Silkies are quite impressive. They have feathers that look like furs, greyish-blue skin, blue-black bones, a fifth toe, and a few common features with dinosaurs.
Despite their slightly odd appearance, these chickens are quite friendly and calm. They’re also fancy looking and enjoyable to watch. That’s why they quickly found their place to homes, backyards, roosters, and poultry shows.
Are Silkies Expensive?
The initial investment depends mainly on where you get the Silkies from and how far their pedigree can be certified. Show Silkies and ones approved by the NPIP naturally have the highest price tags. But they’re the ones you should get.
There are a bunch of look-alike varieties, so be especially careful with these. They might cost less at the outset, but they wouldn’t exhibit the same traits as a true Silkie. They would also cost the same amount of money for their breeding, but they wouldn’t sell for a good profit.
Silkies’ prices are constantly changing, of course, but here are a few figures you can use for guidance.
- You can get a hatchling or a chick for around $10.
- A hen that hasn’t started laying eggs would cost approximately $20.
- A hen that has just begun laying would sell for slightly more, mostly $25-$30.
- Male and female pair will cost about $35.00
- A prime-quality full-grown cockerel is worth around $40-$120.
- The quality of the bird will play an enormous factor in the price.
Whether you would like to get a few Silkies as pets or for farming, you’ll find everything you need to know about the cost of owning one.
But first, let’s take a closer look at this breed of chicken. Read this if you want to learn how to tame a Silkie.
What Exactly Are Silkies and Where Do They Come From?
Silkies, scientifically known as Gallus gallus domesticus, and occasionally referred to as La Soyeuse Poulet, are a unique breed of chicken.
These birds appeared in the writings of Marco Polo among his accounts of what he saw in Asia. The origins of the Silkies are thus attributed to China, India, and Java. In these accounts, Polo describes Silkies as ‘furry chicken’.
This is pretty much the first impression you’d get upon seeing a Silkie. Their feathers are extremely fine and fluffy that they look like fur.
What Is So Special About Silkies?
Pretty much everything about Silkies is unique. From the way they look to the way they behave. Their ancestry is also quite interesting, considering they have plenty of evolutionary features in common with dinosaurs!
Unlike other chicken, Silkies have soft plumage with deep candid colors.
According to their breed, you could find pristine white, deep black, grey, buff, or warm brown Silkies. You could also come across red or lavender Silkies, but they’re not too common. The color of the skin underneath is invariably a dark shade of greyish blue.
Silkies are subdivided into bearded and non-bearded varieties. The bearded ones have an extra bit of fur under their beaks, which extends sideways to their earlobes. Speaking of which, they do have earlobes, turquoise-blue ones!
These chickens don’t have much fat below their skins; thus, their weight is mostly muscle and bone. Another interesting feature of Silkies is their toes. While regular chickens have four toes in their feet, Silkies walk around with five toes.
The temperament of Silkies is also noteworthy. These fellows are easygoing and have a bright disposition. That’s why they’re raised as pets in many homes and how they get a wide presence in bird shows.
As mothers, they are quite dedicated and kind. When they lay an egg, they start brooding right away and patiently wait for the hatchling to come out.
They will even take care of another bird’s or duck eggs if it appears to be alone. Like I said, very maternal!
What Are the Benefits of Breeding Silkies?
There’s increasing attention to breeding Silkies, whether in farms or as individual growers. Here are some excellent reasons.
Poultry shows are highly respected events among breeders. And Silkies take a prominent part in these shows, owing to their beautiful appearance and cooperative demeanor.
The prizes are considered an honor and being granted the ‘best in class’ or the ‘best breed’ award is for breeders a dream come true. It earns them status in their societies, and if they’re part of a silkie breeding association, they get a bunch of extra points.
The unique good looks of Silkies certainly garner them a lot of attention. In addition to that, they’re docile and friendly. So it’s not surprising at all that keeping them as pets is getting more and more popular.
Of course, their care is far more elaborate than caring for a regular hen, but it’s not too overwhelming, especially if you compare it to raising dogs, cats, or even exotic pets.
Silkie breeders can build a business around growing and selling fine types of these beautiful hens. The ins and outs of how to make this endeavor financially rewarding are more and more common knowledge. And this invited many newcomers to start Silkie breeding ventures.
Silkie meats are dark, but not in the way duck or game meat is. It’s a bluish shade. And if that’s not different enough, there’s more. Their bones are blue-black, and their cavities are charcoal.
The meat is also rather hard, so it would need special cooking to be palatable.
As for the eggs, there isn’t a particularly plentiful supply to warrant commercializing. Silkies are naturally maternal, and when they lay an egg, they want it to hatch.
Silkie dishes aren’t a usual item in Western cuisines, but they’re a delicacy in China and several other Asian Countries.
Some cultures, especially in Asia, promote eating Silkie broth for medicinal reasons. The soup often contains other herbs and roots, and it’s served to new mothers immediately after having their babies.
Is Breeding Silkies Costly?
The initial cost of acquiring a fine breed of Silkies could be a bit much. But it’s essential to start with good-quality chickens from the outset. The real value of Silkies lies in the unique characteristics they possess. Otherwise, they’d be treated just like regular chickens.
It’s also essential to get a breed accredited or certified by the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP). This way, you ensure that you have a prime breed in your backyard.
You can start with an egg, a hatchling, a chick, or a full-grown bird. The best option is a youthful hen or cockerel, where you can check all the criteria of a fine breed. You can also see how healthy the Silkie is. It’s not as clear with an egg or a hatchling.
Silkies aren’t hard to care for. But they do need constant attention, proper nutrition, routine cleaning, and of course, veterinarian follow-up. Silkies get sick from time to time, they could get bugs occasionally, and they could even get depressed.
The initial investment of a good breed, plus the running cost of caring for Silkies, could easily add up to four figures per year. They’re not exactly run-of-the-mill poultry, so it’s not too surprising that breeding Silkies can get costly.
Why Are Silkies So Expensive?
Silkies have become more expensive because they are the most popular chickens people want to raise as pets. Many families are buying these this breed, because of their docile demeanor.
These chickens do really well with kids and if trained properly, they can live indoors.
Where to Buy Silkies?
It’s best to find a trustworthy vendor or breeder. Whether it’s a nearby vendor or an online one, you should get verifiable proof that these birds are worth having.
Bear in mind that these first birds would be the parents of your future flock. Check for visible defects, bugs, deformities, or general dullness. Even if you’re buying Silkie eggs, there are ways to check their integrity and health.
For commercial growing, a good-quality bird wouldn’t be too burdensome to breed and care for. Furthermore, it would be far easier to sell later on.
Here are some of the best places where you can buy a fine breed.
- Poultry shows
- Local farmers
- Local breeders
- Livestock auctions
- Online breeders’ forms
- Social media groups
What To Look For When Buying A Silkie Chicken?
When looking to buy a Silkie chicken, pay attention to the following features; five toes on each foot, tight wings, compact bodies, black skin, good round top hat.
They should have nice dark eyes, a nice full topknot, with an excellent-looking comb and wattle. The featuring should be shredded looking and in good shape.
A Silkie raised as a show bird will cost anywhere from $100 – $200 or more.
Is It Cheaper to Buy from A Breeder or Hatchery?
Most breeders will charge anywhere around $20 to $120 per bird. A quality farm-raised breeder will cost about 5-10 times more than a hatchery bird.
Hatcheries have a bigger selection of birds; therefore, you may pay less. If this if your first time owning chickens, buy them from a hatchery. You’ll save money and if you decide you like owning chickens, you can then buy some from a breeder.
If you’re buying one or two, then it’s not expensive getting a Silkie. However, if you’re planning on getting a larger flock, the factor could nudge the total price quite a bit. Also, taking care of these sweet birds is a bit costly.
They do, however, make for great pets, poultry-show contestants, and even commercial investments. I’d say they’re worth the price!