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Please help me choose bantams? Should I get Silkies?

(23 Posts)
cadelaide Mon 06-Jun-11 09:18:59

They're for DS's birthday (12yo, chicken-mad).
The thing is we already have 2 hybrid hens and a small garden. We've made a house and run but it's not big. They would have a couple of hours free-range daily.
Are Silkies small as bantams go? I understand they make good pets, but is there a breed that might suit us better?

Backinthebox Mon 06-Jun-11 09:27:36

Silkies are good, but you have to make sure you get the bantam type, or they are medium sized as far as chickens go.

Pekins are very good too, and you can get lots of different colours in them.

cadelaide Mon 06-Jun-11 09:59:52

Thankyou, off to google pekins smile

cadelaide Mon 06-Jun-11 21:40:20

Hmmm, Silkie or Pekin?

overthemill Tue 07-Jun-11 09:39:22

we had bantam pekins as our first chickens and this was when our kids were baby, 3 and 6. The chickens got picked up, cuddled, put in the pram, sat on the swing, taken up the climbing frame. They are SO friendly - i love them and am desp to get some more now. Beware, you need to introduce new ones carefully - we always introduce the new ones once it is dark and put them in the roosting area when all are sleepy. The stupid creatures assume they've always been in there - don't put in a single one.

overthemill Tue 07-Jun-11 09:49:16

info here

cadelaide Fri 10-Jun-11 14:53:12

Re introducing the new ones we were planning to keep them pretty much separate from our big girls, we have a separate coop and run. Interesting idea tucking them in together at night though.

Do pekins fly much? I understand Silkies don't. The run is only 2ft high and I'd hate to think I was restricting them

cadelaide Fri 10-Jun-11 14:54:33

Blimey, just read your link. "...don't scratch in flowerbeds...." Sounds too perfect to be true! smile

cadelaide Fri 10-Jun-11 14:55:25

So how big is your average Pekin then? And your average Silkie, whilst we're on the subject?

MissBeehiving Sat 11-Jun-11 14:18:24

I keep and show Silkies and my Dsis keeps and shows Pekins. Large fowl Silkies are slightly bigger than Pekins. Bantam Silkies are about the same size as Pekins.

Neither are great escape artists but Silkies cannot fly - mine actually don't like heights. Silkies IME are better tempered - Pekins can be a bit feisty.

Pekins generally don't lay during the winter but my Silkies do.

Neither of them are tremendous scratchers.

cadelaide Sun 12-Jun-11 23:30:48

Thankyou. I've found some Pekins for sale nearby but I really do think Silkies are more for us.

marylou242 Mon 13-Jun-11 14:32:54

Is broodiness a problem for you? Silkies are notorious for being broody, Pekins are pretty bad too. It's okay if you can manage to snap them out of it using broody cage etc, but we've had pekins for 8 years and once they have started brooding, it's hard to stop them. Last year we had one that stayed broody for 4 months! It gets a bit worrying when they sit down all day, hardly eat and get really thin.

On the positive side, our pekins are so friendly when they aren't broody and they look like little balls of fluff. I haven't had much to do with silkies, but pekins can't scratch too much because of the feathers on their feet.

mistlethrush Mon 13-Jun-11 14:42:53

We had buff rock bantams - one of them was so tame she used to ask to be picked up so that she could have a nap in your hands (safest location) and she even did that when she had chicks - I had to hold the chicks in my hands while she had a quick nap on my lap without being bumped grin

Next door's pekin cockerell followed one of our mongrel hens home and had a fight with our cockerell - luckily managed to separate them. Despite his good nature and gentlemanly behaviour towards his hens, the buff rock cockerell was the clear winner - although he might well have been a lot fitter too.

MissBeehiving Mon 13-Jun-11 15:46:12

Broodiness not a problem for me but I have quite a number of silkies they do have a reputation for it but it's not any worse than pekins.

MarknadNutidaPlats Tue 14-Jun-11 22:52:14

We have a bantam silkie and a gold partridge pekin and the scratch but don't damage the grass but are prone to broodiness but as eggs aren't the be all we don't mind.

cadelaide Wed 29-Jun-11 12:51:09

Do Pekins fly much? I want to let them free-range and next-door have a beast of a dog over the 6ft fence.

Lizzabadger Sun 03-Jul-11 07:23:54

Pekins don't really fly. I can't imagine they could get over a 6' fence.

cadelaide Sun 03-Jul-11 14:16:47

Thankyou. After much deliberation and endless googling we're going for Pekins.
DS will swoon with happiness, we'll send him out on his birthday (tuesday) to let the hens out and there they'll be. I can't wait.

Lizzabadger Sun 03-Jul-11 20:39:04

You (and he) will love them! (I am sure you would love Silkies too).

Don't want to be a killjoy but it would be a good idea to quarantine them for a week or so before introducing them to the others and to be careful when introducing them (there are probably other threads on how to do introductions).

Lizzabadger Sun 03-Jul-11 20:41:31

Oh - just seen you have a thread about introductions.

cadelaide Mon 04-Jul-11 09:28:51

Thanks Lizzabadger, things have changed a bit since the I started the thread anyway!

One of our old girls died and the other is going to live on my parents' farm, thus leaving a clear space for our new little girls. smile

I have learnt that introductions are a nightmare as we go through the process with our last lonely old girl, but we're getting there.

Lizzabadger Mon 04-Jul-11 20:10:19

Sorry about your old girl.

cadelaide Mon 04-Jul-11 22:21:38

Oh, it was awful. She wasn't old actually, only 18m. A beautiful healthy-looking Bluebelle. She was a bit listless for 24hrs, but still feeding, then poor DS found her dead in the coop in the morning.

Remaining hen shows no sign of illness whatsoever.

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