Silkies For Sale – 12/22/17

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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Remodeling at VJP Poultry – 2/13/17

20170128_105904     If you have visited VJP Poultry in the past you more than likely have visited the “chick room.”  It is a little room off of our garage that houses all of the silkie chicks that are currently for sale. It’s a fun little room with all of its cheeping and classical music, but it also had some problems.

The room had never been properly finished. The sheet rock was water stained and drab. The chick pens were not arranged so that they could be easily cleaned, and it was simply too tight of a space to move around in.  Any more than having two people in that room was too crowded.  It was time for a change.

The January thaw was just the right time to move all of the chicks out and onto the floor of the garage.  My car would need to sit outside until the project was over.  We put out a few space heater so all of the chicks were kept toasty warm.

The first step was to clean and clear out everything. There were tables, shelving and a bunny hutch to move out. I try to keep the room clean but there was a ton of dust everywhere that all had to be blown out.

When the room was empty we began to tape the drywall. There were also lots of holes in the sheet rock to plaster over and make smooth. The floor needed to be scraped. A lot had stuck to it over the years.

Next we needed to prime the walls with white. When it was dry we could finally paint. I chose a lavender hue (luscious lavender was the name of it.) This color matches the purple house theme and blends in nicely with our logo purple colors.

Some insulation was added near the door and then molding was added along the floor. The white metal cabinets were quite rusty so those needed to be sanded, primed and painted. A new light fixture was added to make it easier to see the birds clearly.

Lastly we purchased new shelving. This will be the key to making the pens easier to get at and to making it more spacious.

I love the changes that were made. Thanks to my husband who is always there with the vision. VJP Poultry is better than ever!

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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Does a Silkie Need a Christmas Gift? 12/05/16

I have always loved this video – VJP Poultry’s- Ballet of the Unhatched Chick- because it shows chicken’s somewhat playful side. Some people refer to this as “Chicken Football” because they are all chasing after the one meal worm that someone has in its beak.   Do chickens play? Do they get bored? Do they require a gift at Christmas? These are all questions people have asked about their birds.

Well, Cyber Monday is over, but there is still time to order your chickens a few treats online before December 25th.  Most of the customers at VJP Poultry consider their chickens to be family pets. They lavish love and attention on their silkies and I would bet      that some of them are planning a few Christmas surprises in their chicken’s stockings.

Most gifts are the kind that silkies can eat or the kind that silkies can play with. Let’s start with the chicken toys. Most of the chicken playthings are balls that can be filled with treats. The chicken pushes the ball around and treats fall out. Some of the balls are more complicated and the chicken needs to work at it to get the treats out. An example would be Lixit Chicken Toy  or Peck and Play Ball .

The toy that I liked the best was the Chicken Veggie Ball .It is described as “an entertaining way to provide nutritious treats to a backyard flock”. You can put a head of lettuce or  cabbage inside it and watch your flock kick it around like a soccer ball. This idea has been around for a long time. Oldsters used to tie a rope around a head of cabbage and hang it on a hook inside of the coop for the same effect. All of these toys are good boredom busters for your birds in the wintertime.

The most unusual toy was the Chicken Swing. The chicken hops on and is able to pump the swing back and forth. Probably not the best gift for a silkie as they may have a hard time jumping on , but other breeds seem to swing just fine on it.

Silkies always like special food treats. There is the Flock Block which lets them peck away and find treats of corn and seed. They are manufactured by many different companies and you should find it at your local feed store.

The treat my flock loves the best are meal worms.  Real or freeze dried, they go crazy for them. I have, in the past, kept a meal worm farm going in my house. The live worms are a great source of protein and a wonderful way for you to bond with your bird. They will come running every time they see you if they think that you have worms for them in your apron pockets.  You can also purchase freeze dried worms from Happy Hen Treats .

There has been a craze of late for putting chickens in sweaters and other kinds of outfits. You are not doing your chickens any favors by doing this. It will compromise their ability to self – regulate their body temperature. Best to leave the clothes off the birds unless it is Chicken Diapers for inside of the house. You can give them a little jewelry by giving them leg bands that have charms on them.  If you are looking for a gift for a guy, check out Gifts For Guys Who Like Chickens.  We also have Gifts For Silkie Chicken Lovers for anyone who likes silkies.

If you are interested in gifts for the Chicken Lady or for chicken loving kids or gifts for the home for chicken lovers check out our weekly silkie blog at VJPPoultry.com. We also have silkie basics at Silkie Supplies.

So, do chickens play? I think so. All animals play. I know that the chest bumping I see among juvenile silkies seems to have a very playful nature to it. Do Chickens get bored? Yes, often this will result in pecking to the extreme. Do they need Christmas gifts? That’s up to you. I know that my little silkies will be getting some nice meal worms come Christmas Eve.

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

chicken-swing