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The Silkie Chicken (Gallus domestics) is so unusual that the breed has been described as the "poodles of the chicken world". The first western recording of a Silkie sighting was by Marco Polo, in 1298. He marvelled about seeing a bird with black skin and "hair like a cat" on his travels to China. In the early 1900s, Silkies were exploited in travelling circuses and side-shows as 'freaks', described as "Chickens with fur instead of feathers". There's a massive amount of information about the Silkie in ancient Chinese writings. Eastern cultures have always believed the Silkie to have medicinal powers beyond any other chicken breed. Recent studies have actually discovered that the Silkie produces more carnosine, an important anti-oxidant, than other poultry so the Silkie is still used widely today in Chinese medicines.
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