Silkies are undoubtedly one of the most, if not the most, gorgeous chickens alive. Their unusual physical appearance makes them seem almost alien-like, but it’s those qualities that make them a priced backyard animal.
If you’re planning to add several silkies to your coop, you might be wondering, “Are silkies good with other chickens?”
Are Silkies Good With Other Chickens?
Silkies get along nicely with other chickens and animals because of their calm and friendly temperament. Because of their small size and unique looks, many chickens may pick on them.
Before you try “mixing” different breeds together, you need to know what to watch for and how to protect your Silkies.
Stick around to read more about these beautiful creatures, including important factors to consider before mixing them with other chickens.
History and Origin of Silkies
The origin of silkie chickens, sometimes spelled silky, is shrouded in mystery. Most believe that these fowls originated from ancient China, hence the name “Chinese silkie chicken.”
Other experts, however, think that they came from Southeast Asia, primarily India and Java.
The first mention of a Silkie was found in one of Marco Polo’s journals. He wrote of a “furry” chicken he encountered during his travels in Asia during the 13th century.
Around 200 years later, Ulisse Aldrovandi, an Italian naturalist, published a treatise on chickens where he spoke of an odd “wool-bearing chicken.” He also described these fowls to have hair like that of a black cat.
It was also during this time that traders started selling these birds. To further increase their value, they made sure to surround their origins and appearance in myth and mystery.
Some of them claimed they were the impossible offspring of chickens and rabbits, while others took Aldrovandi’s words literally and said that they were, indeed, covered in cat hair.
Silkies were officially recognized in the American Standard of Perfection in 1874, the American Canine Association’s poultry version. Today, these fowls are considered one of the most sought-out ornamental breeds of backyard birds, alongside Polish chickens.
Physical Characteristics of Silkies
Silkies are well-loved for their many unique characteristics. Other than their physical features, their personality and life-cycle separate them from the rest of the species.
Silkies have pom-pom-like combs, oval-shaped turquoise earlobes, and feathers that closely resemble the texture of silk. This quality makes them very popular for being exhibited in poultry shows.
Like other chickens, silkies come in various colors, with the most common being white, gray, and patterns of cuckoos, partridge, and splash.
Unlike other chickens, silkies’ feathers lack barbicels, which are tiny hooks that keep a bird’s feathers smooth and straight. So, if you’ve ever wondered why they’re so fluffy, this is the reason!
Their feet are quite odd, as well. Other chicken breeds typically have four toes on the foot, but silkies have five. Feathers can also grow on their feet, which may be a problem if they frequently walk in muddy soils.
In general, silkies are relatively clean animals. They’d clean their feet feathers just like they do with those on their bodies.
Regardless, they need help from their owners from time to time to clean their feet to avoid clumping, bacteria, and any potential medical issues caused by dirt.
Most silkies are broad and stout with full breasts. They’re relatively small, as well, which is why they’re classified under the bantam, or miniature chicken, species. Most silkies are anywhere between 8 to 14 inches tall.
Another unique characteristic silkies have is that they have black skin and bones underneath their feathers, compared to other chickens with white or yellow. Their dark skin makes them a popular delicacy in Asian Cuisine, costing anywhere around $30 to $120 per fowl.
Personality and Temperament
Silkies are charming birds. They’re super sweet and good-natured, making them perfect backyard pets.
Their docile and calm persona makes them safe to be around children, even those who are incredibly young. This is why silkies are among the most common chickens for young children to play within petting zoos.
They’re a relatively quiet breed, too, only voicing their concerns when hungry or when they believe they’re in danger. Other than those two scenarios, they’re incredibly easy-going and laid-back chickens.
I’ve visited farms with silkies before, and many of them loved snuggling up close and sitting on my lap. Most chickens I’ve encountered are somewhat wary around humans, so silkies were a pleasant surprise!
Egg Laying Behavior
Silkies are extremely broody chickens. The silkie hens love to sit on eggs, even if they’re infertile, fake, or not theirs.
This is also why these fowls aren’t priced for their egg-laying habits. They’d lay only three or so eggs consistently every week. So, if you’re lucky, you’d get about 120 eggs in a year from a single hen.
Their eggs are relatively small, too, but they’re still quite delicious and nutritious!
Silkies Around Other Chickens and Animals
Because of their sweet and calm temper, silkies get along with other chickens and animals exceptionally well—even the roosters.
They don’t have a single aggressive bone in their bodies. Male Silkies are more aggressive, but only if they feel threatened.
You also won’t have to worry about them ending up on the lower end of the pecking order just because they’re smaller. They’re generally more submissive than other chickens, especially if you tame them. But this quality might seem quite endearing to other chickens.
The problem here isn’t if silkies get along with other animals; it’s if other animals get along with them.
Can You Mix Silkies With Other Breeds?
Silkies don’t pose any significant problems with other chickens, but the other chickens themselves might.
Other fowls might bully the silkies because of their passive attitudes and impeded vision. Therefore, it’s imperative to factor in several aspects before mixing your silkies with your other chickens.
Namely, the factors are your other chickens’ personality, appearance, and your coop space.
Some chicken breeds are more aggressive than others, but don’t let yourself be moved by stereotypes. It might not come as a surprise, but even the meanest chicken may get along with a friendly silkie.
The most important thing to should consider here is your chickens’ personalities. You know them more than anyone else does. If they get along with other chickens, pets, and young children, they’ll most likely get along with your silkie quite well, too.
Problems can occur if you have many chickens that look alike, like New Hampshire and Rhode Island Reds chickens, for example.
Chickens are big bullies, so they may pick on your silkies because of their “odd” appearance!
They may hurt the silkies by trying to “clean” their fluffy mop of hair or pulling off the large crest on their heads with the belief that they’re helping them look more presentable.
However, if you raise several chickens who look different from each other, there’s a big chance that they won’t bully your silkies because of their looks.
Some chickens might not like it when another chicken shares their space. Most chicken breeds get along with silkies, as long as there’s enough room for them to avoid each other.
It will be easier to get different breeds of chickens to live together when introduced as chicks. Once a chicken has lived with its kind for a while, it can take time for them to get used to a different breed.
Some breeds like the Malay, Cornish Chickens, Asil, etc., are considered some of the meanest chickens, especially the roosters. Never put your Silkies in with roosters, especially if you’re not sure how they will behave.
When putting older Silkies with a different breed, it will take time for them to get along, at least until they establish a pecking order.
What Chicken Breeds Get Along Best?
While Silkies can get along with any breeds, they will fare much better with the less aggressive birds. If the other birds are more prominent, you’ll want to make sure you watch them.
Aggressive birds can injure or even kill a Silkie with minimal effort. It just depends on the other bird’s temperament.
What If They Don’t Get Along?
It may take some time for all your chickens to get along. If you notice your chickens picking on your Silkies, you can try setting up a pen inside the chicken run and keep the Silkies in there.
Your Silkies will eat, sleep, and roost in their separate pen away from the rest of the flock, at least until you know if the other chickens will get along.
Let the Silkies out in the main chicken run, only when you can supervise them. Eventually, the other chickens will get used to being around the Silkies and will accept them as a part of the flock.
It may take several days, weeks, or even months before you can let your Silkies be with the regular flock without supervision.
Are Silkies Good With Other Animals?
Silkies have limited vision due to their fluffy crests, which may cause them to roam too close to predators and especially wary pets. They also don’t have a sense of impending danger like other chickens do, so you need to be careful when letting your silkie walk around your backyard.
It’s best to be cautious when your silkie is around other animals, no matter how big or small. It’s impossible to tell if your pup might go overboard while playing with them.
Silkies are good with other chickens, animals, and even children. Many people tame their Silkies so they can live inside.
Silkies are incredibly calm and well-tempered creatures, which makes them great backyard pets. Plus, they’re gorgeous! They certainly make for an interesting conversation with friends and neighbors.