Do Silkie chickens roost? And how high should they be.
Do Silkie chickens perch and roost?
When I first got Silkies I was told they would never roost and indeed for a few weeks they sleep in a huddle on the coop floor and if they roosted at all it was on the lip of the nest boxes. After a few weeks or so I began to find them 4 foot up on the roosts with the big hens.
Most of my Silkies perch high up if they can and prefer to if they have the choice. There are some Silkies that roost higher and some that don't. They are more likely to roost high if raised with standard chickens, versus being raised with mainly Silkies.
Chickens should be discouraged from sleeping in their nesting boxes as it creates all sorts of problems.
Below: This from last spring 6 ft up with chicks.
How high can Silkies jump?
Silkies can jump between 8 and 16 inches up to a perch. Mine can't really jump up much more than 12". Big jumps also involve a lot of flapping which can be quite comical to watch.
Below: These young growers have got onto a perch around 18 inches high.
I bought some show quality bantam bearded Silkies that started out for months piled up in the corner, now they roost on the lowest roost, providing they aren't broody of course.
How high do Silkies like to roost?
Silkies like all chickens like to roost and sleeping on a high perch is good for the health and well being of your flock. Silkies like to be as high as you can get them. I have a ramp to allow mine to roost at 6 foot up in the sheds with my other chickens.
Below: A variety of Silkies on high perches.
If your Silkies have never used the roost then put perches low to the ground to accommodate them. Silkies love to sleep and roost on the floor unless your bar is super low.
Can you help Silkies to roost?
Silkies do enjoy sleeping off the ground, even if they can't roost up high. You'll want to give your Silkies an easy way to get higher.
Below: Chicken ladders or stairs help Silkies get about.
What I have done in one of my coops is to stack nest boxes, with bricks acting like stairs with a ramp leading to the perches where they sleep.
All chickens prefer to be up high as they feel safer.
Don't make it too steep. Or can you put a box or something she can jump up on then up to the roost?
We put bales of hay in our coop for the Silkies to jump up on – and they can get 5-6 feet in the air easily
Can Silkies fly up on roost?
Sort of but not really. Silkies don't have much in the way of wings or flight feathers but they will do a flappy powered hop up to any roost they can reach.
Below: These two Silkies got onto their coop roof so don't underestimate them.
A Silkie probably won't get up onto a 4 or 6 foot roost like non fluffy chickens but I'm always surprised by where they get to.
Silkies think they can fly, but in reality they definitely cannot, a 12 inch jump is the limits of her vertical abilities. Sometimes they even miss that height.
Will Silkies use a ramp or ladder?
All my Silkies climb this ladder. Chicken ladders should not be any steeper than 45 degrees and preferably closer to 30. I had to keep putting them up there for a few days before they learned how to do it themselves.
Below: A perch with a ladder system to help Silkies get up high.
Nowadays I put an older hen that knows how to use a ladder in with them so they learn from her. They are capable but just need to be given a chance.
My non bearded standard sized Silkies I had originally loved to roost. They would go to the coop first so they would get top roost space.
We have Silkies that use the roosts and others that don't. I do have ramps up to the roosts. My roosts are all at least 3 foot high. They are happy snuggling up with the other chickens. The Silkie who doesn't roost sleeps on the floor.
She needs a very low roost. My Silkies either sleep on the floor of the coop or hop up about 6 inches at a time onto bricks/low cement blocks and then a roost which is around 8 inches off the floor. One or two go to the higher roost around 2 feet off the floor.