The Silkie is the only breed with black pigmented skin. The feathers are without the usual forms of webs, that is, there is a lack of adhesion of the barbs to one another which gives the appearance of down or silky hair, hence the name silken or Silkie. Another distinguishing feature is turquoise blue ear lobes. These birds originated in China, found there by Marco Polo in 1298. (Marco Polo thought silkies were covered with wool rather than feathers, hence the name.) In America, the breed ranks in the first 15 breeds in popularity. They are characterised as: active, bold, silky and fluffy.
Male and female silkies are sexually mature at about five months of age. Their eggs are a brownish colour and a female lays between 90 and 120 eggs per year. All hens like to lay their eggs in a nest that is in a quiet, semi-darkened, well-prepared place with good, clean nesting material.
The hen takes about two hours from sitting to leaving the nest. Most hens prefer to brood in the same place where they are accustomed to laying eggs. Eggs hatch in about 21 days. The chicks are covered with soft down at birth. During the first 24 hours after hatching, the chicks consume the remainder of the yolk.