Silkie Chicken - The Furry Muppet Breed of Chicken
The silkie chicken, sometimes improperly spelled as "silky" is a white fluffy breed of chicken with some very unusual characteristics. For one, under all of that fluffy white plumage this breed has blue skin. Blue! With exposed blue earlobes and five toes - as opposed to the four toes on other breeds of chickens – this is a very unique breed.
Unlike most fat feathery chickens, silkies have a very soft and smooth "fur" coat, said to feel just like silk, hence their name. You might think that this "coat" would keep these funny birds warm during the winter months, but in fact their plumage is somewhat thin, and when kept in a coop with other breeds of chickens, they must have special attention paid to protect them from the cold. Other chickens' feathers are much better for insulation and silkies might freeze and die if not kept warm. Sometimes these special chickens are kept with pigs or other livestock during the cold season to keep them warmer, and safe from cold-related illness.
Males of this breed weigh around 4 pounds in adulthood (1.8kg) and their size is comparable to other breeds of chickens. Though it is unconfirmed where the first fowl exhibiting silkie-like characteristics appeared, most evidence points to China, where these chickens are very popular as both food and as domestic pets.
In fact, as chickens go, they are perhaps the most friendly and even tempered animals around, very good family animals, they like people and get along well with other animals. Excellent brooders, they are good parents that are very attached to their young. Another interesting fact to note about them, is that while most are in fact the common white coloring most frequently pictured, they can come in a variety of colors including red, black, gold and even blue! Silkies come in two distinct varieties, bearded and non-bearded, which is exactly what it sounds like. Some have a tuft of plumage under their beak which resembles a beard, and makes this already funny-looking animal even more distinct.
All those physical differences aside, the silkie pretty much behaves like other chickens do - scratching around in the dirt and clucking about, they just look like muppets.