Fun Silkie Facts For Kids

Nena Singha
Jan 19, 2023 By Nena Singha
Originally Published on Sep 07, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Check out these awesome Silkie facts.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.5 Min

The Silkie chicken, also known by the names of the Chinese Silkie, bearded Silkie, or the bantam Silkie, is a type of furry chicken breed whose name typically comes from its soft, fluffy, and smooth plumage. The chicken has silk-like feathers that have unusual qualities in its characteristics and appearance. The chicken was first documented by Marco Polo, described as a white Silkie with black-blue earlobes and five toes instead of four. They are a domesticated breed used for poultry farming, egg production, and poultry shows and come in a wide range of colors. They have a calm demeanor and are broody, caring for their younger ones but the hens are not good egg-layers. Due to their friendly behavior, they are often targeted by more aggressive birds and predators. 

If you like reading about chicken breeds, then check out our peahen facts and moorhen facts right here on Kidadl!

Silkie Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Silkie?

The Silkie is a type of bird from the family of Phasianidae under the animal kingdom.

What class of animal does a Silkie belong to?

The Silkie chicken belongs to the Aves class of animals under the genus Gallus from the family Phasianidae.

How many Silkies are there in the world?

The exact number of Silkie chickens is unknown, but taking into account that the average estimated population of chickens is 25.9 billion, it can be said that Silkies have a stable population.

Where does a Silkie live?

As far as the origin of the Silkie chicken goes, it is a fur-like chicken originating from Southeast Asia and most probably from China. Thus, they are found in abundance in the Asian countries of China, India, and Indonesia. Later on, as they were transported to North America, they are now found in North America and Europe in various farms and backyards for commercial use, or even as pets. 

What is a Silkie's habitat?

The Silkie chicken is a domesticated breed so they are often found in backyards and farms where they are raised and incubated for their offspring for commercial use. With the help of the domestication methods, their natural habitats have changed into human settlements where they are reared and kept all their lives. 

Who do Silkies live with?

Silkie chickens are some of the most friendly and docile breeds of chicken due to which they are quite sociable birds who usually live with their own flock of chickens and with humans. However, since they are this friendly-natured breed of chickens, they are often victims of aggressive predators and flock that do not exhibit the same kind of social behavior. 

How long does a Silkie live?

The average life expectancy range of a Silkie chicken is estimated to be about seven to nine years.

How do they reproduce?

The mating characteristics of Silkie chickens are quite unusual where the roosters usually display a type of courting ritual by prancing around the female and clucking at her. Being poor egg-layers, the Silkie chickens require a bit of time every now and then for a successful mating process. 

Copulation is not always required as the females can store the sperm in their bodies for at least a couple of weeks and sometimes much longer. One rooster is capable of easily mating with eight or a dozen hens while keeping all of them fertile. Silkie hens lay an average of 100-120 eggs annually which results in two to three eggs in a week, which is quite low in comparison to other breeds of chickens. Their eggs are whitish-cream in color. 

What is their conservation status?

Since Silkie chickens are domesticated, their conservation status is listed as Domesticated. Also, due to their high population rate and stable population trend, they can also be listed as of Least Concern. 

Silkie Fun Facts

What do Silkies look like?

Fun Silkie Facts For Kids

Silkie chickens are some of the most unusual-looking chickens with their crested heads that can be compared with pom-poms, similar to polish chickens, often like walnuts, and are circular in shape. Their feathers can range from black to dark mulberry or to any other color if they are not purebred. The chickens have an oval-shaped turquoise blue earlobe with dark-colored wattles. Their beak is short with a broad base and is usually gray or blue. Their eyes are black while their bodies are broad and stocky. They have a short back and their breasts are full. They have five toes instead of four unlike other chickens, which are feathered as well. The legs are wide, short, and gray in color. 

The feathers do not have any barbicel or hook to hold the feathers together, which is the result of their fluffy appearance. It is to be noted that since they do not have these hooks holding onto their feathers, the birds cannot fly at all. It also means that they are not waterproof and can be quite a handful breed when wet, as they'd require to be towel-dried or blow-dried. Even if the Silkie bantam has a fluffy exterior, they actually are made up of black skin and bones. They are usually smaller in size than other breeds of chicken and are found in various other colors for shows and display. 

How cute are they?

Silkies are one of the cutest breeds of chickens found in the world with their fluffy exterior, silky smooth hair, and appearance. They look very exotic. Also, not to forget the bird's long and brilliant history which adds to its extravagant appearance. The birds are also very sociable and friendly which makes them one of the most likable species. 

How do they communicate?

Silkies are usually a silent breed of chickens, known for being one of the most docile creatures on earth. However, they can be quite chatty with their usual chicken communicative patterns consisting of cackling, clucking, growling, squawking, and other sounds. The Silkie rooster crows but their lower voice can be a result of their small size, due to which the chickens cannot produce a loud noise. They are less rowdy and are usually the best breeds to have as pets.

How big is a Silkie?

The average length of the bird can be estimated to be about 27.6 in (70 cm) or less while their height measures up to an average of 8-14 in (20.32-35.56 cm). 

How fast can a Silkie fly?

As mentioned above, due to the absence of barbicels on their feathers and fur, Silkies cannot fly. The birds can partially fly for a few feet or jump, but do not possess any real flight range, unless they are flown on airplanes!

How much does a Silkie weigh?

The weight of a Silkie hen is estimated to be about 1.5-2 lb (0.68-0.90 kg) while roosters can be around 2-3 lb (0.90-1.36 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Like any other chicken breed, a male chicken is called a rooster while the female is called a hen. 

What would you call a baby Silkie?

A baby silkie is referred to as a chick, similar to other chickens.

What do they eat?

Baby silkies should be fed chicken feed as they are pellet-eaters, but once they grow up, they can be fed the usual feeders along with vegetables like cabbage and lettuce, grass, food scraps, and porridge as their occasional treats to keep them healthy.

Are they dangerous?

No, Silkies are not at all dangerous. They are exceptionally well-natured and friendly so they cannot hurt anyone. They can peck if they are offended but cannot inflict any extreme harm. They are very docile and make great friends with other friendly species. 

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, Silkies make great companions as a pet. They are the ultimate pet for kids as they are not only cute and fluffy, but love sitting in laps, enjoy cuddles, and are very tolerant. They are some of the most friendly creatures on Earth with their docile and calm nature. They interact well with people of all ages, will follow you around like a dog, and even talk to you once they get to know you well. The birds are very chatty and will make great friends for kids. 

Please c heck your local laws and regulations about owning any animal as a pet.

Did you know...

Bearded silkie chickens have a long history of origin with their first appearances documented in ancient China and other places in southeast Asia, such as India and Java. The earliest surviving written account of the breed had been discovered from the documents of Marco Polo where he described the chicken as a furry breed in the 13th century during one of his travels in Asia. Later, around the year 1598, a naturalist and writer by the name Ulisse Aldrovandi from Italy published a treatise on chickens in which he mentioned a wool-bearing chicken with hair like that of a black cat. From all of these observations, it could be concluded that the silkies were most likely transferred to the west via the silk trading route where the breed was initially recognized in the North American continent with its acceptance into the Standard of Perfection in 1874.

The breed has quite a few myths about its existence with early breeders telling buyers that they were a product of rabbits and chickens. Presently, the Silkies are one of the most ornamental breeds of chickens that we have and are used as backyard pets raised commonly for poultry, egg production, chicks of other chicken and waterfowl species like geese and ducks. They are also used for raising the offspring of certain game birds like pheasants and quails. They usually cost around about $10-$50 (7.21-36.07 GBP).

Can you eat Silkie eggs?

Yes, you can eat eggs laid by Silkie hens as they are considered a backyard chicken breed laying eggs that are completely safe to consume. Healthwise, the Silkie chicken eggs are considered to possess more nutritive constituents, oxidative stability, and rheological properties as compared to other eggs. Studies show that consumption of these eggs can improve rheological properties as well as the oxidative stability in your bodies to improve health, making the eggs much better than other breeds.

Why do Silkie chickens have extra toes?

There is no absolute proof as to why Silkies have extra toes, unlike other breeds of chickens. It can be the result of a genetic twist in the species but the extra toe does not typically serve any kind of important survival function. 

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our magpie fun facts and hawk interesting facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Silkie chicken coloring pages.

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Written by Nena Singha

Bachelor of Science specializing in Geology/Earth Science

Nena Singha picture

Nena SinghaBachelor of Science specializing in Geology/Earth Science

Nena is a content writer adept at crafting creative, commercial, and technical content for a wide range of projects. Her ability to generate innovative ideas, coupled with her meticulous research and adherence to SEO guidelines, ensures that her work leaves a lasting impact. She takes pleasure in sharing her knowledge and experience to help others enhance their writing skills. While not immersed in her projects, Nena finds joy in exploring the captivating world of manga and anime. With a Bachelor's degree in Geography/Earth Sciences from Gurucharan College, Nena brings a unique interdisciplinary approach to her writing.

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