During early development in vertebrates, pluripotent cells are generated from the neural crest and migrate according to their presumptive fate. In birds and mammals, one of the progeny cells, melanoblasts, generally migrate through a dorsolateral route of the trunk region and differentiate to melanocytes. However, Silky is an exceptional chicken in which numerous melanoblasts travel via a ventral pathway and disperse into internal organs. Finally, these ectopic melanocytes induce heavy dermal and visceral melanization known as Fibromelanosis (Fm). To identify the genetic basis of this phenotype, we confirmed the mode of inheritance of Fm as autosomal dominant and then performed linkage analysis with microsatellite markers and sequence-tagged site markers. Using 85 backcross progeny from crossing Black Minorca chickens (BM-C) with F(1) individuals between White Silky (WS) and BM-C Fm was located on 10.2-11.7 Mb of chicken chromosome 20. In addition, we noticed a DNA marker that all Silky chickens and the F(1) individuals showed heterozygous genotyping patterns, suggesting gene duplication in the Fm region. By quantitative real-time PCR assay, Silky line-specific gene duplication was detected as an 130-kb interval. It contained five genes including endothelin 3 (EDN3), which encoded a potent mitogen for melanoblasts/melanocytes. EDN3 with another three of these duplicated genes in Silky chickens expressed almost twofold of those in BM-C. Present results strongly suggest that the increase of the expression levels resulting from the gene duplication in the Fm region is the trigger of hypermelanization in internal organs of Silky chickens.
Silkies like all other chickens require a certain amount of care to keep them happy and healthy, and while they are not a high-maintenance breed, because of their delicate and substantial feathering, they do need a little extra attention to keep them looking super smart and sassy.
Just like all chickens, silkies require a good quality coop to protect them from the elements and pesky predators. It should be constructed from a sturdy timber, with a galvanised wire mesh and sturdy locks to keep out unwanted visitors. As they love to sit on their eggs quite often, the coop should have adequate nesting boxes that are lovely and spacious and in a draft-free area. Roosts are also an important feature of a silkies home sweet home, however it is best if they are not too high off the ground as silkies struggle in the flying department. Silkies are active little birds, and require some room to stretch their fantastically feathered legs, so be sure that their humble abode has a run, or fenced in area for them to explore.
Silkies are not known to develop other furthered health conditions other than what a normal chicken would. However, due to their fluffy plumage they are susceptible to mite and lice infestation, so it is important that they are checked over for parasites regularly. If parasites are present, be sure they are treated appropriately, either by yourself or a vet, as these infestations are known to spread and can cause serious health issues among your chickens. Dust bathing is also particularly important to help prevent lice, mites and fleas, so make sure you provide your flock with dust bathing amenities. Like with all chickens, also be sure to routinely worm your silkies, as this is another ailment that can spell disaster if not treated properly.
Originating in Asia, the Poultry Club of Great Britain classes Silkie chickens as a Light, Soft Feather breed, large or bantam (miniature). Described as stylish, compact and lively, enthusiasts will agree that there is nothing quite like a Silkie.
Uses: Persistent broody / Pets / Exhibition.Origin: Asia. Egg colour: Tinted or Cream.Weight: Cock: 1.8 Kg. Hen: 1.36 Kg.Colours: Black, Blue, Gold, Partridge, White, in Standard or Bearded.Useful to Know: Silkie chickens are very persistent broody hens, so good, sometimes they will not eat and require regular removal from the nest to make sure they get fed.
Silkies were officially accepted into the North American Standard of Perfection in 1874. Today, silkie chickens come in bearded and non-beaded varieties and can be seen in poultry shows across the United States. The American Bantam Association accepts six standard colors of Silkies for showing: black, blue, buff, white, partridge, splash and gray. However, there are also some non-standard, yet, popular colors. These popular non-standard colors are red, lavender, porcelain and cuckoo. A common question associated with silkies, and chickens in general, is do they make good pets? The answer is absolutely yes for the following reasons:
The coop, food, and water provided to silkies should be kept as clean as possible to ensure the birds stay content and healthy. Silkies should also be looked over weekly for mites, lice, and changes in health; should lice or mites be found, the entire flock should be treated, which is relatively easy and inexpensive. Silkies are hardy and resilient, and they are able to thrive in both cold and warm climates. These chickens are long-lived, often having life spans up to around nine years old, and continue to stay beautiful even when older.
The fact that silkie chickens are unable to fly due to their fluffy plumage makes them the easiest of all chickens to keep as pets because they are that much easier to contain. Silkies are also known for their calm, friendly temperament, which makes them exceptionally great pets for homes that have children. In fact, silkies can be quite affectionate if owners take the time to handle them often.
Are you looking for a different kind of backyard chicken to join your flock? Or maybe you are just starting, and you want a sweet-natured breed for your first chicken. Silkie chickens not only have a unique appearance, but they also have cuddly personalities making them a favorite of many chicken keepers.
The Silkie Chicken (sometimes spelled silky chicken) has a long history. They are one of the oldest breeds in the world and were originally bred in China. In fact, you can find detailed information in ancient Chinese writings about these birds. Many Eastern cultures were all convinced that silkie chickens had medicinal powers beyond those of any other chicken breed.
The temperament and behavior of the silkie chicken are what sets it apart more than anything else, even its hair-like feathers. These are some of the gentlest and most docile chickens you can find. Since they have been domesticated for so many years, they have a long genetic history of living as a bird among humans.
Silkie chickens are a delight to have around. Their personality makes them excellent birds for first-time owners or kids. They love getting carried around or getting a cuddle from you. These are non-confrontational chickens.
Silkie chickens are also very quiet. Even when they do make a sound, they do it quietly, with a soft sound that suits their personalities. Their egg song, typically a staccato series of loud squawks that hens let loose once they lay an egg, is also quiet in comparison.
In the non-traditional sense of the word, Silkie chickens do have a dual purpose as popular pets. People even own Silkies as an apartment pet chicken since they are often quieter than typical chickens. In addition, if you are trying to engage your kids with life on the farm, getting a Silkie chicken for their first will be a better experience than almost any other breed.
Silkie chickens have unique types of feathers. Instead of typical feathers as you would expect on a regular chicken, Silkies have hair-like, fluffy plumage all over their body. That includes their head. Conveniently, they enjoy being handled since it is so fun to pet this soft fur-like chicken.
Bearded Silkie chickens are more common since they have the stereotypical fluffy feathers that cover their entire heads. You can only see the beak sticking out from a sea of face fluff. You can easily see the facial skin and the eyes of a non-bearded Silkie chicken.
Silkie chickens need plenty of protection. Not only are they quieter birds, but they are also quite unaware of what is going on around them. They are also not very flighty. They sometimes seem to forget they can fly. Instead, they will follow you around the yard like a puppy. However, when that comes to predators, it makes them very vulnerable.
Silkie chickens will lay eggs that are tinted a creamy color. They are also inferior to average layers for a homesteading chicken. They lay between 80 and 120 eggs each year. That adds up to about 2 to 3 eggs each week. Not an astonishingly good number by any stretch, and not the best choice if you are interested in egg production.
Silkie chickens are an excellent bird to own if you want a breed that acts more like a barnyard pet. Unfortunately, they do not serve well as meat-producing birds, and they have a lower-than-average egg-laying rate. However, with their adorable personalities and friendliness, they can round out your flock of chickens.
The Silkie has the polydactyl gene which means that they have an extra toe on each foot, giving them a total of five as opposed to the usual four toes associated with chickens. The fifth toe extends to the back and is not unlike the dewclaw sometimes seen in dogs.
The most unique and interesting quality of the Silkie chicken is its atypical plumage that is more fluff than actual feathers. This gives them the appearance of having fur instead of feathers and they generally feel very soft and silky to the touch. This, of course, is what makes them so highly popular as a pet because there is nothing better than cuddling a cute little cotton ball in your lap.
The origin of the Silkie chicken can be traced back to Asia and the early thirteenth century. It is now generally accepted that the Silkie originated in Eastern Asia where it was known to have existed in China some 1000 years ago. There was probably also some Japanese influence in the development of the breed particularly with regard to the soft feathers. During the sixteenth and seventeenth century the Silkie was brought to Europe and it reached the British Isles towards the middle of the nineteenth century. Here it was developed further using strains with stronger feathers but still having the silky and fluffy appearance. 350c69d7ab
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