Silkie chickens are one of the most spectacular decorative breeds of chickens you can keep. These small, fluffy cute chickens are famous due to their unusual look, friendly nature, and calm personalities. Apart from keeping these as an ornamental bird, they are also great brooders. So, they are also popular with chicken breeders who need broody birds to help hatch eggs.
In this article, you will learn ten interesting facts about this fascinating bird.
What are Silky Chickens?
They are a breed of small fowl that are considered a bantam breed, originating from China and Southeast Asia. Adult male silkies weigh on average 1.8 kg (4 lbs.) and the females weigh 1.36 kg (3 lbs.). So, this makes them among the smaller breeds of chickens.
Although they are often kept as an ornamental bird for their decorative features, they also lay eggs. On average the female lays three or four eggs per week.
Of course, the main distinctive feature of silkies is their soft fluffy plumage that has a “silky” feel to it.
10 Facts about Silkies Chickens
Do you want to know more about these charming, balls of fluff that walk around on chicken legs? Read on to find out more.
1. The name “silkie chickens”
Silkie chickens—also written as silky chickens—have fluffy plumage that is said to feel like satin or pure silk. Their plumage probably explains where its name comes from. The first documented account in history of silky is by Marco Polo. He called this chicken breed a “furry chicken.” They have also been called “wool-bearing chickens.”
2. Under their fur, silky are black
Another unique feature of these birds is the fact they have black skin. Although it is difficult to see this because they are covered in fluff, look at their faces and you will notice that they are black. They also have black bones. And, it’s not just the skin and bones that are black—they also have black- or gray-colored meat.
3. Silkies are balls of fluff
As already mentioned, the distinguishing feature of this breed of chicken is their furry appearance. But why do they look so different from other chickens? Like all types of fowl, they have feathers, however, their feathers don’t have barbs that hold them down. So, the feathers flutter around giving the bird a fuzzy look.
4. They have more Toes than other Chickens
Another fact about the silky that makes them entirely different from other chicken breeds is their toes. They have more toes; they actually have five toes rather than the standard four.
5. They have Turquoise Earlobes
As well as having skin, bones, and meat that is uncommon among chicken breeds, these chickens have brightly-colored turquoise ears. However, you may not see these so clearly on bearded varieties as the feathers under their beaks cover their earlobes.
6. These chickens can be bearded or non-bearded
There are a few distinctions between non-bearded and bearded silkies. As already mentioned, the bearded ones have an extra muff of feathers under their beak. However, non-bearded have larger wattles—the fleshy appendage below the beak.
7. Silkies chickens’ crest
If you take a close look at one of these chickens—both bearded and non-bearded—you will see that their heads are also unique. The first fact is that the comb on their heads is more like a wart rather than the spiky type most chickens have. Also, they have a feathery topknot, or crest, on top of their heads.
8. This breed of chicken makes an excellent pet
These delightful birds are known for their docile nature and the fact they love attention. They’ve got a calm temperament, and they’re trusting, friendly, and well-natured. After some socializing, they will sit on laps and enjoy being petted. If you’ve got kids and want to keep chickens, then silkies are an excellent choice.
9. They will lay fewer eggs than regular hens
Compared to “regular” hens, these fluff-balls only lay about 100 eggs per year. When you compare that to other breeds that lay up to 250 eggs a year, these hens don’t lay many. However, that’s not because they are lazy. As these hens have another quality, and that is our next fact.
10. Silkie Hens are Excellent Surrogate Mothers
Although they won’t lay as many eggs as other hens, they will do a fantastic job of brooding. The extra-broody nature of silky hens means they will sit on eggs when the real mothers won’t. So, if you’re regular hens—even ducks, geese, or turkeys—who aren’t great setters, consider getting a silky or two to sit on their eggs and hatch them out. As they will also continue to look after newly-hatched chicks.
Silky Chickens: A Takeaway
This breed of chicken is one of the most distinctive breeds of chickens. Although some other chicken breeds have some similar characteristics, there aren’t any who have them all in the one species. These friendly, calm chickens can make for wonderful pets and give you a modest supply of eggs.