Friday, June 7, 2013

Mamma Silkie's At It Again!

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by Jennifer Sartell

I originally told this story the day it happened on the Iron Oak Farm Facebook Page and it received such an overwhelming response that I thought I would share it with our Community Chickens readers as well. 

First...a little about Mamma Silkie. When I first brought our little Silkie Bantam home in 2008, she was an adorable little fuzz ball. I'd raised Silkies before and thought they were beautiful chickens with soft downy plumage, striking blue ears and those signature black legs, beak and glossy eyes.

My first SIlkie, before Mamma Silkie, 2002
I'm usually very practical when it comes to animals on our farm. They have to earn their keep in some small way. And since Silkies aren't real prolific egg layers, I had a hard time justifying this little addition. But Silkies are just so pretty that I thought the enjoyment of seeing this beautiful creature would be enough to keep a Silkie among our flock.

And then our Silkie grew up to look like this!

Don't be jealous now...this little vulture is all ours!

Molt after molt, her head feathers have never grown in right. And the rest of her is just a little straggly.

Now don't get me wrong I love our little Silkie with all my heart. In fact, she has become one of our favorite chickens. She's like those troll dolls from the early 1980' ugly they're cute! For some reason she reminds me of myself as a child...Hair always in tangled knots, dirty bare feet, and always singing or talking to myself...lost in the fog. My dad called me Rag-a-muffin, and it was a term of endearment. He loved me... oddities and all!

That's our Silkie. She's just...odd! Zach and I have made it a habit of singing "When You're Strange" by the Doors whenever we see her, and it has become her theme song. 

One of her grown up offspring roosters
She doesn't quite belong with the rest of the flock and even her own chicks from last year's hatching seem to have bonded with the other chickens and left their mother to her own devises.  (For another story about our Silkie read Mamma Silkie Returns From the Dead)

Busy...she's always busy. Cackling a high pitched cackle to herself, like she's telling a thrilling story to an absent audience. Every once and a while she'll take off running and squawking like something's after her. I've yet to find the source that prompts this burst of hysteria.
But I do love her. She follows me around the farm telling stories and likes to sit on my feet if I stop for any length of time. I spoil her with suet and bits of pizza crusts and she knows she's special.

A few days ago I was spinning yarn on our closed in porch. There was a soft spring breeze drifting the scent of lilacs and fresh tender green. The chickens were wandering around the yard, dotted bits of farm life among the green grass. Coohing and chooking at interesting finds. A worm, a dandelion, ...all was as it should be.

The suddenly I heard a terrible screeching like someone was being attacked. I dropped the fiber dangling from my wheel and slid on my flip flops. As I neared the chickens I realized the terrible upset was coming from inside the coops. (We've had problems with skunks lately and I feared the worst.) Getting even closer there was no doubt something was going on in the turkey pen. I flung open the turkey coop door to find that our tiny bantam Silkie had somehow managed to squeeze through the fencing, crawl under the coop and steal a turkey egg away from our broody turkey. She managed to move the egg behind the waterer (about 3 feet!) and was all puffed up balancing on this giant egg! The poor turkey was trying to get her egg back but couldn't reach it because the Silkie had it wedged in the corner. Thus the squawking.

Now this was no simple feet, the turkey coop isn't exactly easy to get into. We barracaded the turkey pen last fall because our free ranging turkeys refused to stay out of the road. And every fence, pen or enclosure we errected, they figured a way to get through or fly over. We sealed things up even tighter recently because skunks have been stealing our turkey eggs. 

For her to get into the turkey pen she had to squeeze under this fence. (When I'm home I open this door so everyone can free range for the day. On days when I can't keep an eye on things, or I'm going out, I keep it closed and only the really determined chickens will hop the fence and range the yard.)

Then around the chicken coop and under here.

Then back around to the turkey run here. (This door gets closed at night.)

And into the turkey enclosure past 4 full size turkeys one, of which is super broody and full of fight. 

I wonder sometimes what goes through her little head. Like did she just wake up that morning and think to herself "I think I'll bust into the turkey pen, steal a turkey egg...they'll never see it coming. " I wonder how she even knew there were turkey eggs to begin with. Maybe she has done this spy mission before and only recently mustered the courage to complete her self imposed assignment.  

All eggs have been returned to their rightful owners.


  1. With her bare little head and lack of acceptance by the other chickens, she's finally figured out she IS a turkey! ha

    1. You might be on to something!!! Ha! She's such a little misfit.

  2. How super cute love it.
    From Karin @

  3. You made my day with this delightful post! Thanks for sharing.


  4. Nothing like a chicken to add entertainment to your day!

  5. Great story! We lost our little Silkie, TinaTurner, but the story sounds so Tina-like that I'm still smiling. I especially love the running off into the blue, screaming all the while. Very Tina, too.

  6. Thank you for bringing more information to this topic for me.

  7. Just saw this post. I also have a black silkie that is/was ugly as can be but loved her anyway. Like you she started out with full plummage. After the first year she just looked like a little ugly vulture with a great personality. This fall she started a full molt and just for kicks I separated her from the rest of the flock giving her her own penthouse. What a princess. Soon her feathers started to come in. The pins were a much lighter color than the rest of her and I wondered if that made her a target for the other hens to pick at them. Sure enough she is now fully feathered and looking like a beautiful silky again. Our white silky doesn't seem to have this problem probably because the pin feathers or sheaths aren't a contrasting easy to see color.


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