and due to their small size, they will often eat less than larger-bodied birds.

Are Silkies hard to take care of? ›

Some special care is needed however, because silkies don't tolerate extreme climates very well, especially wet and rainy climates. They look especially pitiful when they get soaked. They also don't lay many eggs, and the eggs aren't very large, so if keeping chickens for food is important, they aren't a suitable breed.

Do Silkie chickens get sick easily? ›

The percentage of clinically sick birds in a flock depends on the strain of virus (some virus strains are more virulent than others) and the breed of bird. Leghorns and light egg-type breeds tend to be more vulnerable to disease than meat type breeds. Silkies in particular, are highly susceptible to Marek's Disease.

Why are Silkies so expensive? ›

To raise Silkies for meat, it would cost way more in feed and time to produce a smaller, tougher bird.” Silkie have a rich history of Chinese tradition, folklore, and culture. Their dark meat, skin, and bones are believed to have medicinal qualities.

Are Silkie chickens aggressive? ›

Their feathering sets them apart from regular chickens, but Silkies are also unusual in the sense that they have black skin, blue earlobes, extra toes and an inability to fly. A cheeky little head-turner, Silkie chickens delight their owners with their cute looks, friendly disposition, docile nature and adaptability.

Can you mix Silkies with other chickens? ›

Silkies. Aside from their adorable looks, this breed is known to be among the friendliest! Don't let their small size fool you, silkies can stand their ground in a mixed flock too. They're fun and love to get to know other chickens in their flock, which makes them some of the best chickens to incorporate into a flock.

How do I keep my Silkies happy? ›

Chicken coops with double-wall insulation are essential to keeping Silkies healthy and happy. Weatherproof chicken run covers are also a must-have when caring for Silkies to ensure they stay dry while spending time outside of their coop.

Can Silkie chickens swim? ›

Chickens with lots of fluffy feathers, like Cochins or Silkies, are more likely to become waterlogged since they have more feathers that are less water resistant. Chickens who are light and tightly feathered will be the best natural swimmers when given the opportunity to swim in water.

Why do people like Silkie chickens? ›

Silkies have lovely personalities. They are among the friendliest of all the chicken breeds. Yet this softness often leads to their being victims of bullying in the coop. If you have other breeds or aggressive birds you'll need to keep your silkies apart.


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