Sometimes even the best, most experienced chicken folks get surprises. Such was the case with 'Slick Rick' who was purchased at an auction back in the spring as a pullet which is a young female and future laying hen. Silkies are one of the more difficult breeds in which to correctly identify gender.
The week before last, his previous owner was lovingly doting on him thinking 'he' was a 'she' and was just about to start laying eggs until one morning 'she' started to crow. This is the call of doom for folks with egg laying flocks as roosters obviously do not lay eggs. Even for those folks who breed chickens and need a rooster to fertilize eggs, there is usually only one position for that in the hen house. Roos don't often get along with each other and one is more than enough to cover a backyard flock.
Last week we got a call wondering if we were interested in ole Ricky boy and true to the spirit of our farm we said sure, bring him over. We set him up with 3 hens in our stall barn where he lived for a day before he ditched the ladies and moved into our rabbit barn of his own accord where he proudly now reigns as king. He is a gentle little fellow and lets the kids pick him up an carry him around. This I might add is abnormal - many roosters are vicious and will attack. Those kinds usually earn themselves a one way ticket to the crock pot on most farms!
Silkies are anatomically interesting in that they have black skin and bones, blue earlobes and they have 5 toes on each foot as opposed to the standard 4 that most chickens have. Their feathers are very fluffy and super soft which is where they get their name. This breed is very docile in general and the hens are very broody which means they like to sit on their eggs (and anyone else's eggs for that matter) to hatch them out whereas many hens don't seem to have any interest in mothering at all.
So without further ado, I give you Slick Rick, or Ricky as we like to call him...