The unusual appearance and loving disposition of the silkie bantam chicken makes it a popular pet. The hens have a reputation for being broody and make ideal mothers. Even the roosters have a gentle nature and often undertake the chore of raising the young chicks. A hen can produce up to 120 eggs per year. The silkie usually beings laying each year during the latter part of December. A small bird, the silkie rarely weighs more than two pounds. It cannot fly, even a short distance, which makes it susceptible to predators. The birds require a secure, safe area to breed and lay eggs.
Things You'll Need
- Fully fenced flight
- Nest box
- Straw or sawdust
- Water dispenser
- Commercial grain chicken mix and laying mash
- Chick starter mash
Provide a fenced-in outdoor cage with a fenced roof to keep out flying predators. Place a chicken coop in the fenced-in area to offer protection from the weather. A rooster and hen will require six square feet of living space in the chicken coop. Only keep one rooster per pen. One rooster can successfully inseminate two to eight hens.
Place perches and nest boxes in the chicken coop. Locate the nest boxes and perches four feet off the ground. Provide at least one nest box and perch per hen. Line the box with straw or sawdust.
Feed a high quality commercial grain chicken mix and laying mash to the hen daily. Begin feeding her the food combination one month prior to breeding. Keep the food bowl filled with food daily. The hen will leave her eggs to eat on her own schedule. Keep fresh water available throughout the day.
Provide chick starter mash for the young chicks within 24 hours of hatching. The chicks usually eat their first meal within one day of hatching from the egg.
Tips & Warnings
- During the height of summer the silkie hen rarely lays eggs.
- The eggs require a 21-day incubation period before hatching.
- Silkies often suffer from lice during the summer months. Treat them using a commercial lice treatment. Follow the directions on the label for application instructions.