The Silkie Chicken is one of the most popular small chicken breeds that you will find in most backyards. If you are in search of a friendly, chatty, sweet-natured bird for your backyard, these little beauties may be just the right choice for you. Chickens are adorable pets to have at home.
Just like you can see from their first appearance, Silkies are funny, embraceable, and very gentle. Often, these adorable have earned themselves a number of funny names such as fluff-balls, and teddy bears, among others. Besides the sweet disposition, these birds make admirable mothers while their cuddly nature makes them good pets for families with kids. And did we mention how well they get along with other chicken breeds due to their docile temperament?
Silkies stand out among other chicken breeds out there due to their furry look. Their cute and copious plumage and craving for a snuggle are some of the things that have melted many hearts. These birds come in a variety of cute colors and people love them most because they can be used to hatch eggs from other breeds. Silkies are also fair layers and are good for meat.
Are you wondering whether the Silkie chicken breed is a perfect addition to your backyard flock?
In this article, we have gathered all the info you need to know about these birds before you decide to take them home. From their appearance to temperament, appearance, how to care for them, eggs, price, and more. You will find this article comprehensive and extremely helpful.
Table of Contents
Silkie Chicken Breed History
The exact Silkie chicken origin is unknown. However, it is said that the Silkies hailed from ancient China with India and Java documented as possible origins. In the Western world, the earliest documentation of the Silkies dates back to the 13th century (1298) with notable mentions from Marco Polo. These lovely birds are thought to have come here in the West through maritime trade and Silk Route.
Silkies were recognized officially in North America in 1874 with approval from the Standard of Perfection. These birds were often used in the 1900s in sideshows and traveling circuses where they were described as freaks.
Today, Silkies are one of the trendiest and global ornamental birds of chicken in the 21st century.
A table for the Silkie Chicken Breed
|Good for Beginners?||Yes|
|Weight||Hen (3 lbs.), Rooster (2 to 4 lbs.)|
|Temperament||Docile, Friendly, and Calm|
|Lifespan||7 to 9 years|
|Egg Production||2 to 4 weekly|
|Egg Color||Light Brown|
|Color Variety||Black, blue, partridge, gray, white, buff, gray, and more|
|Good with kids||Yes|
|Are they Broody?||Yes|
|Price||$10 to $20 per chick|
Silkie Chicken Baby
Silkie chicken chicks are gorgeous and come with a lot of color possibilities. Similar to other baby chicks from other chicken breeds, Silkie’s young ones are very fragile. As such, they should be kept dry and warm for healthy growth. In addition, make sure their bedding is made of rice hulls or pine shavings.
These beautiful baby chicks should be fed starter feed from when they are hatched until they are 6 weeks old. After these, introduce your Silkie chicks to grower feed and make sure they eat this diet until they turn 20 weeks old.
Check these pictures below of Silkie chicken babies:
Silkies are a hard breed to mistake with another chicken breed in the world. Like their name, these birds have a silk appearance or what people call fur-like. This fluffiness makes the Silkie look larger than its actual size.
A broad, chubby physique characterizes this chicken breed with a short back and a large chest. Silkies have a crested head with a face that is either bearded or non-bearded and coal black eyes. If you have a purebred Silkie, expect it to have a comb that is deep red in color.
These cute birds have earlobes that are light blue in color and their skin is usually black (beneath the feathers). Silkies also have black everything including the skin, bones, and muscles. If you are served black chicken meat, therefore, chances are that you are eating a Silkie.
Silkie Chicken Size & Weight
It is worth noting that the Silkie chicken breed comes in a variety of sizes, including the full-size and the bantam variety. Both varieties tend to vary in size depending on which continent they are. For instance, Silkies in Europe are larger than the ones found here in the US.
That being said, the accepted Silkie roosters’ weight should be between 2 and 3 lbs. while hens should be 1½ to 2 lbs. The Bantam variety should weigh 36 oz. for roosters while hens weigh 32 oz.
Silkie Chicken Pictures
Silkie chickens are charming, and you will love watching them as they roam about in your home backyard.
Check out these Silkie chicken pictures:
Silkie Chicken Growth Stages: How fast do Silkies grow?
How long do Silkies take to grow up?
Being a heritage breed, the Silkie chicken grows and matures slower than most other chicken breeds. Hatchery Silkies, however, tend to grow and mature faster than either the show bird or breeder quality. That being said, Silkie chicks should remain inside the coop until they are approx. 3 to 4 months.
Typically, Silkie pullets will start laying eggs when they are between 6 and 9 months old. This will, however, depend on a few factors such as where they are hatched, how they are raised, and the breeding selection.
Silkie roosters, on the other hand, will start crowing at around 6 months although some might take longer.
At what age are Silkie fully feathered?
It is recommended that you wait until your Silkie chicks have grown all their feathers before you take them out of the coop or hatchery. Make sure that they have also lost their fluff. Getting cold will stunt your chick’s growth.
That being said, Silkie chicks will grow their feathers fully by the time they are 6 weeks old. With their real feathers grown, they can regulate temperature easily to help keep warm.
Bantam Silkie Chicken
The Silkie Bantam variety is by far the most popular ornamental chicken breed that has swept masses by their feet. Even better, their strange looks make them enjoyable to watch.
The Bantam variety should weigh 36 oz. for roosters while hens weigh 32 oz.
Despite their small size, Silkie bantams have been kept and used as table birds to date. Instead of the usual 4 toes like other chicken breeds, these birds have 5 toes. While they are not great egg layers, Silkie bantams are magnificent brooders and mothers. They can adopt and look after chicks from other birds.
How to Sex Silkie Chickens: Silkie Chicken vs Silkie Rooster
Baby chicks are not the easiest to sex until later when they grow up and develop adult feathers. Another way to distinguish between a male and female Silkie chicken is by waiting for them to exhibit gender behaviors.
Here are a few things to consider when sexing Silkie chickens:
Although both Silkie roosters and hens tend to grow 8 to 14 inches tall, roosters are heavier or weigh more (2 to 4 lbs.) than hens that are 3 lbs. or slightly less.
Silkies will start growing adult plumage characteristics when they are 3 to 4 months (9 to 12 weeks). You can tell their gender simply by looking at the plumage.
Gender-specific feathers in Silkie chickens start to show when the birds reach 9 weeks old.
On the one hand, Silkie hens often have lovely, short, and rounded feathers. Silkie cockerels, on the other hand, have thin and long feathers that originate from their crown with streamers that stick from the back.
The shape of the crown
Silkie hens have no streamers, and their crown is neat and relatively rounded while that of the Silkie cockerel tends to be square-like and messy with streamers sticking from several places.
Wattles and Combs
Wattles and combs in Silkie cockerels tend to start growing earlier than in hens. Often, hen wattles remain just small patches of blue on the side of the face until they are fully grown. In Silkie cockerels, however, wattles begin to grow into red or pale blue lobes that droop a little.
Silkie roosters develop spurs (long toenails) while hens do not. It is important that you trim the spurs to prevent them from becoming too long as they can either hurt their skin or make walking a problem.
Check out this YouTube video below:
Silkie Chicken Rooster
A Silkie rooster stands 8 to 14 inches like hens but are heavier. These roosters tend to have larger wattles that grow faster, and their combs are large with a walnut shape. Unlike hens that have rounded, uniform-length crown feathers, roosters have longer less-uniform streamer feathers.
Expect Silkie roosters to develop spurs that can be up to one inch in length. While it is possible for Silkie roosters to crow when they are approx. 4 to 5 months old, not all will. Some have even started to crow at 2 months while others will take about 12 months. Unlike other chicken breeds, Silkies roosters are less likely to crow if you have other grown-up roosters in the yard.
Silkie Chicken Colors
The Silkie chicken breed comes in a range of solid colors such as buff, white, blue, black, splash, partridge, and gray which are all accepted by the American Poultry Association (APA).
Recognized Silkie chicken colors, however, include black, blue, partridge, gray, white, buff, and gray. You can also expect other color variations such as cuckoo, red, lavender, and porcelain or patterned variations like self-blue as well as paint.
Some people have also reported coming across a Naked Neck Silkie variety which is a cross between a Turken and a Silkie Bantam.
Silkie chicken colors chart
Check out the color chart for the Silkie chicken breed below:
What is the rarest color?
While Silkies are a popular chicken breed that is available in a range of cute colors, the red Silkie is rare to find and is also not recognized in the list of standard colors.
The red color does not occur naturally in Silkies which means that it must be introduced by another chicken breed. You will hear some chicken breeders calling red Silkies a darker buff variation. Developing this color of Silkies is an undergoing process in Australia.
Silkie Chicken Black
The Black Silkie chicken is one of the most popular of the Silkie variety that you will always see at poultry shows. Their gorgeous black plumage that is steady throughout with beetle shines catches the attention of many people.
These birds have black eyes, a slate blue beak, and earlobes that are turquoise in color while the wattle, face, and comb feature a mulberry color. Other than the color, the black Silkie chicken possesses all the characteristics of Silkies.
Silkie Chicken Blue
The Blue Silkie chicken is yet another adorable bird that you will find in most folk’s backyard flocks. These birds have all the qualities the other Silkies have including a friendly disposition, love for a cuddle, and more. The only difference is the color of the feathers.
When chicks are hatched, almost 50% of them come in all blue color while the rest (50%) is made up of other colors.
Silkie Chicken White
The pure white Silkie stands out as one of the most common Silkie color variations available globally. Like other Silkies, this white variety has a black face and skin and all the features of a Silkie chicken breed.
White Silkie chickens sports snow-white plumage with a lustrous polish. If the Silkie is bred for show purposes, a light yellow sheen can be accepted but any other color is disqualified. The feathers of a white Silkie should be crisp and brilliant white with no orange or yellow marks.
Silkie Chicken Meat
Are Silkie chickens good for meat?
While Silkie chickens are bred mostly as ornamental birds today, they are fair egg layers and have been used as table birds for a long time.
There are Silkie Broilers, also known as black meat chickens or Taihe chickens, that are specifically bred for meat purposes. The common Silkie can also be used as a table bird. Their meat is black in color. Those who have eaten it say it tastes a little like a traditional roasted chicken with a light touch of duck.
Silkie Chicken as Pet: What is it like to own a Silkie chicken?
Are Silkie chickens easy to keep?
The Silkie chicken breed is one of the easiest to keep. They do not need a lot of active attention and care. These birds are the right breed for people that are just starting to keep chickens. Silkies are friendly with both kids and adults. Silkies make excellent pets for all homes.
Due to their small size, Silkies will thrive in a fairly small area. And unlike other large chicken breeds, such as Wyandotte, Brahma, or the Orpington, Silkies will do well even without ranging freely and remaining in confinement. In fact, these birds are the kind that you can keep in your apartment.
Owning a Silkie chicken is an added advantage as these birds make excellent mothers even for other chicks that are not theirs. You should, however, avoid this chicken breed if you live in a region that is cold, muddy, and wet. Silkies do not tolerate these climates well and it can lead to death since their bodies are not well insulated.
Read about our Serama Chicken breed article
Personality: Silkie Chicken Characteristics
Are Silkie chickens friendly?
Silkies are one of the friendliest chicken breeds that you will come across out there. They will be your kids’ best friends and tend to be talkative as they follow their owners around. This especially happens when they are 6 months old and above.
Do Silkie chickens like to be held?
Silkies are gentle and kind birds that will enjoy being held and snuggled. These birds are one of the most docile and calmest chickens that you can find. For this reason, they should not be kept with assertive chicken breeds such as the Brahmas or Rhode Island Red. If you mix them with such birds, they will be bullied as they have a very low pecking order.
Read about the Sapphire Gem chicken breed
Silkie chicken losing feathers on the head
Some people are raising concerns when they see their Silkies losing feathers on their heads. And while there are other reasons why this would happen, annual feather molting is the main reason why chickens lose their feathers.
This should not raise an alarm. Just remember to add more protein to your Silkie’s daily regime when molting to help them regain their feathers.
Silkie Chicken Yawning
When you keep chickens in your backyard, you will become accustomed to some behaviors and peculiarities of your own birds. But did you know that chickens yawn?
Typically, chickens will yawn for many reasons, some mild and others severe. The most common reason why your Silkie will yawn, however, is because they are adjusting their crop. Yawning may also be a tactic to move food down the esophagus.
In more serious cases, your Silkie may yawn because something is stuck in their crop or a sign of gapeworm or respiratory disease.
Silkie Chicken Egg Production
How old are Silkies when they start laying?
As mentioned earlier, Silkies tend to grow slowly when compared to other chicken breeds. For this reason, they can start to lay eggs when they are around 7 to 9 months old. In fact, some will even begin to lay when they are older.
|Eggs per week||2 to 4 eggs|
|Size||Small to Medium|
Unlike other chicken breeds that will bless you with many eggs a week, Silkies can’t be kept for egg laying purposes. These birds will give you 3 eggs at most per week. This means that you expect a Silkie chicken to produce approx. 100 to 120 eggs per year.
Silkie Chicken Eggs
Do Silkie chickens lay normal eggs?
Yes, Silkie chickens lay normal eggs that mostly come in a standard light brown color. Due to their small size, their eggs tend to be small to medium in size.
What color egg do Silkies lay?
Silkie eggs come in a cream or white color.
Thanks to their calm disposition, Silkies are among the quietest birds that you will have in your backyard flock. While they are chatty especially when following you around, they are not loud at all. This makes Silkies a superb choice for people that live in urban areas or in apartments.
Facts about the Silkie Chicken
- Silkies originated from Asia.
- The Silkie chicken breed is the most docile and quiet bird which makes it a great option for areas with noise restrictions.
- These birds have a sweet and friendly disposition that makes them outstanding companions, especially for families with kids.
- The first western recording of a Silkie sighting was by Marco Polo, in 1298.
- In the early 1900s, Silkies were exploited in traveling circuses and side-shows as ‘freaks’, described as “Chickens with fur instead of feathers”.
- Silkies tolerate heat excellently but are not a suitable breed for cold, muddy, and wet areas
- These chickens can go broody over eggs from any other birds and raise the chicks as if they were their own.
- All Silkies have black everything – skin, bone, and face, including meat.
- Silkies come in standard or bearded.
- These birds can stop laying altogether in the hot summer.
Check our Speckled Sussex chicken breed review.
Silkie Chicken Care Guide
To take good care of your Silkie chicken breed, you need to understand their breed-related health issues, dietary needs, as well as the coop setup, and outdoor living requirements.
Silkies are hardy birds with a good lifespan. Like other chicken breeds, Silkies are prone to lice, mites, and worms. Deworming your Silkie is recommended as well as protecting them against these external parasites.
This chicken breed, however, needs a lot of care and protection as it is predisposed to Marek’s disease. This disease is fairly common in chickens and is caused by a herpes virus. Eventually, this disease can decrease egg production and is life-threatening as it can lead to death. In most cases, Marek’s disease cause tumors to form on major internal organs.
The Silkie chicken breed has no special dietary needs. Like most birds, they will love searching for foodies in the yard. In addition, they need to eat a balanced diet that is rich in proteins, especially when they are molting. You can also add a blend of grains and seeds to their feed.
When they reach the egg-laying stage, feed them the nutrition that is specifically designed for layers. This will make sure that they consume all the nutrients they require to produce delicious and healthy eggs.
Coop Setup and Roaming
A Silkie chicken coop is important for these birds particularly because they are an easy target to predators as they are unaware of what is going around them almost always. In addition, they do not do well in the cold, and having a pen they can run to is very crucial to their survival.
Inside the Coop
Although Silkies are not as big as other breeds such as the Brahmas, they need adequate space inside the coop where they can rest. Each chicken should have at least 8 inches square feet to give them plenty of room to stretch.
Silkies are not flighty. Therefore, make sure that the roosts are constructed not high above the coop ground. However, the perches should be strong enough to hold their weight, especially when they crowd together to cuddle during cold seasons to find warmth.
Since Silkies love sitting on eggs, it is important that the nesting boxes are spacious enough and in a draft-free location.
Run and Roaming
Silkies are not flighty birds which means that a low fence is enough to keep them from straying outside the restricted area. Sadly, their quietness makes them susceptible to predators. So, make sure that they can access the coop easily and watch them closely when you can.
Silkie Chicken Lifespan
What is the average lifespan of a silkie chicken?
Surprisingly, Silkies are a hardy breed with an expected life expectancy of between 7 and 9 years on average. This long lifespan is likely due to the Silkie’s low egg-laying abilities which means that they undergo less strain on their body.
Silkie Chicken for Sale
Do you live here in the US, the UK, or any other region and are interested in keeping Silkies? You can search Silkie chicken breeders near me in your search engine and you will find accredited and responsible breeders of this chicken breed.
Please, avoid buying these adorable birds from online sites such as eBay and the likes. You can’t be sure how the chicks have been bred and might end up regretting it.
If you live here in the US, the Cackle Hatchery is recommended by many people that we talked to. They offer a range of quality chicken breeds that you will like.
Silkie Chicken Price
The Silkie chicken cost can vary significantly from one breeder to another. Expect these birds to be costlier than the average chicken.
That being said, you should spend anywhere between $10 and $15 for a Silkie chick and $20 to $50 for a mature Silkie chicken. If you opt for a show bird, expect to pay more.
Silkie Chicken Drawing
Do you have a kid(s) that is interested in learning how to draw a Silkie chicken? You can teach them how to draw their favorite chicken breed using the YouTube video below:
Should you keep this breed?
You should keep Silkie chickens if you are searching for the friendliest chicken that enjoys being held as well as human attention and company. Silkies will be happy to be kept in an apartment and will not cause trouble with your neighbors. They tolerate heat relatively well, are not flighty, and will sit on eggs from other birds and raise the chicks well.
If you are looking for a chicken that will bless you with lots of eggs, and tolerate cold, wet, and muddy regions, Silkies are not for you.
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