The silkie chicken is classified as a dwarf breed known as the black silk hen in some regions of Asia. This bird is very unique and draws a lot of attention due to its fluffy plumage, which is why they call it silkie. Having a wide variety of colors and layers, this bird is one of the favorites among chicken fans.
Also, this bird has been used in China for medicinal purposes for many years due to the black color of its meat and the healing properties of its eggs.
Get ready in this article I tell you all about this breed.
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Silkie Chicken Characteristics
This hen stands out among others because it is extremely soft to the touch, and visually we appreciate that it has a very fluffy plumage, so much so that it looks like a stuffed fabric hen. This is because their feathers are not very ribbed.
The head of the Silkie Chicken is moderately small and short; its neck is slightly arched, short, full of feathers that fall nicely on the shoulders of the bird.
The earlobes are turquoise or blue. This breed of hen has a short, robust, curved beak that is gray-blue in color.
Its wings are large, round, and black. The tail of this bird is short and frayed at the ends and with many feathers.
The wings are medium in size, set well back, and horizontal. This beautiful bird has 5 toes on its legs: the front three are straight and spread out, the rear toes are double, the normal one has a natural position, and the extra one has an upwards position—also well-feathered fingers.
The females of this breed have a unique characteristic: their pompadour, which you can quickly distinguish if we compare them to the males.
The silkie chicken is known to be one of the most affectionate birds out there. Always ready to cuddle with their owners and happy to sit on their laps.
They are also famous for their great maternal instincts, which is why many chicken farmers keep a small group of these chickens to use to hatch eggs from other chickens.
Silkie Chicken lays cream-colored eggs. This bird lays about 3 to 4 eggs per week.
Despite having a low egg production, this bird has a great incubation capacity, which is why it is commonly used to incubate eggs of other breeds, thanks to the brooding nature that Silkie Chicken has.
These birds need sunlight to lay eggs. For this reason, on rainy days, winter, or on days when the sun does not come out, it is advisable to put artificial light in their nests or chicken coops so that they feel comfortable and lay some eggs.
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Silkie Chicken Care
Like any living being, this bird requires a good diet in order to grow and develop perfectly.
Silkie chicken is best fed with a specific chicken’s food. That you can find in your typical farmers market.
You should be aware if the bird has a bad reaction to these processed foods; despite being made on a natural basis, sometimes they add certain chemicals, and these chemicals can be harmful to your hen.
But do not panic; this does not mean that you cannot give them processed foods; you just have to be aware of this.
You can also feed your hen corn, one of the most common and simple foods for these hens.
Rice is another ingredient that you can give to your bird, but it should not contain salt since salt can alter the body and its fluffy plumage.
Other food options that you can give to your Silkie Chicken are pasta, wheat, dried fruits, vegetables, even certain shells.
Another piece of advice, avoid feeding meat to your bird, as it can harm its digestive system.
Water is another fundamental element for the hen, as this bird needs to be constantly hydrated, so make sure to have water nearby 24/7, clean water, I should say.
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You must provide them with enough space inside the coop they most feel comfortable, the hen house should have 1 m2 per bird, the sunlight must be able to enter all parts of the hen house, and it must be ventilated.
Just remember that keeping chickens coop clean is essential for their wellbeing, as they can get sick and eventually make their young sick, which we don’t want.
It would help if you regularly changed the straw in the chicken coop.
Silkie chicken can be prone to certain diseases or health problems, including scaly leg mites and Marek’s disease.
Scaly leg mites are a parasite that mostly attacks chickens with feathered legs.
So you must keep the chicken coop clean and have an area where the bird can take sand baths.
These two points will be enough to keep your chickens healthy and avoid these pesky parasites.
But, if you notice that scaly leg mites are attacking your bird, it is best that you go to the vet to treat it as quickly as possible.
Marek’s disease is caused by the herpes virus, which can be contagious to other birds. There is no cure for this disease, so it is best to prevent it.
Don’t crowd your birds, keep living conditions as healthy and hygienic as possible, quarantine newcomers, and even vaccinate your chicks against the disease.
This type of bird can be affected by lice due to its plumage.
If the feathers close, the crest begins to fall; this is a sign that the animal has lice as soon as you notice this type of issue, apply spray against lice.
The silkie chicken should take a bath from time to time; make sure to do it by hand; you can use some dog shampoo diluted in water. And after you finish with the bath, make sure to dry its plumage well.