raising Silkie chickens: sidekicks don’t fly well, so you don’t have to worry about building an unusually high fence.
You can easily keep them in a chicken coop or backyard with a low fence.
This can prove to be a problem with predators, however, as Silkies really fall down instead of flying and can have a hard time getting away from a potential attacker.
Therefore, you need to provide a fully enclosed track that protects your birds from predators but also gives them plenty of room to run.
They prefer low perches and close to the ground so that it is easier for them to jump without hurting themselves.
Each Silkie will need approximately 10 square feet of running surface and four square feet inside the chicken coop.
It is highly recommended that you provide more space for your Silkie chickens, as too little space can cause the birds to cling to each other.
They often dig on the ground instead of perching on a perch, so you’ll want to give them extra space for that as well.
If they don’t have enough space to burrow close together, it can lead to suffocation and other life-threatening problems.
If you need to pick up or handle your SIlkie chicken, then you should carefully lay it on the ground.
Dropping them from a considerable height, as you might with other chickens, can cause serious injury.
Silkies also like to receive a lot of dust for swimming. All chickens produce dust as they grow their feathers, with the stems flaking as the feathers grow.
This is especially common in the spring, but can also occur as a molt in the fall.
When your Silkie chickens molt, they will produce an exceptional amount of dust. Giving them plenty of room to clean themselves can help reduce the amount of debris they produce.
Silkies thrive in captivity, but they do best when given time outdoors. This will allow them to enjoy the sun and munch on grass and insects.
They are quite resistant to cold but are very sensitive to high temperatures. Make sure they have plenty of cold water and shade when the mercury is rising.
If the weather is over 100 degrees, you may need to provide a fan or other type of cooling system in your chicken coop.
Silkie Chicken Yields (Eggs & Meat)
Egg and meat production are some of the top reasons people raise chickens (although they make great pets, too).
This section will help you understand what kind of performance you should expect to get from Silkie chickens.
Did you know that Silkie chicken meat is considered a delicacy in some parts of Asia?
This is because the meat has a richer and juicier flavor than meat from other chicken breeds, and it is also slightly darker.
As a result, it is used in many traditional Asian dishes, such as curries, Chinese soup, stew recipes, broths, and more.
It is even believed to strengthen muscles and boost the immune system.
While this was largely regarded as folklore for many years, the Nanchang University Ministry of Education recently conducted a study that measured the amounts of natural peptides in this breed compared to other popular chicken breeds.
Silkie meat was found to contain twice as many peptides as common Plymouth Rock meat.
Food to go?
Silkie’s meat is really good for you!
Silkie chickens Eggs
Silkie chickens lay moderate amounts of eggs each year. They are a light cream color, and each hen lays between 100 and 150 eggs a year.
Unfortunately, while silky ones have the potential to lay an exceptional number of eggs, their laying season is often interrupted by their tendency to go broody.
The exact number of eggs you receive from your SIlkie chicken will vary depending on the conditions you live in, as well as the individual bird.
Some Silkies will lay an egg every day of the year, while others will only lay once a week.
Therefore, it is not advisable to breed Silkies solely for egg production, as you will likely be disappointed.
Benefits of raising Silkie chickens
There are several benefits of raising Silkie chickens that make them a superior choice compared to other types of birds.
- Kindness – These birds are some of the kindest and most loving creatures you’ll find. They are also a great option for keeping kids around!
- Appearance: These chickens have beautiful fluffy coats that make them the star of the poultry competition. They are also incredibly soft to pet.
- Tame Skill – Many people keep Silkie chickens indoors, you could even keep one of these chickens in an apartment! They are docile and love human company.
- Rearing: Silky are one of the best breeds for hatching their own eggs, as well as the eggs of other birds.
- Ability to Resist Confinement – If you don’t have the means to allow your chickens to run freely at all times, Silkie chicken is a good choice. These birds can be kept in a chicken coop or small pen with minimal harmful effects.
- GREAT FOR THE GARDEN – Silkie chickens are non-destructive and love to roam the garden when given the chance. This will allow them ample access to the worms, insects, and weeds that grow on your plot.
- No need to clip their wings – Because these chickens can’t fly very high, you won’t have to worry about clipping their wings or keeping them enclosed with high fences.
Challenges raising Silkie chickens
While there are many benefits associated with raising Silkie chickens, there are also some challenges that you need to be aware of.
You should avoid raising Silkies if you live in a place that is particularly hot, or if the race in which you will raise your Silkies is cold, muddy, or wet.
In addition to those concerns, here are some of the biggest challenges involved in raising SIlkies:
- Inability to Withstand Heat – Because these chickens are covered in such a dense feather mat, they do not perform well in extreme heat.
- Poor Egg and Meat Production – Silkie chickens are raised primarily as pets or as show species. They are small so they don’t produce noticeable amounts of meat for the amount of food you need to feed them. Their egg production is often interrupted by their rearing.
- Poor hierarchical position: Because they are so calm and confident, Silkie chickens are often intimidated by other members of the flock.
- Prone to Predators – These chickens don’t run fast, have poor vision, and can’t fly or jump very well. Therefore, you will need an exceptionally safe home if you decide to raise them.
raising Silkie chickens Raising Silkies as Chicks
Silkie eggs take about 21 days to hatch.
In some cases, it may take a little longer if you are using a broody hen or even an unreliable incubator to hatch her eggs.
These birds hatch very slowly, pecking inside the eggshell with a small attachment in the beak called an egg tooth. This tooth falls out a few days after hatching.
If you are hatching your own SIlkie chicks, leave them in the incubator until they have completely dried.
They will be nice and fluffy when they are ready to be moved. You can then move them to a brooder that is well supplied with water, chick feed, and a good heat lamp.
Silkies should be kept in the new box for approximately 6 weeks.
It may be tempting to move your Silkie chicks to an outdoor pen earlier as they are covered in such dense feathers, but you really have to wait to make sure they have enough feathers to withstand colder temperatures.
You may have to wait until spring has actually arrived to move your birds.
Silky ones reach full size in about three to four months.
During this growing period, they will lay multiple sequences of new feathers, shedding the old ones as they do so.
You may find that they leave a lot of dust when they start to grow.
It is virtually impossible to identify the differences between male and female Silkies until they reach six to seven months of age.
There aren’t many differences between the genders and you usually won’t be able to tell them apart until the hens start laying eggs or the roosters start crowing.
Is Silkie Chicken Right For You?
If you are interested in raising a Silkie chicken, know that there is not much you need to do to keep it happy and healthy.
Provide plenty of nutritious food and clean fresh water.
Provide them with a safe enclosure so they can get out of the sun and escape predators, and provide plenty of dirt to scratch.
Occasionally you may need to lightly prep your SIlkie chicken to make sure you can see and move around without a hitch.
Otherwise, this breed of chicken is one of the easiest and most enjoyable you can raise.
You may get some curious looks from your neighbors; You may even have some people who don’t believe their Silkies are actually chickens! – but trust us, raising one of these strange birds is worth it.