Breeds in fo­cus

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

In­stantly iden­ti­fied by its un­usual fluffy plumage, in­clud­ing a head crest and five feather-cov­ered toes, the silkie is one of the most dis­tinc­tive breeds of chicken.

It is an an­cient breed, with records in China dat­ing back 2,000 years; it reached the UK in the mid 1880s. Silkies do best when con­fined be­cause their plumage is unable to cope with wet or muddy con­di­tions. They come in a va­ri­ety of solid colours. Silkies are un­ri­valled as brood­ies; when sit­ting they are typ­i­cally re­luc­tant to move from their eggs, even for food, and have to be lifted off their nest. They have long been pop­u­lar as foster moth­ers with breeders of or­na­men­tal wa­ter­fowl and pheas­ants, while silkie-ban­tam crosses were tra­di­tion­ally used by game­keep­ers for hatch­ing and rear­ing par­tridges. They are poor egg lay­ers, be­cause as soon as they be­come broody it is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to per­suade a hen to do any­thing other than sit.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.