How to care for silkie chickens

Written by laura heilman
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How to care for silkie chickens
Silkie from Fawkes' Feather Silkies (Deb Steinburg)

Silkie bantams are a small and delightful breed of chicken. Due to a lack of barbicels that normally hold a feather together, the silkie has soft feathers that resemble a silky fur. Best known for its unique and beautiful feathering, the silkie chicken is also valued for its gentle disposition. Care for the silkie chicken is similar to that of other chickens, although their diminutive size and inability to fly require special attention to feeding and sheltering them.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Layer crumble chicken feed
  • Mash ingredients
  • Grit or grit feed
  • Chicken coop
  • Pine shavings
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Avian pest control spray

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  1. 1

    Feed your silkie chickens layer crumbles. Often the pellets are too large for silkies to eat. You can feed them a mash made of bran, grated apple and carrot mixed with meat meal and a little vegetable oil once or twice a week. Toss out table scraps such as vegetables and bread for your chickens.

  2. 2

    Provide your silkie chickens with grit in their coop if they are rarely free-range. You can collect small, angular stones for the grit, or you can purchase grit feed from a feed store.

  3. 3

    Provide a secure, predator-proof coop for your silkie bantams with at least 3 sq. ft. per chicken. Include a roosting house with roosts no higher than 3ft. from the ground.

  4. 4

    Clean your silkie's coop at least once a month, using fresh pine shavings on the floor. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth everywhere, except around food and water, to control fleas, lice and mites.

  5. 5

    Check your silkie chickens every week for mites and lice. If you notice pests on your chickens, use an avian pest-control spray on the chickens. Spray again in a week. According to Deb Steinburg of Fawkes' Feather Silkies, "the best prevention for mites is to keep your birds in a clean environment and check them frequently."

  6. 6

    Provide fresh water for your silkie chickens, and scrub out the water pan every week. Keeping their water supply fresh and readily available is one of the most important aspects of chicken care, because chickens can easily get dehydrated .

Tips and warnings

  • During the winter season, consider putting plastic up around the coop to keep your silkie chickens warm. Put a warming light bulb over the water to keep it from freezing.
  • Keep your coop well ventilated and the water supply full during the summer months to prevent dehydration.
  • Take your silkie chicken to a veterinarian if you notice signs of illness, such as abnormal stool, sneezing, depression or loss of appetite.
  • Keep an eye on your flock for aggressive behaviour, and separate the chickens who are not getting along. Chickens in a flock can harm one another when they are experiencing dominance issues.

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