Uses: A very persistent broody, ornamental, exhibition.
Origin: Asia. Eggs: 100-120 Tinted or Cream.
Weight: Cock: 1.8 Kg.Hen: 1.36 Kg.
Colours: Black, Blue, Gold, Partridge, White, in Standard or Bearded (Standardised).
Useful to Know: Silkies are very persistent boodies, so good, sometimes they will not eat and require regular removal from the nest to make sure they get fed. They require sheltered runs since they will not cope so well with very hot, cold or wet / muddy conditions.
Silkies appear in two distinct varieties: Bearded and Non-bearded. Bearded Silkies have an extra muff of feathers under the beak area that covers the earlobes. They also are separated according to color. Colors of Silkie recognized for competitive showing include Black, Blue, Buff, Grey, Partridge, and White. Alternative hues, such as Cuckoo, Lavender, Red, and Splash also exist. The standards of perfection call for all Silkies to have a small Walnut Comb, dark wattles, and turquoise blue earlobes. In addition to these defining characteristics, Silkies have five toes on each foot. Other breeds which exhibit this rare trait include the Dorking, Faverolles, and Sultan.
All Silkies have black skin, bones and grayish-black meat; their Chinese language name is wu gu ji, meaning “black-boned chicken”. Melanism which extends beyond the skin into an animal’s connective tissue is a rare trait, and in chickens it is caused by fibromelanosis, which is a rare mutation believed to have begun in Asia. The Silkie and several other breeds descended from Asian stock possess the mutation. Disregarding color, the breed does not generally produce as much as the more common meat breeds of chicken.
Silkies lay a fair number of cream-colored eggs, but production is often interrupted due to their extreme tendency to go broody; a hen will produce 100 eggs in an ideal year. Their capacity for incubation, which has been selectively bred out of most fowl bred especially for egg production, is often exploited by poultry keepers by allowing Silkies to raise the offspring of other birds. In addition to being good mothers, Silkies are universally renowned for their calm, friendly temperament. They do well in confinement, and interact very well with children. This docility can cause Silkies to be bullied by more active or aggressive birds when kept in mixed flocks.
The Silkie bantam is a miniature variety of the Silkie, which is similar to the large Silkie in almost every way, except for size. In some countries, the Silkie bantam is the only or more common variety of Silkie, such as North America, where the bantam variety is the most popular. However in Australia the Silkie bantam is almost unknown, despite being standardised.