Everything You Need to Know About the Silkie Chicken

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Known for its beautiful plumage and sweet personality, the Silkie chicken is one of the most popular ornamental chicken breeds today. Silkies have an incredibly friendly, pet-like personality, which, combined with their unusual appearance, adds to their appeal. They make great pets and are family-oriented birds, perfect for the backyard chicken keeper.

Origin of the Silkie

The exact origin of the Silkie chicken is partially a mystery - no one's really sure of when the chicken that we know today first originated. However, the breed may have begun in China, India, or possibly elsewhere in Asia. Somewhere, the Silkie was created, and the chicken gradually made its way into North America.

Cool fact: Silkies were written about by Marco Polo in the 13th century, who wrote of 'chickens with fur-like feathers' in logs from his Asian travels.  

Today, Silkies are present in North America, Asia, and Europe. Many breeders now focus their programs on developing and enhancing the unique characteristics of the Silkie chicken.

The Purpose of the Silkie Today

According to the expert resource Backyard Chicken Coops, Silkies are excellent mothers. These wonderful mothers are known for being broody hens and happily sit on a clutch of eggs until they're ready to hatch. "Many people also choose to keep silkies as they make such fantastic mothers, and will often sit on less maternal chickens eggs through to hatching- perfect if you're wanting to breed lots of baby chickens for many years to come." 

Silkie chickens are known for their black or dark blue skin and blue earlobes! This bantam breed is non-bearded with fantastic feathering. They lay eggs and are easy to breed and care for. You can free range these birds, as they are hardy despite their appearance. And they're calm and docile, too!

Some chicken keepers take Silkies to poultry shows and show off their beautiful chicken feathers. This breed of chicken is versatile and integrates well into a backyard situation. Whether you want to show these birds or just add some color and personality to your flock, Silkies make a great choice.

To learn more about this chicken breed, head over to the American Silkie Bantam Club.

Hover over the image for more information.

Body Image: Liz West via Flickr

Do you have a Silkie? Show us in the comments below!

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