Are Silkie Chickens Good For Beginners?

Raising chickens can be confusing. There are so many chicken breeds, and every enthusiast promotes their favorite breed, which makes a choice even harder. When starting with chickens, most people want an easy breed that is not too challenging. They often consider silkie chickens but are they good for beginner chicken keepers?

Silkie chickens are good-natured, friendly birds that are easy to handle and love to cuddle. They make good pets as they are docile enough for children to handle. Silkie chickens need some extra care in terms of keeping warm and dry. Apart from this, they are pretty hardy and make excellent mothers. 

Potential chicken keepers are attracted to silkie chickens because of their appearance and size. However, chicken keepers must understand some care requirements when keeping Silkie chickens.

Do Silkie Chickens Have Good Temperaments For Beginners?

Silkie chickens are one of the most compliant chicken breeds you can get. They are friendly, easily tamed, and enjoy human interactions. 

Silkie chickens are popular as pets. This breed does not have commercial use; instead, people keep them as pets.

Silkie chickens are popular with families that have children. These mild-mannered chickens are happy to sit on a lap or even a shoulder and be stroked and petted. 

Some people have even used silkie chickens as therapy pets. They visit nursing homes or children’s hospitals. 

Some chicken owners teach their silkie chickens tricks and may enter talent competitions with them.  

Are Silkie Chickens Easy To Handle?

Silkie chickens are small, making them easy to handle for beginner chicken keepers. However, larger chicken breeds may require a fair amount of strength and technique to handle.

Silkie chickens generally weigh about three to four pounds (1.4 to 1.8kg), although some maybe even less than this.

Do Silkie Chickens Peck You?

Silkie chickens are unlikely to peck or bite you. They may accidentally peck your hand if you are offering treats, but their beaks are small, and it is not painful. This makes them suitable for children and first-time chicken keepers. 

Silkie hens become broody easily and make excellent mothers. However, if you try to lift them off a nest or interfere with their babies, they will peck your hand. This peck will have more force and is designed to make you pull your hand away. 

Are Silkie Roosters Aggressive?

Silkie roosters are not usually aggressive to people. It is almost unheard of for a silkie rooster to attack humans.  

They are, however, noble defenders of their flock and, despite their tiny size, will take on any threatening predators. 

Silkie roosters may also be intolerant of other roosters if the number of hens are limited or kept in a small enclosure. Fighting between roosters will be almost guaranteed in these living conditions. 

You can keep more than rooster together if there is a lot of space and hens for the roosters to share. 

Do Silkie Chickens Need Special Housing?

Silkie chickens are typically quite hardy birds, but their Achilles heel is that their feathers are not waterproof. 

Chickens and birds have barbs on their feathers that hook the feathers together, making the feathers waterproof. Chickens’ feathers are not as waterproof as ducks’, but they can survive a light rain shower. 

Silkie feathers lack the barbs that make the feathers function as a unit. This gives the silkie its fluffy appearance but, at the same time, eliminates any waterproof qualities from the plumage. 

Silkie chickens do not survive getting wet and cold. Therefore, they need protection from rainy or snowy weather. The coop should not have any leaks and should allow the silkies to keep warm out of drafts.

Frizzle silkies have curly feathers, making them even more susceptible to wet, cold conditions. In addition, their feathers curl away from the body, making it impossible for the feathers to retain body heat. 

A well-built, secure coop that allows the birds to escape bad weather conditions is essential if you want to keep silkie chickens. 

Additionally, silkie chickens need adequate space and a place to roost and nest boxes in the coop. They also need a safe place to scratch and forage for food outside the coop.

Are Silkies More Prone To Parasites?

Silkie chickens have feathers on their legs, making them a perfect location for leg mites. These mites burrow under the scales of the legs, causing inflammation and itchiness, and can make the bird lame. 

Silkie chickens’ feathers allow mites, lice, ticks, and other parasites to access the skin while hiding under the feathers easily. These pests can carry disease and result in anemia from blood loss with heavy infestations. 

It is essential to check your silkie chickens for parasites. Keeping the chicken coop and run clean will help to prevent parasitic infestations. 

Are Silkie Chickens Vulnerable To Predators?

Predators are always on the prowl for an easy meal. Keeping chickens often attracts predators as they are an easy target. 

Silkie chickens are more prone to predation because of their small size. Therefore they are at risk from some of the smaller raptors and the big ones. 

Silkie chickens cannot fly at all due to the arrangement of their plumage. This inability means escaping from predators on the ground is difficult. 

Chickens are not usually strong fliers but can fly up to roost or hide in tree branches if necessary. Unfortunately, silkie chickens do not have this defense, making them exceptionally vulnerable to land-based predators. 

Silkie chickens have a wide range of colors, but the most common color is white. White chickens of all breeds are more prone to predation because they are so easy to see from a distance.  

Vaulted Silkies Are Challenging For Beginners 

Some silkie chickens are bred with vaulted skulls. This is a genetic abnormality where the skull does not fuse properly in the midline. 

There is an opening in the middle of the skull. The breeders who choose to breed this fault do so to try and make the silkie’s crest puff up more.

It is dangerous for the bird’s health, and these silkie chickens are seldom long-lived. A knock on the head or being pecked by another bird can cause the death of a Silkie. This is because of the bird’s vaulted skull. 

It is best to avoid purchasing silkies chickens with vaulted skulls, especially if you are a beginner. 

Final Word

Silkie chickens are suitable for beginners as they have good temperaments and are generally hardy birds. However, the new chicken keeper must ensure they have a warm, dry coop. In addition, you must clean it regularly to avoid any problems from parasites and inclement weather. 

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