Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fluffy Pet Chickens, the Silkie Chicken

Silkie Chickens look more like bunnies than like chickens, but indeed they are birds.  Silkie Chickens (sometimes spelled Silky Chickens) are exotic chickens, as they have blue - black skin, flesh, and bones. Another unusual feature is that silkie chickens have an extra toe on their feet. 

Silkie Chickens are one of the most popular chicken breeds for pets.  They tend to be friendlier than most other chickens and often enjoy being carried around, particularly if handled from a young age.  One of the things that make them so popular as pets is the fact they are friendly, even the roosters are not usually as mean as the roosters of some other breeds. However it should be noted that they are gentle even among other chickens and as such tend to be bullied if in with other breeds. 

Silkie chicken hens are terrific mothers and are noted as being very broody hens - often used to hatch and/or raise chicks from other chickens, or even game birds.

photo source - House Chicken, Sweet Treats, having a day at the Park.

Silkie chickens are soft to the touch, and although their feathers look like fur, they should never be brushed.  Their feathers lack barbicels which lock feathers together neatly.  Although most chickens can fly a bit, silkies are considered completely flightless because their feathers are so poor.  Additionally the loose feathers mean they are less able to cope with cold weather. 
Silkie chicks can be purchased from Hatcheries, local farmers, exotic livestock auctions, and bird shows.  Some people enjoy buying "hatching eggs" which are eggs that need to be incubated in order to hatch.  Other people do not want the trouble and buy week old chicks.  Still others prefer to buy more mature birds.

At five months of age the hens start laying light brown eggs, and, like all hens, will lay eggs even without a rooster.  Laying does tend to decrease after two years, but a well cared for pet Silkie can live for more than 8 years.

Our silkie rooster and a chick.

Silkies are small chickens, even their standard size is small, but they also come in a bantam size as well.

When buying Silkie chicks, or chickens, always check to see that the vent area is clean when selecting any bird.  Never buy birds from a farm if you see other sick looking birds around.

Read about what happened to us when one of our hens hatched 9 chicks and one hatched late!

1 comment:

  1. I swear this is the first time to see silkie chicken. They are so cute. And yes you are right, they look like rabbot more than a chicken. It makes me so curious how it feels to touch their furs.

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