Saturday, 3 September 2011

Poultry Question - 'SILKIE CHIC' - Is she a Silkie or a Silbar?

Is this Silkie hen actually a Silbar?

This is an extra blog post I've thrown together after spotting a reference to Silbars on Twitter.

In 2009, I bought half a dozen hatching eggs from eBay, from a seller who was advertising said eggs as Silbars. Sadly, the box was delayed and badly damaged in transit.

I'm assuming that the delay in the eggs reaching us coupled with the treatment they had endured during transit pretty much ruled out any of them hatching. You can imagine my surprise when one actually did hatch!

This is a photo of the adult bird, as provided by the seller in their auction listing. The hen on the left, mother of my 'Silkie-Chic' (This is her name, not a misspelling of chick), was described as, "Silbar". However, despite researching at the time, I could find very little mention of this strain and certainly no signs of any local breeders.

To be honest, I forgot all about this until noticing the Silbar name crop up on Twitter. So here I am, back on the trail of discovery, trying to ascertain if my hen is just a plain Silkie or if she is, indeed, what's known as a Silbar.

Being a lone-hatched chick, she was reared as a family pet and probably spent the best part of her first year wandering in and out my kitchen! We eventually found her another lone chick, a white Silkie hen that we named Dumbledorf. But I digress.

On 03 March, 2009, the chick on the right hatched from the one surviving 'Silbar' egg.

I probably now have a complete day-to-day photo album of our miracle chick, as she progressed to adulthood.

Honestly, it was almost as bad as having a new baby in the house, except this baby grew very quickly.

She was soon able to go out into the garden to be introduced to the other hens, but took a very long time before she could become part of the 'gang'. (She now rules the roost!)

It took us several weeks to find her a companion (Dumbledorf), so she tended to hang about the kitchen door for most of the day, then come into the porch and sleep in her old brooding box at night!

Silkie-Chic did survive and she is still with us, here in Frugaldom, living happily alongside Dumbledorf and my other trio of blue cuckoo and lavender Silkies.

In 2010, Silkie-Chic went broody, while in the company of a white Silkie cockerel, so we incubated her eggs and gave her a couple of others to sit on instead. (The lavender chick is an Araucana.) Her eggs produced a mix of blue and partridge chicks, plus a couple identical to her, but I still didn't work out what colour my hen really is.

She's a great mum and I'd have loved to have bred from her again this year, but the recent housemove put paid to that.

All her last year's chicks were sold and I don't know how many turned out to be cockerels or how many were hens, although I do know the two black-headed partridge coloured chicks were both cockerels. Perhaps I should make a point of finding out if the ones that hatched looking identical to Silkie-Chic turned out to be hens?

To anyone with any knowledge of Silkies, Silbars or colour genetics in poultry, what there be any benefit to breeding this hen to my bearded, blue cuckoo Silkie cockerel?

Your comments would be very much appreciated, thank you.

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