Avian Expert Articles

Meet The Silkie Chicken

silkie chickensNot too long ago, we found an unusual parakeet with a fluffy plumage. They are called Feather Dusters. The overgrowth of feathers is caused by a mutation that is rare but it does occur frequently enough to be notable. Overgrowth of feathers and plumage is not unique to the parakeet, however. There is a chicken that shares that overabundant trait as well — the Silkie.

The Silkie chicken has a plumage that is characterized as silky soft and furry to the touch with an extreme amount of feathers that might throw you off if you were to see one. It’s uncommon for farmers to raise these creatures, although a role is often employed as a main focus for their being in a farmyard. This bird is labeled by professional designation as ornamental. Little is known about the origin of the Silkie chicken, but they are thought to have originated in China many centuries ago. There is documentation of mention concerning “furry chickens” as early as the 14 the century.

Distinguishing Features

Their physical makeup is an incredible mix of odd. Not only do they possess the fluffy feather covering all the way to their feet, they also sport black combs, have fluffy crests (like pom-poms), and, amazingly, have black skin (and it’s said, black bones), as well as striking blue ear lobes. But there are other anomalies present. The Silkie chicken has five toes as opposed to the four toes typical of most chickens.

Weight-wise, the male Silkie often weighs in at 4 pounds, while the female is just 3 pounds. Silkies are found in a variety of visually pleasing colors, even orange-red.

Silkie Behavior

Silkie chickens have a soft demeanor that distinguishes them from other chickens. They are noted as being lovable, calm, and friendly, both male and female. For this reason, although not advised, the Silkie chicken has been adopted as an inside pet by some. Because they thrive in flocks, this practice is often discouraged by many pet proponents.

Unfortunately, along with a unique appearance, the Silkie chicken is susceptible to a malady called Marek’s Disease, a viral attack that affects the chicken in multiple ways, including neurological impacting. It’s so contagious that if one in the flock contracts the disease, it can be assumed that the entire flock has been infected by the untreatable virus. Diseases and abrupt deaths aside, the average life-span of Silkie chickens is seven to nine years.

Backyard keepers like to have these beautiful and unusual creatures walking about as they easily add a visual touch of class to otherwise common chicken. The female of these beautiful chickens are considered brood friendly. They often fawn over eggs that are not their own and bring

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