This website uses affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission from your purchase - at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more details.

Why I No Longer Have Silkies | Silkie Chickens FAQ

I haven’t shared a chicken story in awhile, so I wanted to talk about why I no longer have silkies – as well as share some answers to silkie chickens FAQs!  I have been asked a lot about raising silkies, especially mixing silkie chickens with other breeds.  At first it was successful for me, but now I’ve changed my mind on mixing silkies with my larger chickens.  So I wanted to talk about this beautiful breed of chicken – but also highlight some of the difficulties I’ve had keeping them with other chicken breeds.

All About Silkies Chickens

What Are Silkies?

A silkie is a small breed of fluffy chicken, which many believe to have originated in ancient China.  They’re arguably the cutest chicken breed around:

Fluffy Chicken PicturesAre Silkies High Maintenance?

What Makes Silkies Special?

The silky plumage of a silkie chicken resembles fur more than feathers, but silkies have other striking qualities as well.  They’re typically quite petite, they have black skin and bones, plus an extra toe!  Silkies are also incredibly docile and sweet, with the gentlest nature.  They lay very small eggs, in my experience, whenever they feel like it, and are well known for going broody.  That means that they are very inclined to hoarding a clutch of eggs in an effort to hatch them.  They reportedly make the best chicken mamas, with many backyard chicken keepers relying on silkies to hatch and raise other breeds of chickens.  Coal, one of my first silkies (pictured above), even went broody throughout the winter and she was so incredibly persistent about it.

Raising Silkie Chickens

Do Silkies Like to Cuddle?

Yes! Silkies really like to cuddle!  My silkies have been the snuggliest, cuddliest chickens of all of the breeds I have raised to date.  Chickens have different personalities and some traits are dependent on the breed (I hear all Speckled Sussex chickens are inquisitive troublemakers like mine), while other seems dependent on individual chickens.  When it comes to snuggling, some chickens like it and some HATE it, but with silkies you can pretty much be guaranteed that you’ll get a snuggler!

Are Silkies Snuggly?

Interestingly, they don’t just tolerate the snuggles, as many chickens will (especially if there are treats involved) – silkies will seek out human companionship.  Mine have always run toward me and hopped right into my hand.  While other chickens are always suspicious of being brought inside (for a bath or treating illness), my silkies have relished it.  My last remaining silkie, I swear she WANTED to be a house chicken.  Here she is, trying her best to blend in so hubby won’t notice:

Do Silkie Chickens Make Good Pets

Are Silkies Good for Beginners?

In a way, yes, because silkies are sweet and tolerant.  They’re also very gentle and easy to handle, which is great for beginners – especially children (as long as the children are gentle as well).  Even the best chicken can some times inadvertently cause pain with an aggressive peck or wing flap to the face – especially roosters! – but silkies are just too wee and sweet to ever cause harm.  Some special care is needed however, because silkies don’t tolerate extreme climates very well, especially wet and rainy climates.  They look especially pitiful when they get soaked.  They also don’t lay many eggs, and the eggs aren’t very large, so if keeping chickens for food is important, they aren’t a suitable breed.

Beautiful Silkie Rooster

Do Silkie Chickens Lay Eggs to Eat?

Silkie chickens lay eggs to eat, but they’re very small (and heavy on the yolk).  In my experience, silkies mature later so they start laying eggs much later, which also seems to happen kind of randomly.  I could never rely on my silkies for steady egg production!  Plus they go broody often, during which time they will stop laying.  So, overall, while silkie chickens lay eggs to eat, unless you have a large silkie flock you definitely might go hungry depending on silkie eggs for food.

Silkies as Indoor Chickens

What Are Silkie Chickens Good For?

Like other chickens, silkies do a good job of eating bugs and small pests, so they’re wonderful to have in the yard.  They do lay edible eggs, so they can be kept for that purpose (although, as mentioned, they aren’t terribly prolific as egg layers).  Some people actually keep silkies and show them in poultry shows!  My Mom always thought Coal could have been a contender for poultry shows, lol.  I would say that what silkies are really good for are being pets!  They’re gentle and patient, great for children, and fun to keep!  They also don’t seem to get into as much trouble as other chickens, who, in my short time raising chickens, have escaped, bullied other chickens, poked me in the face and legs so hard they’ve drawn blood, landed on my head and pooped there, etc., etc… Silkies are chill and way less trouble.

What Are Silkies Good For?

Are Silkies Noisy?

In general, silkies are less noisy than other, larger chicken breeds.  My silkie rooster could be noisy at times, although he never crowed as loudly as my full-sized roosters.  Although my silkie hens would cluck and communicate, they definitely were not as loud as my other chickens, some of whom have egg laying songs that are very noisy!  Silkies also make this little squeaking sound, which is just so adorable.  If you had silkie hens in an urban backyard, I doubt anyone would even know, they’re that quiet.  Now, a flock of 20 silkies might be a different story, haha.  But just a few really don’t make much noise at all.

Are Silkies Noisy?

Are Silkies Smart?

One of my first silkies, Coal, was very smart and very communicative!  If I paid attention, I could figure out what her peeps and squeaks meant and I was able to oblige her requests.  Don’t laugh at me – there’s a whole book about learning how to speak chicken!  But the pair of splash silkies I had, Sterling and Silver, were, ummm, less smart.  But they were very sweet and when one died, the other nudged her repeatedly and was so utterly heartbroken.  So what they may lack in chicken brains, they make up for in heart.  I’d say silkies can be as clever, or not, as any other chicken breed.  I think what makes them seem smarter is that they’re more calm and willing to communicate and engage with humans.

Are Silkies Smart?

Are Silkies High Maintenance?

I did have to work a little bit to keep their silkie plumage clean!  Although chickens will clean themselves, grooming and dust bathing, sometimes they end up with a dollop of poop on them from roosting at night with other chickens.  Once this got into silkie feathers, it was difficult for them to clean it for themselves.  A silkie was the first chicken I bathed!  It was not difficult, but I’d say that a silkie chicken owner should be prepared to help them keep clean a little bit more than other, less fuzzy breeds.  As well, silkies don’t always like to (or can) roost alongside other chickens, so making the coop accessible was an extra step with these smaller, less active chickens.

Bathing Silkie Chickens

Why I No Longer Have Silkies:

While still waiting for my first batch of chicks to arrive in the mail, I impulse bought two silkie chicks at the feed store when we went to buy supplies.  Coal, a black silkie hen, and Pearl, a white silkie rooster (doesn’t this look like him?), were always my faves because they were my first.  And also because, frankly, I could tell them apart from the rest of my identical, all-black chicks!

Are Silkie Chickens a Lot of Work?

Coal was an absolute sweetheart – she’s the chick in the profile photo I use everywhere:

In the winter she’d make this special sound, which meant she wanted me to crouch down.  She’d sit on my lap and warm her little toes.  She and Pearl co-existed with my chickens, totally fine, for a year.  They were raised as chicks together.  I had the silkies for an extra week and I was worried about introducing the batch of Ameraucana chicks when they finally shipped.  Well, the two silkies were thrilled with their new flock mates – as were the new chicks!  They immediately greeted each other and they all snuggled and happy coexisted, even as they grew into full sized chickens.  When I shook up the flock dynamics by re-homing Pewter, my rooster, and eventually getting new chicks, the chickens Coal had been raised with went wild and attacked her.  She then became terrified of the other chickens.  And after they started to pick on her, it was an easy progression for them to pick on the additional pair of silkies I had recently gotten to balance out the flock.

Maybe it’s just my flock, but although I originally had a happy, peaceful flock, they eventually turned on the silkies.  Ultimately three of my four silkies passed away, which may or may not be related the bullying, I’ll never know.  It all happened so quickly and I didn’t know what to do but the remaining silkie spent her time in the coop absolutely terrified.  Eventually they attacked her too.  One day I went in there and she just had a bloody strip torn off her rump.  I was able to treat her, but I either had to get more silkies and start a separate flock, or give up on my silkies entirely.  Eventually I re-homed the remaining silkie, once she had healed completely, to a family with other small breed chickens.  I regret that it took me so long to figure this out because my silkies suffered.  I selfishly held onto the idea I could keep them, but eventually I did right by my remaining silkie.  The little girl in that family apparently LOVED my little silkie and snuggled her all the time.  I hope my little chicken is enjoying her new life, free from the terror of my mean hens.

FAQ About Silkie Chickens

So now I try to keep the flock full of the same size of chicken and peace has been (mostly) restored.  Right now everyone is picking on one Maran hen, for no obvious reason.  Even though it’s better not to mix small breeds into my flock of meanies, I sure do miss having silkies!  One day I’d love to have a separate flock just for them, because they’re just the absolute sweetest chickens!

Silkie Chick Photos

I hope you found this post all about silkies chickens to be interesting!  I was fascinated by this breed, and so excited that I could raise some myself – although I’m disappointed about how it turned out.  I feel deeply guilty that two of my silkies were physically harmed by other chickens in my care.  Now when people ask if silkies can be mixed with other breeds, I say no.  Chickens are already inclined to organize into a pecking order, and will be quite harsh with other chickens while maintaining that order, and sweet, gentle silkies just aren’t suited for that type of aggression.

P.S. Don’t Forget to Pin this Post for Later!

Why I No Longer Keep Silkies Even Though I Love Them



  1. john gillihan
    April 24, 2023 / 1:31 pm

    thank you. i believe you are right. i keep my male & female silkie away from the bigger chickens, its just better for everyone. i do love my chickens.

    • April 24, 2023 / 5:18 pm

      That is a good choice. Have you built them their own coop or run? I’d love to find a way to keep two separate flocks so I can have them again – they’re the best!

  2. September 7, 2023 / 12:33 pm

    My daughter wants to get a couple of silkies,but we live in Montana. Winters are rough with Temps as low as -30 and harsh winds. Could anyone whose has raised silliest give some advice to her.

    • September 7, 2023 / 2:08 pm

      Silkies really suffer if they get wet and cold. If you have slushy snow days, it can be really hard on them. If winters are rough, I recommend hardier birds. Unless you can create a heated coop area with a well sheltered run.

  3. Asher
    February 29, 2024 / 1:58 am

    I live in Australia and we have some fairly bad summers. I live on the lower half so it’s not that bad. Although we do get at least a week’s worth of 40 degree (Celcius, 104 Farenheit) days, are silkies a bad idea for this reason?

    • February 29, 2024 / 6:16 pm

      I have read that silkies cannot tolerate extreme heat either, so you’d need a way to help keep them cool during that hot week at least.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Dans le Lakehouse is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. If you click on a link that leads to Amazon, I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases - at no cost to you. Thank you for your support!