How to Care For Silkie Chickens

Three Parts:Preparing the HousingFeeding SilkiesProviding for Other Needs

Silkies make great pets and their fluffy feathers have gotten them the name 'silkie chickens'. Although most silkie owners would say they don't lay many eggs, they are great brooders and great for show! If your interested in getting yourself a few silkie hens, you just need to know how to care for them.

Part 1
Preparing the Housing

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    Provide suitable housing before you bring your silkies home. Because silkies are quite small and are considered bantams, they don't need a large amount of space like a standard chicken but it's always great to give them plenty of room to roam!
    • Silkies can be housed in a garage, shed or in a simple chicken coop. Just make sure the housing is spacious enough so that you can clean it, collect the eggs, catch the chickens when necessary and so that the chickens have room to roost, lay, nest and wander around.
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    Decide whether your silkies will stay inside the coop permanently or be let outside during the day. If you are going to raise your silkies inside the coop then it does have to be bigger than usual due to the fact that the silkies will be living there for the rest of their lives. You could also purchase a coop with a run if you wanted to.
    • The benefits of letting your silkies outside during the day are that they will be happier and healthier, they'll eat your bugs and provide fertilizer for your plants, most of their diet is made up from the stuff inside the ground and grass and you won't need to spend lots of money on a larger coop or chicken run.
    • The disadvantages of letting your silkies outside during the day are that there is a possible chance of them getting attacked by predators, they could escape and get lost, you would have to keep an eye on them constantly and they can get very dirty, especially during winter and autumn.
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    Add bedding to the coop. There are many bedding available for silkies but the most recommended and common choice is to add wood shavings as the bedding. Wood shavings If you'd prefer something else, try sawdust, newspaper shredding, straw, hay, sand or pine needles.
    • Be aware that some beddings are better than others, e.g. wood shavings are very absorbent whilst hay isn't and sand is easy to clean but isn't a common choice as chicken owners have had many problems with using sand as their bedding.
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    Add a few other items to the coop. This includes a water container, a feeder, some perches and some nesting boxes (one per each chicken). If you have silkie chicks you should purchase a water feeder rather than filling a container up with water as there is a possible chance the chicks will fall in and drown.
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    Make sure the coop is predator proof. Silkies cannot defend themselves and all the fluff around their heads can cause them to not see well which is why you have to make sure the coop is predator proof or at least invest in a predator proof coop.
    • Silkies also need ample shelter to protect them from the harsh weather such as rain, hail, snow, wind and they also need a shady and cool spot to protect them from the sun during summer. If it gets really cold during winter consider adding a heat lamp in their coop so that they can stay warm.

Part 2
Feeding Silkies

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    Provide some feed in your silkies feeder. The amount of feed depends on the size of the flock and the type of feed depends on what you are keeping your silkies for such as eggs, meat or breeding. Here are some different types of feed:
    • Layer pellets. When your silkies begin laying they can be fed layer pellets to help them lay hard eggs. You can also supply them with crushed oyster shells or crushed egg shells if their eggs turn soft.
    • Finisher diet. This is for meat chickens and should be fed for six weeks until slaughter. Chicks should be fed a broiler starter instead of a chick starter if you want to keep them for meat.
    • Silkies kept as simple pets can be fed layer pellets or a normal chicken feed which gives them a balanced diet. You could also consider giving them grit which helps them digest their food. However, grit is not needed if your chickens are free-range (live on grass).
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    Feed your silkies a limited amount of treats. Silkies love table scraps, fruits, vegetables, bugs and seeds. Silkies can be fed just about anything like pasta, rice, watermelon, cooked potato, broccoli, fish, cucumber, cooked egg, bread and they go crazy for meal worms!
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    Provide water for your silkies at all time. The water containers must be filled with fresh water daily and they should be cleaned at least once a week. It's also good to have more than one water container if you have a large flock.

Part 3
Providing for Other Needs

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    Collect your silkies eggs. Eggs should be collected every day with a soft basket or something alike. Be careful when collecting the eggs as they are fragile and one drop means a small mess!
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    Keep your silkies away from aggressive hens. A hard peck to the head can cause a severe injury. Silkies heads are vulnerable as they have a soft tissue which is why you should keep an eye on them if you think they are housed with any aggressive hens or roosters.

Things You'll Need

  • Silkies
  • Housing
  • Bedding
  • Water container
  • Feeder
  • Chicken Feed
  • Treats
  • Soft basket

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