One of the most popular and unique breeds of poultry is the Silkie chicken. Silkies are a true bantam, meaning there is no large fowl version of the Silkie, and were first admitted into the APA Standard of Perfection in 1874 but since then have had several other varieties admitted as well. They can be found in the Feather Legged Bantams section when looking through the Standard or visiting a show hall, and are in the the same class as bantam Brahmas, Cochins, Langshans and a few other breeds.
When walking through the aisles of a poultry show, you might be wondering how a judge sifts through them all to pick the best Silkie. Judges must have a discerning eye especially when working with large classes and have usually spent lots of time studying and learning about what makes a good specimen. At the Twin Tier Poultry Club Show, Jonathan Patterson took a moment to share what he was looking for in the class of Silkies he judged that day and what made the bird he choose as best of breed stand out to him. Take a moment to hear what he had to say in the video found below!
There are some qualities that make Silkies a truly unique breed of chicken:
- They have nearly black skin, face, comb, wattles and bones
- Their feathers are hair-like in appearance and texture
- They have five toes on each foot
- They come in either bearded or non-bearded varieties
- They originated in East Asia, with claims of them originating in both Japan and China
All of these qualities make Silkie chickens unique but also a fascinating breed to work with, along with their calm disposition and the variety of colours they come in! Next time you’re at a show take a moment to look at the Silkies and pretend you’re the judge!