Silkies For Sale – 4/17/17

Companion Birds For Silkies

A question that I am often asked at VJP Poultry is “How do silkies do in a mixed flock?” It really depends on so many things. They can do well with other birds but remember, they will probably be at the bottom of the pecking order. Because of their docile, laid – back lifestyle, they will not be the ones causing problems. The do not fly, so they will not be flying up to roost at night with the rest of the flock. They will sleep on the ground in a corner with hopefully another silkie buddy.   They don’t wander far from the food dish.

Silkies are classified as Bantams. There are many different bantam breeds and many of them would make good companions for silkies. Because bantam breeds are smaller , they are nearer to the same size as a silkie is.  Not all bantams are good choices. Seramas  are small but do not do well in a colder winter. Some bantam breeds can be very aggressive and would also not be a good fit.

Bantams are breeds of chickens that are smaller than standard size. There are true bantams which are breeds only available in bantam size and then there are bantam varieties of standard sized breeds.

Bantams are great for the urban or suburban flock. They eat less, take up less space and cost less to take care of. There are several breeds that are similar to silkies in that they have fluffy foot feathering and docile temperaments. I am going to suggest five different breeds that would be a good fit with silkies. I am including pictures. These are not my pictures but were taken from the internet as examples.

barred plymouth rock

Barred Plymouth Rock Bantams have lots of personality.  They are very friendly.  My all time favorite chicken was a Barred Plymouth Rock that we had years ago. They are cold hardy and great egg layers.

buff brahma bantam

Buff Brahma Bantams are gentle and quiet. They  make a great over-all pet. They have feathered feet and small combs which make them perfect for our cold winters. They are mini versions of the larger sized Brahmas.

bantam cochin

 

Cochin Bantams have a calm disposition and an ornamental look. They are wonderful mothers and are good at hatching out any egg you give it. They come in many different colors – buff, partridge, golden laced, barred, mottled , black, white and red frizzled.

mille fleur

Mille Fleur d’Uccle Bantam’s name means “thousand Flowers”  in French. They have heavily feathered legs and a bushy beard. This is an example of a “true bantam”‘ as opposed to a smaller version of a large fowl.

salmon faverolle

Salmon Faverolles are calm and docile. They have beautiful feathering on their muffs, beards and legs. The male is straw, redish brown and black. The female is creamy white and salmon brown. It is easy to tell the males from the females.

These are just five examples of good companions for silkies.   Look for other gentle breeds that won’t bully Silkies.  Silkies do tend to be picked on by more aggressive breeds. If it is not working out, you may need to separate you silkies in a different area. All birds have individual personalities so you just need to find out what works for your flock.

For tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our Chicken Learning Center at VJPPoultry.com .  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

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Sprouting Grains and Growing Fodder For Your Silkie at VJP Poultry

20170328_072958Looking for a way to let your silkies enjoy free range greenery in the middle of winter? Want a break from the boredom of the coop and give the birds some entertainment? Sprouting will give you the benefits of free range all year round.

At VJP Poultry, we are always looking for ways to improve our operation. Sprouting grains and growing fodder is one way in which you can get more “bang for your buck” as far as your feed bill goes. Sprouting not only makes your grain more usable nutritionally, but it also reduces the amount of feed you purchase because of the increased volume of sprouting seeds.

Sprouts and fodder are simply different stages of the same thing. Seeds first sprout and then as they develop stems they turn into fodder.

Sprouting makes vitamins, minerals and proteins in grains more digestible. Sprouting improves enzyme content. After sprouting, the grain becomes 40-50% more digestible . The silkies are actually getting more nutrition and fiber than from the same amount of unsprouted grain. Sprouts contain chlorophyll and beta – carotene resulting in darker yolks and more nutritious eggs.

Seeds and grains come with a preservation system that is designed to protect the seed’s stored proteins, fats and minerals over an extended period of time until conditions are right for germination. This protective shell consists of items that are anti nutrients when ingested.

Sprouting or fermenting seeds and grains reduces or eliminates the anti nutrients and increases the bio availability of many nutrients such as B vitamins, Vitamin C, Folate, fiber and essential amino acids such as Lysine.

Sprouting is very easy. First acquire seeds from a reputable source. Always use clean, sanitized containers and clean, fresh water.  You can sprout any seed but most people sprout wheat, oat and barley seed. BOSS sunflower seed are acceptable too.

Next rinse the amount of seeds you plan to sprout and then soak them in water for 8 to 24 hours. I just soak them overnight. The next day rinse again and put into some kind of tray with drainage holes in it. I then rinse the whole tray in water for five minutes once a day. I keep my trays on shelving where they get some sunlight.

Each day they will continue to grow sprouting roots and then stems. When the stems are between one inch and four inches is a good time to feed them to the silkie chickens.  You don’t want the stems too long as this can cause an impacted crop. Around 6-7 days growth is good.

Watch out for mold growth. The more you rinse the seeds, the less black mold growth there will be. I have yet to see any mold growing in our fodder.

At VJP Poultry, our silkies love to gobble up the fodder and sprouted seeds. Even the seeds that don’t end up sprouting but have just been soaked are yummy to them. I feel better knowing that they are getting green growth all year round.  Growing fodder is a fun project which can be done indoors in the winter and outdoors in the summer. Have fun sprouting seeds and growing fodder for your pets.

For tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our Chicken Learning Center at VJPPoultry.com .  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