5 Considerations Before Buying The Black Silkie Chicken

Black Silkie Chicken Featured Image
Black Silkie Chickens are beautiful poultry show birds that also lay around 100 to 150 white eggs per year. Growing just 2.5lbs, they aren't ideal for meat production but are aesthetically pleasing to have around and can compliment your manicured garden. 

When starting or expanding your brood of chickens, there are many key factors to consider when choosing a breed. Each chicken in your flock can serve a unique purpose whether that be for egg laying, raising chicks, or simply for their intriguing personality.

One such breed has grown in popularity for being versatile and for filling a variety of roles. Black Silkie Chickens have grown in popularity for several reasons, and in this article, we will take a look at 5 things to consider before deciding if Black Silkies are right for your coop.

1. “Silkie” Both in Their Origin and Feathers

Silkie Chickens are best known for their silk-like, fluffy plumage that covers the top of their head, which is likely where they get their name from. However, Silkies also originate from Southeast Asia, and most likely were traded to the West via the famous Silk Road network of trade routes.

The exact whereabouts of where Silkies were first created isn’t fully known, but the most accepted theory is that they originally come from China. India and Java are also potentially where Black Silkies originate from.

One of the first recorded sightings of Silkies in the West was by Marco Polo in 1298. He noted seeing a chicken with the hair of a cat and black skin while he was traveling through China. It’s also speculated that he might’ve been one of the first people to bring a Silkie chicken to the western world.

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Black silkie chicken with white chicken
Both the white and black silkie chicken have a long history

Silkies were eventually accepted into the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1874, after which they quickly grew in popularity amongst chicken breeders. Eventually, after becoming one of the most popular ornamental breeds of chicken in North America, The American Silkie Bantam Club was established in 1923.

2. Fascinating Physical Characteristics

The reason for the great popularity of the Black Silkie Chicken becomes obvious after just one glance. Silkies are both beautiful and curious looking birds, mostly due to their shock of head feathers that almost resembles a full head of hair or a big, fluffy pom pom. Their thick head feathers can also prove to be dangerous though, as Silkies have poor visibility of predators above them in the air such as hawks and eagles.

Black silkie chicken in coop
Black silkie chickens are simply beautiful to have around

Black Silkies have dark black feathering throughout their body, including their legs and feet. Silkies have a deep mulberry colored walnut-shaped comb, with similarly colored wattles. Silkies usually have dark grayish-blue colored earlobes with a dark gray beak. While our focus is on the Black Silkie, Silkies also come in a few other colors including partridge, buff, gray, blue, white, and gold.

Another unique physical trait of Silkies is their feet. Silkies have 5 toes due to a rare genetic mutation called polydactyly, which is fairly uncommon among breeds of chicken. Not only do they have the extra toes, but these toes are also covered in feathers.

Having fully feathered legs definitely adds to the silky appearance of these soft-feathered birds, but it also unfortunately can become a health risk. It’s recommended that the feet feathers are well groomed and the coop environment is kept sanitary to lessen risk of infection or other health issues. These feathers should also be kept dry in cold weather conditions to prevent frostbite.

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3. Egg Production and Broodiness

Black Silkie Chickens reach full maturity at about 19 weeks old. Roosters will grow to about 2.5lbs, while females will grow to be just 2lbs. Once fully mature, you can expect the following production which is about average for a bantam variety.

Egg Production150 per year
Time to First Lay19 weeks
Laying Span5 years
Egg ColorWhite or Cream
Egg SizeSmall

However, hens are known to become incredibly broody, which has the potential to reduce egg production as broody birds will want to start to hatch and raise chicks instead. Broodiness is one of the Silkie’s biggest strengths, as they are known to successfully raise 20 or more chicks at a time

Black Silkies will even help hatch and raise chicks of other varieties of chickens, and other poultry such as ducks and turkeys, which is particularly useful in a flock of several breeds. While most breeds of chicken are selectively bred to remove their broodiness, Silkies’ natural maternal instinct makes them great companions for young birds in a flock.

4. A Unique Culinary Color

Black Silkie Chickens are bantams, and so will always be on the smaller side when compared to other breeds. Despite not being able to yield a ton of meat because of their small size, Silkies are well known for having uniquely colored black flesh due to hyperpigmentation. They are in the Chinese fowl group known as wu gu ji (烏骨雞) which translates to, “black-boned chicken”.

Black silkie chicken meat
Their unique meat color makes them idea for Asian cooking

Their skin, bones, and meat are all much darker in color when compared to other breeds, which has led to them being seen as a delicacy. While the dark color doesn’t affect the meat’s flavor, it does allow for poultry dishes to have a unique presentation. Many Asian cuisines highly value Silkie meat. It is found as a staple ingredient in many Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese dishes.

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5. A Perfect Backyard Chicken and Friend

Black Silkies generally have a calm and friendly personality. They like to socialize and are known to be great pets and lap birds. This makes Silkies an ideal candidate for people who also have children that will be interacting with their flock. Because they are so docile, it’s possible that they might be bullied by more rowdy chicken breeds, so it is best to pair them with chickens that also have a calm demeanor.

Group of black silkie chickens
Black silkies will thrive in backyards with no predators

Silkies are highly talkative and love to follow you wherever you go. Their broody, maternal instinct translates to how friendly they are with people. While they shouldn’t normally be free-range due to them not being able to fly away from ground predators and also for the fact that they are often blind to predators above, Black Silkies do well as foragers as long as they are supervised and have a safe chicken coop to live in. 

Having Black Silkie Chickens around the farm or garden is a real treat. Their distinctive look paired with a loving personality makes Silkies an excellent addition to any flock or the perfect first bird for anyone just starting their chicken-raising journey.

Leland

Raised in Wisconsin, Leland has spent most of his life adjacent to the rich farmlands of the Midwest. He has visited many farms while exploring his home state, which eventually led him to work directly with farmers on a variety of projects. Between building furniture with Amish-milled wood and helping a local farmer construct a greenhouse, Leland developed a deep interest in homesteading and wants to one day have farmland of his own. Leland is able to combine his love of writing and recent passion for agriculture by writing articles focused on a variety of aspects of farming and homesteading.

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