Experts Reveal The Truth About Japanese Silkie Chickens! 😱

June 03, 2023

If you're on the lookout for a fancy-pants chicken to introduce to your flock, then the Japanese Silkie Chicken is the one for you.

If you’re just starting out and want a beginner-friendly breed without compromising on looks, then I still think the Japanese Silkie Chicken is the one for you. Assuming - that is – that you like fluffy chickens because these ladies are best known for their strikingly fluffy feathers. 

Japanese Silkie Chickens find their way onto almost every chicken-keeper's wish list at some stage and there’s a very good reason why. Actually, there are an awful lot of good reasons why, and I’m narrowing it down to my top 10 in this article.

Japanese Silkie Bantam Chickens, as their name suggests, are thought to originate from Japan. Though you’ll need to read on to get to the truth about this! It wasn’t long before Europe and America got in on the Silkie chicken action, and you’re about to find out why. 

As well as being the fluffiest and most beautiful bantams your eyes will ever behold, Japanese Silkies are friendly, funny, the best chicken Mommas you could ever dream of, and they’re fascinatingly unique in their physiology.

So, here’s why Japanese Silkie chickens are at the top of the bantam chicken charts…



First things first…

What Are Japanese Silkie Chickens?

Japanese Silkies are small, rounded little chickens that are fluffy from head to toe. Their feathers are uniquely silky to the touch fluffy to look at, and some even have beards. They are cute little clouds of feathers. 

Quirky in every way Japanese Silkie chickens also have black skin, five toes instead of the usual four, and trendy turquoise-blue earlobes. 

What’s The Difference Between Chinese Silkie Chickens and Japanese Silkie Chickens?

Chinese Silkie chickens and Japanese Silkie chickens are the same breed. Japanese Silkies go by many names including Chinese silkys, Chinese silk chickens, Malaysian silkies, and most popular of all, Silkies.

Japanese Silkie chickens originate from Asia, and whilst most believe it was either China or Japan, some have their money on India. Honestly: nobody knows, which is why their place of origin is often dropped from their title.

Marco Polo was the first to mention ‘a furry chicken’ in his journals of his travel through China in the 13th century. Maybe they found their way to Japan after this, or maybe they started life in Japan. Either way, it's obvious that this ornamental, oriental gem has some Japanese 🇯🇵 or Chinese 🇨🇳 heritage. 

“Japanese Silkies have black skin, bones and grayish-black meat; they are in the group of Chinese fowls known by the name of wu gu ji, meaning 'black-boned chicken'. More specifically, the Silkie breed itself is named Taihe wu ji, 'black-boned chicken from Taihe'” (Wikipedia)

Are Japanese Bantams the Same As Japanese Silkie Bantams?

Japanese bantam chickens, or Chabo, are not the same as Japanese Silkies. They’re another Japanese true bantam characterized by very short legs with large upright tails that reach up higher than their heads.  

japanese bantam vs japanese silkie


pros of keeping japanese silkie chickens

1. Japanese Silkie Chickens Are Stunning!

One of the first things you'll spot about the Japanese Silkie chicken is its stunning appearance. With their fluffed-up feathers, distinctive crests, and unique blend of colors, these chickens are quite a sight to behold. 

japanese silkie

Their feathers are soft, silky, and completely cover their little bodies from head to toe. This is just one of the features that set them apart from other chicken breeds. Japanese Silkies can be sourced in several APA recognized colors, as shown below, or in non-recognized colours including white, black, blue, and partridge. You can even find Japanese Silkie bantams in a mix of two colors, known as the <Splash Silkie><link to article>or <paint Silkie>.<link to article>.

The beauty of Japanese Silkie Bantams is that they maintain their luscious looks throughout their life. It's no surprise that chicken enthusiasts find themselves smitten with Japanese Silkies.

2. Japanese Silkie Chickens are Fascinatingly Unique

Japanese Silkies stand out from the chicken crowd. They are unique in so many ways that you really can’t confuse them with any other breed of chicken. 

Japanese Silkie Chickens have barbless feathers which means they are as soft as silk to stroke. These feathers are unique to Silkies, and you can read all about their special feathers in our Silkie Chicken Breed article.

“The Silkie’s feathers are technically broken since Silkies are homozygous for a recessive allele (gene problems) which results in barbless pennaceous feathers. This is kind of like when kids chew their zippers, so they don't interlock anymore. The feathers lose their structure and look more like fluff than feathers.” (Silkie Chicken Expert)

what makes japanese silkies so special

Japanese Silkie chickens have dark blue or black skin hidden underneath all their fluff, whereas you would expect to see white or yellowish skin on other breeds. This rare melanism – known as Fibromelanosis - in the Japanese Silkie's connective tissue, sets them aside from other white-skinned chicken breeds. 

Japanese Silkie chickens also have five toes on each fluffy foot. Extra digits – known as Polydactyly - is now expected as part of the Japanese Silkie breed standard, whereas other chicken breeds have only four.

Japanese Silkies even have unique turquoise earlobes, which again is not the norm for chickens. 

There are six recognized colors of Silkie chicken in the US plus another four unrecognized varieties; Red, Gray, Lavender, and Cuckoo, which are just as stunning.

Japanese Silkie chickens can be found in non-bearded and bearded varieties. Bearded Japanese Silkies have a little tuft of fluff beneath their beak. Bearded ladies are most popular in the US, and non-bearded are preferred in Europe.

3. Japanese Silkie Chickens Have Friendly Temperaments

Japanese Silkie Bantams are also known for their friendly and docile nature, meaning they make great pets. Japanese Silkie chickens are known to bond closely with their owners because of their nuzzly nature and pet-worthy personalities. They love a cuddle. They even purr like cats when they’re fussed!

Japanese Silkie chickens are a top choice for kids as they're light, easy to handle, mild-mannered, and not flighty or fussy. Silkies are often used as PAT (Pets As Therapy) animals, which proves my point.

Japanese Silkie chickens mix well with other friendly chicken breeds, too. They won't start a fight in your flock.  

A whopping 97.6% of the 207 Japanese Silkie owners who we asked said they would keep them again. 

4. Japanese Silkie Chickens Don't Need Lots of Space

Japanese Silkies need less space than bigger breeds because they’re true bantams. Japanese Silkie chickens are 8-14 inches tall and 27.6 inches in length, on average. Roosters weigh 36 oz, and hens weigh 32 oz.

If you live in an urban area or don’t have a lot of space to keep chickens, then Japanese Silkie chickens could be the perfect pick for your flock. A 3-feet square coop with 8-feet of run room should be enough to comfortably house two Japanese Silkie chickens. 

5. Japanese Silkie Chickens Make Great Backyard Birds

Japanese Silkie chickens are exceptionally good backyard breeds. As well as needing less room to roam, they’re easy to manage, they’re not too noisy, they can’t fly or hop fences, and they’re very easy on the eye.

Japanese Silkie hens are quieter than most breeds so they’re well-suited they are to homes with noise-averse neighbors. 

6. Japanese Silkie Chicken Roosters Aren’t Aggressive

Japanese Silkie roosters are calmer and quieter than other chicken breeds. They make great chicken dads, too. They're known to share their feed with their chicks 🐣, which is rare for roosters. 

7. Japanese Silkie Chickens Are Beginner Friendly

Japanese Silkie chickens are great for beginners. They’re fancy fowl, but they’re also easy-going, low-maintenance ladies who are happy to be handled and cared for. 

8. Japanese Silkie Hens Are Reliable Egg Layers

Japanese Silkie chickens lay 2-3 eggs a week: that’s around 100 eggs a year. There are better-laying breeds about – I won’t argue that – but for a fancy chicken that’s a pretty good backyard harvest. 

Japanese Silkies lay small, cream-colored eggs which are thought to be richer in all the good stuff than most other eggs, including nutritive constituents, oxidative stability, and rheological properties.

"Silkies are excellent layers of relatively large-sized bantam eggs, and unlike most other breeds, silkies will continue laying eggs throughout the winter because their fluffy feathers keep them warm and content. In addition to being great egg layers, silkies are known for being the broodiest of all chicken breeds and are often used to incubate and raise the offspring of other poultry."(Successful Farming)

9. Japanese Silkie Chickens Are Easy to Care For

Japanese Silkie chickens live for 7-9 years if you care for them well. If you invest just a little time in your chicken knowledge, then you’ll get more pleasure out of keeping them. You can nail the chicken-care knowledge in one easy course with Chickenpedia’s chicken care course.

japanese silkie lifespan

Japanese Silkies don’t need grooming: they will preen and dustbathe to keep their stylish little top knots looking fabulous, and a quick rinse and towel dry will tackle any ‘problem areas’ nicely. 

They rank high in the wow factor and low in maintenance. Perfect! 

10. Japanese Silkie Chickens Make Great Mommas

The Japanese Silkie chicken is – without a shadow of a doubt - the broodiest breed I have ever known. I’m told some sulky Silkies out there break the mold, but from my experience, Silkie hens are usually insanely broody and make marvellous mommas. 

Japanese Silkies are the go-to chicken nannies for hatching eggs from other less-natural chicken breeds. They’ve been used to hatch eggs for geese, ducks, quails, and pheasants. Go, girl!


Comment below!

Japanese Silkie chickens are beautiful, friendly, quiet, and fluffy. They’re one of the best bantam breeds for chicken enthusiasts and beginners alike.

No chicken comes without its challenges though. Knowing all there is to know about caring for Silkies is key to offering them a happy and healthy home.

Some strains might suffer from a hereditary predisposition to Mareks disease and being fluff bombs makes it hard to spot pesky parasites, and their vaulted heads make them more vulnerable if pecked by bigger birds.

Even the most experienced chicken owners out there find themselves scratching their heads daily over a random noise or an odd walk from their Silkies. 

Chickenpedia is the perfect place to learn how to care for - and how to prepare for - your Japanese Silkie chickens. You'll have unlimited access to reliable information, expert guidance, real-world tips, and reassuring chats on all things Silkie. It’s the only place to be for the Silkie lovers amongst us! 



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