The Best Homestead Chicken: Silkie Chickens!

You'll never believe out of the 20 or more breeds of chickens we raised Silkie chickens were the best homestead chickens for us! Find out why they worked so well for our personal homestead needs! See if they might fit your homestead! #homesteadchicken #silkiechickens #homesteader

Now I know what you're thinking.... silkie chickens for a working homestead, ha!
Believe me, I've heard the negatives about silkies too for a working homestead.
They are supposed to be poor layers, bad foragers, not enough meat to eat on them, not hardy!
Doesn't sound like the right homestead chicken for a practical-minded subsistence farmer such as myself!
Basically, they are thought of as a novelty, good for nothing but a pet or show chicken.

silkie chickens are a great homestead chicken!

A case for Silkie Chickens for a Homestead

I'm here to say all these things are true and wrong. Because it all depends on your lines! Just like with most animals or livestock.
Show animals are typically bred for looks first, everything else later. Everything can't be a priority in a breeding program. I prefer utility first, looks later! So I looked for someone breeding for utility first to purchase my silkie chickens.
I ordered my best Silkie chickens here because they raise their silkie chickens for the Chinese Market in NY. Silkie Chicks Hatchery

silkie chickens are a great homestead chicken!

The silkie chicken is the easiest chicken I ever raised honestly. I've had around 20 different breeds from tiny bantams to big serious homestead chickens like Buckeyes.

silkie chickens are a great homestead chicken!

Turns out my silkie chickens have not been delicate at all! They live in my barn with Muscovy case you didn't know ducks are messy! As you can see below it has not a reflected badly on the health or beauty of my silkies.

They have been very low input and easy to raise! Even when our temperatures got down to 0 this winter,,, they were fine.

They are extremely economical to feed! Try the least expensive I've ever raised chickens!
They are SOOOO quite!!!

silkie chickens are a great homestead chicken!

Silkie Chicken Meat

Honestly, this was the most delicious chicken I've ever eaten in my life!
Yes, the skin is black and yes it was good too! That one little rooster fed me and my husband to our fill for dinner, then made a wonderful rich bone broth the next day.

The smaller size made processing a breeze, super easy to pluck. So we didn't need to use a plucker. The meat to bone ratio was very good.
Best part? Well, next to the fact it was the best chicken I ever ate, this meat cost me pennies to raise. 
The hardest thing was the slaughter because they are such nice birds, but the roos weren't being nice to each other and someone was going to end up dead.
So it had to be done... and it was a blessing the meat was so amazing! Purely Poultry is a hatchery I've ordered from before that actually offer Silkie broilers! Silkie Broilers
There is a high demand for silkie meat in Asian communities. It might be a great niche market if you have a large Asian population near your farm. Here's a company that sells the meat (about 1.5 pounds) for $19! BellaBella Gourmet 
Whew, that's not your average chicken price! Its a niche business a small farmer in the right area could actually profit from. 

Some say it is healthier than regular chicken... check out this link...
Benefits of Black Chicken meat

silkie chickens are a great homestead chicken!

Silkie Chickens are Foragers 

So what about silkie chickens being bad foragers?
They forage plenty, all day!
Here's something though, they just can't forage destructively and scratch everything up because of their overly feathered feet! So they are perfect for areas you may prefer not end up being bare ground! 
They don't wander far away though like a lot of chickens. They are very easily contained away can't fly over my fences! 
Which means they are safer because they have to stay with my flock guardians and means I don't have to chase them down and clip their wings!
This saves me so much time! An animal that is hard to manage can suck the day away from you!
As a busy farmer that has had her fair share of dealing with high input and hard to manage livestock,
I truly appreciate how easy these guys are to deal with. 

Silkie Chickens for Eggs

If you have a large family or an egg business Silkie chickens may not be a good fit. They only lay 90 to 120 eggs a year. Which is plenty for me and my husband!
The wonderful thing is my silkie chicken hens lay on sprouted grains and pasture, needing no fancy layer feed.
The egg is small but not as small as bantam eggs or quail eggs. It just cost so little to feed them! So I will take it!

For other tips on how we learned to save money on our feed bills you can check out this post Saving on the Feed Bill

They are supposed to be excellent mothers. The Silkie chickens I got from JM Hatchery never went broody. Which is great! I wanted eggs not babies from them. The 'show' silkies I bought went broody all the time. Good to keep some of them around if you do want babies. they are very docile too!

silkie chickens are a great homestead chicken!

Extra Things to Know

Silkie chickens like ALL chickens are highly vulnerable to predator attacks! Neighborhood dogs, (with irresponsible owners!) possums, raccoons, owls, snakes, rats!!! You name it, just about everything out there wants to kill chickens! Which is one of the biggest heartbreaks for me with poultry. They can be so hard to protect. That's why it's important to me they stay in the fences I put them. My livestock guards can't protect them outside their fencing.

Using a livestock guardian dog has its own very bog issues with poultry. 
  • First, it's very hard to find a dog that won't kill more chickens than the predators did!
  • Second, it takes about 2 years for a dog to be trusted around poultry. 
  • Third, the can still snap and kill your birds (I had a well seasoned, trusted lgd that did this)
  • Forth, they will eat the eggs you're working so hard to get!
What to do?? Use donkeys! Hands down the best protection you can have for poultry! They don't roam, they don't eat eggs, they barely notice poultry and its rare to have one kill birds. They are more economical than dogs if you have space and finally they don't bark all night! 
Check out my ebook for more info on Livestock guardian donkeys and see if they can fit your homestead.
Donkeys are the best livestock guardians for chickens!

If you don't have the space using NiteGuards helps with nighttime predators and we've used them for years! They work great!! 

So Silkie Chickens can be a good homestead chicken for the right homestead.

  • They Cause me no drama
  • Take little of my money  
  • Wonderful low input chicken... I didn't think there was such a thing ;-)
I tried them on a whim,, so glad I did! They have been a joy and a blessing.

For my other favorite low input poultry check out Coturnix Quail Farming
and Why Quail Worked for Us

Do check out my our Pinterest boards for lots of great homesteading and poultry ideas! Homestead and Horses Pinterest Boards

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