Silkie chickens are arguably one of the most beautiful chicken breeds, and although they are most commonly found in white, they can come in a wide range of other beautiful colors too. Silkies come in two distinct variations: bearded and non-bearded. Bearded Silkies have an extra beard, or “muff,” of feathers underneath their beak.
Silkies are definitely one of the most unique and unusual chicken breeds, and in addition to their unique coloring, they have an extra fifth toe and blue earlobes! Silkies also have a unique plumage that is more like fluff than feathers, giving them a silky feel that is far more cuddle-worthy than any other chicken breed. These feathers are just like regular feathers, however, and extend down to their legs and feet too.
Silkies are a great species of chicken to have in your backyard, and if you’ve decided to bring one of these unique birds home, you’ll need to decide which color is your favorite! In this article, we look at the 10 different colors that Silkies are found in. Let’s get started!
According to the American Poultry Association (APA), Silkies are only accepted in six colors: white, black, blue, buff, partridge, and splash. All color variants have black skin, the characteristic extra toe, and fluffy plumage down their legs all the way to their toes. The standard also requires a walnut-shaped comb, dark wattles, and turquoise-blue earlobes.
Besides the recognized breed standard, four additional colors are commonly found in Silkies, and these are no less beautiful than the APA standards.
The 10 Silkie Chicken Colors:
Black Silkies are not typically always jet-black, but this is the most desired shade for breeders. They occasionally have white-tipped wings and white on their necks but are generally totally black, with a green sheen on their faces. Their skin, beaks, toes, and legs are all black too. Black Silkies can be bred by breeding a blue and a splash Silkie, a blue and a black Silkie, and of course, two black Silkies.
Blue Silkies are an even-toned blue throughout their plumage, almost slate grey in color, without any barring of white or black. Some blue Silkies are a lighter blue-grey tone, and breeders are often challenged with attempting to breed specifically light or dark varieties because they are almost impossible to predict. They can be bred by mixing blue and blue or blue and black varieties.
Buff Silkies are buff, golden-brown, or straw-colored chickens that occasionally have brown streaks, and they often have darker feathers in their tail area. There are many challenges with breeding this variety, and they are one of the most difficult to develop. It is difficult to breed the black out of buffs, so only buff varieties should be bred together to achieve the breed standard.
The Cuckoo Silkie is not a recognized breed variety and is a relatively new Silkie variation. A Cuckoo Silkie varies from lavender to navy blue in color, with subtle barring throughout their plumage. Chicks are born without any barring and are often mistaken for blues, but experienced breeders can tell from the chick’s sheer-black beaks that lighten up after a few weeks that they will turn into a cuckoo variety. A cuckoo crossed with solid white or solid black is the best way to breed them.
Grey Silkies are more silver than grey, with a sheen over their plumage when viewed in sunlight. They typically have a dark grey head or a light grey head streaked with dark grey bands and an even grey body. The wings are a slightly darker shade of grey, and their undercoat is a smoky grey that is lighter than the overall top shade.
The lavender color does not exist naturally in Silkies and must be introduced by another breed. It took years of work and development by breeders to keep the color going. Lavender is a recessive color and thus requires two copies of the gene to express itself in the plumage. This usually means that it requires inbreeding to correctly propagate, resulting in birds with poor feather quality and overall weak genetics. These Silkies are a uniform light grey-lavender across their plumage.
Paint Silkies are essentially black Silkies that carry one dominant white gene, resulting in a truly unique-looking bird with dalmatian-like spots. These spots can vary widely in number and size, and the gene responsible for this coloration is unpredictable and doesn’t seem to follow any rules. The Silkie breed is known for their black skin, but paint Silkies often hatch with lighter or even pink skin.
Partridge Silkie chicks are typically born with stripes and will develop into partridge variations. They are typically dark in color, with a black head and tail and light penciling on their wings. The main identifier is in the feather pattern: Each feather has three distinct pencil lines that are even and straight. If perfected, they make for one of the most beautiful Silkie variations. The partridge Silkie is a difficult variation to perfect, however.
Red Silkies are a rare variation and not recognized. The color does not exist naturally in Silkies and must be introduced by another breed. Some breeders describe them simply as darker buff variations, although there are breeders specially working on developing red Silkies in Australia.
- Related Read: 12 Red Chicken Breeds (with Pictures)
The pure white Silkie is one of the most common Silkie variations available, and like all Silkies, they have a black face and skin. The white in this variation is caused by a recessive gene, and this can be easily lost with incorrect breeding selection. White Silkies are notoriously slow-growing due to this unique recessive gene.
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Featured Image Credit: Olga Salt, Shutterstock