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Raising silkies.

Everyone probably knows what useful and versatile chicken the Silkie is. A few setting Silkies can be more trust-worthy than an expensive incubator suffering a power outage, or any number of ailments incubators are prone to. My hens are a reliable back-up system. I'm sure enough has been said about how great Silkies are, but Silkies are very salable, too.

I have had many people come to buy other breeds of chickens, or even eggs, that wind up buying pairs of my Silkies instead. I concentrate mainly on raising good, quality Silkies now, although my Blue Americanas (green & blue egg layers) and Barred Rocks sell well also.

I sell my Silkies for $15 to $30 a pair, chicks for $2 each and I usually have a waiting list for buyers. I have city and suburb folks buy hens because they do well in smaller quarters than other chickens. Some people have even dropped back by the farm to report to me on their pets. You know you are doing something right when people come back just to "talk chickens" and tell you their chickens' names.

I have many repeat customers. You get repeat buyers by treating people fairly. Whether we're selling our Romanov Sheep or a lowly little hen, honesty always pays off. Doing someone wrong over a $2 chicken can have the same long-term effects as a several hundred dollar deal in any other kind of livestock.

If someone wants good breeding stock or show animals don't sell them something you wouldn't use yourself. It's okay to sell run of the mill occasionally, but lower your prices and tell them why.

I cull heavily. All of my chickens aren't perfect but I strive to better the stock. That means watching out for too much inbreeding and buying good, sound outside stock when needed. There's nothing worse than an ugly Silkie and I don't want anyone to think one came from my farm!

Don't sell stock predisposed to sickness, either. I don't medicate for "colds." If a chicken can't stay healthy on its own then it doesn't go into the breeder pens.

Last year I gave some good hens to a repeat buyer because the Silkies I had sold him the previous year didn't turn out to be as good as I had hoped. The man didn't know the difference, but I did, and that's what counted.

My three-year-old son made his first Silkie sale himself, his "Ca Cas," as he calls them. Our neighbors had company and Gaven took a Silkie over to show their kids. The next day the family came back and bought a pair for someone in their church.

In regards to marketing your birds, one overlooked place to advertise Silkies is in the misc. pets section of your local Tradin' Post or newspaper rather than the livestock section. That is where we found our first Silkie hen. We had no idea what a Silkie was at the time. The lady selling them worded the ad "Adorable Silkies (kind of a chicken) etc."

A source for Silkie information is the American Silkie Bantam Club, 2221 Blue Ridge Blvd, Independence, MO 64052-1658. Membership is $5 a year.

Feel free to contact us for information or idea exchange: Black Water Farm, Diane & Tony Lutz, 2345 N. Diamond Mill Rd., Brookville, OH 45309.
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Title Annotation:chickens
Author:Lutz, Diane; Lutz, Tony
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:May 1, 1993
Previous Article:Raising squab for the homestead table.
Next Article:Chickens, vinegar, and black boxes.

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