PUBLISHED: 10:49 23 December 2010 | UPDATED: 13:42 15 July 2015
A docile, easily tamed breed from Asia
Classification: Light, soft feather
Size: Large fowl and bantam
Function: Ornamental, sitter
Egg colour: Tinted through to cream
Temperament: Docile, easily tamed
The Silkie is instantly recognisable by its pompom, fifth toe, black skin and profuse fluffy plumage, caused by an absence of barbs on the feathers that prevents them from knitting together. Known for its ability to brood the eggs of other birds, although the chicks can get caught up in the under-fluff and die, so a Silkie cross with harder feathers is better. It is docile and the cockerels placid and not particularly noisy. Easy to hand-tame, Silkies don’t fly and are easily confined behind a low fence. Hens come back into lay around Christmas-time so are reliable when other breeds are still off lay. Unfortunately susceptible to Marek’s Disease, so you’ll need to ensure stock is vaccinated. Colours include white, black, blue, partridge, and gold.