The Silkie Rooster Informational Care Guide

The Silkie is a small breed of chicken known for its silky plumage of fluffy feathers.

They are often exhibited at poultry shows due to their distinctive features.

But what are the origins of this unique bird?

Silkie chickens are believed to have originated in China around 206 B.C. The breed was officially recognized in North America in 1874 when it was accepted into the Standard of Perfection. The Silkie chicken gained popularity quickly when it was introduced to America due to its soft, fur-like plumage.

The breed remains popular even today, especially among backyard breeders.

Read on for an informational care guide filled with everything you need to know about the Silkie chicken.

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Background Of The Silkie Rooster

The Silkie is the oldest Chinese Heritage breed of chicken, and it became renowned when famous explorer Marco Polo wrote about it in his journal.

Polo described the Silkie as a “furry chicken.”

When the breed was brought to North America in the late 1800s, Dutch breeders often marketed the Silkie as a cross between a chicken and a rabbit.

Because of their unique appearance, the Silkie quickly became popular worldwide, and it is still one of the most popular and well-known chicken breeds today.

Silkies are often kept as pets or by backyard chicken farmers, and they are often used to incubate eggs from other small birds because of their broody nature.

Silkie Breed Information


Silkies look much different than other chickens, thanks to their extremely fluffy feathers and unique coloring. The Silkie is most well-known for its extremely fluffy feathers, but because of the way these feathers are constructed, the chickens cannot fly.

Despite their furry appearance, the feathers do not offer much protection against wet or cold weather.

Silkies have a prominent crest on the top of their head and unique turquoise earlobes.

Most chickens have four toes, but Silkies have five.

The extra toe grows upward just above the hind toe, never touching the ground.

Their skin, eyes, and bones are all black, and the internal organs are very dark.

Silkies also have a short, broad beak, gray legs, and a darkly-colored wattle.

Their feathers are usually black, but they may also be blue, buff, grey, partridge, or white.


The average lifespan of a Silkie chicken is between 7-9 years old, and they have been known to live for up to 15 years under exceptional care.

Silkies have few health issues, but they are prone to Marek’s disease.

Marek’s disease is a common chicken illness, and it causes paralysis and sometimes widespread tumor growth.

Luckily there is a vaccine for the disease.

Silkies may also be more susceptible to lice and mites because of their fluffy feathers.

You may also need to trim the feathers around their eyes to prevent impaired vision.


While they are not bred specifically for their meat, Silkies are extremely broody, and they are frequently used to incubate eggs for other small birds. Silkies are also capable of laying eggs, but they do not boast exceptionally high egg production.

Silkie eggs are usually white or cream-colored despite their black skin and organs.

Silkies are also raised as prize show animals because of their unique appearance and docile nature.

They are a very popular chicken for backyard chicken farmers, as well.

Silkies are frequently kept as pets because of their small size and friendly temperament.

They make excellent pets for small spaces, and they are generally quiet animals, so they will do well in an apartment during the winter months.

In some areas, Silkies are bred for their meat, which is very flavorful.

Check out our picks for the best meat chickens in our list here.


The cost of a Silkie depends on the breeding quality and age of the chicken. An average Silkie will cost between $25-$50, while a show-worthy chicken may cost $100 or more.

Unsexed Silkie chicks will usually sell for around $3-$10.

The initial cost of ownership is between $300-$1,000 for a sturdy coop and multiple Silkie chickens.

Expect to pay $7-$10 per month for each bird to cover food and other expenses.


Silkies are often known as bantams, or miniature chickens, because they only grow between 8-14″ inches tall. Their short stature makes the Silkie one of the smallest domestic chicken breeds.

The roosters are usually taller than the hens, but they are never more than fourteen inches tall.


On average, Silkie chickens stay relatively small, weighing in at just under four pounds. Male Silkies typically weigh around four pounds, but the females weigh three pounds. They may weigh more than four pounds if conditions are favorable for them, but Silkies never get larger than five pounds.

Since they are such small birds, they are not raised for their meat.

However, their black meat is considered a delicacy in Asia, where it is frequently used in soups and other special dishes.

In China, the meat of a Silkie chicken is said to have healing properties, and it is often fed to pregnant women and new mothers.


Silkies are known for being an extremely friendly and docile breed. Their calm temperament is part of what makes them so popular as a pet. Silkie roosters may become aggressive or territorial with strangers, but this behavior is rare.

Because they are such docile animals, special care must be taken if your Silkies are housed with other species of chickens.

Other chickens may take advantage of the Silkies’ calm nature and bully them out of food.

Silkies enjoy the company of humans, and they may even sit down in your lap for a while.

These chickens have even been known to eat from your hand.


Male and female Silkies have a couple of distinct features that set them apart. Roosters are typically larger than the hens, and they will also have a larger comb. Male Silkies will also crow, and the females will lay eggs.

Sexing Silkies chicks is challenging because it takes them longer to mature than other chicken breeds.

Once they have matured, it is much easier to determine their sex. 

Caring For Silkie Roosters

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The most important thing about your Silkie’s environment is its safety. If you are raising Silkies in your backyard, it is crucial to provide them with a coop to escape from potential predators.

The fluffy feathers around their eyes mean other animals may be able to sneak up on them, and Silkies are not known to be good escape artists.

Silkies also need to be kept warm and dry in the winter months because their silky feathers do not give them much insulation.

Since Silkies are small and quiet animals, they will also do well when raised as a pet inside your home during the winter.

While they will do well in your home for a couple of months, living in your house all year is not an ideal situation for you or your Silkie.

Unlike dogs and cats, Silkies require a lot of extra care to make them comfortable and happy inside of your home.

Silkies also need access to the outdoors when the weather is warm.

Some Silkie owners have leashes for their beloved pet to prevent it from running away.

You will also need to be prepared to protect your furniture and flooring from chicken feces and other debris.

Even though Silkies cannot fly, they are perfectly capable of climbing up on your furniture.

If you have the space, you may even choose to purchase an indoor chicken coop to make your Silkie feel more at home.

Consider allowing your Silkie to live in your garage.

Having a nice setup in your garage offers your Silkie the protection of being indoors while avoiding any messes in your home.

Further Reading: When do Silkie chickens need a heat lamp?


Silkie chickens are omnivores, which means their diet will include plant materials such as seeds, grains, grass, and vegetables and animal-based protein such as insects and eggs. Chicken feed pellets will also be part of a well-rounded Silkie diet.

Chopped eggs, diced carrots, and leafy greens such as collard greens, kale, and Romaine lettuce are all nutritious food choices.

Silkies will also enjoy tomatoes, watermelon, and broccoli.

When kept outdoors, Silkies will enjoy foraging for ground insects.

Food needs to be available throughout the day, so the Silkie can eat whenever hungry.

Since Silkies are very active birds, obesity is very rarely an issue.

These chickens will consume between 60-100 grams of food per day.

Silkies molt in the winter months, and they need to consume more protein and more calories to deal with the cold weather.

It is also important to provide your Silkie with a supply of grit, as this enables them to grind their food in their gizzard more easily for better digestion.

Treats should never make up more than 5% of a Silkie’s diet. Some excellent treat choices include:

  • Frozen peas or sweetcorn kernels
  • Cracked corn
  • Sunflower or safflower seed kernels
  • Mealworms


A Silkie needs a well-constructed chicken coop with the bottom roost at least two feet off the ground for extra safety. The coop must be free from drafts and completely waterproof since Silkies are prone to getting cold and wet in the winter months.

You may either purchase a ready-made chicken coop or construct one yourself.

Ensure there is plenty of space for each chicken and lots of perches.

There also needs to be plenty of room outside the coop for the chickens to roam.

You will need to construct nesting boxes, so your hens have a quiet place to lay their eggs.

The nesting boxes need to be 12-14″ inches tall and wide, and you will need one box for every four hens.

Hanging troughs for food and water work very well, and they are easier to keep clean than regular bowls.

Be sure the troughs are only a few inches off the ground, so the small chickens can use them easily.

Do not place roosts directly above each other, or you run the risk of the birds pooping on one another.

Consider placing an electric fence around the bottom of the chicken coop to prevent predators from digging their way in at night.

Ventilation & Heat

Provide proper ventilation in your Silkie’s chicken coop to prevent any cold, drafty air from getting in. As a general rule, you do not need to place a heat lamp in the coop, as it may not be completely safe for your Silkie.

Silkies can tolerate winter temperatures as long as they are kept dry.

Heat lamps may pose a fire hazard and could accidentally burn your Silkies.

If you are concerned about your Silkie’s water freezing in the wintertime, you may use a heated dish.

The biggest concern in cold weather is keeping your Silkies dry.

A Silkie’s feathers do not allow water to run off like other chicken feathers.

If a Silkie is wet, it is more susceptible to cold sickness.

Keep your Silkies as clean as possible, and if they get wet during the day, you may wish to towel-dry them before they go to bed at night.

Adding some straw or hay on the ground will also help to keep your Silkie’s feet warmer.

If you have more than one Silkie, they will huddle together at night and keep each other warm.


Silkies generally prefer to sleep on the ground, even with an elevated perch. To keep your Silkie cozy and dry, provide them with a 2-3″ inch layer of bedding composed of wood shavings, pine needles, shredded newspaper, straw, or sawdust.

Do not use hay, as this may cause issues with allergies, and it is prone to holding moisture and growing mold.

Regularly replace soiled bedding to keep the area clean for your Silkie.

If you discover mites or lice on your chicken, you will need to remove all bedding and thoroughly clean the coop before adding new bedding.

Ensure the bedding is clean and dry at all times, especially in the winter.

Silkies can tolerate colder temperatures unless they are damp.

You may wish to towel dry your Silkies at night to prevent them from transferring any excess moisture to their bedding.

Add bedding to the nesting boxes to keep them warm and cozy.

The bedding also works well to insulate the chicken coop from outside noises.


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Since chickens are particularly messy eaters, it is best to use a food dish made especially for poultry. A trough with dividers just a few inches up from the ground is ideal for keeping their food clean and tidy.

Specialty poultry feeders are designed to prevent your chickens from scratching their food out or soiling their food by sitting in it.

These features keep your Silkies from wasting food or spreading bacteria through contamination.

Since your Silkies eat more in the colder months, you may want to consider using a divided trough in the winter months.

A trough is slightly elevated to keep your chicken’s food off the ground, and it tends to hold a larger amount of food.

Troughs are also much easier to clean than a regular chicken feeder.

Be sure to clean up any leftover food or pellets at the end of the day to prevent pests such as mice or rats from invading the coop in search of food.

Make sure your Silkies have plenty of food during the day in the wintertime so they will stay healthy during the colder months.

Watering Pots

The best watering system for your Silkie will be easy to clean and large enough to hold a good amount of water. The watering pot may be made of either metal or plastic, and it needs to have a shallow bowl, so the smaller chicks do not accidentally drown.

Smaller chick waterers are also available for extra safety.

Silkies will drink up to 500 milliliters of water per bird every day, and if a hen becomes dehydrated, she will stop producing eggs temporarily.

Your chickens need constant access to clean water, and the watering pot needs to be rinsed clean every day and thoroughly cleaned once per week with mild dish soap and hot water.

Since the larger watering pots might be very heavy, you may find getting a couple of medium-sized waterers easier.

Nesting Box

You may either purchase a nesting box or make one of your own. The nesting box needs to be between 12-14″ inches deep and wide, and it should be enclosed on three sides, so your Silkie feels secure. Silkie hens need a quiet nesting box to feel comfortable laying their eggs.

If your Silkie hen does not feel safe in the nesting box, she will become stressed and may not lay eggs.

If you do not provide a nesting box for your hen, she will lay her eggs wherever she pleases, and you will have to search for them in the coop.

Eggs laid outside of a nesting box are also prone to be covered in feces, dirt, and other debris.

Place the nesting box at least two feet from the ground for added security and prevent water or other debris from entering the box.

You will need at least one nesting box for every four Silkie hens you have.

Silkie Rooster Commonly Asked Questions

Are Silkie roosters aggressive?

Male Silkies are much less aggressive than roosters from other chicken species.

Silkie roosters will still become territorial or aggressive if they feel like their hen or eggs are being threatened.

Even so, Silkie roosters tend to be more gentle than other breeds of roosters. 

Related: 10 Chicken Breeds With Aggressive Roosters

Do Silkie Roosters Crow? Are Silkie roosters noisy?

Silkies are known to be less noisy than other breeds of chicken.

However, the Silkie rooster will still crow loudly, especially at sunrise.

Silkie roosters may also crow throughout the day, but they are not as loud as larger roosters tend to be.

It is not possible to completely stop your Silkie rooster from crowing.

Having more hens in the coop does keep the Silkie rooster from crowing so much throughout the day.

Silkie hens may also crow, but this is a very rare occurrence, as most Silkie hens are very quiet.

Can you keep 2 Silkie roosters together?

Since Silkie roosters are less aggressive than other breeds of chickens, it may be possible to keep two roosters together without any fights occurring.

A good ratio is one Silkie rooster for every 3-4 hens.

Silkies are generally docile, easy-going birds, so they are not likely to fight each other.

However, if your Silkie roosters start becoming aggressive toward each other or starting fights, you will need to keep them separated.

Do Silkie chickens like to be held?

If Silkies are handled often, they become very affectionate toward their owners.

Because of their docile temperament, Silkies enjoy being held, petted, and groomed regularly.

Always keep a hand underneath your Silkie’s legs, and hold the animal close to your body to make it feel more secure.

Once your Silkie becomes comfortable with you, they may even come to you when they want to be held.

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Growing up amidst the sprawling farms of the South, Wesley developed a profound connection with farm animals from a young age. His childhood experiences instilled in him a deep respect for sustainable and humane farming practices. Today, through, Wesley shares his rich knowledge, aiming to inspire and educate others about the joys and intricacies of rural life.

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