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SILKIE

Silkie 103 (Small) [1]

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AREA OF ORIGIN: East Asia (China)

CATEGORY: Soft feather

EGG COLOUR: Tinted to Cream (Sitters)

 

CLASSIFICATION

CODE

MASSES

BREED CODE

RING SIZES

Light breed

 

 

 

 

LARGE

 

 

 

 

Bearded

 

 

514

 

Unbearded

 

 

516

 

Cock

10

1.2kg min

 

D

Hen

12

800g min

 

D

Cockerel

14

900g min

 

D

Pullet

16

600g min

 

D

 

It is unknown exactly where or when fowl with their singular combination of attributes first appeared, but the most well documented point of origin as ancient China. Other places in Southeast Asia have been named as possibilities, such as India and Java. The earliest surviving written account of Silkies comes from Marco Polo, who wrote of a furry chicken in the 13th century, during his travels in Asia.  In 1599, Ulisse Aldrovandi, a writer and naturalist at the University of Bologna, Italy, published a comprehensive treatise on chickens which is still read and admired today. In it, he spoke on “wool-bearing chickens” and ones “clothed with hair like that of a black cat”.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth century the Silkie was brought to Europe and it reached the British Isles towards the middle of the nineteenth century. Here it was developed further using strains with stronger feathers but still having the silky and fluffy appearance.

The eggs of this small breed are relatively large (35-50g) being whitish cream to light brown. If a hen is kept from incubating when she becomes broody she should lay 90 to 120 eggs per annum. Silkies are very well known as broodies.

Although the Silkie is a small breed, it should not be judged as a Bantam. Larger individuals with the same good characteristics as small ones should thus be regarded as better. Cocks reach adulthood at about 27 weeks but in many individuals the combs are only fully developed at about 40-45 weeks. Hens can start laying at 23 weeks but usually do so at about 27 weeks. Silkies are usually very tame and not aggressive.

 

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Amended May 2013