The partridge Silkie, known for its distinctive hue, patterns, and markings, is a unique variant of the popular Silkie breed. It’s draped in a reddish-brown tint stippled with black stripes, making it an instant crowd favorite.
Yet, one should note that its physical appeal extends beyond its rich colors. For instance, these Silkies, like their counterparts, flaunt fluffy feathers, dark skin, and a pom-pom-like crest crowning their heads.
In this article, you’ll learn more about the partridge Silkie chicken – from their looks to behavior and even how to breed these chickens.
What Is a Partridge Silkie?
The partridge Silkie is a colorful variant of the Silkie chicken breed, known for its dark skin, fluffy plumage, and unique physical features. This specific color and pattern variety showcases a reddish-brown hue accented with black, adding to its already unique appearance.
For starters, Silkies are a breed of chicken with a few notable features. These include a charming crest atop their heads, five toes per foot, and a type of feathery coating called “Silkie,” known for its fluffy texture.
Silkies can appear in various colors. Yet, the partridge Silkie specifically boasts an overall reddish-brown shade intermixed with darker, black tones.
This gives it a distinctive and attractive appearance compared to other Silkie shade varieties, which can be white, black, blue, buff, or splash.
Creating a partridge Silkie chick requires a specialized breeding process known as double-mating. This involves two separate matings to ensure the chick hatches with the desired partridge color.
What Is “Partridge Feathering” in Chickens?
The term “partridge feathering” describes the color and pattern of chicken feathers. The appearance of this pattern is not random but the result of complex genetic interplay.
In terms of roles, the brown and pattern genes express the black stippling and penciling on the feathers, which is the intricate detail that makes partridge-colored chickens so unique.
On the other hand, the gold gene contributes to the reddish-brown hue seen in these feathers. Male partridge Silkies chickens possess two gold genes, whereas females only have one.
The pattern genes specifically give rise to the three penciled marks evident on many of the female’s feathers.
In effect, each feather becomes a tiny masterpiece of stippling, penciling, and color — the hallmark of the partridge feathering pattern.
Patridge Silkie Chicken Appearance
Like other Silkie types, partridge Silkies possess black-pigmented skin, face, comb, bones, and wattles.
Additionally, they have five toes on each foot, unlike the typical chicken’s four. They are also one of the few chickens that display feathering on their legs.
The texture of their plumage is another vital aspect you should keep in mind. It must be incredibly fluffy and soft, resembling more the fur of a rabbit or human hair than typical chicken feathers.
To add to that, partridge Silkie chickens can either exhibit bearding — extra feathering under the beak that covers the neck — or not, similar to those of their differently-colored peers.
Their distinct crest also earns them a spot on our list of chickens with afros.
However, it is worth highlighting that the defining feature of the partridge Silkie chicken is its color. Their plumage is a perfect mix of red and brown, accented with black striping.
Meanwhile, if you are curious about what partridge Silkie chicks look like, they mostly resemble their parents. That said, they may have a few differences in terms of color intensity.
For your reference, here is a photo of a partridge Silkie chick:
When it comes to gender determination, you can often specify by color whether the Silkie partridge chicken you are looking at is male or female.
To help you, the following is a photo of a partridge Silkie hen:
On the flip side, below is an image of a partridge Silkie rooster:
As you can see, it is evident that females usually appear lighter and brighter than males, and the males have back, hackle, saddle, and tail feathers that are greenish-black with red edging.
For a closer look at a partridge Silkie chicken, watch the following video:
Patridge Silkie Chicken Standards and Disqualifications
The American Poultry Association (APA) and the American Bantam Association (ABA) have drafted strict criteria for the Silkie breed. You should note that any deviation from these can result in disqualification from shows.
First, you should bear in mind that partridge Silkie chickens, alongside other shade varieties, such as gray, black, splash, buff, white, and blue, are recognized by both poultry organizations.
According to APA show standard, partridge Silkies should also sport black-colored skin, face, comb, bones, and wattles. Moreover, their plumage should appear hair-like in texture.
Aside from that, one of the signature characteristics of partridge Silkie chickens is their feet. These birds must have five toes on each foot; otherwise, they will not be eligible for competition.
A close friend of mine, Jake, is an avid chicken breeder with a special passion for partridge Silkie chickens. I recall an occasion when he was preparing his best birds for a significant poultry show.
Jake was quite hopeful about one of his top hens until he discovered she only had four toes on one foot, not five as required. He was disappointed but understood that standards are critical to preserving the breed.
Partridge Silkie Chicken Temperament and Personality
Partridge Silkie chickens not only stand out for their unique appearance but also for their exceptional temperament and personality.
Partridge Silkies are typically easygoing and gentle. These birds are known for their docile nature, making them a pleasure to raise and handle.
What’s more, these chickens are amiable and inquisitive. They show great curiosity towards their surroundings and get along well with humans, demonstrating a level of sociability that’s quite endearing.
Further, you can expect that a Silkie partridge chicken loves a good cuddle, and it’s not uncommon for them to happily sit on your lap in exchange for treats.
This affectionate trait makes partridge Silkie chickens a hit with poultry enthusiasts and families with small children who enjoy interactive pets.
Because of their compliant temperament, note that they may get picked on by more assertive chicken breeds. Thus, careful consideration is required when placing them into a mixed flock.
Do Partridge Silkie Chicks Change Color as They Mature?
As a partridge Silkie chick matures into adulthood, subtle color changes occur. These changes are not drastic but are noticeable, especially in certain areas of a particular bird’s plumage.
To be clear, though, their overall reddish-brown hue with black accents largely remains consistent as they grow.
However, it is worth noting that the most observable shifts occur within the chicken’s stripes. These areas may darken or slightly deviate in hue, further enhancing their appearance.
How to Breed Partridge Silkies
Breeding partridge Silkies involves a unique process known as double-mating. This method, which requires two different breeding pens, ensures that the desired color and pattern are produced in these birds.
In one pen, you should use darker roosters to hatch male chicks with the correct pattern and darker coloring. Meanwhile, roosters that are redder and have less black are preferred for hatching females with the right markings.
Through the double mating system, you can produce properly marked partridge Silkie males and females separately, which you can then mix in a single pen to breed chicks with the correct coloring, markings, and patterns.
You should note, however, that this procedure produces four types of Silkie partridge chicks: the blue partridge Silkie, silver partridge Silkie, gray partridge Silkie, and red partridge Silkie.
Hard Feathering on Partridge Silkie Chickens
Hard feathering is a phenomenon observed in certain breeds and varieties of chickens, including the partridge Silkie chicken.
Despite the name, it doesn’t mean that the feathers are physically hard or rough. Note that hard feathering in birds refers to the feathers being very tight or close to the body.
To put it simply, it indicates a particular feather arrangement that may give the Silkie chicken partridge a more sleek appearance.
In the case of the Silkie chicken breed, hard feathering is quite common, irrespective of the color variety. Specifically, the black feathers on these chickens’ faces tend to grow in this way.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Partridge Silkies Rare?
Yes, partridge Silkie chickens are indeed rare. This color variation is not commonly found, as not every Silkie chicken has the potential to produce it.
Additionally, perfecting this particular hue in chickens is quite challenging, contributing further to the rarity of partridge Silkies.
Therefore, owning a partridge Silkie can be considered a special occurrence for any chicken enthusiast due to its scarcity and unique, eye-catching pigmentation.
What Color Eggs Do Partridge Silkies Lay?
Despite their distinctive feather coloring, partridge Silkies lay eggs that are cream or white in hue. This creates a delightful contrast with their multi-colored plumage.
What Is the Most Popular Silkie Color?
When discussing the popularity of Silkie colors, there are two variations that stand out: black and white.
The white Silkie is among the most dominant varieties of Silkie in the market today. Its pure, snowy plumage is highly recognizable and endears it to many chicken enthusiasts.
Despite the prevalence of white Silkies, many breeders prefer black-colored ones. This dark variety holds a particular allure for those involved in chicken breeding due to its striking contrast to typical chicken coloration.
Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand the partridge Silkie. Please feel free to share your thoughts or experiences with partridge Silkie chickens in the comments!