Silkies For Sale – 2/20/20

Here is what is available for the week of Feb. 20, 2020.  We hatch out silkie chicks every week at VJP Poultry.  We are NPIP, Pullorum tested and a Minnesota state  inspected hatchery.  No Shipping/Pick up only.  We sell one and two week old unsexed silkie chicks.  We also sell 4 month old female silkie pullets.  We can no longer accept rooster returns.  If you are not allowed to have roosters where you live I would recommend that you consider a four month old female silkie pullet.


Four month old female silkie pullets –  $65 each.



Honey is a 4 year old black hen.  She is $40.




Pen 21 – One week olds hatched 2/13 – 2 white, 1 black, 2 grey, 1 blue, 1 possible splash – $13 each.


Pen 20 – One week olds hatched 2/13 – 9 partridge – $13 each.


Pen 8 – Two week olds hatched 2/6 – 7 grey – $15 each.


Pen 7 – Two week olds hatched 2/6 – 1 black, 2 white, 4 grey – $15 each.


Pen 6 – Two week olds hatched 2/6 – 7 partridge – $15 each.


Pen 19 -White and Black chicks without any DQs for 4-H — Four week olds – 6 white ($19 each) Three week olds hatched 1/30 – 2 white, 1 black -($17 each) Two week olds hatched 2/6 – 2 black, 2 white ($15 each) One week olds hatched 2/13- 2 black ($13 each) Newborns hatched 2/20 – 10 black, 2 white ($11 each).  Perfect for 4-H poultry showing. NPIP and Pullorum tested. You will not need to retest when you are ready to show.

If you have any questions or would like to set up a time to come out and pick up some silkies, you can contact me by texting 612-756-1414 or PM me at the VJP Poultry Facebook page.

Chickens That Won’t Come in at Night

20190217_093457-1“The chickens have come home to roost” is a saying based on a very real fact.  Chickens are creatures of habit and they will return every evening as the sun is going down to a place that they feel safe and comfortable.  You would like that place to be the inside of your coop but often chickens will choose a different place such as the branches of a tree.  Here are some things that you can do to encourage your birds to come home at night so that you aren’t spending your time chasing and herding the chickens in.

Chickens do not have night vision.  They can’t see in the dark. They use their pineal gland to sense whether it is light or dark out. The pineal gland is located right behind the chicken’s eyes. It also allows the chicken to sense the changing seasons.  As it begins to get darker out the hens will sense that it is time to go home and find a place to sleep. A coop that is warm and safe is a good place to go to.

If they habitually sleep in the coop, they will return to it every night. You may need to teach them this habit but once they have it, it would be very unusual for them not to return each and every night.

The first step towards building this habit is to lock them inside the coop for several days so that they learn that this is their home. This is best done when it is not extremely hot outside as you don’t want them to overheat inside of the coop.  Place food and water inside of the coop and have roosting poles available for them to roost on at night.  They even have heated roosting bars for winter if you so desire.

Next, let them out so that they are in an enclosed area such as a chicken run  before you let them free range. This way you will still know where they are and can get them back into the coop at night without having to search for them.  Once they are used to that and hopefully understand where home is you can let them free range on their own.

Put a little light inside the coop to help them find their roosts in the evening. It doesn’t need to be very bright. A 25 watt light bulb will do. Just turn it off when you go to lock them up when they are all inside.

Food and treats work very well for coaxing them in at night. Put the food in the coop so that they will want to go inside. Birdseed mixed with mealworms is a motivating treat.  Make sure that it is something that they only get in the evening before roosting. Don’t leave it out or use it for other things as it won’t be special anymore.

Use a distinct call to summon them.  It can be your voice or anything else that makes a sound like a whistle.  Choose one consistent call. Not your regular voice. I use a high pitched call saying “Come, come, come” or if I have a treat like cracked corn, I will say “Corn, corn corn”.  When they hear the “corn call” they stop what they are doing and come running.  Use the call and then toss the treats into the coop. They will see you and the treats and will associate the two together with coming in at night.

Be patient. If one chicken figures out that there are treats to be had, the rest will copy her to get some treats as well.  Soon they will be going into the coop every night on their own even if you stop giving them treats.

Young birds and new birds seem to have the hardest time with returning to the coop in the evening. They simply have not learned  that the coop is home yet. New places and new experiences can be bewildering for new birds.  They will watch others and learn, but for awhile you may have to scoop them up and put them on the roost at night.

Older birds may not want to return to the coop because there are pests inside it that are bothering them.  Mice and rats can cause problems for birds. Red mites can hide in the wood during the day and come out to bother the birds at night biting them as they roost. A predator such as a snake could have gotten in and is stealing the egg supply. This will scare any hen from wanting to go home because she doesn’t feel safe there.

Chickens that are lower on the pecking order will delay going in at night if they are being bullied by other hens.  Some hens will block doorways or peck birds as they enter the coop. The number two rooster will often delay going in as well because he knows that the head rooster will be giving him a peck as he goes in.

If a broody hen has chosen a nesting spot outside of your coop, it may be difficult to get her to come in at night. Use ceramic eggs and make a new spot for her inside of the coop if possible.

A dirty coop that is full of droppings produces an ammonia smell. This is harmful and can cause respiratory issues with your birds.  They may be refusing to roost in the coop because the air quality is so bad that they can’t breath.

Tension in the flock can also cause birds to not want to enter the coop in the evening. Too many roosters can be unpleasant for the hens and they may want to just stay outside and hide in the trees.  Too many roosters can also lead to battles between them where others could be injured in too tight of an area.  Do not have an overcrowded coop or they may stay outside where they have more room.

If you can’t always be home at dusk to lock the chickens up at night, you may want to invest in an automatic chicken coop door.  There are many to choose from but the ChickenGuard seems to be a good choice.  You can put it on a timer or it can be light sensitive to close.  You always want to lock up your chickens at night so that predators cannot enter.

For tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our Chicken Learning Center at .  VJP Poultry is an NPIP and state inspected hatchery located 30 miles north of St. Paul.  We hatch out silkies all year long so we always have stock available.  Like us on Facebook to get weekly updates on what we currently have for sale.

Victoria J. Peterson




Feed and Treats For Adult and Juvenile Chickens.

bestChickens are Omnivores.  They are opportunistic eaters.  They will eat foods of both plant and animal origins.  They love treats and are easy to spoil. What they are fed can make a huge difference in their egg production, reproduction ability and overall lifespan length. It is important that they are given foods that have good nutritional value and are natural for their behaviors as chickens.

When chicks are little they eat Chick Starter as their main source of food.  At around 10  weeks they can begin Grower Feed. This feed is around 16% protein and is designed to sustain growth all the way to maturity. Gamebirds will need a higher protein content such as a Gamebird Conditioner feed.  I feed my silkies Gamebird Conditioner which has a protein content of 20%. If you are raising meat birds they will need their own separate Meat Bird Grower Crumble for fast growing birds. They require a protein content of 20-24%.  The basis of any good chicken diet is a high quality poultry pellet or crumble. Most if not all of its nutritional needs should come from that feed. It is complete and balanced and does not need anything added to it for optimal development of the bird.

Layer feed can be given once the pullets have begun laying eggs. It should not be given before that time as the higher calcium content can cause damage to their kidneys as they are not using the calcium for eggshell development.  Layer feed should not be given to roosters as it can be detrimental to their kidneys as well. Layer feed is designed to provide optimum nutrition for birds laying eggs. It contains 16% protein and increased levels of calcium for proper shell creation. Average laying hens will consume 1/4 pound of feed per day depending on the size of the bird, weather conditions and level of productivity.

Another type of feed is All Flock.  It is designed for adult birds but does not contain the added calcium.  You can feed it to a mixed flock of ducks, geese, turkeys and chickens. When feeding this to laying hens, you will need to offer some Oyster Shell in order for them to get the needed calcium for shell development. Offer it in a separate bowl from regular feed and the hens will eat it as needed.

Scratch is a mix of cracked rolled or whole grains such as corn, barley, oats or wheat.  It is low in protein and does not provide balanced nutrition such as a commercial feed would. However, as the name implies, it is food that is thrown on the ground and the chickens get to scratch around in the dirt for it. Scratching for food is a very natural behavior for chickens and is a good form of exercise for them. Only feed them as much scratch as they can totally consume in 20 minutes.

Table scrapes are routinely given to chickens but should be thought of as a treat.  Most food scrapes are fine but some are better than others. Feed bread in moderation as it has little nutritional value. Cat and dog food are sometimes given during molting because of the high protein content. Citrus is usually frowned upon as it may interfere with calcium absorption and cause soft egg shells. Dairy products should be fed in moderation as chickens have a hard time processing large amounts of dairy. No dry beans or uncooked rice.  Watch out for too salty or fatty foods.

Allow your chickens to free range and forage for food when you can.  They love looking for bugs and green plants and the adventure of finding them. Do not feed your chickens grass clipping as this can cause impacted crop. Always provide commercial feed for them. They will not find enough food free ranging in a typical suburban yard.

One way to tame and bond your chicken to you is to occasionally give it some treats.  There are many commercial treats available. Grubblies and Dried Mealwormsare natural insects that have been freeze dried or oven baked.  A poultry Flock Block can be placed in the coop and left for the birds to gradually peck away at it. A poultry Suet Block is made mealworms and sunflower seeds. .  Happy Hens Treats, Kaytee mealworm , and Manna Pro Harvest Delight are all good commercial treats.  As a boredom buster use a treat ball to entertain and provide treats for your chickens.

Too much of a good thing can always be a problem.  Chickens can become obese and develop fatty liver disease. Keep treats down to 20%  or less of their regular diet. Make sure that their commercial feed is always available to them especially before evening. You want to make sure that the chickens go to bed with a full crop which not only keeps them warm but aids in the nightly development of the egg.


For tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our Chicken Learning Center at .  VJP Poultry is an NPIP and state inspected hatchery located 30 miles north of St. Paul.  We hatch out silkies all year long so we always have stock available.  Like us on Facebook to get weekly updates on what we currently have for sale.

Victoria J. Peterson



Silkies For Sale – 4/26/18

A Look at the Silkie Standard of Perfection

20171020_121935-1The American Standard of Perfection is a wonderful book published by the American Poultry Association. In it you will find all kinds of valuable information on all of the breeds of chickens that are recognized by this group.  Their main purpose is to list characteristics of each breed at their highest level.  This information is used by judges to help them judge the qualities of individual birds against what has been decided as the “perfect” bird of that breed and variety by the American Poultry Association. It is also used by breeders to improve their birds through breeding towards the standard and by exhibitors who want to place well in poultry shows who use the standard as a guide for choosing birds.

In judging, there is a scale of points that equals 100.  Points are assigned to different attributes of the bird.  Points will be deducted if the bird does not meet the standard given.  There are also disqualifications that can be given which will eliminate a bird from competition.  Since silkies  have crests and beards their point system is adjusted to include points for those areas.

The disqualifications specifically for silkies include :  Bright red comb, face and wattles.  Shanks not feathered down outer sides.  Feathers not truly silky (except in primaries, secondaries, leg, toe and main tail feathers.) Vulture hocks. There are other disqualifications that are for all birds, not just silkies.  You would find those under “General Disqualifications” elsewhere in the book.

The standard weight for a silkie cock is 36 oz.  The standard weight for a silkie hen is 32 oz.  The standard weight for a silkie cockerel is 32 oz.  The standard weight for a silkie pullet is 28 oz.

The standard then lists descriptions of each of the areas of the silkie’s appearance.  This is all part of the bird’s shape.  It is best to obtain a copy of the standard so that you can read in detail what the standard entails. I will mention a few of the items of interest but there is much more information listed in the book. I will be discussing the Bearded Silkie only.

The comb should be walnut shaped. In the males it should be circular shaped and have a horizontal indentation across the middle of it. Females should also be walnut and smaller. The wattles should be small and concealed by the beard in bearded silkie males.  The females should be very small and concealed.

The crest should be medium sized. The beard and muffs should be thick and full. The neck should be short and gracefully curved.  The back should be short and broad and rising back in a curve towards the tail.  The cushion of the tail should be broad and round and very fluffy.  The tail should be  shredded at the ends.

The wings should be closely folded and carried well back being nearly horizontal.  Primaries should be concealed  by secondaries.  The tips should be well shredded with tips being concealed by saddle feathers.

The silkie needs to have five toes. Three in the front and two in the back.  One toe in the natural position and the other placed above it curving upwards and backwards.  Feathering should be to the middle toe.

Comb should be deep mulberry colored.  Beak should be slaty blue and eyes should be black.  Earlobes should be turquoise blue. Skin should be dark blue and toes slaty blue.

Silkie’s feathers come in different colors and not all colors are recognized by the APA. Here are the ones that are recognized: white, black, blue, partridge, buff, gray, splash, self-blue (lavender) and paint.  There are separate descriptions for each of the different color varieties indicating what is accepted and what is not.

Symmetry, as well as, condition and vigor are also important in judging.  The overall shape and balance of the bird is important.  The silkie should look like a “S” curve with the bottom part of the “s” continuing upward.  They almost look completely circular, like a bowling ball when they stand correctly.

There is much more to the silkie standard than I have talked about in this article.  If you would like to purchase a copy, you can get one through the American Poultry Association here.

There are also old copies and  knockoff copies at Amazon that are not printed through the APA.  I think that they are basically  xerox copies and have the same information.

Hopefully this will answer some of your questions concerning what the standard of perfection is.  As a breeder, we are constantly trying to improve our silkies and have them come as close as possible to the standard that has been set. It is important to show your birds as a breeder or attend shows so that you can talk with judges and other people who are knowledgeable about silkies.

For tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our Chicken Learning Center at .  VJP Poultry is an NPIP and state inspected hatchery located 30 miles north of St. Paul.  We hatch out silkies all year long so we always have stock available.  Like us on Facebook to get weekly updates on what we currently have for sale.

Victoria J. Peterson

Information for this article was taken from The American Standard of Perfection 2010 published by American Poultry Association, Inc.