The Black Silkie chicken is truly one of a kind due to its distinct appearance. With their soft, fluffy feathers and gentle personalities, they are easily favored by many chicken enthusiasts.
Originating from Asia, these chickens have become a popular choice for both ornamental and pet purposes. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they also bring a warm presence to any backyard coop.
Discover what makes Black Silkies unique and learn how to provide them with the best care possible as this article explores their fascinating world. Continue reading and find out more!
Black Silkie Chicken Quick Facts
|Roosters: 2–3 pounds (1–1.3 kg);
Hens: 1.5–2 pounds (0.6–1 kg)
|Ornamental, meat, pet
|100–120 eggs per year
|Cream to white
|Gentle, docile, friendly
|Fur-like feathers, black skin, feathered legs, five-toed feet
What Is a Black Silkie Chicken?
The Black Silkie chicken is a popular variety of the Silkie breed known for its soft, silk-like feathers. These birds stand out with their black feathers, skin, bones, and even meat. Besides their unique look, they are beloved for their gentle temperament and suitability as ornamental pets.
While they may not be the most prolific egg layers, Black Silkies typically produce a fair amount of eggs.
Nonetheless, it’s their calm and friendly nature that makes them an ideal choice for poultry enthusiasts and those looking for adorable feathered companions.
In addition to their roles as pets and show birds, Black Silkie chickens are also valuable in the kitchen.
Interestingly, their black meat is a highly sought-after ingredient in many Asian dishes. This only adds to the cultural significance and versatility of these amazing chickens.
Black Silkie Chicken Appearance
Black Silkie chickens have an incredibly unique look. They truly live up to their name as they are entirely black, down to the color of their feathers, skin, and meat.
Their dark skin is caused by a rare genetic disorder called fibromelanosis, which causes hyperpigmentation.
Moreover, Black Silkie chickens are renowned for their soft and fluffy feathers that feel more like fur than typical chicken feathers.
This unique texture is because they don’t have barbicels in their feathers, unlike most chickens. While this gives them their softness, it also means they can’t fly as much as other breeds.
And there’s one more thing that’s different about them: their feet. They have feathers on their feet, and instead of the usual four toes, they have five!
This, combined with their other unique traits, makes them stand out in any flock and a favorite among those who admire exotic chicken breeds.
Black Silkie Chicken Size and Weight
In the United States, these chickens are considered true bantams, which means they don’t have a larger counterpart. This makes them naturally smaller than many other chicken breeds.
According to US standards, Black Silkie roosters should weigh around 2 to 3 pounds, while hens usually weigh between 1.5 and 2 pounds.
However, standards vary across regions. In the UK, for instance, there are larger Black Silkie fowl. But to be considered a large fowl there, Silkie males should weigh around 4 pounds, and females about 3 pounds.
This difference shows how breeding and regional standards can influence a breed’s size.
Black Silkie Chicken Temperament and Behavior
Black Silkies are known for their calm and friendly demeanor. They are often described as gentle and easy-going. This makes them great pets, especially for families with children.
Having raised Black Silkie chickens for many years, I’ve come to appreciate their loving nature. One of the best things about this breed is how much they enjoy human interaction.
They really like being around people, and I find them very excited when they are being carried around or being cuddled. Their affectionate nature makes them a hit with both kids and adults in our family.
However, their docile behavior has a downside. Because Black Silkies are less aggressive than other breeds of chicken, they can be more prone to bullying in mixed flocks.
It’s something to consider if you’re thinking of adding them to a mixed flock that includes more dominant breeds.
Egg Production and Broodiness of the Black Silkie Chicken
When it comes to laying eggs, Black Silkie chickens aren’t exactly the most reliable. On average, they produce between 100 and 120 eggs a year. These eggs are typically small, with a cream or white tint.
However, what they might lack in egg production, they make up for in their brooding behavior. Black Silkies are known for their strong broody tendencies.
This means they have a natural instinct to sit on their eggs and hatch them. In fact, their broodiness is so strong that they often take on the role of mothering other eggs, not just their own.
So, if you are interested in breeding chickens or having a natural incubator in their flock, Black Silkies are an excellent choice. Just remember, they won’t lay as many eggs as some other breeds.
Noise Levels of Black Silkie Chickens
Compared to other chicken breeds, Black Silkies are fairly quiet birds. Their soft vocalizations reflect their calm and gentle nature. This is great if you live in a place where loud noises might bother your neighbors.
That said, they are not completely silent. Like all chickens, they will make some noise.
They might cluck while foraging or give a slightly louder alert call if they sense danger. Hens might also vocalize more when they are about to lay an egg or if they are broody. But overall, they’re on the quieter side.
For those thinking about getting some chickens and don’t want a lot of noise, Black Silkies might be a good pick. They’re easy-going and won’t disturb the peace in your backyard.
Here’s a video of some Black Silkies vocalizing to help you get a better idea of how they sound:
How to Take Care of Your Black Silkie Chicken
If you want to guarantee your Black Silkie chickens’ well-being and happiness, you’ll need to provide them with the care they deserve.
Here’s a comprehensive care guide to help you keep your beloved chickens happy and thriving:
Lifespan and Health Issues
Black Silkie chickens are generally healthy, but they do need some special attention due to their unique features. They have a typical lifespan of around 7 to 9 years, but under ideal conditions, they can live much longer.
One thing to watch out for is Marek’s disease. This is a common health issue for this breed, so vaccinations and regular vet check-ups are essential.
Also, their fluffy feathers make them susceptible to mites and lice. Because of this, it’s important that they have access to dust baths and make sure that their living area is always clean.
Further, you may need to trim the feathers around their eyes regularly to ensure that they can see properly. With the right care, Black Silkies can thrive and live a full and healthy life as part of your flock.
Taking care of Black Silkie chickens also means making sure they get the right food. Luckily, these birds are not picky eaters and would eat anything a regular chicken would.
A steady diet of standard 16% layer feed should keep them happy and healthy, but adding some variety is always good.
Mixing in fresh greens, fruits, and vegetables, like lettuce, apples, and carrots, keeps their diet interesting and nutritious.
Offering occasional treats like mealworms or grains can also be beneficial. And don’t forget to give them fresh, clean water every day.
Coop Setup and Roaming
Ensuring the well-being of your Black Silkie chickens begins with their coop. These birds require about 3 to 4 square feet of indoor space per chicken, though more room is always better.
The coop should be well-ventilated to prevent moisture buildup and should include nesting boxes, one for every 3 to 4 hens, to ensure their comfort.
When it comes to bedding, opt for materials like straw or wood shavings to provide insulation and warmth during colder seasons.
For outdoor roaming, give each chicken 8 to 10 square feet of space in a secure run so they can exercise and explore safely. This way, they stay healthy, and you get to enjoy their unique, fluffy presence in your backyard.
Despite their adaptability, Black Silkie chickens need a bit more care when it comes to temperature.
Keep in mind that their fluffy feathers are not as weather-resistant as those of other breeds, so make sure they have somewhere dry to run to when it rains.
They are very hardy in cold weather and can also handle temperatures as high as 75°F to 80°F. But if it gets hotter, watch for signs of heat stress, like panting or spreading wings.
In colder weather, ensure they have a warm, draft-free place to roost. A proper shelter that protects them from extreme temperatures and wet weather is essential for their well-being.
How Much Does a Black Silkie Chicken Cost?
For Black Silkie chicks, the average price ranges from $6 to $15. As they grow and mature into hens, the price increases. Typically, hens are priced between $30 and $100.
Keep in mind that females are generally more expensive than males due to their egg-laying capabilities.
Just make sure you do a bit of homework, read some reviews, and pick a place that’s known for healthy birds. That way, you’ll get the best bang for your buck.
Pros and Cons of the Black Silkie Chicken
There are a lot of reasons why Black Silkies are so popular among chicken keepers. But before you rush to get one, it’s important to consider both the pros and cons of raising these unique birds.
The following are the pros of owning Black Silkie chickens:
- Friendly nature: Black Silkies are incredibly docile and friendly. Their gentle demeanor makes them excellent pets, suitable for families, and even safe around children.
- Excellent mothers: Black Silkie hens excel in motherhood and are often used to hatch eggs from other breeds. They have a natural ability to nurture and care for their young, and they show it by raising healthy chicks.
- Quietness: Because of their peaceful demeanor, Black Silkies are well-suited to city life and other urban settings where noise levels might be an issue for residents.
- Unique appearance: Black Silkies are an aesthetically pleasing breed thanks to their soft, fluffy feathers. Their striking appearance adds a touch of diversity to any flock.
However, owning Black Silkies also comes with its own set of challenges. Here are some aspects to be mindful of:
- Weather sensitivity: Black Silkie chickens require extra protection from harsh weather due to their unique feathers. They need enough cover to stay warm and dry, especially during rainy seasons.
- Broodiness: Broodiness is a common characteristic of Black Silkies, and this breed often prioritizes hatching eggs more than laying. This trait can pose a challenge for those raising chickens for their eggs.
- Prone to bullying: Black Silkies can sometimes get picked on by other chickens due to their gentle nature. Extra care may be needed to ensure their safety and well-being in mixed flocks.
- Health issues: Black Silkies are prone to certain health issues like Marek’s disease, and their fluffy feathers can be a breeding ground for mites and lice.
Despite these drawbacks, raising Black Silkies can be rewarding for those who appreciate their unique traits and are willing to give the care and attention these charming chickens deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Black Silkie Chickens Rare?
While not as common as some Silkie varieties, Black Silkie chickens are not considered rare. They can be found in various hatcheries and backyard farms.
Many online poultry shops also offer them for sale. If you’re interested in owning one, a bit of research will help you find reputable sellers easily.
What Color Eggs Do Black Silkies Lay?
Even though Black Silkie chickens have black feathers and skin, their eggs are a different story. They lay small eggs that are usually white. Some might have a slight off-white or cream tint to them.
So, if you’re raising Black Silkies, expect to find white to cream-colored eggs in their nests.
Can You Eat Black Silkie Chickens?
Yes, you can eat Black Silkie chickens. While they might look different with their unique black skin, meat, and bones, they are edible and are even considered a delicacy in some cultures.
In many Asian countries, Black Silkies are highly sought-after for their darker meat, which is believed to have various health benefits.
What Does a Black Silkie Taste Like?
Black Silkie chickens have a unique taste that sets them apart from regular chickens. Imagine a mix between a roasted chicken and a touch of duck flavor. That is what Black Silkies taste like.
Their meat is dark, but don’t let that throw you off. Those who have tried it often describe the flavor as rich and savory. So, if you are an adventurous eater, Black Silkies are a tasty choice to consider.
What are your thoughts on Black Silkie chickens? Feel free to share in the comments below!