Silkies are the most unique-looking breed of backyard chicken with their fluffy plumage, large crowns, and black walnut combs.
There really is no other breed like them!
They’re also small, light birds, so you’re right to be wondering; can silkie chickens fly?
The fact is, however, that silkies are even worse at flying than other breeds of chicken – and most chickens can’t fly more than a few feet.
This is good news for those raising silkies wanting to know that they’re not going to escape!
Can Silkie Chickens Fly?
The answer to whether or not silkies can fly is – no, they can’t.
There are two reasons for this;
The first is that chickens, in general, are pretty much flightless birds. Although, this is largely due to chickens being bred to be bigger and better for meat production.
Silkies are small chickens, but this doesn’t change the fact that their wing-to-body ratio is still disproportionate compared to birds that are great at flying.
The second reason is that silkies have unique feathers compared to other chickens, and they are not as effective for flying.
Their feathers look and feel more like fur or fuzz than they do feathers – this is what makes silkies so unique, and cute.
This is because they lack the barbicels – the strong spine-like structure – feathers typically have.
This means they can’t get nearly the same type of force when flapping their feathers as a regular chicken, so flying is just not possible.
How High Can Silkie Chickens Fly?
While silkies can’t fly, they are still able to get some air.
This is because they don’t have the same weight to muscle ratio as other chickens.
This means they can flap their wings faster, which gives them a little bit of lift.
So, while they can’t fly in the traditional sense, they can jump and flutter around for short periods of time.
This is especially true if they are startled or frightened.
The highest I was able to find that a silkie has been recorded flying is about three feet off the ground – and that was only for a matter of seconds!
Most silkies can make it up to a perch raised off the ground or hop over a small fence, but nothing more than that.
Most owners end up stacking boxes or providing ramps to help their silkies reach the places they need to that are off the ground.
Do Silkies Need Perches?
Now that we know silkies can’t fly and only make short hops, you might be wondering if they need perches in their coop.
The answer is yes!
All chickens, regardless of their ability to fly, need perches in their coop.
This is because chickens naturally roost – or sleep – in trees.
So, providing perches in the coop is a way to help chickens feel more comfortable and stressed.
Perches also provide chickens with a way to get off the ground and escape predators.
While silkies may not be able to fly away from a predator, roosting is still an innate behavior that they feel comfortable doing.
Can Silkies Climb?
One of the main ways that chickens get around is by climbing, such as hopping, flapping, and using different objects to get to higher places.
This is another area where silkies excel!
Since they don’t have the same weight to muscle ratio as other chickens, they are able to use their legs and claws to climb quite easily.
This means that if you have a silkie, you need to be extra careful about what kinds of things you have in their coop and run.
They will try to climb anything they can, including the wire of their run.
This is why it’s important to have taller sides on a silkie’s run – at least four feet – to make sure they can’t escape.
How Likely Are Silkies to Escape?
Overall, silkies are not great at escaping their coops and runs – which is why they’re popular in urban settings.
They can’t fly over most fences or walls, and they’re not great at finding a way out unless you leave them some obstacles to hop onto.
They’re not big birds, either, weighing around three pounds, so they’re not likely to damage anything in their escape attempt.
Are Silkies Good Backyard Chicken Pets?
If you’re looking for a chicken that’s low maintenance and can’t fly away, then a silkie might be a good fit for you.
Silkies are not the best at laying eggs – usually only about three small eggs per week at best – but they make up for it in personality.
Silkies are known for being very friendly and docile, which makes them great backyard chicken pets.
Just be sure to provide them with a coop, a strong and spacious run, as well as some perches, and you’ll have happy and healthy silkie chickens!
Silkie chickens are a popular breed of chicken that is known for being friendly and docile.
They make excellent backyard chicken pets, partly because they cannot fly and don’t present much of an escape risk.
Silkies are certainly the type of chicken most neighbors like to see when they look over the fence!
Image credits – Image by Лилия Шевченко from Pixabay