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SherlockHolmes

Desperately Seeking Silkie

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We know it is the wrong time of year, but we are really keen to get hold of some silkie hens or chicks. We saw these unusual hens in the summer and thought they would make a great gift for my mother in law. She keeps ordinary laying hens and would love one that is a little tamer and unusual.

Stupidly we thought we'd be able to get one just before Christmas but we've searched high and low to no avail. Either they've just been sold, got by foxes or are at the other end of the country.

 

If anyone knows of any silkie hens for sale (not cockerels) in the Bristol, Swindon, Wiltshire, Somerset areas or close by to those areas, could they let us know?

 

Just to reassure they will be going to a lady who loves animals and owns a farm. She has kept chickens all her life and they enjoy a large and warm henhouse, plus the run of her extensive garden during the day which is protected by the farm dog. Now that she's older, she'd love a hen that is more of a pet than just a layer.

 

We would consider buying a pair or even 3 but they do have to be hens, she doesn't want to breed them.

 

Hoping someone can help?

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The Federation show is on this weekend at Staffordshire county show ground on the 15/16th December

The sale pens start selling at 09:00am on Saturday and finishes at 13:00pm on Sunday.

 

Time:

8:00am to 6:00pm

 

Here is the address:

Staffordshire County Showground

Weston Road

Stafford

Staffordshire

ST18 0BD

 

I know its probably a bit too far from you but I thought it might be handy to know, you could always make a day/weekend of it as there are beautiful places to go see near the showground. Or maybe take your mother in law down to the show for the day and she could pick out some hens as there will be a huge variety I'm guessing. I'm sure you'd find the perfect silkie there. Hope this helps :)

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Thank you! Yes Stafford is a little far but it's an option worth considering. Unfortunately we won't be able to take MIL as she lives in Lancashire and we're in Wiltshire. We're heading up there Christmas Day.

 

The only reason we don't want to travel too far is because we're stupidly busy coming up to Christmas. We have 2 children, lots of shopping to do and I work from home as a copywriter and have plenty of deadlines to keep me busy over the next 2 weekends.

 

If we don't hear from anyone closer we will seriously consider the Staffordshire show though so many thanks for the tip.

 

Just thought I should add that we will also consider Frizzles, Houdan, Poland or Sultans.

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When you say she has ordinary hens. Do you mean the brown Isa Warren type? I have those and had a lot of trouble introducing 2 Silkies to my other 2 girls. I had to have 2 eglus and although they now live together there is still bullying. Another big different is that Silkies are very broody and it can be a bit of a hassle. Just wanted to warn you incase you did not know as it may cause your MIL some worries. Good luck with your search for a suitable hen :)

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Just to re-iterate the warning, that Silkies do not normally get along with standard hens (though it is possible if the intros are done gently). This is because Silkies are gentle souls and tend to get picked on. They do make sweet pets but should really be housed separately or just with other bantams of gentle breeds.

 

If you are after cute looking pet hens there are other breeds that might be suitable. Take a look at The Omlet Chicken Breeds Area

 

For instance Booted Bantams / Sablepoots are rather nice, Orpingtons make sweet pets and you can get these in standard size (nice and large and cuddly) or in bantam size. Pekins are also dear little things who talk all the time and are very popular as pets.

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Welcome to the forum :) I would be careful with the other breeds too as crested breeds can also be bullied badly and need quite a lot of care and need to be kept dry ideally. If you would like unusual looking chickens then a silver laced wyandotte may be good as they are hardy and more easily integrated than breeds such as silkies :)

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Hi there

 

Thanks for all the replies. Just to clarify, mother in law has Rhode Island Reds. 5 hens, no cockerel and she's had them for a number of years now.

 

The good news is that although we didn't find any silkies, we did find some Polish hens from a guy who literally lives just 5 miles away! We went to see them last night. There are 3, 2 hens and a cockerel. They are bantams and around 4 months old. We asked about putting them in with other hens and he has a whole load of hens all mixed up and say that these 3 can hold their own.

 

They appeared to be very bright, curious and friendly. He has bred Polish chickens along with other types of hen for a few years and seemed quite knowledgeable. We were worried as I had read they didn't cope with cold conditions, but he has his out all winter long - just shutting them up at night - and they are fine. Mother in law has a cosy hen shed for hers.

 

We asked about the cockerel, he said that it just follows one of the Polish hens (his favourite) around and leaves the other hens alone. This type aren't particularly broody so there isn't the likelihood of them sitting on eggs. I guess mother in law can decide herself though whether she wants to keep the cockerel or not. I can't see it fertilising any of the Rhode Island eggs but I could be wrong.

 

We've put a deposit down and will pick them up closer to Christmas.

 

Any other tips about keeping Polish hens would be gratefully received. I'm sure MIL knows what she is doing as she's kept hens all her life but we can always do a care sheet for her info too.

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I do hope your MIL enjoys her Polish chickens. They are lovely birds - though miles apart from Rhode Island Reds. Their top knots do need a bit of care as if they get wet they can freeze (imagine you going out in freezing weather with wet hair). A good way to dry them off is by squeezing the feathers on their heads gently with a bit of absorbant paper kitchen towel.

 

As for Polish cockerels - mine is called Dandy because of what it rhymes with so you may find that the breeder is not being totally truthful there. :liar: However he is a nice boy and has a nice crow (My cockerel that is, not the breeder you found :wink: ).

 

Also, Polish chickens are not ace at 'holding their own' so I would advise caution when you pop them in with the RIRs. Be prepared to whip them out if the established hens appear to be going to peck the new Polands' heads as they won't see it coming. Two of my little polands sensibly put their heads in the low box hedging if any bullies approach as their heads are very vulnerable.

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