All About the Beautiful Silkie Bantam
Silkies are a breed of chicken known for their fluffy, soft plumage that resembles fur. They have a distinctive appearance, five toes, and with combs and wattles should be a mulberry color or black. Their beak is usually a blue-gray color. They have black eyes and are described as exotic chickens. They are prized for their soft fluffy appearance and are quite popular in showing and exhibition.
They are known for having a calm and docile temperament, making them a popular choice for backyard flocks. They are a bantam breed, which means they are smaller in size compared to other chicken breeds. Silkie bantams typically weigh between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds. The weight can vary slightly depending on the sex of the bird, with roosters generally being slightly heavier than hens.
Silkies are thought to have originated in Asia, with China being the most likely place of origin. They were brought to Europe in the 13th century by Marco Polo and were later introduced to the Americas by early settlers. They are a hardy breed, able to tolerate cold weather, and can be raised in both free-range and confined environments.
Silkies are not known for being great layers, but I don’t find this to be true. My Silkie ladies lay most every day…. when not broody. They do indeed tend to be quite broody but are very attentive mothers, so they’re a great option for people who are interested in breeding ornamental chickens.
The Silkie chicken breed is available in bearded and non-bearded varieties. The bearded Silkie strain has a muff under the beak which covers the earlobes – this is absent in the other non-bearded Silkies. The Silkie rooster has a circular-shaped comb while the hen has a small, flat comb.
Silkie chickens come in many interesting colors, but accepted varieties include black, blue, buff, and white colors. Splash and partridge are also recognized and accepted APA colors.
Silkies are rather slow to mature, and usually don’t start laying until they reach 6 or 7 months. Eggs are cream in color and are considered small to medium.
Interesting fact: Silkies cannot fly, so roosts in the coop should be positioned low to the ground. You can offer a ladder to a higher roosting bar, but for the most part, I find Silkies prefer to be no more than 2 ft off the ground.