Promoting Silkies in Canada
By Tania McGuire
Peers, Alberta, Canada
I've been raising chickens coming up almost twenty years now! I fell in love with Silkies as soon as I met and purchased my first ones ten years ago. I'm really doing my best to promote them as THE CHICKEN!!
People here are looking at them wrong... They come to see birds to purchase and look at the Silkies verses my Cochins. Most think the Silkies are beautiful, some think they are comical, and some think they are strictly to look at (ornamental).
Quite a few say they look too much like show birds so they purchase Cochins instead. There are a few people who say they don't like them because they had some before and they died. Just to remind people, a disease on your farm may weaken one breed, and another (breed) chicken could have genetic resistance to that disease.
For example I raise Black and also Red Cochins: Same breed but different varieties. My blacks and mostly just the cockerels get Mareks, yet none of the reds do. I was sure it was Mareks and took one in for posting. The veterinarian didn't think that it was Mareks yet sent the bird away for me. $60.00 later the results of the posting came back: “Mareks".
So the only thing I have done is to breed for resistance, and or to raise the birds until approximately six months of age away from the flock. It has worked very well!
When I sell a Silkie I always put myself on call; I'm here to help at the first sign of trouble. I don’t know it all, but I'm gathering a fine line of friends who can help and give good advice.