Silkie Hen Vs. Rooster: How To Tell The Difference (With Pictures!)

I reckon we’ve got something in common, me and you.

It appears we’re both crazy about our Silkies!

In fact, Silkies were the first chicken breed that I raised — and I STILL raise them to this day!

Of course, if you’re raising young Silkies it can be quite challenging telling the roos from the hens!

That’s where we come in. From our experience raising our own Silkies, plus the hundreds of our community Silkies we’ve helped sex (see our collage below), here are the distinct differences between Silkie hens and roosters that you can look out for, from maturity all the way down to baby chicks.

Silkie Hen Vs. Rooster: How To Tell The Difference 

When Silkies are fully grown it’s not too difficult to tell the roosters from the hens.

When comparing a Silkie rooster and a hen, you will see that Silkie roosters have a much more prominent comb on their head, as well as much larger wattles under their beaks.

If you look closely at the back of the Silkie rooster’s head, you may even see some long thin feathers, or “streamers”, which typically only appear in males. 

Silkie roosters also appear visually larger and stand a little taller in their posture. 

Of course, these differences are much more subtle while your Silkie is still young (under 8-12 weeks old).

So that you can determine the Silkie roosters from the Silkie hens, here are all the main physical and behavioral differences you can look out for, and what age they start to appear.

Size And Body 

At adult age, there is a clear size difference between the Silkie hens and Silkie roosters. Roosters are usually a little heavier and larger. A male Silkie’s legs are thicker and have more feathers. They develop spurs around 6 months of age. Females don’t grow spurs at all.

Male Silkies will stand far more upright than female Silkies. In addition, they appear to be taller than their hen counterparts. However, these distinctions aren’t usually too noticeable until at least 12 weeks of age or more.

Combs & Wattles

From as young as 8 weeks old, male Silkies will start to develop visually larger combs (pea-like growth at the top of their heads, growing from the stem of their beak).  On the other hand, most female Silkies won’t grow their combs until they are much older, and they won’t tend to grow larger than a pea.

There’s also a difference in the comb’s shape. Males’ combs are more U-shaped, while females’ combs are more V-shaped. 

Aside from this, the appearance of the wattle is one of the easiest giveaways a Silkie is a rooster.

From as young as 6-8 weeks old, male Silkies will start growing their wattles below their beak. Normally a Silkie hen won’t start growing their wattles until at least 6-9 months old, and even then they will remain much smaller than a rooster’s.

Other Plumage

Feathers grow on the neck and in front of the tail of the rooster. Silkie hens don’t grow any long tail feathers at all, whereas a rooster will have definitive tail feathers from about 10-12 weeks old, and will stand out significantly more than a hen. 

Silkies are also capable of inheriting the Frizzle gene making Sizzle chickens, which have curly feathers all over their body!

If you love the fluffy nature of Silkies, check out some of the other “afro-chicken” breeds.

Behavior

There are slight behavioral differences between the sexes, even from the young ages of 8-12 weeks old.

Roosters usually have a bossy attitude and appear to be more confident. They’re more territorial, watchful, and physical with each other. The females are more timid and calm, which makes for perfect backyard companions for young families!

Further to this, Silkie roosters will begin to crow from as young as 16 weeks old, while females do not crow at all (though sometimes they can still cluck loudly!)

Silkie roosters aren’t known to be overly aggressive, but they certainly will act territorial at times.

So How Can You Tell If A Silkie Is A Rooster?

Luckily, from about 12-16 weeks old it’s usually not too hard to tell if a Silkie is a rooster.

Just look out for:

  1. Larger Comb: Silkie roosters crow a much more prominent comb than hens.
  2. Larger Wattles: Silkie roosters develop their wattles much quicker and they grow much larger than Silkie hens’.
  3. Streamers: Only Silkie roosters will grow streamers (at the back of their heads).
  4. Overall Size & Posture: Silkie roosters grow a little larger and stand a little taller than Silkie hens.
  5. Behavior: Silkie roosters will almost always be more confident than Silkie hens, and sometimes appear “bossier”.

Baby Silkie Chicks: Hen Or Rooster?

With some other fluffy chicken breeds, you’re able to determine a chick’s gender by its crown plumage, like with Polish chicks,

However, Silkies don’t have many distinctive signs of gender at birth, unless their vents have been professionally examined.

So, if you need to know if your baby Silkie chick is a hen or a rooster, there are two main physical characteristics that start presenting from as young as 6-8 weeks old. You can look for:

  1. From as young as 6-8 weeks old, male Silkies will begin to grow their comb at the top of their heads.
  2. From as young as 8-12 weeks old, male Silkies will have visually larger wattles beneath their beak.

If you see one of your Silkies with visually larger wattles than the others it’s a safe bet it’s a rooster, as Silkie hens often don’t show signs of wattle growth until they are much older (~6 months). Even from this age, they will appear much smaller than rooster wattles. 

Main Takeaways

With Silkies, it’s notoriously hard to tell between the roosters and the hens at young ages, particularly when compared with many other chicken breeds.

But, between the ages of 8-12 weeks old, you can normally start to identify which Silkie chicks are males and females.

Silkie hens won’t start growing their wattles until much later in their development, and they will always remain much smaller than a rooster’s wattles.

Similarly, Silkie hens will always have a much smaller comb than that of a rooster.

So the appearance of a young Silkie’s wattles and combs is usually a giveaway that it’s a rooster!

If you are having trouble identifying the gender of your new Silkie chicks, please feel free to comment, post on our Facebook page, or send pictures — I would love to see them!

For more about our beloved Silkies, check out:

  1. When Do Silkies Start Laying Eggs?
  2. Helping Silkie’s Egg-laying Longevity
  3. Can Silkie Chickens See?
  4. Rare Silkie Chicken Colors

35 thoughts on “Silkie Hen Vs. Rooster: How To Tell The Difference (With Pictures!)”

  1. Hi. I’d love some help determining the sex of a couple of my young silkies if you don’t mind. Just shoot me an email and I will send you some pictures back. Thank you

    Reply
  2. Hi!

    I would love your email address so I can send you a pic of my silkie to see what your thoughts are if its a male or female. We have a fun family bet going on and it would be fun to have you play along!

    Reply
  3. Hi, I have a couple of silkies and a sizzle who are now 5 months old – no crowing or eggs but tail feathers and no wattles?
    very confusing! Would love to have your opinion
    Thanks Vanita

    Reply
    • Hey Vanita,

      My last Silkies didn’t start laying until 7-8 months, silkies can take a little longer to first lay than others.

      Infact, one of them took almost 12 months, we were concerned she was never going to lay and may have had some reproductive issues but she made it!

      Based on what you’ve said it sounds like you’ve got some young hens. Even hens grow some tail feathers, just not as prominent as roo’s.

      Hope this helps 🙂

      Reply
  4. I’d like some help determining sex on two chicks, if you have a minute or two. I cannot keep roos where I live, so some help would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  5. Hi Blake,

    Great article! I have two 10 -11 week old silkies. One has became a little more aggressive toward to us lately and is more dominant toward to other chickens . We are wondering if it is a rooster. Can i send you some pics of my two silkie?
    Thank you,
    Ania

    Reply
  6. Hi! I have read your page several times. I am a second grade teacher and we have hatched a silkie chicken and lovingly named him/her Jelly Bean. We are waiting patiently to figure out for certain whether it’s a rooster or a hen. Any feedback would be great to share with them as we make our predictions!
    Happy to send you some photos!
    Thank-you!
    Heidi

    Reply
  7. Hi there! Thank you for the information! I have 2 silkies at the moment, and I’m starting to think one is a rooster. Would you mind taking a look?

    Reply
  8. Hello

    I have 3 silkies around 12 weeks old. One I believe is a rooster the other 2 I can’t decide. Would love your opinion! 🙂
    Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Hello,
    I have a couple of silkies that i got from the store and were sold to me as females. I noticed a while back that they started looking different..It be nice to know if one’s a rooster so I know what to expect… I could use your help if you have the time.

    Reply
  10. Hi Blake,
    I have a beautiful flock of silkies (a frizzle, a satin & two standard). I have already had one that turned out to be a roo & had to find him a new home as I can’t have roosters where I live. This didnt come as a surprise as he was much bigger than my others and a bit bossy. I have raised them all since they were 2 days old so it was heart breaking to be woke by crowing this morning again. However, I cant tell which of my silkies it is. Im afraid it may be both of my standards. Can I send you pictures to see if you can tell?

    Reply
  11. We have recently adopted a group of 11 week old silkies and are not 100% sure how many are hens or roosters. We would love to send you some pictures.

    Reply
  12. Hi, wondering if you can let me know if we have a rooster or not, leaning more towards one of the silkies is definitely a rooster! I can send pictures if needed.
    Thanks Nicole

    Reply
  13. Hi Blake, I have 4 silkies. one looks like a rooster but not sure on the other 3 can u help me figure this out plz. Thanks. Email me

    Reply
  14. Would love for you to take a guess on my almost 6 week old Silkies when you have the time, first time chicken owner here lol 😂

    Reply
  15. Hello. I have 9 week old silkies. Can you help me with them? I keep going back and forth, but I’m pretty sure out of the 7, we have 6 boys! 😬😬😬 let me know if you have time to help me out and I’ll get pics of them in the am. Thank you so much!

    Reply

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