There is perhaps no fascinating chicken breed that lights up your poultry like the Showgirl chicken. Typically, showpieces with a shine of broodiness, Showgirl chickens hold a spot in the backyard coop as the farmers’ ideal choice to improve the quality of whichever breeding program is going on.
For this article, we explore the beauty of this unusual chicken breed and its benefits:
The showgirl chicken is a modern breed of chicken quintessentially created as a unique showpiece for the poultry. Alternately known as Showgirls or Showgirl Silkies, they are recognized as a backyard flock breed with naked necks and fluffy plumage.
Unlike other breeds, Showgirl chickens are relatively new breeds that only started to become popular in the 21st century.
They have their bloodline traced to the hybrid combination of the 300-year-old Asiatic breed known as Silkies and the Transylvanian Naked Necks, also known as the Turkens. It would seem that the innovator thought to achieve Silkies of more substantial sizes without particularly losing out on the beauty.
Showgirls are typically identified by naked necks with a spot of feathers that bear semblance to a fancy bowtie or brooch. This is because the innovator of this breed chose to start the generation with the Turkens before improving their quality by cross-breeding with pure Silkies for other generations.
Showgirl Chickens: Basic Breed Information
The origin of showgirls is typically unknown. The dominant Turken gene is said to have originated from Germany while the Silkie gene present in most showgirls is traced back to Asia.
Showgirls only started to make waves as a dual-purpose breed through parts of Europe, Asia, and America in the 21st century. However, the fact that they are only recent creation seems to make it challenging to find them listed in the most popular breeding associations’ lists.
The commonest sets of Showgirls appear to look more like the Silkies only with naked necks differentiating them. They are bred in different colors depending on the parent gene. Showgirls appear in white, black, buff, blue, and lavender.
Like their Silkie counterparts, they have five toes per feathered foot and walnut comb. Beyond their distinctive necks, some come with beards or fluff of feathers to make a bowtie while others are just plain.
The typical bantam breed, showgirls, are similar to standard Silkies in size. They are raised to be cuddly, broody, and especially for the exhibition. They weigh between 1.8 and 2.8lbs and, as such, do not make the perfect dinner-table companion.
Egg production in showgirls ranges from fair to good. The average Showgirl Silkie will lay between 80 to 140 eggs per year in the right conditions. In optimal conditions, eggs lain could be cream, tinted, or brown. These eggs are small in size as expected and are susceptible to being endangered in some cases.
It is just as well that Showgirl chickens are broody. Unlike large birds, showgirls take up the mantle mothering a tad seriously. Their disposition gives them the added advantage of being raised for breeding and hatching eggs of other breeds.
How Do I Breed Showgirl Chickens?
One of the significant issues with breeding chickens is the environmental conditions that they must cope with. Luckily, Showgirl chickens are quite easy to work with. Behaviourally, they are gentle, docile, and friendly.
You don’t have to worry about being pecked when you move closer to them. They get on well other chicken breeds, but it would be unwise to leave your Showgirl hen or Silkie with large rare breeds.
Their fluffy plumage comes through for them in cold conditions. They are cold hardy, although their naked necks make them mildly intolerant to really cold weather compared with other regular chickens.
They pose no extra demands and can be easily cared for like other chickens. They, however, differ on account of their perches or nests.
The feather structure and legs make it such that flight is a tad inhibited. You’d need to create shorter ladders, roosts, or nests for them.
Showgirls and Silkies have been known to lay eggs from seven months to nine months. Fertile eggs can be laid in a few weeks, provided the chickens are healthy. However, to produce a good stock of Showgirl chickens, it is essential to pick chickens between their second and fifth year of breeding.
The first generation of this particular breed is mostly produced by cross-breeding naked neck Turkens of considerable size with Silkies. Then, further breeding can be done with Showgirls and Silkies in variations.
It’s good to have an idea of what you want your own particular strain to look like. As a breeder, you’ll want to cull your flock regularly to ensure that just the best representations of the breed go on to produce more.
The great thing is that culling chickens doesn’t have to mean killing them. An add on Facebook or flyer posted at your local feed store and you’re sure to find someone to buy your birds that aren’t quite fit to produce the next generation for your line.
Like the Showgirl Silkies, Frizzle Showgirls come from a line of the Transylvanian Naked Necks only linked with an Asiatic breed of chicken known as Frizzle chickens in the first generation.
This breed makes the perfect showpiece by giving off the appearance of a chicken with a relatively unfortunate plumage blow-dry session paired with black naked necks. Frizzle Showgirls are recognized by short, broad bodies covered with curly ragged-looking feathers.
While they bare semblance to the regular showgirls in terms of egg production and breeding, Frizzle Showgirls are somewhat larger. The typical Frizzle chicken weighs between 6 to 8lbs – which, when crossed with Turkens, gives them a larger size and appearance.
They have four toes, yellow beaks, and bright red eyes. Their sizes make them acceptable in breeding circles as a source of meat though they are mostly bred for ornamental purposes and their broodiness.
Like the regular showgirls, Frizzle Showgirls make great mothers and setters. You’d find showgirls always ready to sit on eggs to hatch. They have a friendly disposition, and like the calmer regulars, this set of chickens will enjoy free-range, albeit under watchful eyes.
How to Breed a Frizzle Showgirl
Frizzle Showgirls are known for their tendency to go all broody and make excellent mothers. As such, farmers tend to go with them for improvement in egg production. They are friendly and docile that raising them with other breeds isn’t exactly a chore.
It is essential to breed this type of chicken with healthy chickens. Due to their thin curly feathers and naked necks, Frizzle showgirls are best produced in slightly warmer conditions, especially in cold climates.
Their bearing makes them less attentive to danger, so you might want to curtail their free-range movement. Like the regular showgirls, nests and perches are required to be lower as their plumage keeps them from flights.
Where Do I Buy Frizzle Chicks or Chickens?
Frizzle chickens are unusual and, as such, not easy to find. You can hunt some of them down at some local poultry while increasing their generations in your poultry by cross-breeding them. Beyond these local outlets, the best way to find Frizzle chicks and showgirls is through:
- Poultry and Livestock Websites
- Chicken Forums – which usually have lists of suppliers and farms for sale and breeding
- Etsy and Ebay – these depend on your location.
- Facebook – Facebook has chatrooms and sale groups that provide a wide range of chicken breeds for your poultry.
- Breed your own
Silkies and Turkens are unusual, but as listed above, you can easily find the best for your breeding program through multiple channels.
Should You Breed a Showgirl Chicken?
Showgirl chickens undoubtedly make an excellent addition to your poultry. They provide your farm with beauty and brilliance, but they also give you the added advantage of improving your hatchery.
Their calm and warm disposition makes them fit in with whichever range or size you have. With relatively good egg production at their base, you get access to more eggs, albeit in small sizes.
However, their adaptability could be dangerous as they are most susceptible to predators and bullying from more aggressive breeds. So, you might want to keep a close eye on them.
You have to understand that their availability could prove to be a stumbling block. If you look beyond this, though, you’d see that the classical showgirl chicken provides you with one of the best showpieces to brighten your poultry.