Things You'll Need
Fresh fruit and vegetables
Crushed oyster shell
Bantam silkie chickens, often called just silkies, are striking chickens who make fascinating pets. They come in a variety of colors, including black and white, which are thought to be the strongest variants. In the U.S., silkies are not considered acceptable egg laying chickens, and are usually used as surrogate mothers to other chickens' eggs. However, silkies do lay between 80 and 120 eggs per year, and can be encouraged to lay frequently.
Make sure your chickens are old enough to lay. Silkies can start to lay at around 7 to 9 months of age, although some will not lay until they are much older. The older a silkie is when she begins to lay, the more eggs she is likely to produce.
Provide a balanced diet. For chickens under the age of 6 months, there are specialist baby chick foods which will set them up for laying. When chicken’s reach laying age they should be fed mixes which are specially prepared for laying chickens, and this should be supplemented with fresh fruit and vegetables, such as tomato, banana and watermelon.
Feed the chicken crushed oyster shell constantly. This will provide calcium, which is needed in large quantities for a chicken to make an egg.
Provide a fresh supply of water at all times. Chickens need a lot of water to lay an egg, and can become dehydrated easily. Make sure the water is changed regularly and is clean and accessible.
Create a nesting box. This should be a secure area, full of hay. The nest box should be sheltered and be close to food and water sources.
Record the silkie’s laying pattern. Silkies are very affected by external conditions, such as stress and the weather. You may find your silkie will not lay in the winter or when temperatures drop. Having a record will help you to know when to expect eggs.
Ensure your chickens can see light for around 12 to 14 hours per day. If they cannot, provide lights inside the coop, and set these on a timer.
Some owners find that providing a silkie with surrogate eggs to look after will prompt her into laying. This may not be true for all silkies, however.
- Backyard Chickens: Silkie Bantams
- "Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds"; Carol Ekarius; 2007
- Raising Chickens For Eggs
- Global Village: Raising Chickens
Elle Blake has been writing since 2006. Her articles regularly appear in "All Women Stalk," "Parenting," "Education Plus" and "Glamour." She has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in early childhood studies and primary education and a Bachelor of Science (Hons.) in animal welfare and behavior, both from the University of Warwick. She is currently studying towards NCTJ Certificate in Magazine and Journalism.