A Complete Guide to Silkie Chicken Eggs

October 21, 2020

A Complete Guide to Silkie Chicken Eggs

Table of Contents


Silkie Chicken Eggs
Background Information on the Silkie Breed
Silkie Facts Chart
Silkie Eggs
Can you eat Silkie eggs?
How many eggs do Silkie hens lay?
What color eggs do Silkie hens lay?
What size eggs do Silkie hens lay?
Silkie Egg Comparison Chart
Nutritional Value
Keeping Silkies for Eggs
Silkie Laying Age
Nesting Boxes
Caring for your Silkie Hens
Incubating and Hatching Silkie Eggs
Incubation Period of Silkie Eggs
Temperature and Humidity

Which came first the chicken or the egg? While this is an egg-sestential question, for the purposes of this article, let’s say that the egg came first.

So, you’re here because you want to learn about Silkie eggs? Yes, these little fluffy chickens are also capable of laying eggs for you and your family, that’s part and parcel of what makes them such highly sought-after family pets. 

Or perhaps you’re just a fan of these cute little critters and wondering what they’re like in the egg production department? It doesn’t matter what brought you here, what’s going to keep you here is the fact that myself and my poultry peeps collectively have more than 30 years’ experience with these fantastic little birds and can truly consider ourselves Silkie Chicken Experts! So, we can tell you all about this breed along with all the delicious details regarding their adorable eggs.

Silkie chickens are known for their characteristically fluffy plumage said to feel silk- or satin-like to the touch. Their feathering sets them apart from regular chickens, but Silkies are also unusual in the sense that they have black skin, blue earlobes, extra toes and an inability to fly.   

 

White silkie chicken showing off its fluffy feathers, black skin, and blue earlobes

 

A cheeky little head-turner, Silkie chickens delight their owners with their cute looks, friendly disposition, docile nature and adaptability. If you’re looking for a really special and out of the ordinary chook to add to your backyard flock, you cannot go wrong with these fluffy beauties. 

By the end of this article, you will be dying to add a Silkie to your flock – or to just run out and buy more because they are some of the best backyard additions you could hope for!


Background Information on the Silkie Breed

Silkies are a ubiquitous breed and there is no doubt about it that it is a very old breed that was first discovered in China.

The first documented account we have of a Silkie chicken is Marco Polo who encountered what he termed a “furry chicken” on his famous and fateful thirteenth-century travels. 

Silkies are mentioned a second time by Ulisse Aldrovandi, a celebrated Italian writer, in his treatise on chickens where he talked about the Silkie has a “chicken with hair like a black cat”. 

 

White and black silkie chickens sitting on grass

 

We cannot be one hundred percent sure where Silkies first scratched around, but we know that they have a long and complex history dotted across the Asian landscape, and that they were traded on the Silk Road which is most probably where the Silkie name came from.

Although early travelers like Marco Polo and Aldrovandi made mention of the unusual quality of the Silkie chicken’s plumage, there were many myths that surrounded the unique feathering once these little chickens made their way to Europe. Stories abounded that the Silkie chicken was the result of crossing a chicken and a rabbit and Silkies were even included in sideshows and labelled bird-mammals. Even though we can definitely see the likeness between the satin-like coat of a rabbit and the fluffy feathers of a Silkie – we can say with absolute certainty that these little chooks are not mammals in the slightest, just a very unique chicken.

 

Little girls playing with a brown rabbit and a white silkie chicken

 

Now that we know where they come from, let’s take a quick glance at the facts.


Silkie Facts Chart

So, now that we’ve done a little background research into the truly special Silkie chook, we’ve rounded up the fast facts for you so that you can have all the important info available at a quick glance.

 

Silkie chicken facts-infographic

Silkie Eggs

Can you eat Silkie eggs?

Yes, you can eat Silkie eggs. They taste pretty good as Silkies love to free range and find all sorts of greenery and insects, all of which improve the eggs and especially the bright yellow yolks.

Because Silkies are so small, their eggs are also a little smaller but that makes them ideal for a kid’s breakfast. The yolks of bantam eggs tend to be larger relative to the size of the egg than in large fowl chickens.

How many eggs do Silkie hens lay?

Silkies are a popular choice for a backyard flock and they make highly fashionable pets, but unfortunately, they are notoriously poor layers! Your Silkie girls will provide you with approximately 100 – 120 eggs per year. They also start laying later than other chickens, with some hens that might keep you waiting until they are almost a year old before they provide you with a single egg! 

 

White Silkie chicken sitting on eggs in nesting box inside a chicken coop

 

So yes, Silkies aren’t the best choice for someone wanting basketfuls of eggs, but if you keep at least five hens, your girls will provide you with a handful of adorable eggs that are perfectly edible every week. 

What color eggs do Silkie hens lay?

Silkie eggs are white in color and some may have an off-white or cream color.

 

Colored egg comparisons of silkie eggs, duck eggs, chicken eggs, araucanan chicken eggs, and goose eggs

What size eggs do Silkie hens lay?

Just as there are many different chicken breeds, there are many differentsizes of eggs. Egg sizes can range from 1.25 oz to 2.5 oz (35g – 70g) per egg. Commercially, an extra-large egg is any egg larger than 2 oz (59g) and jumbo anything above 2.2 oz (66g). However, some breeds – especially those bred as layers – lay consistently large eggs for you to enjoy. 

Silkies lay extra small to small eggs. According to the UK standards, a small egg is an egg that weighs less than 53g. In the US a small egg will weigh 42.5g or less and a peewee or extra small egg will clock in at less than 35.4g.

 

Egg size comparison chart according to American standards

 

Has your Silkie ever laid a record-size egg for the breed? Let us know in the comments! We’re always delighted to hear your backyard flock stories!

Silkie Egg Comparison Chart

Chicken breed Egg laying yield Comparison chart of Silkie Bantam, Sebright Serama, Orpington, Sussex, and Golden Comet chickens

 


This is just a basic chart with a few choice examples. If you’re interested in more eggy knowledge, like which breeds lay the most eggs and more information on breeds that lay colorful eggs, be sure to check out our
Ultimate Guide to Eggs course over on Chickenpedia. 

Check out thisvideo for a nice comparison showing Silkie eggs compared to other chicken eggs and duck eggs. 

Nutritional Value

Although eggs are fairly low in calories, they pack a massivenutritional punch. There are some experts who have even deemed eggs a superfood – right up there with flaxseed, acai, nuts and avocado! The reason why eggs are so incredibly good for you is because they contain all the nutrients required to turn a single cell into a baby chicken. 

 

Egg nutrition facts chart

 

But if you are worried about eating a potential ball of down, do not fear – not all eggs will eventually turn into baby chickens. An egg needs to be fertilized for this to happen. If your hens never see a rooster, your eggs will only ever be eggs, but still just as good for you.

Eggs are high in vitamins A, K, D, E and B5, B12, B6. They are also high in calcium, selenium, zinc and phosphorous. In addition to this, eggs are high in good cholesterol and they are among the best dietary sources of choline, a nutrient that is incredibly important but most people aren’t getting enough of. Choline is used to build cell membranes and has a role in producing signaling molecules in the brain. 

Above all else, eggs are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, reduced risk of stroke, better eye health and even weight loss! And all of this comes from a single butt nugget – can you believe it!?


Keeping Silkies for Eggs

Silkie Laying Age

Silkies are notoriously slow growers and they take quite a long time to mature. Your Silkie hens will only start laying at approximately 7 – 9 months of age, but some may take even longer. 

Don’t be surprised if it takes your girls up to a year to produce even a single egg. It is a fairly common belief that the longer a Silkie hen takes to start laying, the larger her overall production will be – so good news for the late bloomers!

 

White Silkie chicken sitting on eggs in nesting box inside a chicken coop

 

Silkies will generally consistently lay their eggs for two years or so, then gradually their production will start to decline. A hen won’t simply one day stop laying eggs altogether. You will only notice that she might not be laying as much as usual anymore and then she might skip an entire week. At five years old a hen’s production is at 50% of what it used to be and it readily declines from there until at the age of eight your Silkie is only laying an egg once in a blue moon.

Nesting Boxes

You would be forgiven for assuming that you would need at least one nesting box per hen. 

Chickens are social little animals and most hens will very happily share their nesting box. You will also find that not only do they like to share, but if you have multiple nesting boxes, you might find that all your girls lay in the same one – keeping their eggs in one basket you might say. 

When designing your coop, it is a good rule of thumb to provide one nesting box for every three to four hens. If you’re getting four little ladies to provide you with breakfast, get at least two nesting boxes – that way they can take their pick! 

 

Black silkie chicken watching over her eggs in the nesting boxes

 

As a side note, Silkies are also known for going broody and it will cause less squabbles if you have enough nesting boxes to go around should one of the little bantams decide to go broody.

Caring for your Silkie Hens

Due to the fact that Silkies are fairly poor layers, you will most likely not be intending to sell your eggs. If you’re simply keeping the eggs for yourself and your family, you won’t need to jump through any legal hoops or register with any authorities. That being said, you will still need to take egg-ceptional care of your personal layer hen to ensure delicious and nutritious eggs for your table.

A sick or stressed hen might go off lay and will not be able to provide you with the eggs you require, however little there may be. If your hen doesn’t receive adequate nutrition, she won’t be able to produce good eggs and if she’s deficient in calcium she may even eat her own eggs before you have a chance to!

You will need to start by ensuring your Silkie hens have access to good-quality feed that will provide all they want and more in the nutrition department. You can also supplement your chickens’ feed with various treats to keep things interesting and help them produce their best. If you’re keeping Silkies for eggs, it is best to invest in commercial layer feed that you can buy at any agricultural or animal feed store. A good quality commercial feed has exactly the right balance of protein, calcium and minerals. The absolute top quality will be organic, non-GMO food for layers.

 

White Silkie chicken eating layer mash inside chicken coop with a jungle fowl chicken

 

You will also need to make sure that your girls have access to fresh water and oyster grit. Feed oyster grit separately as your chooks will instinctively know when they need it. Oyster grit is a calcium supplement and helps your chickens create strong and durable egg shells. If your hens are calcium deficient, they may start to peck at their own eggs, breaking and eating them which can create bad and hard-to-break habits. If they lay calcium-deficient eggs, these may be soft-shelled or thin-shelled and may break before you even get to the nesting box. You can get oyster grit at the feed store, or if you can’t find it, you can supplement with egg shells – just make sure that you dry them out in the oven and grind it up really fine before feeding it to them so they don’t recognize it as their own shells.

 

A white silkie chicken drinking water with her chicks

 

If you have a broody Silkie hen, make sure that she is safe and not getting picked on by any other birds in the flock. A broody hen needs water and food close-by at all times as she is unlikely to leave her nest for much longer than a necessary snack or sip of water. She may lose condition so a few protein-rich treats like mealworms or scrambled eggs may provide a tasty booster, and it is wise to switch her to grower feed as this is what the chicks will eat once they hatch. Make sure that your momma hen is warm and comfortable and you will soon be rewarded with tiny little cotton buds running around the coop! Just be careful when handling or treating a broody hen as even this docile little chicken turns into a fierce mama bear when she has little ones to care for.


Incubating and Hatching Silkie Eggs

So, you may be interested in Silkie eggs for a different reason than merely cracking them over a pan. Perhaps you’re interested in incubating and hatching Silkie eggs? 

Silkies are good moms and if you let them, they will most likely go broody and hatch out clutches of eggs for you. 

 

White Silkie chicken mother with baby chicks


“They are such good moms,” said Frank R. Reese Jr., the founder of Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch in Lindsborg, Kan., who breeds Silkies for show. “They’ll sit on anything and hatch anything. They’ll hatch ducks, turkeys, chickens.”

However, incubating and hatching your own eggs is a joy like no other and we firmly believe that all chicken keepers should experience this at least once. 

 

Silkie chicken eggs in an incubator

 

Choosing eggs for hatching takes a bit of skill and practice but there are a few guidelines to follow to make things a little easier.

Always select eggs for incubation that:

  • Are similar in size. Too big or small can present problems.
  • Appropriate for the breed, which means they should be small in size and white in color.
  • Clean and well-shaped.
  • Not cracked. You can candle eggs before incubating to check for less obvious cracks.
  • Not too old. Hatching eggs stored for more than 10 days are much less likely to hatch.
  • From well fed parents. Happy and well-fed hens produce better eggs.

The best results are obtained from eggs collected from hens in their second season.

Incubation Period of Silkie Eggs

The incubation period for Silkie chickens is 20 – 21 days. Bantam eggs like the ones you’ll get from your Silkies tend to hatch a day or so earlier than large fowl eggs. If you only have Silkie eggs in the incubator, you should stop turning the eggs on day 17 instead of on day 18. Your Silkie hatch may begin as early as day 19 and finish as late as day 22.

Temperature and Humidity

Make sure the incubator is set up and running for at least 24 hours before you set the eggs. Humidity need to be between 45 and 55% for the first 17 days and up to 65% for the hatching phase.  Silkie eggs tend to have sturdy porcelain type shells and do need the extra humidity to hatch.

Your incubator temperature needs to be between 99.1°F for a forced air and 101°F for a still air incubator. It is also always a good idea to use a non-toxic marker or pencil to mark your eggs so you can turn them correctly or at least make sure that your automatic egg turner is working if your incubator has one.

 

Silkie chicken eggs in an automatic egg incubator


Silkies are wonderful backyard additions and although they aren’t prolific layers, they will still yield about three eggs per week per hen. They also make wonderfully broody mothers and will hatch out clutches and clutches of eggs for you if given the slightest chance. However, some people may want to experience the joy of incubating and hatching their own eggs. It’s up to you what you prefer, but either way you will have the cutest little cotton balls running around after approximately 21 days.

Silkies are one of the favorite chicken breeds to be kept as pets and their adorable little white eggs are just another reason to love them.

Let us see photos of your Silkies, their eggs and chicks in the comments!


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