Black Meat Silkies
Yes! The flesh, skin, and bones of these chickens are completely black or charcoal gray. Their unusual black color is due to fibromelanosis, a rare genetic mutation of hyperpigmentation believed to have first arisen in china. Their Mandarin name, wu gu ji, means “dark boned chicken.” The name Silkie, likely comes from their fluffy plumage which, lacking barbicels, looks and feels soft and furry. Silkies also have five toes, one more than other chicken breeds.
With their silkie “suits” and the sometimes tuft of silk atop their heads and sometimes around their feet, these birds really make your coop look very classy! They also have a certain strut about them. Despite their good looks and the fact that they look sometimes look like they feel themselves superior, they are very docile and affectionate, and make very good pets.
Silkie hens can be fantastic mothers. They will often work as a “village” to raise 10 to 20 or more chicks together. If you want to hatch your own eggs at home under a hen, a Silkie is one of the top choices. With great maternal instincts reaching far beyond their own species lines, the silkie will reach our and hatch eggs laid by ducks, turkeys and pheasants. Silkies are not great layers , producing fewer and smaller eggs than the average chicken.
Silkies are probably not a very good choice for someone who needs high egg production. The eggs are also smaller but they are very good! A flock of 2 dozen will give you approximately 1 to 3 dozen eggs per week in the good laying season. Silkie broilers are typically raised 4-6 months before processing and will reach 3-5 pounds
Silkies lack barbicels, which is what gives the feathers their fur-like appearance. they will need extra protection from the rain because their feathers tend to soak u water instead of rolling off. They also will need extra protection from the elements over the winter.
Those who like to follow Chinese medicine believe that a silkie soup, with ginger, goji berries, and red dates will increase female fertility, nourish a developing human fetus and restore the vitality of a woman who has recently given birth. A research scientist at the University in Nanchang, Ying-gang Tian says it also treats diabetes, anemia, menstrual cramps, and postpartum disorders.
While looking for an explanation for the bird’s medical abilities, dating back to the early 100s A. D., research scientists began to wonder if carnosine, a natural peptide, could be responsible. The researchers compared carnosine levels in the black -Bone Silky fowl and White Plymouth Rocks. Black bone fowl were found to have twice as much carnosine as the rocks. As a result, they are saying that the Sikie fowl is one of the richest sources of carnosine.
Although Chinese farmers export only small quantities of Black-Bone Silky fowl, and those birds go mainly to southern Asia and Japan. Researchers hope the the report will increase awareness about the odd bird in the United States.
If awareness should happen, consumers can look forward to tastier and perhaps healthier chicken, with only one blip. Although the taste of the Silky is usually better than other chicken, its unusual color makes some people hesitate to eat it. However, the whole bird , skin and all, can be cooked down for soup and the broth will not turn out greasy as it normally does with regular chicken.
Nourishing and nutritious black silkie chicken is cooked with Chinese herbs. It can be prepared with Instant Pot pressure cookers, on the stove , or in a slow cooker.
Here is a list of Chinese Herbs used in cooking this soup. Aquire what you can and just “wing it” for the rest.
1. Goji berries (not in this photo): as a blood tonic, restore qi, improve strength, increase immunity
2. Chinese red dates (hong zao): To strengthen the spleen, improves appetite, nourish blood and circulation.
3. Chinese black dates (hei zao): the black dates are considered to be more “heaty” compared to the red dates. They help to nourish blood as well.
4. Dong quai (Angelica sinensis): sometimes you will hear dong quai nicknamed the “female ginseng”. Many women consume dong quai to help with gynecological issues such as irregular periods, infertility, hormonal imbalance, etc. However, dong quai can actually benefit the male as well to help reduce inflammation.
5. Chuan xiong (Sichuan lovage root): to increase blood flow.
6. Dang shen (radix codonopsis): also known as a poor man’s ginseng. It aids with digestion, weakness, fatigue, and poor appetite.
7. Huang qi (Astragalus): it is known to help with boosting immunity.
HOW TO PREPARE SILKIE CHICKEN SOUP
1. REMOVE HEAD, NECK AND FEET
Use a cleaver or sharp knife to detach the neck and feet at the joints.
2. PREPARE THE CHINESE HERBAL PACKET
Place all the Chinese herbs except for red and black dates and goji berries in a tied cheesecloth or stock pack (photo below). You don’t have to fish out all the herbs later
3. COOKING: Place the whole silkie inside the inner pot of Instant Pot or a large pot if cooking on the stove. Add the herbal pack, black dates, and red dates, and ginger. Add water. Bring to a boil. When it comes to a boil, lower the heat to let it gently simmer, with the lid partially close, for the next 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender
If using an Instant Pot pressure cooker, close the lid and pressure cook on high for 18 minutes and then wait 5 minutes to release pressure.
4. ADD THE GOJI BERRIES LAST AND SEASON TO TASTE
When the chicken is done cooking, stir in goji berries. Let the residual heat softens the berries. Season the soup with salt to your taste or skip the salt altogether if you prefer. Enjoy !
There are 3 grades of Silkies; the Broilers, the Hatchery, and the Show Quality. Here at Purley Poultry, we source the Broilers, which are a great quality for meat and egg purposes, but not quite as pretty and fluffy as far as good looks go. The other one Purely Poultry sells, is the Hatchery quality, which is also great for meat birds and eggs and has beautiful feathers. These are great also for pets as they are very loving birds. Purely Poultry does not source the show quality Silkies.