Are Silkie Chickens Good Egg Layers?
Silkie hens may not qualify as top range layers but do not perform too poorly either. Most impressive, they continue producing eggs even during the coldest winter months because of their fluffy soft feathers. In truth, their name originates from the silky smooth appearance of their feathers. Initially, the Silkies originated from Asia, China, to be specific.
Back then, a Venetian merchant known as Marco Polo came across native Silkies as he explored the mountainous China area around the 1200s. That explains why the cold environment never seems to bother lovely Silkies. Today, we intend to delve more into Silkie’s egg-laying capability and why you should consider taking them home.
How Many Eggs do Silkie Chickens Lay?
A healthy Silkie hen lays approximately 80-120 eggs yearly. Usually, this translates to about two or three eggs weekly. Hens may delay or lay fewer eggs because of poor nutrition, stress, molting, age, and excess light. It is worth noting that experts do not recommend Silkies for commercial eggs or meat production.
How to Make Silkie Chickens Lay More Eggs?
Still, Silkie hens can lay a substantial amount of eggs when placed if farmers follow the helpful tips below.
– Provide Clean Water Daily
Akin to other living things, Silkie chickens require clean water regularly to survive. Water is essential for egg production and digestion. Also, since fowls cannot sweat, water helps regulate body temperature, improving egg production. Altogether, make the water accessible to all and change it regularly to prevent contaminations to your flock.
– Offer a Balanced Diet
There are special chick feeds that set the pullets ready for laying eggs. It is prudent to introduce layers feeds from about six months. Then supplement with vegetables and fresh fruits such as watermelons and bananas. You can also provide your poultry with controlled portions of fresh milk because of its rich calcium content.
Other sources of calcium include oyster shells, limestone, and crushed egg or seashells. Remember that calcium is an essential component because it strengthens the shell and triggers the vent to open when releasing an egg. Calcium is also necessary for strengthening bones and making laying hens healthier.
– Use Secure Nesting Boxes
An ideal nesting box should be secluded from predators and direct sunlight. What’s more, it should be full of hay and close to water and food sources. There are various techniques to train young pullets on using nesting boxes.
First, make it comfortable and inviting with dry hay. Place enough boxes in a coop to prevent competition and brawls. Above all, keep the nesting area clean and dry.
– Record Hen Laying Pattern
Silkies, like other varieties, get affected by various external stressors like the weather. For instance, unlike other chickens that stop laying eggs in winter, Silkies discontinue when it becomes too hot in summer.
In short, chicken species with fluffy feathers suffer most in the summer heat. Some like Silkies overheat real fast, making it impossible for the hens to lay eggs in such a state.
Additionally, hens in poor health may not give desirable eggs. Making records on any changes goes a long way in coming up with an eventual solution like visiting the vet. Also, it guides farmers on what to expect from their investment.
– Provide Sufficient Light
Adequate light for about 12 to 14 hours daily is vital for egg production. Keep in mind that hens naturally receive signals to produce eggs from the endocrine system. A change in body temperature like summer may shut down egg production entirely. Adding extra lighting in the coop kick starts the system and prompts the hens to lay more legs.
Proper light spectrum strengthens eggshells and stimulates water and feed intake resulting in a healthier, less stressed flock.
Can You Eat Silkie Chicken Eggs?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with consuming Silkie’s eggs. In fact, some experts consider them more nutritious with a high level of potassium, calcium, and vitamins E, D, B6, and B2. Moreover, unsaturated fatty acids are slightly more at 62.5% than 53.9% in other species. A healthy Silkie hen lays eggs consistently for roughly two years.
Soon after, the production declines as the bird become older. Like other breeds, a Silkie hen would not simply stop laying eggs in an instant. Instead, you are more likely to notice a slight decline gradually before they finally come to a halt. Sometimes, Silkie hen can skip laying eggs a whole week before resuming back.
When do Silkies Start Laying Eggs?
It is absolutely normal for pullets to start laying from six to nine months. Probably, this is because Silkies mature a little bit slower than other breeds. Nonetheless, the older a Silkie hen starts laying eggs, the more she is likely to give in her lifetime.
Other than that, Silkies classify as the broodiest chicken species worldwide. Amazingly, the girls go broody even without eggs on sight. A Silkie hen would also rarely budge from her eggs, even when faced by predators. This trait makes Silkie chickens the most preferred species if you want to hatch eggs with an impressive success rate.
What Size Eggs do Silkies Lay?
Silkies eggs might be relatively smaller but still come packed with beneficial nutrients. Egg size may range from 35 to 60 grams. An average jumbo egg from other species weighs 65 to 70 grams.
How Much do Silkie Chicken Eggs Cost?
Merchants often charge Silkie hatching eggs between 4 and 15 dollars. Take into account that egg price depends on quality, size, and color. Silkie hens produce cream to tint colored eggs.
What are Silkie Chickens Good For?
Thanks to their downy feathers, Silkies stand tall among the prettiest chickens worldwide. It is no surprise that the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection enlists Self Blue, White, Buff, Black, Paint, Gray, Blue, and Partridge Silkie colors. The diverse, beautiful colors most definitely trigger immense interest in poultry shows and exhibitions.
Silkies also offer natural pest control when scavenging insects in the yard. Finally, Silkies provide meat and eggs, although not as top-notch sources.
Unknown to most people, Silkies, especially when young, can be fragile. As a result, add electrolytes and vitamins to their water. Feed them on a higher protein and calcium diet to enhance egg productivity as they grow older.
The good thing is that Silkies have a pleasant personality and make lovely pets even if they may not produce baskets of eggs.