Special caring for silkie chickens is very important, because silkie chickens are the most popular and beloved ornamental chicken breed. These birds are named as ‘Silkie’ mainly because of their typically fluffy plumage (which is said to feel like silk). The plumage of these birds are hair-like, which is considered as actual mammalian fur. Today, the silkies are very popular as pets, but they actually don’t lay too many eggs. But they are great brooders and also great for show. They are also one of the most entertaining birds to watch. However, if you need to raise some of these beautiful birds then you must have to know the steps for proper caring for silkie chickens. Here we are describing more about caring for silkie chickens.
A suitable house is a must for raising silkie chickens. So prepare the house properly before bringing these birds home. The silkies are relatively smaller in size as compared to other common chicken breeds. And they don’t require a large amount of space like the standard chicken breeds. But providing plenty of room is a great idea for keeping your birds happy. You can build or purchase a simple chicken coop. Just ensure that the house is spacious enough for cleaning it properly, collecting the eggs and also for catching the birds when necessary. Also ensure the birds have enough space to room, lay eggs and also for wandering around.
Also consider whether you want to keep the birds inside always or want to let them outside during the day. The house need to be large enough if you want to raise the birds inside the coop always. Ready-made chicken coop is also available with a run. And the house can be pretty small if you are planning for keeping them outside during the day. The birds will be happier and healthier if you can let them outside during the day. The birds will eat the bugs and provide fertilizer for your plants if you keep them outside.
Bedding is a must for the silkie chickens. There are many bedding materials available, so add bedding to the coop. Wood shavings is very good as bedding for the silkie chickens. You can also consider straw, sawdust, hay, sand, newspaper shredding, pine needles etc. Remember, not all the bedding materials are same and some beddings are better than others. For example, wood shavings are very absorbent but the hay isn’t. Sand is easy to clean but isn’t a common choice (because chicken owners generally face many problems with using sand as their bedding).
Feeder and Waterer
Add adequate number of feeder and water container as per the number of chickens. Purchasing a water feeder rather than filling a container up with water will be good, because there is a possible chance the chicks will fall in and drown.
Keep some nesting boxes inside the coop for your silkies. Keeping one box per chicken will be good if your raise your silkies as pets.
Ensure Suitable Environment Safe from Predators
For raising silkie chickens, you must have to keep them safe from predators. Because the silkies can’t defend themselves and all the fluff around their heads can cause them to not see well which is why you have to ensure the coop is predator proof or at least in a predator proof coop. The silkies also need protection from the harsh weather (such as snow, hail, wind and rain). And they also need a shade and cool place for protecting themselves from the sun during the summer season. Also consider adding a heat lamp inside the coop during the winter season so that the birds can stay warm.
Proper and adequate feeding is main consideration for caring for silkie chickens. The amount of feed depends on the type of feed and also on the size of your flock. There are different type of feeds available depending on the purpose (such as meat, eggs or breeding) of keeping silkie chickens. You can feed your birds with layer pellets when they begin laying. Finisher feed is used for producing meat, and this food should be fed for 6 weeks until slaughter. And feeding the chicks with broiler starter instead of a chick starter will be good if you want to keep the birds for meat.
You can feed your silkies with layer pellets or normal chicken feed if you keep them as simple pets. Such food will give them a balanced diet. Providing grit is also good for the silkies, because grit helps the birds to digest their good. Although free-range chickens don’t require grit.
Feeding the silkies with a limited amount of treats will be good. Silkies generally love table scraps, bugs, seeds, fruits and vegetables. The pet silkies also can be feed just about anything like fish, cucumber, cooked eggs, rice, pasta, cooked potato, watermelon, broccoli, bread etc. The silkies actually go crazy for meal worms.
Ensure availability of sufficient amount of fresh and clean water for your silkies. You should fill the water containers with fresh water daily. And you should clean the container at least once a week.
Tips and Warnings
- Call or take your birds to a vet if you notice any signs of illness (such as loss of appetite, depression, sneezing or abnormal stool).
- Keep an eye on your flock for aggressive behavior and separate the chickens who are not getting along. Generally chickens in a flock can harm one another when they experience dominance issues.
- For preventing fire in the coop clear any bedding, cobwebs or debris from around the heat lamp or any electrical device.
- Consider using heat lamps during the winter season depending on the temperature. This will help to keep your birds warm. Heat lamps will also help to keep water in the coop from freezing.
- Try to keep your coop well ventilated. Ensure adequate water supply during the summer season for preventing dehydration.
- Replace all the bedding in case of a mite infestation. Also sprinkle diatomaceous earth in the fresh bedding for eliminating fleas, mites and lice.
- Due to the smaller size, the silkie chickens might benefit from using smaller grit.
- Ensure your birds are safe from all types of predators.