The modern poultry market represents the widest range of the most diverse breeds of chickens. Their characteristics, honed by rigorous selection, meet almost any requirement. This is high egg production, and fast growth, and a beautiful appearance. But one breed stands apart from this series. This is – invariably admiring with its exquisite appearance, good disposition and useful properties – Chinese silk chicken. It is curious that this breed is not a product of modern selection, and its origin is rooted in antiquity.
Back in the XNUMXth century BC. the great philosopher and scientist Aristotle mentioned in his writings a breed of chickens with cat hair instead of feathers. The famous navigator and traveler of the XIII century Marco Polo, while traveling in China and Mongolia, described birds with fluffy hair and black skin in his travel notes.
Esimene teave about the active breeding of silk chickens have come down to our time from the historical annals of the Tang dynasty, which flourished in China in the XNUMXth – XNUMXth centuries AD. Even then, dishes from the meat of these birds were highly valued for their extraordinary healing properties. And in modern China, traditional medicine puts the quality of silk chicken meat on a par with ginseng, claiming that eating it helps in the treatment of diseases of the kidneys, liver, lungs, strengthens the immune system, and increases potency. Research by modern scientists has confirmed the presence of unique healing components in the meat of this breed of birds.
For the first time, representatives of this breed were brought to Russia at the beginning of the XNUMXth century, but they were not widely used due to the unusual black color of the meat, and were acquired mainly as living curiosities.
The Chinese silk chicken is so unusual that almost every detail of its appearance is very interesting and deserves special attention.
It is worth noting the following in particular bright features:
- First of all, the unusual softness of the plumage of birds attracts attention. It is so reminiscent of fluffy fur that in the old days there was even a legend that this amazing breed arose as a result of crossing birds with rabbits. In fact, silk chickens are just as feathered as all other birds, only their feathers are distinguished by a very thin and soft core, and the feather hairs do not have interlocking hooks. A fluffy tuft on the head, turning into sideburns and a beard and feathered paws, gives a special exoticism to the representatives of the Chinese silk chicken. In general, the bird resembles a fluffy rounded cube with a proudly raised head.
- The color of the plumage of downy chickens can be varied: white, black, blue, red, yellow or wild. It is believed by the breeders of the breed that the color should be solid. Spotty blooms that appear are discarded.
- The size of individuals is quite miniature: roosters grow up to 1,5 kg in weight, hens – 0,8 – 1,1 kg.
- Silk chickens have five toes on their paws, while most other breeds of chickens usually have four.
- The skin of the bird is blue-black. In addition, she has black paws, dark meat and even bones are black.
Representatives of the breed of Chinese chickens are different soft friendly character. They always gratefully respond to gentle stroking, gladly go into their arms, do not get shy. They are not characterized by shyness and aggression. The mother hens have a pronounced maternal instinct. They are not only very caring towards their offspring, but they happily hatch the eggs of other birds, perfectly coping with the role of mother for quail, pheasant and even duck chicks.
Keeping and breeding
silk hens quite unpretentious, and their maintenance presents no great difficulties. The room and food are the same as for ordinary breeds of chickens. Perching in this case is not needed, because silk chickens do not know how to fly at all. Outdoor walks will not interfere with downy beauties. Only the walking area needs to be protected from predators, both around the perimeter and from above. Birds easily tolerate winter cold, so if the frosts are not too strong, the chicken coop can not be heated. But if you keep warm and provide good lighting, then the chickens will rush in the winter.
Subject to sufficiently comfortable conditions from one laying hen per year you can get up to 80 eggs, about 40 grams in weight – each.
Many breeders have successfully bred Chinese silk chicken not only for meat and eggs, but also for the unique soft down. Up to 75 grams of fluff can be obtained from a chicken at a time. And a haircut without harm to the health of the bird is allowed to be done once a month.
If desired, it will not present any particular difficulty and breeding chickens. All you need is a warm room, balanced food and a caring hen. The chicks emerge from the eggs three weeks after the start of incubation.
A little attention and care will be more than rewarded with happiness to see a new promising fluffy generation.
In conclusion, we can say that the breeding of Chinese silk chickens has good prospects, and modern farms that breed this breed are already actively supplying agricultural markets such valuable products as:
- delicacy chicken meat,
- high quality eggs
- high quality down,
- live birds of a rare decorative species.