Breeds of Chickens

Check out the many chicken breeds available for your backyard flock!

Choosing the right breed of chicken can be a daunting task since there are so many great options available. Check out the different categories below to help narrow down the choices. Consider what you would like the chickens for while also taking note of the climate the chickens will be raised in. Finally, take into account how much space and time you have to devote to your new feathered flock.


Brown layer chicken breeds are prized for their prolific egg-laying abilities and hardy nature. Known for producing a variety of brown-shelled eggs, these breeds are favored by backyard enthusiasts and commercial egg producers alike. Renowned for their friendly temperament and adaptability, they are a popular choice for those seeking a reliable and productive addition to their flock.

Australorp chicken


Around the same time that Orpingtons were being developed as a breed, Australorps were as well. Australians liked the black Orpingtons that were being brought over from England, and valued them for their egg laying ability. With maximum egg production in mind, Australians continued to develop their own distrinct breed. The breed went by many names, struggling to distinguish itself from Orpingtons, and finally settled on Australorp in the 1920s.

These birds are known for their excellent egg production. You’ll easily get 250 light brown eggs per year. The record holding hen laid 364 eggs in a 365 day period, without assistance of artificial lighting.


Barnvelders are named after the Dutch town of Barnveld. They are a medium sized, dual-purpose bird. They are hardy and make good foragers. They lay a 175–200 brown eggs per year, are good winter layers, and have a calm disposition.

The original and most well-known variety of this breed is the Double-laced pattern. They have beautiful plumage, with each feather having copper, black, and metallic green coloring. They make an excellent addition to a backyard flock, and are quite the colorful conversation piece.

Bielefelder chicken


The Bielefelder is a modern breed, developed in the early 1970s in Bielefeld, Germany. Poultry breeder Gerd Roth used genetics from a number of breeds including the Cuckoo Malines, Amrock, Wyandotte, and New Hampshire. The Bielefelder managed to retain the best qualities of all these breeds. They probably check off all the boxes on your “perfect chicken” wish list.

This dual-purpose breed is autosexing so males and females can be identified immediately upon hatching. Females have a chipmunk strip on their backs, while males are lighter in color and have a yellow spot on their heads. They mature to have a complex feather pattern which is best described as cuckoo red partridge.

These birds are very friendly and seek human interaction. They have a large frame that holds plenty of meat. Roosters can weigh 10-12 pounds. Their size and camouflaging feather pattern makes them perfect for free-range conditions. Hens can produce upwards of 230 large eggs per year. Their eggs are a unique shade of brown with pink undertones that you won’t find anywhere else.

Black Star / Red Star

Red Stars and Black Stars are hybrids that have been bred to have their color at hatching linked to the sex of the chicken (pullet or cockerel). This makes chick sexing an easier process, and as the purchaser you’re less likely to be surprised. Ever had a pullet start to crow one day? Not with these birds.

They were developed to be extremely good egg layers. Don’t be surprised if you see 300 eggs in a year. Egg color and size will vary, depending on the cross-breeding. Black Stars are a cross between a Rhode Island Red rooster and a Barred Rock hen. Red Stars are a cross between a Rhode Island Red rooster and either a White Rock, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Rhode Island White or Delaware hen.

Brahma chicken


Often referred to as the “King of All Poultry”, the Brahma chicken is appreciated for its great size, strength, and vigor. By 1901, birds were documented to have reached the incredible weights of 18 pounds. This breed, together with the Cochin, fueled what became known as “Hen Fever” – a national obsession for poultry that hit both America and England around 1850.

Brahmas are an excellent addition to a backyard flock. They are hardy chickens in winter climates, they cannot fly over low fences (because of their size), and they have calm and docile personalities. The best part, they lay the majority of their eggs October thru May. That means while the rest of your girls may slow or even quit production for the winter, your Brahmans will keep the egg cartons full of large, medium brown eggs. Keep in mind Brahmas are not ideal for hot climates. Their anatomy makes them susceptible to overheating. So, if you keep Brahmas, make sure to keep them cool in summer.

Buckeye chicken


The Buckeye breed was created by Mrs. Nettie Metcalf in Ohio in the late 19th century. In fact, the Buckeye is the only American breed of chicken developed solely by a woman. She crossed Buff Cochins and Barred Plymouth Rocks to create a large, lazy fowl, and then added some Black-Breasted Red Game birds.

Buckeyes are a dual-purpose breed of chicken with a lustrous red color. They have pea combs (distinguishing them from Road Island Reds), are cold-weather hardy, and adaptive to a variety of living conditions. These active, friendly birds are well-known for their abilities to hunt and catch mice.

Chantecler chicken breed


In 1907, a monk, Brother Wilfrid Châtelain, noticed that no breeds of chicken had yet been established in Canada. All the birds were from Europe or America. He set out to change this and create a practical chicken that would be suited to Canada’s climate, and be an excellent dual-purpose bird. By 1918, he debuted the Chantecler.

Chanteclers are large birds with white plumage that lays tight against the body. They have exceptionally small cushion combs and wattles, which attributes to them being one of the most hardy breeds. They are fairly tame, but do not thrive in confinement, so consider this breed for free ranging. They lay about 200 brown eggs annually.

Cinnamon Queen chicken

Cinnamon Queen

The Cinnamon Queen is a modern day production breed that lays brown eggs. They are a cross between a Rhode Island Red rooster and a Rhode Island White hen. At hatching, cockerels are a different color than the pullets so you can be sure of what you are getting—no surprise roosters. They are also known as Golden Comets.

Cinnamon Queens were developed specifically for their prolific egg laying ability. Pullets will lay 250-300 eggs per year and start much sooner than heritage breeds. These girls are a perfect fit if you’re looking to start a small egg farm or just want a ton of eggs.

Delaware chicken


Delawares were developed in 1940, in Delaware, by George Ellis. The were originally known as “Indian Rivers.” The breed originated from crosses of Barred Plymouth Rock roosters and New Hampshire hens. Although originally intended as a meat bird, Delawares make an excellent dual purpose bird.

They are known to have a calm and friendly disposition, and lay jumbo brown eggs – about 4 per week in ideal conditions. Plus, let’s not forget to mention their beautiful plumage.

Java chicken


The Java is the 2nd oldest chicken breed developed in America, going back to 1835. Its ancestors come from the island of Java in the Far East. Javas are an excellent breed for free-ranging homesteads and are known for their egg production and table qualities. Javas come in white, black, mottled, and auburn. The Black Java is known for the brilliant beetle-green sheen of its feathers.

Java hens are broody and good mothers which lay 150-180 large tinted-to-dark brown eggs each year, and well into the winter. With an average life span of 5-8 years, these hens will continue laying long after other breeds have stopped. 

Jersey Giant chicken breed

Jersey Giant

The Jersey Giant chicken was developed between 1870 and 1890 in New Jersey. You can probably guess from their name that these birds are pretty big. Roosters weight in at 13 pounds, and hens can easily grow up to 10 pounds. They are the largest purebred chicken breed.

Jersey Giant hens tend to lay more eggs than other heavy breeds. Their eggs are extra-large in size with colors ranging from dark brown to light cream, and they lay about 150-200 eggs per year. When incubating eggs, this large breed sometimes takes 1-2 days longer to hatch than other chicken breeds. Jersey Giants are a very cold-hardy breed and generally lay during the winter. Note they do not fare well in the heat, so they must have options to keep them cool in warmer climates. 

Maran chicken


Marans originated in western France and were imported in the 1930s. There are 9 recognized colors: Cuckoo, Golden Cuckoo, Black, Birchen, Black Copper, Wheaten, Black-tailed Buff, White and Columbian. If you find Marans chicks at a feed store, they will most likely be the Black Copper or Cuckoo variety. Hens are active and enjoy free ranging, and also have friendly, outgoing personalities.

Marans are renowned for their dark chocolate brown eggs. If you’re looking for unique eggs, these are quite the conversation piece. You’ll get about 150 – 200 each year in your nesting boxes.

Naked Neck chicken

Naked Neck

The Naked Neck is a breed of chicken that is naturally devoid of feathers on its neck and vent. The breed is also called the Transylvanian Naked Neck, as well as the Turken. The name “Turken” arose from the mistaken idea that the bird was a hybrid of a chicken and the domestic turkey.

They make for a good dual-purpose utility chicken. They only have about half the feathers of other chickens, so they are easier to pluck if raised for meat. They also lay a respectable number of eggs. They are very good foragers and are immune to most diseases, plus they are pretty fun to look at.

Orpington chicken breed


Orpington chickens were developed in the town of Orpington, England of all places. During the late 1800s, William Cook wanted to create a new breed that was dual purpose, but had white skin, which the British preferred for meat. Within 10 years, Orpingtons were a favorite in both England and America, and came in a variety of colors – black, white, buff, jubilee, and spangled.

Orpingtons lay about 200 eggs per year. If you’re thinking about adding some to your flock, we suggest the Buff Orpington. They are known for being very docile and they make great family pets.

Plymouth Rock chicken breed

Plymouth Rock

Developed in America in the middle of the 19th century, this breed of chicken is historically the most popular in the United States. Up until WWII, no other breed was kept as extensively as the Plymouth Rock. The original birds were all of the Barred variety – with black and white stripped plumage – and other color varieties were developed later.

The popularity of this duel-purpose breed came from its qualities as an outstanding farm chicken: hardiness, docility, broodiness, and excellent production of brown eggs. This chicken is usually what comes to mind when you think of the chickens Grandma used to keep.

Rhode Island Red chicken

Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Reds are a great choice for beginner chicken-keepers, or expert small flock keepers alike. Developed in Massachusetts and Rhode Island in the late 1800s, these birds are a hardy, dual purpose breed. Since the 1940’s, the Rhode Island Red has been selectively bred for more efficient egg production, becoming smaller, lighter colored, and less broody as a result. 

Rhode Island Reds are very low maintenance, and can tolerate less than favorable conditions. These birds are very good layers of brown eggs and can  lay 200-300 eggs a year starting as early as six months of age. 

Speckledy chicken

Speckledy aka Speckled Ranger

The Speckledy is a modern hybrid, resulting from a cross between a Rhode Island Red rooster and a Marans hen. They are elegant in build, with feathering that resembles a Cuckoo Marans. The feathers are silky, soft to the touch, and quite abundant and fluffy. They have pale bay eyes, pale legs, a medium-sized single comb, and small earlobes and wattles.

They are a docile, easy to tame and handle bird. They are good foragers and well suited to a free-range environment. Speckledys are very good layers. Hens will lay 250-270 chestnut brown eggs per year, which are often speckled. Their eggshells are particularly strong and the yolks are a deep yellow. They may produce less than some other hybrids, but they will keep your egg cartons full.

Sussex chicken


This breed has ancient connections going all the way back to 43 A.D., when the Romans invaded Britain. They grew a reputation of being the finest poultry in Britain, and reached America in 1912. They are a dual-purpose breed and will put on fat very easily, so be careful in feeding them too many treats. If they become too overweight, you will see a decline in egg production.

Sussex chickens are a wonderful breed for a small farm or homestead, being active and all-around an excellent breed for meat and eggs. Hens lay an average of 250 light brown eggs each year, and come in three recognized color varieties: Speckled, Red, and Light.

Welsummer chicken


Welsummers are a Dutch breed of domestic chicken, developed in the 1920s. It is a light, friendly, and intelligent breed, with rustic-red and orange color. They are a cold-hardy and heat-tolerant breed making them ideal for various climates. They don’t mind being handled by their chicken keepers, and are happy to be kept in run if they can’t be kept free range.

Welsummer hens lay large eggs, that are a dark, terracotta brown, and often speckled. Their production is about 160 eggs per year. Roosters are considered to have the “classic rooster” look, and often used in media.

Wyandotte chicken


Developed in the 1880s, Wyandottes are named after a Native American tribe prevalent in parts of upstate New York and Ontario, Canada. They are thought to be developed from the Dark Brahma and Spangled Hamburgs.

The Silver Laced Wyandotte was the original color recognized, but since then black, blue, buff, buff Columbian, Columbian, golden laced, partridge, and silver pencilled have been added as recognized color varieties. Wyandottes are friendly, calm, and cold hardy. Hens lay on average 200 light brown eggs per year. They make excellent setters and mothers.


Colored layer chicken breeds add a vibrant and diverse touch to poultry flocks. Apart from their eye-catching plumage, these breeds are known for their steady egg production, delivering eggs with varying shades from blue to green to speckled brown. Popular among backyard keepers for their dual-purpose qualities, colored layer chickens offer a delightful combination of aesthetic appeal and reliable egg output.

Ameraucana chicken


Ameraucanas were developed in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. They are descended from Araucanas brought from Chile. Ameracaunas lay pale blue eggs. So, if you’re looking to brighten up your egg basket, they make a great choice. They have a pea comb, white skin, slate or black legs, muffs and beards. Color varieties include black, blue, buff, silver, wheaten, or white.

Hens can be fairly broody, and will lay about 250 blue eggs per year. Please be advised that Ameraucanas are only available through reputable breeders. You won’t find this breed at your local feed store. You may find Americanas, which is actually a hybrid, not this true breed.

Araucana chicken breed


Araucanas originated in Chile. It is speculated that this breed was developed prior to Old World contact, which would make them the only breed of chicken native to the Americas. They have a pea comb and lay approximately 250 blue eggs per year.

Araucanas are very rare in the United States. They are rumpless, meaning they have no tail feathers, and have ear tufts. They do not have beards or muffs (like an Ameraucana). Their rarity is likely due to the fact that the gene for ear tufts is a lethal gene. Offspring with 2 copies of the gene will not survive to hatch. When breeding Araucanas, 50% of chicks will have one copy of the gene (and ear tufts), 25% will have zero copies (and no tufts), and 25% will have two copies of the gene (and not survive). If you have an Araucana in your flock, consider yourself a very lucky chicken keeper.

Cream Legbar chicken

Cream Legbar

The Cream Legbar was developed in Britain in the 1930s. Geneticists at Cambridge University had the goal of creating a chicken with high egg production and autosexing traits. Autosexing traits are distinct differences between males and females that are visible on the day chicks hatch. That means you know hens from roosters on day one and don’t have to wait 12 weeks to find out. While this breed has existed for almost a century and is a favorite world-wide, it is only recently that Legbars have been brought to the U.S.

Female chicks have a dark brown stripe. Male chicks have a less distinct, lighter brown stripe. Legbar plumage is cream and silver grey. Both hens and roosters have a small crest that slopes back and well away from their eyes. Birds are medium sized, active foragers, and do best in free-range conditions. Hens lay 160-200 eggs per year that are sky-blue or pale green in color, and they rarely go broody.

Easter Egger chicken

Easter Egger

A relative of Ameraucanas and Araucanas, an Easter Egger is any chicken that possesses the blue egg gene, but doesn’t fully meet any breed standard defined by the American Poultry Association. This means that they are a hybrid, not a true breed of chicken. They can be any mix of breeds, with one parent carrying the blue egg gene.

What makes this breed great is that they can lay a rainbow of egg colors. Hens can lay any hue of blue or brown, or combination of the two (check out Olive Eggers). Please note that each hen will only lay one egg color in her lifetime but are bred to lay lots of them. You’ll get somewhere in the range of 280 eggs per year.

Easter eggers are a very popular type of chicken, and can be found in just about any feed store that sells chicks. They may be labeled as Americana, but they are not true Ameraucanas. Easter Eggers are a great addition to any backyard flock.

Isbar chicken breed


The Isbar (pronounced “ice-bar”) is a rare breed that was developed in the 1950s in Sweden. Catholic monk Martin Silverudd had the goal to create autosexing breeds that lay a high volume of unusually colored eggs. His greatest achievement was the Isbar.

This breed is beautiful, practical, and unique since they are the only single-combed breed to lay green eggs. They are cold-hardy and good foragers, and are alert to predators but friendly to people, making them great free-range birds. Hens lay about 200 eggs per year in varying shades of green, and sometimes speckled brown. These eggs are quite the conversation piece, even a work of art.

Roosters have deep blue body feathers and shimmering metallic hackles. Hens are equally beautiful with their blue feathers. Splash patterns are also common in the breed, adding variety to their appearance.

Olive Egger chicken

Olive Egger

Olive Eggers are a hybrid chicken that are the result of crossing a bird hatched from a dark brown egg and a bird hatched from a blue egg.

Olive Eggers can be a really fun breed to raise. The exact shade of green in their eggs and also their appearance is highly variable and changes based on the breed of parents. Try experimenting with a combination of different breeds. These birds are hardy, curious, and active and are a great addition to any backyard flock. Olive Egger hens lay about 150-200 eggs yearly starting around the age of 5-6 months.

Whiting True Blue chicken breed

Whiting True Blue

The Whiting True Blue is not a heritage breed, but a modern breed developed by poultry geneticist Dr. Tom Whiting. His goal in creating this breed was a production bird that lays a consistent blue egg. Their plumage will vary across a myriad of colors, but is most commonly “chipmunk” or grey.

If you’re a fan of a blue egg basket, this breed may be for you. Their egg size and eggs per year rivals any production bird. They are prolific layers of approximately 280 large powder blue eggs per year. They are very active chickens, with a friendly, non-aggressive temperament.


White layer chicken breeds are valued for their exceptional egg-laying prowess and efficient feed conversion. Renowned for producing white-shelled eggs, these breeds are preferred in commercial egg production due to their high egg production rates and cost-effectiveness. Known for their alert and active disposition, they are a popular choice for those prioritizing egg yield in their flock.

55 Flowery Hen

Another creation of Father Martin Silverudd. Developed in 1955 in Sweden, the 55 Flower Hen is actually Silverudd’s first and most successful invented breed. These birds possess all the qualities Silverudd was after: an autosexing breed that produces eggs in commercial quantities. Hens lay large and round shaped cream-colored eggs.

As a day-old chick, the males are easy to distinguish by the blonde down on the backs of their heads. As adults, the males are largely white while the females are decorated with a beautiful spotted pattern – the ‘flowers’ that contribute to the breed name.

Ancona chicken


Ancona chickens originated in Italy and are named after the capitol of the Marche region. Anconas were developed in to their present form in England in the 19th century. They were bred to have very consistent plumage and 1 out of every 3 beetle black feathers has a V-shaped white tip on the end.

Ancona hens are not broody and excellent layers of white eggs and lay about 220 per year. This breed is typical in personality of Mediterranean breeds: rustic, lively, hardy, and ranging. They stand frost and snow quite well, although care must be taken with the single combed variety to avoid frostbite.

Andalusian chicken breed


Andalusian chickens are indigenous to Spain. Also called Blue Andalusians, they commonly have slate-blue colored plumage, but depending upon genetics, they can also be off-white or even black. Like other Mediterranean breeds, they have white earlobes. Their light body shape and their large pointed combs make them well-suited for warmer climates.

Andalusians are very active foragers, so think twice if you keep your poultry in a coop and run. They do not do well in confinement, and thrive in a free-range environment. Hens lay about 165 white eggs per year.

Brakel chicken


The Brakel’s history dates back to 1416 where they were developed in the Flanders region spanning across northern France, Belgium, and Holland. These birds were a staple on small farms and were bred as a dual-purpose breed with excellent egg production and good table quality. After both World Wars, the Brakel’s population declined drastically and by the 1960s the breed was all but extinct. In 1971, recovery efforts began. The only remaining birds were 2 hens, 2 roosters, and a dozen eggs. Remarkably from this small group, the breed was revived. The Brakel is very similar to the Campine. In fact, the two were considered the same breed until 1884, when they were distinguished as separate breeds. 

Brakels are a hardy and active breed. They are good fliers, alert for predators, and excellent foragers. This makes them well adapted for free-ranging flocks. Hens lay about 180 – 200 eggs per year, which are quite large relative to their medium body size. They are either silver of gold in color, with solid colored necks and banded body feathers. They have a tall, bright red comb.

Gournay chicken


“Le Poule de Gournay,” or the Gournay chicken, is from the upper Normandy region of France. It has ancient ancestry that may date back to the age of Vikings. The Gournay, like many traditional European breeds, suffered during World War I and II. They nearly went extinct, but with the help of local enthusiasts in the early 2000s, there are now around 15,000 of these birds in France.

These birds weigh 4-7 pounds and have a round body and small head. Their feathers are evenly mottled black and white. They have orange eyes and a thick beak, and a well-developed breast with delicate and flavorful meat. Gourney hens are sweet but will go broody. They lay around 3 white, extra-large eggs per week. The Gournay is easy to tame and handles confinement well, making them a rare but excellent choice for backyard chicken keeping.

Friesan chicken


The Friesan is an ancient chicken breed, over 1,000 years old, from the isolated region of the northern coast of the Netherlands. These birds are small in size, and have more flying ability than larger chickens. They appear in many color varieties including gold, silver, and chamois penciled in their native region, but in limited varieties in the United States.

The breed has been kept fairly wild. Young birds are quick to feather and quick to mature. They are flighty, not docile, but do not go broody often. Friesan hens are productive layers of small white eggs. They’ll produce about 150-180 eggs per year.

Hamburg chicken


“History has it that the first chicken show was a contest to settle the dispute of whose rooster was most magnificent. This was conducted in a pub in England, about 1800, the bartender acting as judge, a copper pot as prize, and the roosters competing are said to have been Hamburgs.” – The Livestock Conservancy

Hamburgs were found in Holland in the 14th century, but their origins are unclear. These birds are popular for their egg production. They only lay about 200 eggs per year, but they consistently lay for years longer than other breeds.

These birds make an excellent addition to a backyard flock with room to forage. They are robust, active, and spirited, and are light eaters. Not to mention they have beautiful plumage. The silver spangled variety is the flashiest (pictured).

Holland chicken


In 1934, white eggs brought premium prices at market because it was believed that they had a better, more delicate flavor. Most of America’s eggs were produced by small farms at the time. Small farmers prefer dual-purpose chickens because they provide a source of meat as well as eggs. Because dual-purpose chicken breeds tend to lay brown eggs and white egg-laying breeds available at the time were light-weight and not well fleshed, this prompted Rutgers Breeding Farms to set about producing a dual-purpose breed that would lay white eggs. Thus, the Holland was created.

Hollands are great backyard chickens. They are calm, good foragers, and the hens will raise their own offspring. They are also great table birds and lay plenty of large eggs. You can also enjoy that they are helping to conserve what is likely the rarest living breed of American chicken.

Leghorn chicken


Is it pronounced “Leghorn” or “Leghern”? Either way, these birds are great. This breed was developed simultaneously in England and the U.S. in the 1850s, with ancestry tracing back to birds in Northern Italy.

Leghorns are very active birds – scratching and foraging the day away. They are hardy and easy breeders, but are mostly known for their egg production. You could easily get 280 eggs in a year, even up to 300. Many of the white eggs you see in grocery stores are produced by this breed of chicken.

Minorca chicken


Minorcas are a Mediterranean breed of domestic chicken, and are in fact the largest fowl from this region. They have a greenish-black glossy plumage, and very large, bright red combs and wattles. These help with dissipating heat. They also have very large, almond shaped, white earlobes, common to other Mediterranean fowl.

Minorcas are not broody, but excellent layers of large, white eggs. They are very hardy and rugged, taking well to free range conditions.


Bantam chicken breeds are the miniature counterparts to standard-sized chickens. They are cherished for their compact size, friendly demeanor, and charming personalities. Despite their small stature, bantams exhibit a wide variety of colorful plumage and feather patterns. Bantams are popular among enthusiasts for their suitability in smaller spaces, making them ideal for urban or backyard settings.

Barbuduccle chicken breed

Barbu D’uccle

The Barbu D’uccle is a Belgian bantam breed. They were developed in the town of Uccle on the outskirts of Brussels. These chickens have a beard and muff and full hackle feathers around their neck. Hens weigh about 20 ounces. In the U.S. there are seven recognized varieties: Black, Golden Neck, Mille Fleur, Mottled, Porcelain, Self Blue, and White. The Mille Fleur is a popular variety, translating to a “Thousand Flowers.”

These birds have sweet, friendly personalities and are known for their mysterious, quirky expressions. Hens lay tiny, cream colored eggs. They are a must have for bantam enthusiasts or anyone with limited space that wants a pet chicken.

Bantam chicken breed

Belgian Antwerp D’anvers

One of the oldest true bantam breeds, the Belgian Antwerp d‘Anvers has been around since the 1600s. They have upright bodies, round breast jutting forward, and arching tail. They have a profuse beard of feathers that cover the earlobes, and a small rose comb. Roosters weigh around 24 ounces and hens around 21 ounces.

These birds can be found in numerous color variations. In Belgium, there are 29 recognized colors. If allowed open space and free ranging, these birds make excellent pets and are friendly to humans.

Booted Bantam chicken breed

Booted Bantam

The Booted Bantam goes by many names. “Federfuflge Zwerghuhne” in German, “Sabelpoot” in the Dutch, and “Booted Bantam” in the UK and Belgium. They are known for extravagant feathering on their feet and legs. Hens weigh around 22 ounces and roosters around 27 ounces. Almost exclusively an exhibition bird, they can be found in more than 20 color varieties, the most popular of which in the UK is the Lemon Millefleur.

They are friendly and calm when kept as pets. They are good foragers, and hens will readily go broody. Booted Bantams are very similar to Barbu d’Uccles.


The Chabo, also known as the Japanese bantam, is the largest true bantam breed. Their hefty, upright tails reach well over the birds’ heads. They come in many different colors and also in frizzle and silkie varieties. Rooster weigh a little over one pound, while hens weight just under a pound. Hens lay cream colored eggs.

Chabos have unusually short legs. This breed is ideal for homeowners with delicate lawns and gardens because their little legs can’t do much damage while digging. As they are handled, Japanese Bantams calm down and make very nice pets or showmanship birds.

Dutch Bantam chicken breed

Dutch Bantam

Originating in the Netherlands, the Dutch Bantam is a true bantam breed. They are one of the smallest bantams, only weighing in at about 15 ounces. They can fly rather well because they are small but have large wings.

Dutch Bantams are especially hardy and good layers for their size. Hens lay about 160 cream colored eggs per year, although they are small. They have friendly temperaments and make great family pets.

Nankin chicken breed


The Nankin is one of the oldest bantam breeds. This breed was used in developing many other bantam breeds, such as the Sebright. They have rich, chestnut colored bodies, a black tail, and black flight feathers. Roosters weigh about 24 ounces and females about 22 ounces.

Nankins are calm and have a likeable personality. They are unusual in that they stick very close together in a group and rarely venture away from the flock. This may be due to their small size—safety in numbers. Hens are known to be particularly broody and love hatching eggs, often sitting on other hens’ eggs in addition to their own.

Pekin Bantam chicken breed

Pekin Bantam

Pekin Bantams are of Chinese origin and are alleged to have been looted by British soldiers from the private collection of the Emperor of China. They are round birds and have so many feathers that you practically can’t see their feet and legs.

Roosters weigh around 23 ounces and hens weigh around 20 ounces. There is some debate over whether Pekins are a true bantam breed or are just miniature Cochins. Pekins come in a variety of colors. They are docile birds, and with some handing, can make great pets. While hens don’t produce many eggs, they are broody and make good mothers.

Rosecomb Bantam chicken breed

Rosecomb Bantam

The Rosecomb Bantam is a true bantam breed, meaning it does not have a larger counterpart. It is one of the oldest bantam breeds, developed in England during the 14th century. Roosters weigh about 26 ounces and hens weigh about 22 ounces.

They are kept mainly for exhibition and are generally bred for their appearance. Officially recognized colors include black, white, and blue. Unofficially, there are many more feather varieties. They have a very large comb and earlobes for their body size. They stand tall, alert, and proud, and have an “aristocratic” way about them. Hens lay one tiny cream-colored egg each week. They are docile in nature, but not at all friendly. In fact, these birds are high maintenance, and only recommended for serious poultry connoisseurs. They are not the best fit for casual poultry lovers.

Scots Dumpy Bantam chicken

Scots Dumpy

Scots Dumpies are an ancient Scottish breed of chicken. Evidence suggests they existed 700 years ago. The “Dumpy” in the name refers to a dwarfing gene that causes them to have very short legs and waddle as they walk.

Because of their shorter legs, the Scots Dumpy can’t scratch up your landscaping. They are also excellent egg producers, broody, and good mothers. They are docile and the roosters make very timely alarm clocks. While all roosters will crow, the Scots Dumpy rooster is more inclined to crow at their first sign of dawn.

Sebright Bantam chicken breed


Named after creator Sir John Sebright in about 1800, the Sebright is one of England’s oldest bantam breeds. They are a true bantam, meaning there is no standard version of the breed. They are small even for a bantam—males weigh about 22 ounces.

Sebrights are considered an ornamental breed. They do not lay many eggs but have beautifully laced plumage in silver of gold. Males are “hen feathered” and do not have the typical feathering of a rooster in the tail, saddle, and hackles. Sebrights make good pets because they are active and easily tamed.

Serama Bantam chicken breed


The Serama is a bantam breed of chicken originating in Malaysia within the last 50 years. The breed is named for the word “Rama,” the title of the Kings of Thailand. Small chickens have always been popular in the area as pets, and are sometimes called pygmy chickens.

Seramas are meant to be small, brave chickens with the persona of a fearless warrior or toy soldier. They have an upright posture and vertical tail feathers, giving their body a V-shape. They are the smallest breed of chicken in the world. Serama roosters and hens alike will weigh about 1/2 pound to 1 pound.


Dual-purpose chicken breeds are often referred to as “BBQ Special” chickens which are prized for their versatility in both egg production and meat quality. These breeds strike a balance, offering reliable egg-laying capabilities while producing meat with excellent flavor and texture. These dual-pupose chickens are the ideal choice for those seeking a well-rounded poultry investment. 

Barbezieux chicken breed


The Barbezieux originated in France during the Middle Ages. These birds are impressive in the coop and on the table. Adult birds weigh 9 to 12 pounds, and roosters can grow up to 2 feet tall. They are considered the tallest chicken in Europe. They have iridescent, beetle black feathers, and an oversized comb and wattles. They have white skin and blue legs.

Hens lay a good amount of white eggs, should you want to keep some in your flock as layers. Their meat is ultra-premium. Some foodies claim it’s even better than the famous Bresse. Barbezieux meat is firm and has a very distinct flavor, with notes of wild game. The roasted skin is golden and has a light wheat scent.

Basque chicken breed


The Basque region of Spain and France has a rich history and culture that has endured thousands of years in harsh and rugged terrain. The Basque people view themselves as independent and apart from the countries where they live. Just like the people of the region, Basque chickens thrive under conditions that their less hardy cousins would struggle with.

The legs, feet, and skin of these birds are yellow. They have a bright red single comb and narrow, pointed red earlobes. They are found in five color varieties: Beltza (black), Gorria (red), Lepasoila (naked-necked, red-brown), Marraduna (golden cuckoo) and Zilarra (black-tailed white). This breed has recently become a favorite of homesteaders in the United States and Canada. They are ideal for free ranging, given their hardy ancestry and excellent foraging skills. 

Basque Chickens are medium-sized, with roosters growing as large as 9 pounds, giving a good amount of meat for the table. Hens lay about 200 – 220 large brown eggs per year. Their best quality, however, is their winning personality. They are very friendly and enjoy human company, allowing themselves to be picked up without a fuss.

Bresse chicken breed


The Bresse is hailed as the best tasting chicken in the world. Similar to French Champagne, birds must be raised within the legally defined area of the historic region of Bresse, in eastern France. To maintain the strictest quality standards, the raising and selling of Bresse chickens is rigidly controlled by the French government. There are rules about how much land they must have access to, what they must be fed, and how they must be processed. There are only about 200 breeders that producing 1.2 million birds annually.

When you purchase a Bresse chicken it will have a leg band to prove authenticity. It will also cost you over $20 per pound. Bresse chickens are colored like the French flag – red comb, white body, and blue legs.

Cornish chicken breed


The Cornish was an epic fail in terms of serving its original purpose. Sir Walter Raleigh Gilbert of England developed the breed, originally naming it the “Indian Game.” He intended to combine the power of an Aseel gamebird with the speed of an English gamebird. What he got was a bird with neither of those qualities.

Cornishes were (misleadingly) marketing in the 1800s as an excellent all around bird, despite being “nearly the worst domestic fowls for ordinary use.” In the early 1900s, breeders renamed it the “Cornish” and found two niche markets. Due to the muscular nature of the breed, young birds could be harvested early to produce a tender and flavorful one-pound bird: the now well-know “Cornish Game Hens.” They are also ideal to cross with American breeds to produce extremely fast growing market poultry.

Gallina di Saluzzo chicken breed

Gallina di Saluzzo

The Gallina di Saluzzo, Italian for “the white hen of Saluzzo,” is from the Piedmont in Italy. It is a rustic breed and was once widespread throughout the region. Small family farms are common in the area, and the animals traditionally raised there were intended for family consumption. With the increase of intensive and commercial agriculture, this breed almost disappeared completely, along with other pasture-raised breeds in the area. Recovery efforts began in 1999 to revive the breed because of it’s historical significance to the region.

The Gallina di Saluzzo is a dual-purpose breed. While hens lay about 180 white eggs per year, this breed really shines on the dinner table. Due to extensive breeding and very specific feeding techniques, the quality of their meat is exceptional. They are a classic looking chicken: all white feathers with a red comb and wattles, a yellow beak, and yellow feet. They weigh about 4 – 6 pounds, making them a medium to small-sized bird.

Ixworth chicken breed


The Ixworth was created in the 1930s England, by Reginald Appleyard. In the Ixworth, he envisioned the ideal dual-purpose breed that would be an active forager, produce eggs, and make a hearty meal.

These birds are very cold hardy given their pea comb and almost non-existent wattles. Both hens and roosters have a stocky body, pure white feathers, white skin, and pea comb. While they are better designed for the table, hens also lay a decent number of tinted eggs.

Lyonnaise chicken breed


The Lyonnaise breed was developed in Lyon, France in the 1950s, by Etienne Tamburini. However, it took almost 20 years before they were recognized as a distinct and official breed. There is both a standard and bantam variety, and both can either be flat-feathered or frizzled. Birds have beetle black feathers and grey legs. They have a crest that sweeps to the back of the head, like a well-coiffed hairdo.

Lyonnaise are excellent free-range birds, showing good survival skills when it comes to foraging for food and avoiding predators. They are also friendly towards humans, docile, and quiet. They are a medium sized bird, known for producing excellent white meat. Hens are good layers of medium-sized white eggs, laying about 3 per week.

New Hampshire chicken breed

New Hampshire

New Hampshire chickens have only been around since the 1930s and are closely related to the classic Rhode Island Red (RIR). Starting with RIRs, breeders were very selective and intensified traits of early maturity, rapid full feathering, and production of large brown eggs. These birds are a rich chestnut color, slightly lighter in shade than RIRs.

New Hampshires are a dual-purpose breed, but are intended more for the table than for egg production. They prefer to free range and are known to be competitive with the rest of the flock.

Norfolk Grey chicken breed

Norfolk Grey

The Norfolk Grey is a utility breed developed in England in 1910, by Frederick Myhill and originally was called Black Maria. During World War I, Myhill had to leave his flock to free range while he left for military service. When he returned home, he discovered that his birds had cross bred with other breeds, and he had to start over again. While he successfully did so, Black Marias did not gain in popularity, so Myhill had the name changed to Norfolk Grey. This breed all but died out in the 1970s. A private flock of only 4 birds was able to revive it.

Norfolk Greys are a heavy breed, but not as large as other birds in that category. They have a single comb, black eyes, slate legs, with black body feathers and silver striped hackles. This breed does well free ranging. Roosters weigh 7 – 8 pounds and hens weigh 5 – 6 pounds. They produce a good roast for the table, and hens lay 150-220 pale brown eggs per year.

Redcap chicken breed


The Redcap is an egg-laying breed from England named after their very large rose comb. It is one of the older English breeds, but exact time is unclear. The Redcap was bred so much for utility that they are lacking in appeal. Their coloring, wild temperament, and generally unrefined quality led them to fall out of favor by 1900.

The breed has red plumage tipped with a blue-black, half-moon shaped spangle and leaden blue colored legs. During the early to mid-1800’s the Redcap chicken was considered one of the most profitable fowls a farmer could have. They have delicate meat, and even though they have red earlobes, can lay 150-200 white eggs.

Red Shaver chicken breed

Red Shaver

The Red Shaver is a sex-linked breed from Canada. Female chicks are a reddish-brown color with white underfeathers, while male chicks are white with a few red markings on the feathers. They weigh between 3-5 pounds when mature.

They are a dual purpose breed with a reputation for being quiet and calm. Hens are reported to be prolific producers of large brown eggsl and ay up to 305 – 315 large brown eggs per year. Because they are Canadian, they are very well adapted to cold climates.

Vorwerk chicken breed


The Vorwerk was developed in 1900 by Oskar Vorwerk in Hamburg, Germany. His goal was to create a medium-sized, dual-purpose breed with the same feather pattern as the Lakenvelder. Vorwerks are hardy, adaptable, alert, and active. They mature quickly, are pretty good at flying for a chicken. This makes them great candidates for free range flocks.

Birds are typically 4 – 8 pounds and hens lay about 170 large cream eggs per year. They are a golden buff color, with solid black head, neck, and tail. They are often confused with Golden Lakenvelders, but are a separate breed. This is perhaps the reason why Vorwerks never gained popularity, therefore they are rare outside of Europe.


Crested chicken breeds are distinctive for the ornamental crest of feathers on their heads and beloved for their quirky and endearing nature. Despite their unique appearance, these breeds are not only admired for their aesthetic appeal but also contribute to egg production, making them a delightful choice for those seeking both diversity and practicality in their backyard flock.

Appenzeller chicken breed


The Appenzeller originated in Switzerland and comes in 2 varieties. The Spitzhauben—named for a women’s hat—has a V-comb and feather crest. The Barthuhner (“bearded hen”) has a rose comb and no crest. Color varieties include black, golden spangled, and silver spangled.

This breed is mainly ornamental, but hens do lay a respectable number of white eggs. These birds prefer to range rather than be cooped because they are active and good foragers. Appenzellers are also small bodied enough that they are able to roost up in trees.

Brabanter chicken breed


The Brabanter is a Dutch breed of chicken originating between Belgium and the Netherlands. They appear in paintings from as far back as the 17th century. The Brabanter is a small bird with a V-shaped comb and a crest similar to the Appenzeller.

Hens lay a moderate number of white eggs and are fairly good winter layers. Brabanters are a calm and intelligent breed that are better-suited for colder climates. The small comb and wattles of the Brabanter make them less susceptible to frostbite.

Crevecour chicken breed


The Crevecoeur is one of the oldest breeds in France. It is named for a small town in Normandy and translates to “broken heart.” Although popular in France, the breed hasn’t quite caught on in other countries.

Crevecoeur chickens are solid black and have a distinctive V-shaped comb. They are quiet and have peaceful temperaments. They are primarily a meat bird and only lay a moderate amount of white eggs – about 120 per year. Choose this breed for your flock if you are looking for a producer of outstanding meat, moderate egg production….and an interesting pet. 

Houdan chicken breed


Houdan chickens were developed in France. They are descended from the ancient 5-toed fowl that were once common in France and Belgium. Houdans are historically held in high esteem for both meat and production qualities.

Houdans have both crests and beards, and are black with mottled white plumage. They also have five toes on each foot. They are moderately hardy but in the right climates can rival Leghorns in egg production. They prefer warm and dry climates, but need shade in excessive heat. They don’t mind confinement, but they like to forage and need enough room to roam about. Good looks and good use—this bird has it all.

Polish chicken breed


The Polish chicken is immediately recognizable by the crest of feathers that almost covers its entire head. The breed’s origins are unclear, but it was standardized in the Netherlands. They arrived in America in 1830 and became fairly widespread.

Polishes were originally bred as productive egg layers of white eggs. Nowadays they are considered more of an ornamental breed. They are vulnerable to aerial predators because their crests can obscure their vision. Polish rarely go broody and are noted for their white eggs. There are bearded, non-bearded and frizzle varieties.

Sultan chicken breed


Native to Turkey, Sultans there are known as “Serai Taook,” which translates to “Fowl of the Sultan’s Palace.” The breed first arrived in England in 1854 when Mrs. Elizabeth Watts, editor of the Poultry Chronicle in London, received the fowls from a friend living in Constantinople.

If you’re looking for a unique bird, Sultans are for you. They have a V-shaped comb, crest, beard, muffs, large nostrils, low-carried wings, vulture hocks, feathered shanks, and five toes. Their feathers a pure white and their legs are slate blue. Sultans have happy personalities. Hens lay large white eggs from March through September. They also make a good table bird. Their personality and dual-purpose nature make them a great bird for backyard flocks.


Ornamental chicken breeds are cherished for their captivating and decorative qualities, making them sought-after additions to backyard flocks. Renowned for their petite size, vibrant plumage, and unique physical features, these breeds, often considered bantams, bring a touch of elegance and charm to poultry keeping. Beyond their visual appeal, ornamental chicken breeds are popular for their friendly personalities, making them delightful companions for chicken enthusiasts.

Cochin chicken breed


Cochins, along with Brahmas, are responsible for the “hen fever” that over took poultry keepers in American and England in 1850. No doubt they are helping fuel the newest obsession with backyard chicken keeping. Cochins were developed in China. They are very large in size (up to 10 pounds), have an abundance of feathers, and are calm in disposition. Like Brahmas, they are very hardy in cold climates.

Cochins are known for being very broody, so much so that roosters will occasionally brood chicks. So, if you’re looking to hatch your own chicks, consider a Cochin hen to raise them. They are even considered the best choice for hatching and raising ducks and turkeys. Cochins are bred in several color patterns: Buff, Partridge, White, Black, Silver Laced, Golden Laced, Blue, Brown, and Barred.

Frizzle chicken breed


A Frizzle in the U.S. is not a breed of chicken, but rather a type of chicken, describing curly plumage. Frizzles are most commonly found in Polish, Cochin, Plymouth Rock, Japanese, and Silkies, but other breeds can possess the Frizzle gene. The feathers curl out and away from the body, giving the birds a unique appearance.

Because of the structure of their feathers, Frizzles cannot trap heat against their body, so they do not thrive in cold climates. They also cannot fly at all, and may have trouble reaching high roosts.

Malay chicken breed


The Malay chicken is an ancient landrace breed. It is supposed to have descended from the great Malay fowls of India. These birds are extremely tall. They can reach heights of up to 30 inches. They are said to be able to eat grain off the dining table.

Malays are not suited for egg or meat production. But they have been useful in crossing with other breeds and revitalizing threatened breeds. Many developed breeds of chicken have Malay ancestry mixed in. Malays have a unique appearance, aside from height. The expression of a Malay is snarky and cruel. The crow of the rooster is more like a roar. They are very hardy and impressive birds.

Old English Game chicken breed

Old English Game

The Old English Game breed is one of the oldest breeds of fowl, having been introduced to England by Romans in the 1st century. Although their origins were in the fighting ring, today they are raised for their exotic appearance and only for show. They have compact, muscular bodies with feathers that are hard, glossy, and sit tight along the body. They are known to have fearless eyes and an indomitable spirit.

Old English Games come in a variety of colors. Both hens and roosters have large and distinctive tail feathers. Hens make excellent brooders, although they can be overly aggressive as mothers. They can tolerate extreme climates, are good foragers, and do well in free range situations. Their excellent stamina and flying capabilities make them crafty escape artists. Many Old English Games live as long as 15 years or more.

Silkie chicken breed


Silkies are an ancient breed originating in the Far East, most likely China. They were first documented by Marco Polo himself around the year 1300. He encountered a travel with “a furry chicken.” Silkies are arguably the most popular and beloved of all ornamental breeds. They are the pocket pet of the chicken world, with sweet and friendly temperaments and feathers that feel more like hair. Because they are so tame, they are easily bullied by other birds. They are very broody, devoted mothers to anything that hatches from an egg and will even adopt other chicks.

Silkies have black skin and black bones, a walnut-shaped comb, and turquoise earlobes. Their fuzzy feathers come in a variety of colors, but because of the feather structure they can’t fly and are not waterproof. If they get wet, they need to be dried with a towel before they catch a chill.


Rare chicken breeds offer enthusiasts a unique and diverse selection beyond common poultry varieties. Known for their distinctive characteristics, these breeds often boast unusual plumage, exceptional hardiness, or historical significance. While their scarcity may limit widespread availability, the conservation and promotion of rare chicken breeds contribute to maintaining genetic diversity within poultry populations, preserving valuable traits for future generations of poultry keepers.

Altsteirer chicken breed


The Altsteirer is an ancient breed that may be thousands of years old, but the first record of its existence is from the 13th century. It originated in the Styria region of Austria and Slovenia and is one of the first identified breeds in Europe. Several of this breed’s physical characteristics also appear in chickens around Europe, suggesting that it was used to develop other breeds.

The Altsteirer is a dual purpose breed of medium size. Hens lay 180 – 200 large white eggs per year and rarely go broody. Birds can weigh 4 – 8 pounds, and their round body makes a nice meal for the table. They are found in a variety of colors, including partridge, white, cuckoo, and black-breasted red. This breed is rare and is considered endangered. If you are looking for an easy to care for and very unique breed, this may be the one for you.

Brussbar chicken breed


The Brussbar is a dual purpose breed, developed by Professor Punnett and Mr. Pease at Cambridge in the first half of the 20th century. They were looking to create an autosexing breed with the characteristics of a Light Sussex, the most popular breed at the time. Brown Sussex and Barred Rocks were used initially to create the autosexing plumage with utility strains of Light Sussex added to improve productivity. The breed was standardized in 1952.

Birds are large and well-built, similar to a Sussex. They have a distinctive crele plumage, a copper and gold body color with barring patterns throughout. Originally, the Brussbar came in both a gold and silver variety, though now only the gold variety can be found. Brussbars never caught on in popularity and the breed barely survived the 1960s. They remain very rare today.

California Grey chicken breed

California Grey

Developed in California in the 1930s by James Dryden, professor of poultry science. He wanted a dual-purpose hen laying large white eggs that remained in her egg-laying prime for longer than 2 years. He crossed a Barred Plymouth Rock rooster with a White Leghorn hen, which resulted in a naturally autosexing breed with grey barred plumage.

Birds are between 4 – 6 pounds, which makes them too large to appeal to commercial egg producers. They were also never recognized by the American Poultry Association. This means they never enjoyed popularity and today are a rare find. If you manage to have this breed in your flock, you’re a lucky one. These birds are calm, good winter layers, and given the intent of their creator, should produce lots of eggs in their lifetime.

Catalana chicken breed


Catalanas were developed near Barcelona in the district of Catalonia, Spain. This breed was introduced to the rest of the world at the 1902 World’s Fair held in Madrid. They have rich buff plumage, ranging from a light tan buff to a more red-gold buff.  Both sexes have black tails with a green shimmer green. Chicks are hardy and are a buffish color with a faint chipmunk pattern along their backs.

They are a hardy, dual-purpose breed, with the style, alertness, and forage abilities typical of Mediterranean breeds. Catalanas are noted for being very heat tolerant. They lay about 200 – 240 white to light pink medium/large eggs per year and are not generally broody.

Dampierre chicken breed


Ever wonder what happens when a breed goes extinct? The Normande chicken in France did just that and died out more than a century ago. This breed closely resembled its cousin, the Gournay, with the same black and white mottled coloring, but with a feather crest on its head. So is it just gone forever? Sort of. The exact Normande hasn’t returned, but instead has been re-created by poultry enthusiasts. This new breed, resembling the old breed, is known as the Dampierre. It was created in France in 1996 using Gournay and Crevecouer genetics. Since then, the breed continues to be improved and standardized with great attention to detail to resemble the Normande as closely as possible.

Dampierres are dual-purpose, with fine white meat and delicate bones. Hens lay a productive number of large white eggs and are willing to go broody. This breed is only just beginning to make an appearance in the U.S. They are hard to come by and very expensive. If you manage to get your hands on these birds, you must be dedicated to advancing the breed by only raising birds that meet the breed standard.

Deathlayer chicken breed


The Deathlayer (Totleger, in its native German) is over 400 years old and was once commonly found on German farms. Their popularity declined over the centuries, and now they are considered rare. Why the name Deathlayer? One theory is that it’s because hens will lay an egg a day up until the day they die.

This breed is very striking in appearance, with iridescent greens and purple in their black body feathers and silver hackles. They have cushion combs and large dark eyes. The hens are super productive, laying medium-sized white eggs. They are very active birds and should be kept free range. They prefer to sleep in trees if given the option.

Dorking chicken breed


The history of the Dorking is similar to that of the Sussex. An ancient breed with ties to the Roman Empire, the Dorking was developed to be a superior table bird. Dorkings are gentle birds that are known to be calm, friendly, and tolerant, but likely to end up on the bottom of the pecking order if kept with other more aggressive breeds.

They have a long back and a broad breast, and have been described as “stocky” or  “boxy-looking” in shape. Hens make excellent winter layers, and are exceptional mothers. They welcome chicks from other hens and tend to look after chicks far longer than other hens.

Iowa Blue chicken breed

Iowa Blue

The Iowa Blue was developed in the early 1900s near Decorah, Iowa. A folk legend tells the story of a white Plymouth Rock hen emerging from under a building with a clutch of chicks that were colored solid chestnut to striped. Old-timers tell the tale that the chicks were sired by a pheasant.

Iowa Blues are a practical, dual-purpose, homesteader chicken. They are fairly docile but excellent foragers. Hens have good mothering instincts and roosters are brave protectors of their flock. This breed almost went extinct in the 1980s and are still very rare. Fortunately, they are making a comeback thanks to some dedicated breeders and poultry keepers.

Langshan chicken breed


Langshans originated in China near the Yangtszekiang River and made its way to England in 1872. The breed is valued for being a large bird, with quality meat, that lays a high volume of dark brown, purplish eggs. Landshans are a tall breed with great depth of body that is unique to this breed. Males weigh 9.5 lbs. and females 7.5 lbs.

Langshans are hearty birds and good foragers. They are hardy, fast growing, and easily reared. They have tight feathering and can fly better than most other chickens. Hens are not dependable sitters but make excellent mothers once the chicks have hatched.

Marsh Daisy chicken breed

Marsh Daisy

The Marsh Daisy is a very rare breed originating in Lancashire, England, and has not made a name for itself in other countries. It’s a bird with a fancy name and a practical nature. These birds are slow to mature, but once grown, are very hardy and excellent foragers and flourish in free range environments. Hens lay about 200 cream colored eggs each year.

The Marsh Daisy chicken may be one of the rarest chicken breeds worldwide. It never achieved popularity abroad, was never recognized by the American Poultry Association and is little known or seen outside the UK.

Norwegian Jaehorn chicken breed

Norwegian Jaehorn

The Jaehorn is the only breed of domestic chicken indigenous to Norway. They were developed in 1920 near the town of Stavenger. They have only recently made their way to North America and are still a rare find in the U.S.

They come in two colors: dark brown and light brown. Hens can lay an impressive 215 white eggs per year. Jaehorns are small, hardy, and active birds. They are great flyers due to their size. So be aware, these chickens may try to fly the coop.

Orloff chicken breed


Orloffs were previously believed to have originated in Russia, however modern research indicates they first appeared in Persia and were brought to Europe and Asia in the 17th century. The breed became popular through promoter Count Alexei Grigoryevich Orlov in the 19th century.

Orloffs are tall and well adapted to the cold. They are tight feathered, head and neck are very densely feathered, and they have tiny combs, earlobes, and wattles. The hens lay a good amount of light brown eggs and are relatively calm.

Orust chicken breed


The Orust is a landrace breed from the west coast of Sweden. This breed free ranged along the isolated rocky shores and is a proven survivor, eating whatever was available, including fish. This breed is considered extremely rare.

They have black and white mottled feathers, and their legs can sometimes have the same pattern. As a unique trait, roosters’ wattles turn from red to bright violet when they are agitated and protecting their hens. The hens are prolific egg layers, and they produce a small to medium-sized white eggs.

Pavlovskaya chicken breed


Pavlovskayas are Russia’s most ancient chicken breed. They were used in developing newer breeds like the Polish and the Brabanter. This breed nearly went extinct. In the 1990s, the total population consisted only of 2 roosters, and one of them was infertile. Very careful breeding programs rehabilitated the breed, however it is still super rare and virtually unknown outside of Russia.

This breed is well adapted to its native climate of extreme cold. These tiny birds are only 3 – 4 pounds. They have a v-shaped comb accompanied by a crest, beard, muffs, and completely feathered legs and toes. They have a pleasant personality and are curious, lively, and trustful. The hens only lay about 70 – 90 white eggs per year. Their meat is light and gamey.

Penedesenca chicken breed


The Penedesenca originated in the region of Catalonia, in Spain. They are named after the town Vilafranca del Penedes and were developed from native backyard birds. This breed is extremely rare. In fact, they almost went extinct. In the 1980s, some breeders dedicated themselves to reviving the Penedesenca.

This breed is known for the very dark brown eggs that the hens produce. They are said to be the darkest brown of any breed. They come is a few color varieties: Black, Crele, Partridge, and Wheaten. They have white earlobes, red wattles, and an unusual carnation comb. 

Pita Pinta Asturiana chicken breed

Pita Pinta Asturiana

Asturias is a principality in north-western Spain. In the Asturian language, Pita Pinta translates to “painted hen.” This breed is the only chicken indigenous to the area, and are considered extremely rare.

Pita Pintas are compact birds with yellow skin, yellow beaks, red earlobes, and orange eyes. Plummage varieties include Pinta Negra (black mottled), Pinta Roxa (mottled brown), Blanca (white), and Abedul (black). Hens are reliable layers of eggs the color of burnt cream. These birds are tough and responsive to their environment.

Rhodebar chicken breed


The Rhodebar is a breed that we wish wasn’t quite so rare. Hailed as “an absolute gift for the small poultry enthusiast”, these birds have so many great qualities. Originally created at the University of British Columbia in the 1940s, the Rhodebar involves a cross of Rhode Island Reds and Plymouth Barred Rocks. A version of the breed was also created in the U.K. by crossing a Danish strain of Rhode Island Red with Golden Brussbars.

Rhodebars are autosexing, meaning males and females have different coloring at the time of hatch. Males are yellow, and females have dark stripes of barring down their backs. This makes them easy to differentiate, so you stand an excellent chance of knowing if you’ve got future hens or roosters in the bunch.

This is a dual-purpose breed. Hens are great layers of brown tinted eggs. You can expect about 180 – 200 eggs per year. Birds weigh between 6 – 9 pounds and dress out nicely for the table. Since it was developed just before the dawn of commercial hybrid breeds, it only enjoyed brief popularity, and is now very rare. Those who continue to breed and raise Rhodebars are very devoted to maintaining the exceptional qualities of this breed.

Thuringian chicken breed


Thuringians were developed in 19th century Germany, in the Thuringian Forest. They were intended to be a dual-purpose breed, but are now seen mainly at poultry shows. They are very rare. They have a distinctive beard, muffs, and a very small comb. This makes them well-suited for cold climates, and gives them a cute, chubby-cheeked appearance.

They are friendly, tame, and make good pets. It is said that different color varieties each have different personalities. They are confidant and like to explore, preferring to free range rather than be confined to a coop. Hens lay about 160 eggs per year. They do not go broody often, but when they do, they are very defensive mothers.

Twentse chicken breed


Twentses (Dutch), also known as Kraienkoppes (German), are a large breed of chicken from an area spanning between Germany and the Netherlands. They are rumored to be the result of Leghorn and Malay crosses and are sporty, ornamental birds that also have good egg production. Hens lay about 200 off-white eggs per year.

They have small wattles, earlobes, and walnut comb—all bright red in color. This rare breed is an excellent forager in both free range and confined conditions. The Twentse is usually kept as a layer or as a show bird.


Unusual chicken breeds captivate poultry enthusiasts with their extraordinary features and unique cultural significance. Whether it’s their striking plumage or distinctive facial muffling and feathered feet, these breeds stand out for their peculiar appearance, adding a touch of whimsy to any flock. Beyond their unique aesthetics, they often have amiable temperaments, making them delightful additions to any flock.

Ayam Cemani chicken breed

Ayam Cemani

The Ayam Cemani is a unique breed with a striking in appearance. Originating from the island of Java, they have black plumage, black skin, black muscles, black bones, even black organs. They have a gene that causes hyperpigmentation (Fibromelanosis). While their blood is still red, it is very dark. Due to their exotic appearance, in Asia their meat is considered to have mystic powers.

They are friendly birds, hardy, low maintenance, and easy to handle. Hens lay a moderate amount of cream colored eggs that are relatively large in proportion to their body size. Consider yourself lucky if you can find a bird of this breed since they are extremely rare and can be expensive.

Campine chicken breed


The Campine chicken is originally from northern Belgium, but once it was imported to England in 1899, it was developed in to a much different bird. Something that makes Campines unique is that oftentimes, especially in Europe, roosters will be “hen feathered.” This means that they don’t develop the long sickle feathers, pointed hackle feathers, or pointed saddle feathers. Rather, their plumage resembles that of a hen.

Campines come in two color varieties: Silver and Golden. They are fair layers of white eggs, but mostly for show. This bird is considered a delicate, active breed. They are a fun addition for any backyard poultry collection.

Cubalaya chicken breed


The Cubalaya is the only breed developed in Cuba. It is descended from Sumatra and Malay birds brought to Cuba from the Philippines. They were selectively bred to be impressive in appearance, with a courageous expression. Roosters have flowing hackle feathers and a “lobster tail” – a downward angled tail with lavish feathering. Their look is truly unique to the breed.

These birds are very tame, with a friendly and curious disposition. They very heat tolerant and perfect for regions with long hot summers. The hens are reliable layers, lay small eggs and are good brooders.

Egyptian Fayoumi chicken breed

Egyptian Fayoumi

Fayoumis are an ancient Egyptian breed. They about 3,000 years old, descended from Sri Lankan junglefowl that the Pharoah Tutankhamen had procured through the ancient cinnamon trade.

They look somewhat like a roadrunner, with upright tails and forward jutting necks. They are a very hardy breed, and not surprisingly well-suited for hot climates. They are such excellent foragers and can pretty much fend for themselves. They are fat to mature, and hens are good layers of off-white colored eggs.

Favorelles chicken breed


The Favorelles is a French breed of chicken. They are considered a heavy breed, and have a beard, muffs, feathered feet, and 5 toes per foot. They are also known for their round shape.

As this breed is energetic, adaptable and curious and gets along with people of all ages making them a popular choice in home flocks as egg layers and pets. At the same time, their gentleness can cause them to be picked on by other birds, so watch out for bullies. Favorelles hens are excellent sitters and mothers. they have been known to lay from 150 to over 200 eggs per year.

La Flèche chicken breed

La Flèche

La Flèche is a rare, French dual-purpose breed. The words “la fleche” translates to “the arrow,” which is linked to the part of France where these birds originated in the fifth century. The La Flèche chicken is a medium-sized, dual-purpose bird with black plumage and a beautiful full, curved tail. 

These birds are known for their very distinct V-shaped comb. They have tightly arranged black plumage and white earlobes. Hens lay 140 – 220 large to extra-large white eggs from March through October. They are not broody and considered to be poor mothers.

Lakenvelder chicken breed


Lakenvelders are sometimes known as “Shadows on a Sheet,” because in Dutch the name translates to white spread over a black field. They are beautiful birds with blue legs, deep red eyes, and long flowing tails. They have single combs and you will see that even the females’ combs stand tall.

Lakenvelders are known not just for their beauty, but also their egg laying abilities. They lay about 175 porcelain white eggs per year. They are great foragers and very active, but they are wary. These birds will not cuddle with your kids.

Onagadori chicken breed


Meaning “long-tailed chicken” in Japanese, Onagadoris are designated as a Special Natural Monument by the Japanese government. It has taken centuries breeding to create what the breed has become today. The three recognized color varieties from Japan are: black-breasted white, black-breasted red, and white.

Breeders provide special hutches with perches well above the ground where the tails are kept clean and in good condition. Their tails do not molt, but grow continuously, allowing them to reach lengths of 12 to 27 feet long. The Onagadori is kept for ornamental purposes only by enthusiastic breeders.

Phoenix chicken breed


The Phoenix chicken is a German creation from the long-tailed fowls of Japan. The first president of the National German Poultry Association, Mr. Hugo du Roi, is credited with the creation of the breed. His intent was to reinvigorate the small population of long-tailed fowl in Europe. Some say the name “Phoenix” was given to the resultant chickens to acknowledge the seeming “rise from the ashes” of their soon lost parents.

The Phoenix chicken is an alert breed with a pheasant-like appearance. They are fair layers that can go broody. The chicks are hardy, but require extra protein when their tails are growing. The breed thrives when it can roam at large with plenty of freedom.

Shamo chicken breed


The Shamo originated in Thailand and made its way to Japan in the 1600s. As with other things distinctly Japanese, the Shamo was carefully curated and finely tuned over the centuries. Different regions of Japan favor different colors and sizes. These birds are so revered in Japan that they were officially placed under protection of the law in 1941.

After World War II, the breed took up favor in the southern United States, but as of 2015 they’ve all but disappeared from the country. Shamos are an exhibition breed and aren’t good for much else besides their impressive looks. Hens are devoted mothers but poor layers. Their meat is too tough to eat. They are all tall chicken with an upright stature. They can reach almost 3 feet tall and can range from 4 – 13 pounds. Shamos are intelligent and friendly towards humans, with a confidence that makes them treat us as their equal.

Sicilian Buttercup chicken breed

Sicilian Buttercup

Sicilian Buttercups originated on the island of Sicily, and were imported to the U.S., Britain, and Australia in the early 20th century. They are named for their very unique comb. It is a cup-shaped crown with a complete circle of medium sized regular points. No other breed has this type of comb.

The Sicilian Buttercup is famous not only for its unique comb type, but also for its incredibly beautiful color pattern. A female Buttercup is considered the most beautiful and has an overall golden-buff color, with pure golden hackle feathers on the neck. On the rest of the body, these golden feathers are marked with small, black, diagonal spangles, creating a beautiful and unique color pattern. These birds are active foragers, preferring to free range. They lay a modest number of small eggs — about 180 in a year. This breed is very friendly, making them a great pet.

Sumatra chicken breed


This breed was shaped by its wild origins on the isles of Sumatra, Java, and Borneo in Indonesia. The Sumatra chicken is distinctive with long flowing curves, abundant tail feathering, and a rich green sheen. Their rich green sheen and royal appearance belies their heritage as a fighting breed.

Sumatra hens lay an abundant number of white or lightly tinted eggs and are excellent winter layers. They are also among the best and broodiest of mothers. Both adults and chicks are hardy and easy to raise. Sumatra chickens are active and alert and are especially good at launching vertically to escape danger.

Swedish Black chicken breed

Swedish Black (Svarthöna)

Swedish Blacks, translated from Svarthöna in their native Swedish, are an ultra-rare and exotic breed. While the breed was developed on the border of Norway and Sweden, these birds have ancestry tracing back to Indonesia. Like their cousins, the rare Ayam Cemani and the more common Silkie, Svart Hönas have fibromelanistic genetic traits, making them entirely black. While they look similar to the Ayam Cemani, they have a more refined and less gamey appearance.

Svarthönas are small and sleek, with birds weighing 5 – 8 pounds. They thrive in free-range flocks. Their flying abilities are above average, and if given the chance will choose to roost high off the ground. Hens are excellent layers of cream colored eggs, which are very large in relation to their small body size. Roosters are very alert and excellent protectors of the flock. They are very friendly and seek out human interaction and affection.

Swedish Flower chicken breed

Swedish Flower (Blommehöna)

Originally a landrace breed, Swedish Flowers were not intentionally developed. Rather, they were created by nature as a result of the pairing of the strongest and hardiest birds over the last 500 years. They are the largest of the Swedish breeds and can weigh up to 8 pounds. They are named after their unique and striking feather pattern. Because they are not a standard breed, they come in a wide variety of colors featuring red, blue, or black, but should all maintain the flower patterning.

These birds have so many great qualities. Being native to Sweden, they are extremely hardy and well adapted for cold. They are confident in nature, but not aggressive. They enjoy human interaction, but maintain enough independence and street smarts to be kept free-ranging. Hens are great layers of extra-large eggs that can range from cream to pale brown in color. This breed is quite rare, but is becoming the talk of the town among poultry enthusiasts. They should become more readily available in the future.

Whitefaced Black Spanish chicken breed

White Faced Black Spanish

The Black Spanish is a regal bird that holds itself with the posture of aristocrats. This ancient breed is lustrous green-black, with a distinguishing white face and enormous white earlobes. Males weigh 8 lbs. and females weigh 6.5 lbs.

Black Spanish hens were hugely popular in the 1800s for their ability to lay an abundant amount of large white eggs. They are not a cuddly breed, but prefer to roam, and are not happy being confined. They are not an aggressive breed, but would be aloof in a flock with other breeds. They are also vocal. They ultimately lost favor with farmers because they are fairly delicate birds, and hardier breeds came along.

Yokohama chicken breed


Like the Phoenix, the Yokohama chicken is a German creation from long-tailed fowls of Japanese descent. They have a beautiful and elegant appearance with white plumage and red across the breast and back. Some Yokohamas have tails of three and even four feet long.

They are an alert breed with a game-like appearance. Yokohamas are indifferent layers and can go broody after laying only 12 – 14 eggs. The chicks are hardy, but require extra protein when their long tails are growing. These birds prefer to be in a warm climate, are easy to tame and handle, and do well in confinement. 

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