Silkies are one of the most adorable and cuddly breed of chickens, and they tend to be quite easy to care for as well. If you are thinking about getting a Silkie as a family pet, you will be happy to know that it is the number one sought after chicken for families to raise.
Do Silkie Chickens Make a Good Family Pet?
Silkies make excellent pets for the whole family, and it isn’t unusual to see families owning multiple varieties of the Silkie breed. They make great companions and enjoy the attention.
If you are looking for a fluffy and cuddly family pet, the Silkie chicken breed might be the right chicken for you. Here’s what you need to know about why Silkie chickens make good family pets and how you can raise them to be a great companion.
Why do Silkies Make Good Family Pets?
Silkies are the best breed of chicken to own as a family pet. By comparison, not many other chicken breeds possess the soft, silkie plumage and enjoy coming indoors for your attention. There are a few reasons why Silkies make great family pets.
Can Serve You Breakfast
How many pets can you say serve you breakfast every morning? Silkie chickens will lay approximately 3 eggs a week. Their eggs are small, and come in various shades of off-white, depending upon the Silkie.
A Silkie will begin laying eggs at approximately 7 months of age and will continue to lay throughout her lifetime. She will generally only take a break from laying during a molt.
In the beginning of a Silkies laying cycle, the eggs produced may be just a little darker in color. As her laying cycle continues, the eggs will lighten in color.
Can You Eat Silkie Eggs?
Yes, you can eat eggs laid by a Silkie! A Silkie eggs nutritional contents is no different than farm fresh eggs laid by any other hen. They may be small, but they taste absolutely delicious!
Great with Children
Silkies are one of the few breeds that are excellent for the whole family, including children. They are an easygoing, calm, docile and kid-friendly breed.
Because of their small size, they are easy for a child to hold. They are also easy for a child to catch, because they can’t see as well due to their plumage often covering their sight of vision.
They will very willingly sit in a child’s lap to be pet, follow them around or sit beside them as they play in the yard.
Can Bring Indoors
Because of their small size, it is easy to bring them indoors for a little companionship. They will, without hesitation, sit on your lap while you are enjoying one of your favorite shows on television.
Just make sure that you allow your Silkie to enjoy the outdoors too. It needs to be able to enjoy the outdoors where it can get plenty of sunshine, grass, bugs and just be a chicken!
There are other chickens that will allow you to hold and pet them, but none compare to that of a Silkie. A Silkie’s plumage is so fluffy and soft, unlike that of any other breed.
Silkies seem to crave the attention. If you handle them often, Silkies can be quite affectionate!
Sit out in your yard often and watch your Silkie explore. Don’t be surprised if they hop up on your lap for some TLC.
Are Inexpensive to Keep
A 50# bag of feed should last quite awhile. A bantam Silkie adult chicken consumes about 1 – 1 1/2 lbs of chicken feed a week.
If you are allowing your Silkie to free range in your backyard, where it can eat bugs, worms, weeds and grass, as well as supplementing with fresh fruits and veggies, your bag of feed should last even longer.
Tip: Raise your own mealworms and feed them to your Silkie. You would have an unlimited supply and it will save you quite a bit of money!
Tip: Letting your Silkie free-range in your yard will also help cut costs on an exterminator because Silkies love to eat all kinds of bugs!
What type of Care Do Silkies Require?
Feed a Healthy Diet
Depending upon their age, Silkies require a different diet.
Young Silkie chicks, under 20-24 weeks, require a chick starter feed. You can pick this up from your local TSC or local feed store. You can get a 50# bag for around $21.
Once you see your Silkies first egg, it’s time to switch her over to a layers crumble or pellet. You can pick this up from your local TSC or feed store also. A #50 bag of this goes for around $17.
In addition to proper chick and chicken feed, you can also feed your Silkie fresh fruits and vegetables as well as providing some plain yogurt with live cultures on occasion.
Don’t forget the chicken treats! Chickens just LOVE their treats, but should only be given in moderation. Chickens enjoy both mealworms and crickets. Both you can get at your local feed store.
Make sure that you ALWAYS have fresh water available for your Silkie. During the hot weather, set out additional water bowls and bring them indoors in excessive heat.
Provide Shelter and Nesting Box
Silkies need to have a chicken coop to sleep in at night. It should be secure enough that it will protect them from predators attacking them at night.
You can either shut them in their coop or install an automatic chicken coop door that will close at dark on its own.
Silkies cannot fly, so they need perches that are low enough to hop up onto at night.
A nesting box does not need to be anything fancy. In fact, you can use a plastic dishwashing tub that you can find at your local dollar store. There are all kinds of chicken supplies that you can buy at the dollar store.
Spend Time With Them
The best way to form a bond with your pet Silkie is to spend time with them. This can be done in many different ways:
- Talk to them when you are feeding them.
- Handle them often.
- Let them sit on your lap.
- Hand feed them.
- Sit out in the yard with them.
- Let them out of their coop while you are working in the yard, so they can follow you around.
- Give them treats. There is nothing better than shaking a bag of treats and seeing your pet chicken(s) come running like crazy towards you!
The more time you spend with them, they will begin to view you as part of their “flock.”
If you want to bring your Silkie indoors from time to time, you will want to wash it to keep it clean. This can be done by giving your Silkie a bath. The more often you do this, the easier it will become for both you and your pet Silkie.
5 Steps to Giving Your Silkie a Bath
- Fill a shallow pan with lukewarm water and place your Silkie in it. This will help to loosen any chicken poop that may be stuck in between its 5 toes.
- Use a cup and gently pour lukewarm water over your Silkie, avoiding its eyes, nose and beak.
- Gently lather your Silke with baby shampoo.
- Use a cup to gently rinse off the soap.
- On a hot day, you can towel dry and let it run outdoors to complete drying. On a cold day, you can towel dry and use a blow dryer on the lowest heat setting. Or you can have it sit under a heat lamp.
What Varieties of Silkies Can I Choose From for a Family Pet?
White, Buff, Blue, Black, Partridge, Grey and Splash are the 7 different variety of Silkies that you can choose from and each of them is either “bearded” or “non-bearded.”
The only variety that is not recognized by the American Poultry Association, APA, is the Bearded Splash Silkie.
Bearded vs. Non-Bearded
Bearded Silkies face is completely covered in their silky, fluffy feathers, including their “beard” area. Hence the term, “bearded silkie.” The only thing you can see popping out is their tiny little beak.
Non-bearded Silkies still have the fluff on top of their head, but no fluff in the face. You can see their turquoise ears, face and wattles.
Choosing a Silkie
So, what color Silkie do you want; black, white, buff, blue, grey, partridge or splash? All varieties of Silkies, both bearded and non-bearded, have the same temperaments. If you are having a hard time deciding, just get one of each!
Chickens are social creatures and do not like to be left alone. I would highly recommend that you get more than just one. In fact, it is best to get at least three, just in case one passes away.
Enjoy Every Moment with Your Silkie
Silkies make a wonderful pet for the entire family. They live about 9 years and can live even longer if you feed it a healthy diet, provide it with a secure shelter. They make a wonderful companion. You will absolutely love spending time with them!