The Silkies or Chinese Silkie Chicken is a very popular chicken breed in the Philippines especially for people who love raising chickens as pets. The price of Chinese Silke depends on what part of the country you are living in. In Luzon, the price for adult Silkies ranges from P800 to as high as P1,500 but in the Visayas, it’s much higher. If you want chicken that is small, broody, and gentle, you can raise Silkie or another Chinese breed the Beijing You aka Beijing Fatty.
Origin and History of Silkie Chicken
The real origin of Silkie chickens is unknown but the most documented first appearances started in China, hence it is called Chinese Silkie. There are also rumors that the breed was originated from other Asian countries like India and Java. The earliest written document was found written by Spanish explorer Marco Polo describing it as a “furry” chicken around the 13th century during his travels around Asia.
In 1598, Ulisse Aldrovandi, a writer and naturalist at the University of Bologna, Italy, published a comprehensive treatise on chickens which is still read and admired today. In it, he spoke on “wool-bearing chickens” and ones “clothed with hair like that of a black cat”.
Physical Characteristics of Silkie Chicken
Silkies are considered a bantam breed in some countries, but this varies according to the region and many breed standards class them officially as large fowl; the bantam Silkie is actually a separate variety most of the time. Almost all North American strains of the breed are bantam-sized, but in Europe, the standard-sized is the original version. However, even standard Silkies are relatively small chickens, with the males weighing only four pounds (1.8 kg), and females weighing three pounds (1.36 kg). The American Standard of Perfection calls for males that are 36 ounces (1 kg), and females that are 32 ounces (910 grams).
Because they are small, Silkies are considered bantams. Silkie plumage was once unique among chicken breeds, however, in recent years, silkie feathering has been developed in several breeds, most notably the Chabo, where it is now standardized in Britain and the Netherlands. It has been compared to silk, and to fur. The overall result is a soft, fluffy appearance. Their feathers lack functioning barbicels and are thus similar to down on other birds. This characteristic leaves Silkies are unable to fly.
Silkies appear in two distinct varieties: bearded and non-bearded. Bearded Silkies have an extra muff of feathers under the beak area that covers the earlobes. They also are separated according to color. Colors of Silkie recognized for competitive showing include black, blue, buff, grey, partridge, and white. Alternative hues, such as cuckoo, lavender, red, and splash also exist. The standards of perfection call for all Silkies to have a small walnut-shaped comb, dark wattles, and turquoise-blue earlobes. In addition to these defining characteristics, Silkies have five toes on each foot. Other breeds that exhibit this rare trait include the Dorking, Faverolles, and Sultan.
All Silkies have black or bluish skin, bones, and grayish-black meat; their Chinese language name is Wu Gu Ji, meaning ‘black-boned chicken’. Melanism which extends beyond the skin into an animal’s connective tissue is a rare trait, and in chickens, it is caused by fibromelanosis, which is a rare mutation believed to have begun in Asia. The Silkie and several other breeds descended from Asian stock possess the mutation. Disregarding color, the breed does not generally produce as much as the more common meat breeds of chicken.
Why Raise Silkie in the Philippines
Most people who raise Silkie chickens in the Philippines are those who raise American heritage breeds. You can seldom see Silkies mixed with native chickens because their price is someone not affordable to ordinary backyard growers.
If you are planning to raise Silkie, there is an excellent market for this chicken not for slaughter but for pet owners. Silkies are becoming more and more popular especially the Whites. They are in high demand and can fetch higher prices making them one of the most profitable chickens to raise.
Where and How to Buy Chinese Silkie in the Philippines
If you are serious about looking to buy Silkie chicken, there are a lot of Facebook groups that have members offering this type of chicken breed. You may join these groups and post a “wanted to buy” ad. Sellers may offer you through direct message. Other sellers also post their chickens when they have available chickens to sell.
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