The birthplace of this bird is considered to be the Chinese state, where almost 1000 years ago, the first representatives of the breed. A little later, they spread to European areas, including Russia.
The first mention of this bird appeared in the 16th century, but already then active disputes began about the exact origin of chickens and their class biology.
Interesting: some experts believe that silk chickens are a mix of chicken and rabbit.
Appearance of birds
This breed is classified as decorative and domestic. Silky inhabitants have a rounded body, soft, pleasant feather cover, which resembles a silk fabric to the touch.
Such a silky cover is due to the fact that there are no hook-like grooves on the feathers. Such hooks are located only on the tail section and on the tips of the wings.
Among other things, in the body of these birds in large quantities contains melanin, which stains the skeleton and skin in a dark blue palette. Because of this peculiarity of the organism, the soft areas of the cover turned out to be a rich shade of turquoise, and the beak and comb are plain blue.
And some representatives of the breed were awarded with the so-called beard and sideburns. Such distinctive nuances of appearance made chickens similar to poodles with "berets" on top. Below you can see photos of this breed.
These birds have a compact and flat back. The legs are small and densely covered with plumage. The eyes are almost black. As for the color of feathers, they are almost always black. But there is a golden color, gray, red, white and blue. The weight of one such bird is about 1.5 kilograms.
Another difference silk representatives - number of toes on paws. Ordinary chickens have four fingers each, and the exotic breed has five, and they are also covered with feathers.
The nature of the hens of this breed
These birds are surprisingly friendly and calm. And from all types of poultry, these representatives of the breed willingly go to people to contact.
Silk hens can often be found in contact zoos, and in the “homeland” in China they are kept as pets at all, as they allow themselves to be taken on their knees and love tender stroking. And most importantly, they are not capricious to the living conditions.
These birds have a well-developed instinct for incubation. They are friendly and affectionate. But the main disadvantage of the breed can be called a slight degree of productivity and expensive incubation "material" for cultivation.
Care and maintenance rules: tips and videos
This cute variety of chickens does not imply any special content requirements. It is quite possible at home to acquire this exclusive pet, almost no different from the usual chicken.
Standard care requirements:
- feeding is important to carry out timely and Only high quality products
- these birds are very demanding cleanliness and sanitary cell standards,
- the eastern silk variety is resistant to low temperatures, however, it is important to ensure the heat and lightto keep the chickens laying eggs
- for walking it is important to provide own pento protect the birds from predators.
The absence of walking silk chick does not hurt. The eastern hen lacks the ability to fly, so it is not necessary to set up roost in the cages. And do not forget that these birds require full solar conditions, that is, a sufficient amount of light in the house.
You can learn more about the content in this video:
Description of productive features
In China, the meat of silk chickens is highly valued, as it is surprisingly tasty and has dietary properties.
The Chinese have long studied all the useful qualities of the meat of this bird, namely, its composition contains calcium, various amino acids, phosphorus, nicotinic acid and many vitamins.
Chinese birds are appreciated by Chinese for down and feathers. Total pairs of haircuts of one bird gives down, weighing up to 150 grams. On the whole, the domesticated bird of this breed is able to bring a lot of joy to its owner, it is interesting to watch her, especially for clumsy movement.
Characteristics and differences of the rooster from the chicken
This breed has several subspecies, differing in the color of their plumage: red, yellow, blue, black, and so on.
The weight of cocks reaches one and a half kilograms, and chickens can weigh up to 1.1 kilograms. As for egg production, one individual is able to produce a hundred eggs each year, each weighing 35 grams. The shell is colored brown, and the eggs themselves have an enhanced nutritional complex.
If you plan to grow the breed through an incubator, then consider the following points:
- chickens of these birds are much smaller in sizethan traditional hens, so they are sensitive to temperature extremes,
- Immediately after hatching, the chicks should be in the room for a long time, where temperature should be +30 degrees
- a week later, the figures are falling three degreesbut not anymore
- monthly chicks develop well already at a temperature +18 degrees.
It is important to include useful elements in the daily menu of a future adult, such as boiled yolk, low-fat cottage cheese or sour cream, boiled carrots, semolina or corn grits. Do not forget about the ready store vitamin complexes. Hatching chickens are fed every two hours.
As soon as the babies have reached the age of one month, they can be fed three times a day, while the grain is actively added to the diet. It is also recommended to feed the young stock with clover, mint pumpkin, millet and other types of products. The water in the drinker should always be clean.
The price of these decorative representatives of the family of birds is much higher compared to the cost of traditional chickens.
For example, one egg of silk “Chinese” will cost you five dollars, and you will have to pay about seven dollars for a chicken. The price of an adult chicken is about $ 50.
You can buy such an interesting breed only in specialized pet stores, on professional farms or on the official markets of agricultural land.
When buying silk chickens should help them as much as possible to adapt to the new territory. But the main way of growing is still hatching eggs by an adult bird.
Silk hen diseases
Oriental chickens, like the traditional rural bird, are also susceptible to many diseases. Chickens are often attacked by such parasitic insects as fleas, ticks, and fluff eaters. And due to the non-monitoring of humidity indicators in the chicken coop, the youngsters quickly wither and in most cases die.
As for the diseases of adults, then the following ailments are common:
- poisoning organism,
- viruses pulmonary system
- inflammatory processes in the digestive system,
- infectious intestinal viruses,
- appearance worms,
Characteristics of the chicken: the advantages and characteristics of the breed
Outwardly, the Chinese chicken is easily distinguishable - it looks like a fluffy ball. Characteristic signs of the breed are:
- dense, well-knit body: broad back, short, stocky neck, small head, adorned with tucked back, 5 toes,
- Abundant plumage of monochromatic color, consisting of thin feathers with a flexible stem, creating the illusion of silky down. It covers the head, torso, legs and feet of a chicken,
- a short tail, almost not standing out against the background of a long spinal tail,
- deep-set, dark eyes, dark beak of a bluish tint, bluish ear lobes of a rounded shape,
- gray meat, as well as black color of bones and skin, is explained by the content of eumelanin pigment in them.
Attention! This breed is represented by several subspecies, which differ in the color of their plumage.
The bird is small - the chicken gains only 0.8-1.1 kg, the rooster looks larger, reaching up to 1.5 kg. His crested head is decorated with a pink warty scallop.
Chinese chicken is characterized by low egg productivity, giving about 100 eggs per year with a cream shell, weighing 35 g each. Its meat has a high content of protein and vitamins, it tastes great. In addition, this bird is bred as a downy breed. Every month, each chicken is able to produce up to 150 g of fluff, which is used when sewing clothes.
According to the description, chickens with rare plumage, coarse, hard feathers, another skin tone, ear lobes or scallop, an underdeveloped fifth finger are culled from the breed. The spotted or atypical color of the plumage in the hen is also considered a marriage. An exception is the cuckoo and wild variety of this chicken.
The behavior of crested hens is moderately active, restrained. Silk roosters are not aggressive, but can fight among themselves, so it is recommended to keep them separately. Scared, Chinese chickens are lumped together.
Among the special advantages of this bird should be highlighted affection, friendliness, strongly pronounced instinct of incubation. Silk hen loves affection, easily goes on his hands. She is attentive not only to her native chicks, but also to the implanted ones, which allows using her for breeding quails and pheasants. They are able to incubate up to 85% of eggs.
Rules of maintenance and care
Silk crested chicken is undemanding to care, so even an amateur poultry breeder can keep it. She lives well in the same conditions as ordinary chickens, and eats the same feed mixtures. Its diet includes up to 55% of dry wheat, rye or barley. It would be useful up to 3 times a week to feed silk chicken with oatmeal, sunflower seeds, nettle, fish meal. In winter, Chinese chicken needs warm, wet mash, as well as dried hay, alfalfa and nettle grass, and pharmaceutical vitamin supplements.
Since the hen of this breed does not know how to fly, it does not need to set up a roost. The place for walking of crested hens should be fenced, and from above it is desirable to protect it with a net-rabitsa. However, representatives of this chicken breed can do without walking, if you provide them with good food and housing conditions.
Being frost-resistant, silk chicken tolerates winters well and may be kept in unheated poultry houses. However, this is reflected in its egg production. If the owner wants to receive egg products from Chinese chicken in the winter, he must provide her with warm conditions and a certain light regime.
Update plumage occurs annually in the spring. At this time, the hens cease to run, become lethargic. This period lasts about a month. Silk-crested chickens, like any down animals, suffer from parasites, which can be prevented by the preventive treatment of poultry.
How to breed silk crested chicken
In the backyard, the Chinese breed is bred:
- using purchased eggs and an electric incubator,
- through the purchase of older chickens or adult birds.
An amateur who decides to breed a crested chicken in his house must take into account some peculiarities.
- Chickens of Chinese breed are smaller than usual and they fledge long.
- They are sensitive to temperature fluctuations, especially in the first days of life. They will feel good if the temperature is maintained at 30 ° C for the first week. Then every week it is recommended to reduce t ° by 2-3 ° C, gradually increasing to + 18 ° C.
- Adherence to feeding is an important factor affecting the survival rate of young birds. The first 4 weeks of Chinese silk chickens should be fed every 2 hours using special foods or ground cereals, eggs and greens. From 5 weeks this gap between feeding chickens increases to 3 hours. Poultry shells, fish oil, vitamin supplements, boiled vegetables and dairy products are introduced into the poultry diet. For drinking only purified water is used, it is possible with the minimum addition of potassium permanganate.
The process of breeding silk chickens will be easier if there is a hen of the same breed that can take care of the chickens, providing them with the necessary warmth. The survival rate of chickens in this case reaches 90%.
At the age of 1.5 months Chickens can be divided into cockerels and chickens, and by the age of 7 months, the grown chickens become sexually mature, and young chickens begin to lay eggs. Ability to egg production lasts 3-4 years.
Chinese chicken, despite the high cost, is beneficial for breeding. Having bought a few individuals or eggs, and armed with the above presented recommendations and descriptions, it can easily be grown, surprising the surrounding beautiful chicken breed.
To avoid all of the above diseases, it is important to observe the following points.
- First, pens should always be clean, systematic cleaning is important.
- Secondly, nutrition should be fresh, with the mandatory addition of vitamins to the diet, which are the source of health.
- Thirdly, regularly change the water in a drinking bowl.
- Fourth, provide enough chickens by walking, and in case of severe frosts, do not forget to warm the chicken coop.
Finally, as soon as you notice signs of weakness or illness, immediately isolate the sick individual from other birds. It is recommended to seek help from a veterinarian, and for the rest of the birds, carry out prevention.
In fact, silk “Chinese”, with proper care, practically do not get sick, despite the harsh Russian climate.
Advantages of the Chinese breed
The treated chickens are not only very attractive, but also highly valued in rural industry.
- Meat rooster and chicken tender and dietary, rich in vitamins.
- Silk downLike sheep's wool, it is used in rural industry.
- Eggs Silk "Chinese" are quite large, despite the size of the layers themselves.
- Chickens are calm, do not fly and happy contact with people.
- Silk Chickens not whimsical conditions of detention and quietly multiply in the Russian climate.
Owner's reviews about the breed
The main part of people is “bought” on the exterior of silk “Chinese” and on their friendly character. Practice shows that this breed is loved in our country not for the high value of meat or eggs, but for its attractiveness and amusement.
Despite this exotic, these birds easily get used to the new owners, perfectly adapt to the harsh conditions of existence and are considered picky pets.
For the Russian area, a decorative type of silk “Chinese” is relevant, in the homeland itself (in China), such chickens are grown commercially. In Russia, people few are engaged in the cultivation of this breed.
Most likely, this is due to the decorative orientation of these chickens. As a rule, the number in the hen house does not exceed more than a dozen.
But all the reviews of the owners are very positive, since the meat of these birds and their eggs are suitable for consumption. The owners note that chickens are tidy, and even in the "dirty" seasons they manage to keep the fluffy plumage clean.
Watch a video describing the Chinese silk aborigines:
A bit of history
The first to mention Chinese silk chickens was the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who described them as feline-covered birds, in his writings. About the same breed, however, called "Kokhi black hens", described in the chronicle sources of the Chinese Tang dynasty. In the XIII century Venetian traveler Marco Polo wrote in his notes about similar birds with blue beaks and black skin. In Russia, the Chinese silk breed of chickens appeared in the XVIII century and was found in Siberia, Astrakhan and St. Petersburg. At the end of the 19th century, the standard of this breed in the USA was officially recognized.
If you have never met a Chinese silk chicken, the photo below will allow you to appreciate the unusual and exotic nature of this bird. Representatives of this breed are distinguished from all other hens by a number of unique features:
- In China, silk hens are called wu gu ji, which means "chicken with the bones of a crow." This name is not accidental, as the bird of this breed contains a huge amount of such natural pigment as melatonin. It is because of it that their skin and bones are painted blue and black, and the meat is painted gray and black. The unusual turquoise color of the beak, crest and lobes is also due to the presence of this pigment.
- Unlike other breeds, the Chinese silk chicken on its paws has not four, but five distinctly divided fingers. In addition, all the fingers of the bird are covered with plumage.
- Silk hens, also called downy, have feathers, in the structure of which there are no hooks linking the villi to each other. Because of this, the feather cover of these birds looks more like fur or wool.
- On the head, a Chinese silk chicken (the photo below shows this clearly) has a tuft, a tank and a beard.
For birds of this breed is characterized by a dense, strong and rounded body on all sides. The body, legs (rather short), the metatarsus of these hens are fledged. The tail, consisting mainly of tail feathers, fluffy and short, is almost completely hidden under the long plumage of the back.The heads of these birds are small and graceful, decorated with a small blue-turquoise beak, smoothly rounded bluish lobes and feather tufts. Roosters are somewhat larger than females. In addition, their heads are decorated with a pinkish comb and a crest, as if thrown back. Chinese silk chickens and roosters eyes are brown-black, rather deep-set.
Depending on the color of the plumage, several subspecies of Chinese silk hens, or snares, as they are called poultry farmers, are distinguished:
We will not list all of them, since European standards distinguish somewhat different subspecies of this bird than American ones, and only a specialist can understand all the nuances of what colors Chinese silk chickens can be.
The reason for the rejection of the pure breed for these birds can be spotting or the presence of any color other than the standard or shade, rare or coarse plumage, underdevelopment of the fifth finger, too large tail, inappropriate skin color, beak, eyes or scallop.
Breed Description: Chinese Silk Chicken
Birds of this breed can not boast a large weight. So, roosters can grow to 1.5, and chickens to 0.9-1.1 kg. But their meat of an unusual black-gray color is considered in Chinese medicine not only a delicious food, but also a medicine that can help with a variety of diseases. A recent study by German scientists confirmed that it has a unique composition and contains many amino acids, micro and macro elements that can support health. No less useful are Chinese silk chicken eggs, which one bird can carry up to 100 per year. But the unusual nature of the birds of this breed is also in the fact that they are sheared in order to get a soft feather. It does not bring any harm to the chickens, and the owner of each bird can receive on a monthly basis 60–70 g of fine feather, more similar to down.
Another feature of this breed is a developed incubation instinct. Silk hens are very caring chicks, and with a properly made lining they will take care of the foundlings as if they were their own chicks.
Is it difficult to maintain them?
There are no particular difficulties in keeping domestic birds of this breed. Hygienic and sanitary requirements for premises and equipment are the same as for other chickens. It is also important that these birds do not know how to fly at all, and therefore they simply do not need perches. Special fastidiousness to food snares do not differ. In addition, these birds are quite “frost resistant” and can winterize in unheated premises. However, if you want Chinese silk chickens to fly during the winter months, their content will be somewhat different. First of all, it is necessary that the room was warm, as well as bright for 12-14 hours. Birds of this breed can do without walking, but if you are going to let them out on the street, then you need to properly protect the paddock from all sides, including from above.
If you like the unusual Chinese silk chickens, and you want to have them in your farm, then today it is easy to do in any usual way. You can buy eggs and, with the help of a hen or an incubator, bring out the chickens, or purchase young animals or adults. Each poultry farmer knows both the pros and cons of each of these methods and chooses the most acceptable option for acquiring the breed of interest.
What to feed the young?
From the moment the chicks appear, they must be fed regularly. Until one month of age, their feeding is carried out every two hours, and then gradually, for 5-10 minutes, increase the time between meals to three hours. Low-fat cottage cheese, yogurt or kefir, and then boiled root vegetables and fresh finely chopped green knotweed, nettle or dandelion are gradually introduced into the diet of chicks. It is important to gradually include grains in the ration of chickens, starting with finely ground corn, semolina or millet groats. The diet of growing birds should consist of 50–60% of grain crops, fresh greens and boiled vegetables.
The roots of the origin of the Chinese silk breed of chickens goes back to deep antiquity. Even in the ancient writings of the Tang Dynasty there is a mention of Silks, which were called "silks." And Aristotle wrote that their feathers resemble the fur of feline representatives. The great traveler Marco Paul was struck by this breed, and he described them in detail in his notes.
Wool Chinese silk chickens resembles cat wool
At home hens, in China they were bred for decorative and medical purposes. Chinese aristocrats believed that in their gardens must walk unusual birds with "silk", weightless feathers. The meat of this breed was considered healing and was used for the recovery of weakened people. In addition, they were treated:
- Female diseases with the help of dry balls of viscera,
- Anemia broth prepared in a special way
- Tuberculosis meat boiled in spices.
Chinese silk chicken came to Europe only in the 18th century, then it appeared in Russia, where it caught on in the rich farmsteads in the lower reaches of the Volga and in the Siberian expanses. In the 20th century, the breed lost its former popularity, and after the revolution and wars almost disappeared from the territory of our country. And only today its breeding is reborn.
Representatives of the Chinese silk breed
Breeders breeding Chinese chickens in Europe claimed that they were obtained by crossing rabbits and hens and selling them in pairs.
Characteristics: appearance and productivity
The appearance of "Asian" is so unusual that it is not difficult to distinguish it from other breeds. They are characterized by a strong and dense build and abundant plumage. When describing the breed of Chinese silk chickens, the following features are distinguished:
- The body is lean, but strong and dense,
- Breast raised,
- Medium leg length with feathered metatars,
- Gentle plumage due to the lack of a solid rod and the coupling of the feather threads among themselves,
- The short tail is hidden under the feather of the back,
- On the head there is a “cap” —a crest, sometimes covering the eyes (the cocks of roosters are shifted back),
- If the crest is missing, it is replaced by the presence of a beard and tanks,
- Earrings gray or turquoise,
- Dark brown or black eyes,
- In hens, there is no scallop, in cocks it is underdeveloped, nut-like,
- The presence of five toes on the feet, covered with feathers (in other birds only four).
The breed is characterized by small size: the rooster weighs up to 2, 5 kg, chicken - 2.1 kg. There are dwarf varieties, and the aborigines of the Chinese silk breed of chickens differ in larger sizes. Feathers can be painted in different colors. But the main distinguishing feature of the breed is not the color, but the silkiness of the feathers.
Small eggs up to 35 g, in a year the chicken brings 80-180 pcs. eggs, starting to lay them from 5-6 months. Meat and eggs have excellent taste. Carcass lean, covered with thick sandpaper.
The unique features of the breed include bones painted black. The skin and muscle mass also have dark, almost black shades. This is due to the presence in the musculoskeletal tissue of a special pigment - eumelanin.
Shells are not only beautiful, but also very productive.
If we talk about the economic value of Silks, it should be noted:
- Gentle and tasty meat, which contains many useful substances and has healing properties,
- Feather plumage, which can be used in the same way as sheep wool (two haircuts give 150 g of fluff from each hen),
- Average egg production.
Chinese chickens are really very decorative, considering their color and delicate feather cover, so they can be kept in the yard instead of peacocks.
Advantages and disadvantages
Exotic chickens have a friendly and calm disposition. They can be found in contact zoos, and at home as a pet. They go on contact with people, like to sit on their knees, respond to stroking. Shells are docile and not capricious.
Shelks are very friendly and calm.
Their undoubted advantages include:
- Appearance and decorative
- Unpretentious care
- Ability to withstand frost
- Developed breeding instinct
- The nutritional value of meat and eggs
Disadvantages are low productivity and high cost of an individual (the price of an adult bird is about 50 cu).
Due to their calm and docile nature, they hatch eggs in the most conscientious manner, rarely leaving the nest. Their owners use this, throwing eggs of other breeds of hens or ducks to hens.
Features of maintenance and care
Chinese breed of chickens contain deep and loose litter or in cages. There should be sawdust or hay on the floor, otherwise the birds' feathering will become dirty. Netting floor is allowed only in heated chicken houses.
To preserve the purity of bird plumage, you must use sawdust
This species of birds does not fly, so the perch should be at a low altitude or with a ladder. Nests also have a low and make them spacious, since the incubation instinct they have is very developed.
Representatives of Chinese silk have a very well-developed egg incubation instinct.
Drinking bowls and troughs are well fixed and periodically washed to keep the birds clean. In addition, if the water is poured on the litter, the feathering of the “Chinese” becomes wet, which is bad for their condition. The rest of the care requirements are the same as for other chickens:
- Feed must be fresh and of good quality,
- In winter, light and heat are important, that egg production did not fall,
- Ventilate the coop, but avoid drafts,
- Arrange a place for walking, protected by a net-rabbit.
Chinese chickens tolerate low temperatures during hardening procedures. In winter, they can be kept in a cool room, if not intended to produce eggs. Keep them preferably separately from other breeds: to their relatives, they can show aggression. Sometimes they trim their tuft for better visibility.
Chinese silk chickens
If the bird is sick, it is isolated and shown to the veterinarian, who diagnoses and prescribes treatment. But this breed is extremely rare.
The diet includes foods that are balanced in composition, including proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals. It is possible to include in the food industrial feed: concentrated feed, which is a ground, pressed grain and complete feed containing all the necessary components.
Silk garden feeding
If the Shelks are kept at the dacha, then a waste of a garden, kitchen garden, and kitchen will do. Of these, you can make excellent food, for example:
- Potatoes and its cleaning: give 50-100 g of potatoes per chicken,
- Bread in the soaked form. Use stale or dried crusts,
- Kitchen waste: leftover meat and fish dishes, offal,
- Green and succulent tops in the form of tops are used in mash,
- Protein feed obtained during the processing of milk: buttermilk, yogurt, whey. As a protein food, chickens are given earthworms, various beetles and small amphibians.
Feeding should be normalized: overfeeding or underfeeding adversely affects the health of birds. Therefore, you need to weigh the approximate daily rate and divide it into three parts.
Green fodder is just as useful for feathered as feed.
For example, on average, for meat-yachting breeds, the number of combined feeds is 120 g, plus products of animal and vegetable origin are added. Feeding three times a day and it is held at a certain time. In winter, the rate increases by 20-50g.
Video: Chinese silk chickens
The characteristics and properties of this breed of chickens and the characteristics of Chinese chickens make it possible to grow them in different climatic zones. The decorative breed of Chinese birds remains at the peak of popularity in many countries and this is not surprising. They are beautiful in appearance, have gentle and soft plumage, good-natured disposition. Healthy and tasty meat complements these advantages. And unpretentiousness to the conditions of detention allows you to grow them just like any breed of chickens.