Silkies eat the same as any backyard chickens. This means a good chicken feed should be available, you can supplement their diet with whole grains like barley, oats, and wheat. As well as some vegetables and fruits like corn, collard greens, carrots, peach, apples, and more.
What Is the Best Food for Silkies?
The best food for Silkies is a quality layer feed appropriate for the age and development of your chickens, and some healthy leftovers.
As a guide, here are some of the best feeds for Silkies as they grow up:
0 to 20-30 Weeks Old - Baby Silkies need a specially formulated chick starter feed with a high protein content to support weight gain and muscle development.
I use a Manna Pro Chick Starter feed - click here to see this feed on Amazon.
It’s a small crumble, which is what chicks need and is very important for little Silkie beaks. It’s also medicated to prevent coccidiosis and is formulated with a wide range of minerals and vitamins.
20-30 Weeks Onwards - When your Silkies start laying, you‘ll need to switch them onto a layer feed. Layer feeds are slightly lower in protein at around 16% and contain more of the vitamins and minerals needed to support healthy production.
I use Purina Layena Hen Feed Crumbles - click here to see this layer feed on Amazon.
Most layer feeds are pellets, but I advise giving silkies a crumble like this feed from Purina. Remember, they have smaller beaks than other breeds. While they can eat pellets, why not make it a little easier on them.
“90/10 Rule” and Treat Foods
When it comes to feeding backyard chickens, it’s all too tempting to give them all the table scraps and leftovers from foods we use to prepare meals.
There is nothing wrong with this - in moderation.
Most chicken owners operate on what’s known as the “90/10” rule. All this means is that 90% of their chickens' diet comes from a formulated feed, and the other 10% can be leftovers and other foods.
Some of the foods that are safe for chickens that you may want to offer to your Silkies includes:
Do Silkie Chickens Need Special Food?
Silkies may look unique for a backyard chicken, but they do not have any unique dietary needs, no.
You can feed Silkies the same as you would any breed of chicken, the only real difference is that they eat less because they are smaller.
It can be tempting to give them plenty of treats because they're so sociable and tend to follow you around, but for the good of their health, you have to keep treats to a minimum.
How Often Do You Feed Silkie Chickens?
As long as you’re providing enough food for your Silkies, you have a bit of flexibility around how often you feed your Silkies.
Most owners unlock their feeders in the morning and top them up with feed, then pop back out in the evening and top them up with some more feed.
This helps keep feed fresh and also helps you keep an eye on how much your chickens are eating.
The evening is the best time to give your Silkies some ‘treats’ as you know they’ve filled up on feed so all of their nutritional needs are being met.
Adult Silkies will typically eat about ¼ lb of chicken feed a day. As long as you don’t allow their feeder to empty, they’ll eat as much as they need.
Related - How often to feed backyard chickens.
What Should Silkies Not Eat?
Silkes should also avoid eating all the same foods that are known to be bad, toxic, or poisonous to all chickens.
In short, some of the most common foods that are bad for Silkies are:
Nightshade plants - Nightshade plants contain a toxin called solanine that is potentially toxic to chickens.
This toxin is only found in parts of the plants though, such as green parts of potatoes, tomato stalks, and leaves (the green parts), but not the actual tomatoes, parts of eggplants, etc.
Tea, coffee, and chocolate - there are compounds in teas, coffee, and chocolate that are bad for chickens and most small animals.
Avocado pits and skin - One of the main fruits you need to be cautious about giving to Silkies is avocados.
The skin and stone of an avocado contain a fungicidal toxin that can be potentially very dangerous. The flesh part is fine, just be sure to scoop it out for your chicks.
Junk or high-sugar foods - As a general rule of thumb, any foods that do not provide good nutrition for us are probably bad for chickens.
This means most of the tasty stuff we enjoy, such as french fries, candy, cakes, fried foods, etc.
Silkies are a cute, fuzzy, friendly, and lovable breed of backyard chicken. They look very different from other breeds of chickens, but their diets are exactly the same.
Feeding chickens is one of the easiest and most rewarding aspects of raising chickens. As long as you provide a well-balanced diet, you will have a flock of happy and healthy silkies on your hands.
Image credits - Image by RJA1988 from Pixabay