The Silkie Rooster! Silkie Rooster vs Hen and All You Should Know About Keeping Them

Silkie roosters are more docile and better natured than other breeds of rooster. Not only are they still as cute as their female counter parts, they will also play their role and keep their flock protected.

silkie rooster
Silkie Roosters are more docile than other breeds of rooster.

Silkie chickens make ideal pets due to their friendly nature and cute looks. You may be wondering if you should keep a rooster amongst your flock. Good question! We have done the research for your convenience so read and and find out.

Our comprehensive and detailed overview of this breed will inform you of the characteristics of the Silkie Rooster and enable you to decide whether they are the perfect addition to your flock.

What this article covers

This is a long article, so below are some quick links. Click any of them to go straight to that section – or just carry on reading for the full guide!

Lifespan7-9 years
Weight4lb or <2kg
ColorBlack, blue, grey, white, buff, partridge, splash
NoisyYes – they are a rooster but they do tend to crow less than other breeds
Suitable for hot environmentsYes
Suitable for cold environmentsCan tolerate cold, especially with supplementary heat
Suitable for wet environmentsNo
Child friendlyYes
Cost of RoosterChicks: $5, Roosters: $15

Pros and Cons of keeping a Silkie Rooster

Pros 👍Cons 👎
✔ Tend to be less aggressive than other breeds of rooster❌ Unsuitable for very cold environments
✔ Suitable for families with children❌ Unsuitable for wet environments
✔ Gets on with other breeds❌ Unsuitable as typical meat chickens
✔ Don’t need much space❌ Prone to being bullied by other breeds
✔ Unique appearance
✔ Don’t crow as much as other breeds, or as loudly

 History of the Silkie Breed

The Silkie chicken originates from Asia, most believe China or Japan while others favor India. The exact location where they were found is not known, however, Marco Polo recorded in his journal about a ‘furry chicken’ on his travels through China in the 13th century.

In the early 1900s, Silkies were used in traveling circuses and freak shows’ due to their unique appearance and having a fur-like appearance rather than feathers. They were also sold to people as ‘bird-mammals’, fooling unsuspecting customers by claiming they were a cross between a chicken and a rabbit.

The Appearance and Personality of a Silkie Rooster

The unique and fluffy feathers of the Silkie come in a range of different colors including white, black, blue, grey, gold and porcelain.

Their feathers lack barbicels (the hooks that hold the feathers together), hence why they have a fluffy appearance. Their main feathering looks just like the under-down of other chicken breeds. Due to this feather structure, this means they cannot fly and their feathers are not waterproof!

Silkies come in standard or ‘Bearded’ – the Bearded Silkie has a beard and muffs. All Silkies have a black face, bones and skin and their flesh is a very dark grey-blue

Their head looks somewhat like a ‘pom-pom’ (very similar to a polish chicken). If a comb is present, it should look like a ‘walnut,’ being almost circular in appearance.

They have oval-shaped turquoise blue earlobes and the true Silkie roosters have dark-colored wattles. Their beak is short and broad underneath, and a grey blue color. Their bodies are broad and stout, with the back short and the chest looking full.

Another unique feature is that they have five toes instead of the usual four found in other chicken breeds. The outer two toes should be feathered. The legs are short and wide-set and grey in color.

Silkies are a small breed and a standard Silkie will weigh as little as three to four pounds, with the males being the heavier. In America, they’re classed as a ‘bantam’ breed and can weigh as little as 18 ounces.

A tall, proud Silkie Rooster!

Silkie Rooster vs Hen

When Silkies are fully grown, it’s quite easy to tell which is a rooster and which is a hen.

The two main differences between Silkie Roosters and Silkie Hens are:

  1. The roosters have wattles and the hens do not.
  2. The roosters have longer ‘streamers’ of feathers coming from their crown than the females do.

Other tell tale signs to looks for earlier and from 12 weeks of age are:

  • Roosters are usually a little heavier and larger.
  • The roosters leg feathers are thicker and have more feathers.
  • Spurs develop around 6 months of age, females don’t grow spurs at all.
  • Male silkies will stand far more upright than female silkies and stand taller.
Note the long streamer feathers coming from the roosters crown and prominent wattles

Are Silkie Roosters Protective?

Though Silkies are known for their docil nature and sweet temperament, the roosters are fiercely protective of their hens especially when a threat presents.

Rest assured that Silkie roosters will do their best to defend themselves and their ladies against anything that may perceive as a threat. 

When Do Silkie Roosters Start Crowing?

All Silkie males are capable of crowing from 3 months of age.

Silkies even as young as 2 months old have been reported to crow and chest bump.

They tend to crow less than other breeds and are not generally as noisy due to their smaller sizing.

Cooping a Silkie Rooster

One of the best things about keeping small breeds like the Silkie is that you don’t need a large coop or run for them due to their size. 

Each Silkie should have around 2 square feet of coop space inside the coop. This will give them enough room to move around and not be living on top of each other.

Their perches should allow for six inches of space per bird.

It’s a good idea to install many perches within a coop area to give choice about who sits where. 

Allow each bird approximately 4 square feet of outside space to move around and forage. 

Silkie Rooster Nutrition

You should feed Silkie Roosters high quality feed.

Chicks should be fed a 20% crumble until they are 16 weeks old. Then they can be fed a 16% layer feed of crumbles or pellets when they mature. We like this crumble feed for our chickens.

Always provide a bowl of high quality grit to aid our chickens digestion. 

Always provide a waterer with clean water they can drink and easily access.

Health Issues Silkie Roosters Can Be Prone To

Eyes – trouble seeing due to fluff

Worse on the bearded silkies since their beards tend to fluff up on the sides underneath the eyes. The most practical solution is to trim their feathers in front of their eyes so they can see clearly.

Ice on crests

Silkies can get wet head feathers as they drink water. This can turn into an issue in winter if the wet feathers freeze. Again the most practical solution is to give them haircuts just before the winter weather sets in

Dirty feet

Foot feathers tend to get dirt stuck in them which can cause matting and in turn, discomfort for the chicken. If clumps of dirt are not removed by trimming or soaking they can cause the feather follicles to pull out which can result in infection requiring further medical treatment. Try to keep your Silkies in dry conditions to prevent this for happening.

Lice and mites

Silkies seem to be particularly susceptible to lice and mites. Providing a dust bath mixture helps prevent these parasite problems.

Poop butt

Fecal matter sticking to the butt feathers is an attractant for flies which can lead to deadly flystrike. Washing or trimming dirty butt feathers will be required to prevent flystrike.

Vaulted skull

The term vaulted skull refers to the bulge on the top of the skull that many Silkies have. It’s a skull malformation known as a cerebral hernia and results in a softer section on the skull. A hard peck to this soft spot of the skull from another bird can cause potentially severe damage.

Wry neck

Silkies have a few genetic tendencies and wry neck is one of them. Success can be obtained by treating wry neck with vitamin E and selenium supplements in consultation with your vet.

Marek’s disease

Silkies are more susceptible to Marek’s disease than most other chicken breeds. The good news is this severe and fatal disease is completely preventable. Most breeders and hatcheries offer this vaccine for chicks, so make sure you enquire to check if their chicks are vaccinated. Another plus is the vaccine is quite affordable. 

Silkies can be quite susceptible to Mareks Disease which causes paralysis (Source: Meyer Hatchery)

 Shopping list of items needed to look after a Silkie Rooster:

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AUTHOR

The team at My Chicken Guide are chicken enthusiasts! Our team has over 20 years experience in raising and caring for chickens. Our head writer is a qualified Environmental Scientist with a passion for sharing science based information on chicken care.

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