The pending arrival of my baby chicks has been a great topic of conversation at my workplace and has inspired several of my co-workers to go on-line and Google search pictures of chickens in order to give me “sound advice” about what sort of chickens I should be getting. Unfortunately, somebody found pictures of Silkies.
Silkies are an ancient Chinese breed of chicken. The first European account of Silkies was Marco Polo’s account of “furry chickens” during his 13th century travels to Asia. Silkies do, in fact, look very furry. Imagine the “French poodle” version of poultry. This furriness is because their feathers lack barbicels, the tiny hooklets that keep the strands of a feather aligned. Other bizarre characteristics include back skin, meat, and bones, and blue earlobes. Oh, and they have extra toes. Silkies are not necessarily great egg layers, but they have a calm demeanor and a friendly disposition. From my perspective, people get Silkies for pets, not to be production birds. There are pictures on the net of Silkies dressed up in top hats or tutus. So there you go.
Several of my co-workers have now convinced me that it is absolutely incumbent upon me as a keeper of chickens to have a few Silkies. When I finally caved to their pressure I told them I would get some Silkie chickens, but to make it clear to the world who was responsible for these fluffy little birds becoming members of my flock, I would name the Silkies after those very co-workers.
I’ve been a little hard pressed to find anybody in the area who can provide me with Silkies at this short notice, but have finally gotten on the list at Houle’s Farm Garden and Pet in Forest Lake for three Silkie babies. The bad news is that these three babies will be part of a batch of straight-line chicks they are getting in. In other words they will not be sexed. Chances are that at least one of these babies will turn out to be a rooster. The word is that Silkies are nearly impossible to sex anyway, so getting straight-line Silkie babies sounds like par for the course. Anyway, I’m glad I’ve managed to find some Silkies to add a little variety to my pending flock, and we’ll cross the rooster bridge if and when we come to it!