Silkie chicken breed is unusual chicken breed. The general appearance is among the unique features that set them apart from other strains of chicken.
Most of the chicken hobbyist love them because they are friendly and can easily be tamed. The feeding ability is directly proportional to the egg production rate.
The birds can also be kept as a pet since they are easy to cuddle and their complacent personalities could be the reason behind why so many folks love them.
In this post, you will learn more information about the history and origin of the breed, physical characteristics, and egg laying ability, temperament and health issues associated with the birds.
History and Origin of Silkie Chickens
No exact information shows the real origin of the breed, but it is believed to have originated from ancient China.
In the 21st century, the breed of chicken started becoming popular, and many folks decided to keep them as ornamental purpose chicken breed.
The name of the breed was derived from its fluffy plumage which is said to be silk and satin. It is also termed as one of the oldest Asiatic Breed of Chicken.
The breed of chicken has been in existence for a couple of years now, and it is said to have arrived in the United Kingdom at around 1880s. It was later accepted by the American Poultry Association of Perfection is 1874.
In recent days, the chicken breed is reared for exhibition and ornamental purposes. The other bantam version of the strain happens to be the primary source of eggs and also meat for family consumption.
Characteristics of Silkie Chicken Breed
Here are some of the most interesting physical features of a breed of chicken:
The birds are naturally quiet and very friendly towards the owner. Taming this breed of chicken is quite simple and easy. They are the perfect breeds of chickens for beginners.
However, all birds tend to be placid, but the environment in which they are brought determine their aggressiveness behavior.
Unfortunately, these breeds are easily being bullied by other aggressive chickens in the yard, and they can easily be injured. It is recommended to keep them separate from other aggressive flocks.
The roosters from the breed are very calm and social. They tend to go well with other flocks which are less aggressive in the chicken coop.
The hens are highly susceptible to broodiness of which it is a good idea to the farmer who wants to increase the number of flocks in the yard.
You can use the chance to hatch eggs from other valuable breeds that rarely undergo brooding to increase their numbers.
This feature makes the hens from the breed to lay a small number of eggs, and it is not the best chicken for laying eggs for commercial purposes.
The general skin appearance of the breed is quite unusual. The chicken has black skin, muscles, and even bones. Body parts like beaks, wattle, and comb, are dark in color.
The chicken got some awesome melanin that is never found on other breeds, and this is among the reason why many folks keep them for the exhibition.
The melanin in the chicken is so active as compared to Sumatra and Ayam Cemani though they tend to have the same origin. This is the bird I will recommend if you want to win an award during exhibitions.
Number of Toes
Most chicken breeds have four toes, but some birds have up to five toes and birds are among them.
The fifth toe usually grows from behind and they often never touch the ground since they grow upwardly.
Dorking, Sultan, Faverolle, and Houdan are among other breeds of chicken that has five toes just like flocks. The research shows that they have genes that are responsible for the growth of the extra toe.
They have unique feather characteristics. Most of them tend to have feathers growing even on shanks, and this is what makes them also to stand out from other breeds of chickens. Different kinds have feathers on the legs, but those of birds have massive growth.
The chickens have unique earlobes. This is what makes them stand apart from other breeds of chickens. The pale blue earlobes are something that you will never see in different kinds but only on the chicken breed. The pigmentation is said to be brought about by specific unique genes found in the breed but not in other breeds.
Shape of Crest
The crest of chicken is spherical and the bird has feathers even on top on the head. The peak is more prominent since the birds have vaulted skull. The shape of the scalp increases the surface area for the growth of feathers.
Birds have unique feathers that look like furs rather than the usual smooth feathers of other chickens. The feather appearance occurs since they cannot lock and this is the reason behind the plumage shape.
The birds have game genes that make them be robust and hardy chickens. They can survive both in cold and warm climate.
Size and Weight
According to the research done by British standards, a mature rooster weigh about 0.6 kg while hen weighs about 0.5kg. Unfortunately, these measurement weights vary with those of the American Poultry Association. The measurement shows that roosters weigh approximately 0.68 kg and Hens about 0.57kg.
They are known to be friendly, calm and docile birds. However, the roosters can tidbit the chicks, and this is the reason why it is recommended to separate them.
The docility feature enables them to go together with other flocks in the yard, but they can easily be harassed by other aggressive chickens in the backyard.
Egg Production Rate
The hens are poor layers since they lay about 100 eggs per year. The behavior of reproducing the low amount of eggs is because they are highly susceptible to brooding. It is not the right breed to keep in case you need plenty of eggs.
Reasons to Love Silkie Breed of Chickens
Much American chicken hobbyists love this breed of chicken due to their awesome appearance. They tend to rear it to win competitions during shows and exhibition.
The size of the chicken breed and the loving character make them suitable as pets. There is a growing number of people keeping this breed of chicken as pets across the world.
The good thing about the chicken is that they can tolerate both cold and warm weather across the globe. This is one of the reasons why they are being loved by many people in the world.
Lastly, you can use the feathers from the chicken for decorations in your house or even in the car. This is why most people like keeping them in large number for ornamental purposes.
Health Issues and Special Needs
Marek’s Disease is a common poultry disease that mainly affects chickens. The good news is that birds are highly resistant to the disease.
However, in case you have other flocks in the farmyard, it is recommended to vaccinate them to prevent the occurrence of the disease.
The fluffy feathers make breed to be highly susceptible to mites and lice. It is recommended to be on a watch out to combat the parasites from spreading to other flocks as early as possible.
I recommend you also trim the feathers on the rear end to make it easy for breeding and even for hygiene purposes. The birds can live for about 8-10 years only if they are feed and maintained well.
These birds are brought a smile to your family. Their body appearance and feather arrangement can amazingly blend your backyard especially if they walk in the group of other flocks.
Unfortunately, they are not the right breed for egg production in case you need adequate eggs for commercial or family consumption.
They show tender love to the owner, and they have the behavior of following them around especially if it is the feeding.
If you happen to have the chicken breed in your farm, kindly share with us their stories in the comment below, and we will highly appreciate.