Silkies For Sale – 10/18/19

Here is what is available for the week of Oct. 18, 2019.  My next scheduled hatches are for Oct. 24, Oct. 31 and Nov. 7.  We are NPIP and a state inspected hatchery.  No shipping/Pick up only.  Chicks are not sexed.

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Pen 21- One Week olds hatched 10/10 – 1 white, 5 partridge, 7 blue – $13 each.

 

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Pen 20 – One week olds hatched 10/10 – 5 buff, 3 blue, 1 grey Partridge – $13 each.

 

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Pen 8 – Two week olds hatched 10/3 – 2 white, 4 buff, 2 partridge – $15 each.

 

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Pen 7 – Two week olds hatched 10/3 – 4 blue, 1 white, 1 grey Partridge – $15 each.

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

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 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 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

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

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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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How To Improve Fertility in Silkie Chickens at VJP Poultry

20161116_135510It is very easy to tell if your eggs are fertile. Crack one open in a dish and look for the round, white dot known as the blastodisc. It should have the appearance of a bulls-eye if it is fertile. If it is not fertile, it will look clear in the center and indistinct in its outline.

Roosters must be sexually mature in order to fertilize an egg. This is usually achieved at five to six months of age. Roosters will begin to crow before they are fertile. Roosters fertilize by mounting the hen and depositing semen. The hen stores the semen until an egg begins to form. The egg is fertilized before the shell develops. In normal circumstances, the failure rate is around 15% for eggs being successfully fertilized.

The length of the day will have an effect on fertility. Roosters become more active in their mating as they are exposed to more daylight. Hens will also begin to lay more eggs as the days get longer. Warmer temperatures also will have an effect on how interested your rooster becomes in mating.

If you are having fertility problems you may want to limit the number of roosters in your flock to encourage mating without too much competition . Some roosters will take a secondary roll in the flock when dominated by the other roosters. Old, infertile roosters will dominate fertile roosters and not allow them to mate. A single rooster can manage ten hens. Make sure that your hens and roosters are around the same size. Drastic size differences do not help with mating.

Old roosters will lose fertility. They will continue breeding but their attempts will be unsuccessful. One problem that a lot of older roosters have is that they become overweight. This will lower fertility and also make the act itself harder to do. Roosters tend to drop in fertility after their third year.

A young cockerel can try to mate with a pullet but not succeed in getting the job done. They will need to do a lot of practicing before they start to get it right. Many older hens will also reject the advances of these young cockerels.

Diet is an important variable in fertility. Roosters on a natural diet of feed, table scrapes and foraging for bugs will remain fertile longer than those eating a calcium rich diet of layer food. The addition of vitamins such as A and E can help boost fertility. There are products such as “Rooster Booster” that may help. I would advise eliminating low nutrition food such as corn or bread which can cause roosters to become overweight. I supplement with ground up winter wheat, calf manna and green fodder in the late winter to get ready for spring laying.

Create a comfortable environment to encourage breeding. Flocks that feel threatened by predators are less likely to breed. Keep your coop clean and sanitized. Give them plenty of room to move about. Keep your roosters and hens together at all times so that they can have a set pecking order. Old roosters will need to be rehomed and new roosters can be added.

Silkies have very fluffy bottoms with lots of feathers that get in the way of semen delivery. Trim the area around the vents above and below on both your hens and your roosters. Just use a pair of scissors and cut away enough of the feathers so that contact can more easily be made.

Hopefully these tips can solve your fertility problems and soon you will have all the fluffy, baby chicks your heart desires.

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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