Silkies are one of the cutest and most fun backyard chicken breeds with some unique differences over most chickens. If you’ve been around them, you will have noticed they aren’t the most agile.
Do Silkies roost? Silkies do roost like other chickens, yes. Some don’t though, especially if it’s difficult to get to their roosting bar. I’ve had some that would happily sleep on the floor or in their nesting boxes.
How High Can Silkies Jump?
Silkies are not flighty birds. Most of them can jump or get to a height of around 10 inches, and that’s with a lot of flapping and effort.
The plus point to this is that if you live in an urban setting, there is a low risk of them escaping, getting into your neighbor’s yard, or getting themselves into trouble.
But it does mean you might need to make some adjustments to the platforms, height of nesting boxes, and other areas of your coop if it’s been designed for “regular” chickens.
Related - How to tell Silkie roosters from hens.
Do Silkies Need Perches?
I recommend providing a perch or a roosting bar for your Silkies.
Most chickens instinctively want to sleep on a perch. In the wild, chickens would retreat high up in trees to sleep where it was much safer from predators.
They also do this because they poop a lot overnight. No one wants to sit or lay where they poop, so using an elevated bar makes perfect sense.
Domestic or backyard chickens still have the same instincts as their wild ancestors. So, providing a perch makes them happier as they feel safer and are able to sleep up high and poop all they want.
If you provide a perch at a height they can easily reach, most Silkies will sleep on it overnight.
If they don’t, it’s up to them. Each chicken has its own individual personality and will do what feels right for them.
A lot of owners say that Silkies are less likely to use a roost than other breeds. This might be due to the pecking order in their flock, the position of the bar, or some other reason.
I’m not sure it’s a behavior that’s tied to the breed itself. I’ve had Silkies and other breeds that would sleep on the floor, in a nesting box, and in other places.
I always discourage it of course and try to get them up on their bar. It’s hard to say exactly what causes chickens to pick different sleeping spots most of the time.
Best Style of Roosting Bar for Silkies?
You don’t need to get fancy with roosting bars. As I said, the most important thing is that it’s easy to get to and has enough room for all of your flock.
If you don’t have a bar, I recommend something like this Precision Pet Portable Roosting Bar on Amazon below:
Try to allow 8”-10” of space on the bar per bird. If you want to encourage all of your flock to sleep on roosting bars it’s important they have enough room to be comfortable.
In Summary - Do Silkies Roost?
Silkies do roost, and they do need a perch or a roosting bar. If you don’t provide a roosting bar they can easily access then they certainly won’t be roosting.
Roosting is one of the behaviors that come naturally to chickens. It’s important that you at least provide them with a bar to use, even if they don't use it.
I spoke with a number of other Silkie owners when I decided I was going to write up this post. Everyone said they had at least one Silkie that either didn’t roost or go through periods of not using their bar.
So, if one or more of your flock are not using their roost, don’t panic. It’s completely normal, and if they want to use their bar they will.
This video covers some cool and easy to make modifications someone made to help their Silkies roost: