Raising Silkies

The Silkie Squad joined our farm family on August 21st 2020. I found them through a Craigslist ad. A local family just moved into a new subdivision with an HOA that was forcing them to sell their flock. So we got the chickens, a mealworm farm, feed, and the most adorable coop at an epic bargain.

I immediately fell in love with them. Sara is still not convinced.

While we discussed the details of the sale, the three chickens roamed near our feet looking for bugs. They were very chill and let us hold them. Bantam silkies are known to be one of the calmest and friendliest breeds and they have the added bonus of being adorable little fluff balls all through adulthood.

We set a day to pick everything up and went home where I panic read-up on chickens as fast as I could.

We’d assumed that since the coop was on wheels, that it would be easy for two adults to move by themselves. Melissa assured me that she used to move her old duck coop by herself.

Three days later my dad a.k.a. Safety JJ (truck owner, driver and successful trailer hauler) went to pick up The Silkie Squad. It went horribly, took about twice as long as planned and resulted in the coop and pen needing to be reassembled. I will not elaborate because the story is neither interesting or even funny. Just know that it is heavier than a duck coop.

Figuring Out How to Raise Chickens

Once they were home and the coop was reassembled, we renamed them. Beaker (grey), Twizzle (black), and Twinkie (tan) became Mooney, Padfoot and Prongs respectively. We figured that going mindlessly through the Harry Potter cast while naming them would help us remain somewhat unattached just in case they die or get eaten by coyotes in the night.

At this time, we did a lot of consulting with our resident bird expert (our friend Denise.) The Silkie Squad hatched in June, making them 6 weeks old and still very small. The previous owners had them on layer food which had too much calcium. We switched them to grower crumbles and they liked it a lot more and I could see them starting to look less chick-like.

The previous owners had tried to get around their HOA’s regulations by keeping the chicks in their garage. They were only taken outside for a few hours each day. Being babied and kept indoors seemed to have messed with their natural instincts. They didn’t understand how weather works or shelter.

Things We Had to Teach the Chickens

  1. How to Climb a Ladder
  2. How to Go to Bed in the Coop at Night
  3. How to Walk in Grass Wet with Dew
  4. How to Not Stand in the Pouring Rain All Day When There is Shelter Less Than 3ft Away
  5. What is Wind

On the upside, they are very good at being held and eating out of human hands…

Boy or Girl?

About three weeks after we brought them home, Mooney’s comb started to come in super nice and bright red. Soon after he started to crow, confirming his manhood. He is clearly the smartest and bossiest of the three. Padfoot and Prongs seem happy to ignorantly follow him.

Silkie chicks are notoriously impossible to sex. The family had assumed Mooney was a rooster and the other two hens based on their behavior. Now it seemed that they were right on par.

But after a while, Mooney and Prongs were about the same size and Prongs began growing a grayish, scabby-looking comb.

So is Prongs a boy or a girl? Again, we consulted our resident bird expert and came up with this list of traits.


Dominance Battles with Mooney
Bigger than Padfoot


Not Super Fluffy Neck Feathers
Comb is Smaller and Duller than Mooney’s

Final Judgement

After watching them for more weeks, it has been confirmed that Prongs is, in fact, a rooster.

So now we need to find more hens to have enough eggs for next season and so that the two roosters don’t abuse little Padfoot when they both become sexually mature (Padfoot is by far my favorite and I will not let this happen.) It’s not going well and we will have to get unsexed chicks again, 1/2 of which will be roosters and it will never end.