Over the last several years Silkie chickens, also known as Silky chickens or “Floofies” here at the farm, have become very popular. Silkies originated in Asia, where they were prized for their unique appearance and delicate meat. They are known for their fluffy, soft feathers that resemble silk or fur as well as their friendly and docile personalities, and their unique appearance.
Silkies are known for their small size and round, fluffy bodies. They have a unique set of physical characteristics, including black skin, bones, and meat, as well as five toes on each foot (most chickens only have four). They also have a crest of feathers on their head and a beard of feathers on their chest. These unique birds have also become popular for showing at poultry exhibitions, where they are judged on their unique appearance and overall conformation.
The standard of perfection for Silkies, a set of guidelines that outline the ideal characteristics of the breed, are used by poultry judges at exhibitions where they evaluate Silkies and determine which birds meet the standard for the breed. According to the American Standard of Perfection, the official standard for Silkie chickens in the United States, the ideal Silkie should have the following characteristics:
- Head: The head should be large, round, and covered with a crest of feathers. The comb should be small and single, and the ears should be small and hidden by the crest.
- Eyes: The eyes should be round and full, with a bright, alert expression.
- Beak: The beak should be short and strong, with a moderate curve.
- Neck: The neck should be of medium length, with a large, full beard of feathers.
- Body: The body should be compact and well-rounded, with a broad breast and short, thick legs.
- Wings: The wings should be carried close to the body, with the primary feathers reaching to the end of the tail.
- Tail: The tail should be short and carried at a 45-degree angle.
- Plumage: The plumage should be dense, soft, and fluffy, with an even color throughout. The feathers should be glossy and lie close to the body.
- Color: Silkies come in a variety of colors, including black, blue, buff, gray, partridge, and white. Each color should be pure and even, with no markings or blemishes.
Aside from their unusual physical features, Silkies are known for their calm and docile nature. They are often described as being very friendly and easy to handle, making them a good choice for families with children, new chicken tenders, and those who want friendly pet chickens.
Silkies are not known for being particularly good egg layers, producing only about three eggs per week. That being said, they are prized for their meat, which is said to have a delicate flavor.
Despite their small size, Silkies are hardy birds that are able to withstand cold temperatures. They are also generally resistant to diseases and parasites, making them a low-maintenance choice for backyard chicken keepers.
There are a few important things to consider when raising Silkies:
Housing: Silkies are small birds and do not require a lot of space, but they do need a secure and weatherproof coop to protect them from the elements and predators. They also need access to a fenced-in run or yard where they can roam and forage.
Diet: Like all chickens, Silkies need a balanced diet to stay healthy. This should include a commercial chicken feed that is formulated for their age and production level (such as laying or meat birds), as well as access to fresh water at all times. Silkies also enjoy foraging for insects and greens, so it can be helpful to provide them with a grassy area where they can scratch and peck. As a rough guide, an adult Silkie chicken will typically eat about ¼ to ½ cup of feed per day. This can vary based on factors such as their activity level, the quality of the feed, and the availability of other sources of nutrition, such as insects or greens.
Health: Silkies are generally hardy birds, but it is important to monitor their health and address any issues that arise. This includes keeping their coop clean and dry, and checking for signs of illness such as coughing, sneezing, lethargy, or diarrhea.
Handling: Silkies are known for their calm and docile nature, making them easy to handle. However, it is important to handle them gently and with care, as they are small and delicate birds.
Breeding: If you are planning on breeding Silkies, it is important to do your research and understand the basics of genetics and breeding. This includes understanding the different color varieties and traits that can be passed down to offspring. It is also a good idea to work with a reputable breeder to ensure the health and well-being of the birds.
At the end of the day Silkies are a great breed to start your own flock with. I mean, how much better does it get than watching Floofies running around your yard?