Friday, March 11, 2011

Chicken Keeping 101

I LOVE my chickens.  I do not keep them because they are profitable - because they are NOT.  I "keep chickens" for pure enjoyment!  My chickens are what is known as "free range" - this means that they are not fenced in, but rather are free to roam around they yard.  This gives them the ability to "scratch" around for gravel, bugs, worms, etc. the things they need naturally.  This week I will focus on a "Fancy" breed of chickens - known as Silkies.  Fancy breeds are those not typically known for production - eggs or meat.

Silkies have silky, hair-like feathers and a dark purple or gray tinted skin that distinquishes this breed from all other types of chickens.  They are a bantam breed - which means they are much smaller than the standard chicken.  Silkies are poor producers of light colored small eggs.  They are not good mothers - mine usually set on eggs but lose interest before they hatch.  However, what they lack in production, they make up in personality!  Silkies are extremely docile, friendly and easy to handle.  They make excellent pets.  Of all the chickens I have in my coop...silkies are the ones I can just pick up and carry around.  Our girls have shown silkies as 4-H projects.  They make excellent showmanship chickens - especially for the younger or inexperienced handler.   So, if you are looking for a gentle breed for a pet, the Silkie could be for you.

These are a few pictures of some of our silkies.  Enjoy!

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