Whether you are looking into sustainable living practices or just want some cute pets, silkie chickens will likely be a good choice for you. Silkies (also spelt silky) do not require much: a warm, weatherproof shelter; open space to wander during the day; other chickens for company; and food and water. For an easy way to start raising silkie chickens, buy day-old chicks. Order them online or get them at your local farmer's market, feed store or pet store. Expect up to six eggs a week from one chicken (once they start laying). Though, silkie meat is edible, the black bones of the bird often turn people away from consuming them.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Cardboard box or large plastic bin
- Wood shavings or rubber mat
- Water bowl
- Diatomaceous earth
Buy two to six young chicks.
Keep the chicks in a large bin for a few days, to keep them warm and to get them acclimated to their new home. Line the bin with a rubber mat or wood shavings.
Feed your new chicks a mash of carrot, apple, meat, corn meal and bran. Always have fresh water available for them.
Release the chicks from their bin and into their coop, after a few days. Be sure the coop has at least three square feet of space for each chicken and roosting spots no higher than three feet off the ground.
Keep fresh water, crumbled food and scratch available to your silkie chickens. They also like to eat vegetable scraps, grasses and lawn bugs. If your birds do not have much outdoor space, layer some grit on the floor of their coop. They will eat this to aid in their digestion.
Clean the coop regularly. Layer the floor with wood shavings and diatomaceous earth, a mineral dust that kills bugs naturally but is harmless to animals.
Tips and warnings
- If you live in town and do not plan on breeding your chickens, stick with female birds. The roosters crow early in the morning, and some continue throughout the day.
- Use chicken wire to line vented fences, so the chickens do not escape.
- Be sure to line the coop with plastic in the winter, to keep out cold drafts. Remember to leave some unwrapped areas for ventilation purposes.
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