Silkie chickens are a popular breed of chicken that make great additions to any flock. Chicken farmers and avid chicken pet owners alike have vouched for their friendly and social behavior, their brooding role within flocks, and their overall furry-feathered appearance. If you are looking for a friendly addition to your backyard flock, you surely won’t find yourself regretting the addition of a Silkie chicken.
Can Silkie Chickens Live Alone?
Owning a Silkie chicken without a flock can cause their mental health to deteriorate. Like other species of chicken, Silkie chickens should not live alone for extended periods.
Like other types of chickens, Silkies thrive best when they have a group of chickens where they can flock together for company, warmth, and comfort.
However, if you are just getting your flock started, or your flock has decreased in size either from natural causes or the inevitable predator, your chicken will be fine, until you get more of them.
If you have this breed, be sure to check out our article on Can Silkies Live Outside In The Winter.
Does a Silkie Chicken Need a Flock?
Silkie chicken, like all chicken, are flock animals. This means that they live within a group of chickens in which everyone plays a specific role.
Flocks work as a little community where chickens can recognize their role within their flock and other flock members’ role. Each chicken plays a role within its flock that both satisfies natural instincts and facilitates good mental health.
One of the main reasons why Silkie chickens make such great additions to a flock is that they have a very docile nature. They are not an aggressive breed and will assist the rest of the flock in both hatching and raising their chicks.
In fact, some poultry farmers will add Silkies to a flock specifically for their brooding qualities. Silkies love to brood and will even hatch duck eggs.
Are Silkie Chickens Social Birds?
Chickens in general, are social animals and have a much more complex social network than previously thought.
Not only does being in a flock and the role they play satisfy instinctual behavior, but it also gives them a sense of self within the social and hierarchal dynamic within a flock.
Without a flock for too long, your chicken is essentially denied this and can become stressed or depressed.
Being in a flock also allows them to meet their emotional needs through physical acts such as roosting or sunbathing. These behaviors of physical closeness act to strengthen the bond between the roosting or sunbathing chicken so that they form their own little clique within the flock.
Why is it Important to Meet Their Social Needs?
Silkie chickens are emotional creatures and require socialization to remain emotionally healthy.
There is a common misconception that chickens are dumb with no emotion, but the truth is, that’s just to make us feel better about going out for wing night.
Recent studies have shown quite the opposite to be true and that chicken will make decisions based on emotional factors. Plainly put, your chicken has feelings. Feelings in which social isolation can have a devastating effect on.
What Happens if a Silkie Chicken Lives Alone?
Being a flock animal, if left to live alone for too long, your Silkie’s mental health will begin to deteriorate over time, which in extreme cases can even lead to their death.
The feeling of loneliness that a chicken gets when left without a flock for too long can result in stress. This stress ends up compromising their immune system, can decrease egg production, cause your Silkie to molt their wonderfully fur-like feathers, and make your Silkie susceptible to gastrointestinal diseases.
Because living alone compromises their mental, emotional, and physical health, it is important for you to keep your Silkie socialized and in a flock to maintain overall health.
If your Silkie is alone for whatever reason and you’re wondering if you need to get them a friend. You’ll find it won’t take long for you to notice that your Silkie may not eat as much or is much more lethargic than usual.
If this is the case, it’s time to get them a friend sooner rather than later.
Introducing new chickens can be stressful, but Silkies get along with most chickens. Finding the right chickens for Silkies is a time-consuming endeavor, so the sooner you get them a friend, the better.
How Do You Introduce Your Silkie to New Flock Members?
If you find yourself needing to build up your Silkie chickens social bubble, there are a few things to consider before bringing in a new family member.
Introducing a New Chicken is Stressful
Any changes in your chicken’s housing, including added companionship, can be stressful for your chicken.
Remember, your chicken has feelings, and those feelings can, of course, be hurt if they see your attention shifting to the newcomer.
The addition of a new chicken also means a new pecking order will be established.
With Silkies being a rather docile breed, they are usually low on the pecking order, but as the two acquaint themselves, an adjustment period can be stressful for all involved.
Keep Your Chicken Separated
This is the time-consuming part. When you introduce your chicken, you will want to keep them enclosed in separate areas.
Not only does it help prevent the physical harm that the pecking part of establishing a pecking order entails, but it also prevents the spread of disease.
According to the Center for Disease Control, introducing a new chicken can pose a health risk to both you and your chicken.
For that reason, when introducing a new chicken to the mix, it is better to keep them separated for thirty days.
This way, you can monitor the new chicken and ensure your attempt at providing your chicken with a friend doesn’t compromise their health in other ways.
Take Their Temperament into Consideration
If you are looking to provide your Silkie with some much-needed companionship, you will want to make sure to keep their friendly and docile temperament in mind.
Although all chickens are social creatures, there are aggressive breeds of chicken that may not be ideal for pairing up with your Silkie.
At times, aggressive chickens will pick on your Silkie, with your Silkie generally being on the bottom of the pecking order.
So, when it comes to providing your Silkie with a new friend, do your research to make sure you provide them with the ideal company and steer clear of any aggressive breeds.
Like all chicken breeds, Silkies are social creatures and require other chickens for companionship, comfort, company, and warmth. Having more than one chicken will comfort your Silkie when they are feeling stressed or frightened.
Silkies make great companions for any chicken, but not all breeds can live with Silkies.
However, if you are just getting your flock started, or your flock has decreased in size either from natural causes or the inevitable predator, your Silkie will be fine for a few days.
Just make sure you get them some companionship before their mental health starts to deteriorate!