Chinese Silkie Chicken Breed

Silky_bantam
Image above of White Silkie from Wikipedia

The Silkie is a unique breed of chicken. Although their place of origin is not definitely known, they made their first appearance in China. In fact, “Silkie” is actually a nickname. The full name for this fluffy breed is the “Chinese Silk Chicken”…

Silkie Chicken Temperament:

Silkies have very docile, mellow temperaments and are easy to handle. They are also just as soft and fluffy as they look. For this reason, they are wonderful hugging partners! The Silkies’ physical and character traits make them awesome pets and great around children and families. However, because of the Silkies’ unique feathering, they can’t fly and are more vulnerable to predators than some other breeds. They are also more susceptible to chill in cold, wet climates because their feathers do not repel water very well.

Silkie Breed Feather Color Variations

Silkies come in many feather colors including partridge, black, buff, white and blue. Some Silkies are even multicolored/spotted/patterned. 

Silkie Chicken Breed Genetics:

Silkies actually come in two different skin colors: Black and Blue/Purple. This is because Silkie chickens carry a gene that causes Fibromelanosis… Which basically means that they have an over-the-norm collection of melanin (a natural pigment) in their skin. Several breeds have this gene, including the rare Ayam Cameni and Kadaknath. 

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Image above of Partridge Silkie hen by Boris Bartels

Silkies have another gene that causes polydactyly (extra digits) in the toes. Most breeds that show signs of polydactyly in the feet also have it in the wings. However, Silkies have a unique genetic makeup that limits polydactyly to merely the toes. To put that in a more simplified form: Silkies have more toes than other breeds but retain their three digit wing formation, unlike other breeds with extra toes.

Silkie Chicken Breed Physical Characteristics

Silkies are generally small chickens. Silkie roosters weigh 4-5 pounds and hens weigh about 3-4 pounds. However, there is a Bantam version of the breed that is recognized in some countries. Acording to the American Standard of Perfection, Bantam Silkies should weigh aproximately 36 ounces (≈2-3 pounds) for the roosters and 32 ounces (≈1-2 pounds) for hens. However, The Australian Standard requires Silkie Bantams to be smaller (about 25 ounces for roosters and 20 ounces for hens).

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