Layne worked as a wildlife rehabilitator and medical intern for several years before becoming a licensed veterinary technician (LVT).
10 Most Beautiful Chicken Breeds
If you are a chicken enthusiast and interested in learning about the most beautiful chicken breeds in the world, you've come to the right place. From rare breeds, expensive breeds to buy, and common yet fancy types, explore this list of fun facts. Learn about these breeds' origins, show-worthiness, unique characteristics, and temperaments.
Chicken Breeds With the Prettiest Plumage
- Silkie Bantam Chicken
- Silver-Laced Polish Chicken
- Phoenix Chicken
- Frizzle Chicken
- Brahma Chicken
- Ayam Cemani Chicken
- Barbu d’Uccle Chicken
- Sebright Chicken
- Java Chicken
- Cochin Chickens
1. Silkie Bantam Chicken
The ornamental Silkie Bantam Chicken (a.k.a. "fluff-balls," "teddy bears," and more) is undeniably a beautiful chicken! Their uniqueness includes not only their glossy look, but their black skin and the lobes, toes, and bones. They have a beautiful crest or "pom-pom" on the head and their feathers lack barbicans, thus offering a fluffy, silky appearance.
They were said to originate in China (Chinese Han Dynasty) and regions of Southeast Asia and are known for their medicinal properties because of their high carnosine content in the meat (a powerful antioxidant).
Silkies are friendly and good-tempered. They are good layers, and are reportedly surrogate hatchers. They come in colors of blue, black, buff, grey, white, splash, and partridge. As a side note, Silkies cannot fly and their featuring is not waterproofed, so they should be kept out of the rain and damp, wet environments.
2. Silver-Laced Polish Chicken
Silver-Laced Polish chickens are beautiful bearded birds with a crest of feathers, flashy coloring, and a v-shaped comb. The Polish Chicken comes in gold, black and brown, white, silver-laced, and buff-laced; they are known exhibition birds. They have clean, unfeathered legs and can be both bantam (smaller) or standard size.
They are a calm breed and good around small children but may startle easily due to their vision limitations. Similarly, they should not be free-roaming because their ornamental feathering can obstruct their vision. They also are generally less dominant compared to other breeds and may not do well in a flock. They lay white eggs, but they are not great egg layers (not reliable).
It is thought that the breed was named after Poland, but the word "pol" also means "head" in Middle Dutch. There are many theories surrounding the breed's origin.
3. Phoenix Chicken
The Phoenix Chicken is a beautiful, elegant breed and bears a pheasant-like appearance. The roosters have long, feathered tails. Recognized as a German breed, they are a cross between the Japanese Onagadori variety (which possesses a recessive gene that delays moulting for 3-4 years and produces tail feathers of up to 12-27 feet in length) and traditional European breeds. The breed was first created in the 19th century by Mr. Hugo du Roi.
The Phoenix is alert, a fair layer, and broody. It relies on a protein-rich diet and does best free-roaming. It comes in three recognized varieties: silver, gold, and black-breasted red.
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4. Frizzle Chicken
The Frizzle Chicken has a standout appearance thanks to its frizzled plumage. The gene that is responsible for the beautiful outward curl of its feathers, thought to be a mutation, is incompletely dominant or recessive, and several other chicken breeds present with it (the Pekin and Polish). The Frizzle is recognized as a distinct breed in Europe and Australia but not in the U.S.
The Frizzle Chicken is hardy and known to be a good layer, brooder, and forager; it comes in a variety of colors: black, blue, white, and cuckoo. Frizzles are also clean-legged, meaning they do not possess feathers on the legs (shanks). The breed is reared mainly for showing.
5. Brahma Chicken
The Brahma Chicken has earned its name as the "King of All Poultry" due to its sheer size, strength, and hardiness, often weighing between 8-10 pounds but with record weights of up to approximately ~18 pounds in roosters.
They have smooth plumage and a distinctive head shape and pea-comb; their legs are feathered. The breed is thought to have originated in the United States from imported varieties in southeast Asia.
They are en extremely hardy breed and good layers, especially in winter—producing large, brown eggs. The hens are said to be devoted to their nests. Brahmas are primarily used for meat and egg laying. They do well in cooler climates, but not cold, and have a calm temperament. They are recognized in light, dark, and buff color varieties (with other colors such as black, blue, partridge, crepe, and barred accepted by the Australian Poutrly Association).
6. Ayam Cemani Chicken
The Ayam Cemani chicken is a rare breed that is unique to Indonesia. The breed is characterized by having all black feathers, beak, comb, waddle, tongue, meat, internal organs, and bones due to a dominant gene that it possesses which is responsible for hyperpigmentation. The breed's name literally translates as cemani meaning "thoroughly black" and ayam meaning "chicken."
The breed has been introduced to regions of Western Europe and is currently being preserved by the African Ornamental Breeders Association (AOBA).
7. Barbu d’Uccle Chicken
The Barbu d’Uccle Chicken, Belgian d'Uccle, or Ukkelse Baardkriel is a well-respected breed at shows and has a flashy name and fancy look; the breed originated in Belgium. They are a broad-chested, bearded, true bantam chickens and have an alert, confident appearance. The breed also dons a full beard and muff and has legs that are heavily feathered.
Barbu d’Uccles are not great layers but their beautiful appearance makes up for it. Unfortunately, the breed's conservation status is "critical." The first colors of the breed were millefleur and porcelain and some 28 colors are recognized, including but not limited to: cuckoo, lavender, black, silver, white, and quail or mottled versions of these.
8. Sebright Chicken
The Sebright Chicken is an ornamental British breed and a true bantam chicken. They are a popular breed with a long history of enthusiasts and commonly seen at poultry shows, however, they are not good meat chickens nor egg layers and they are difficult to breed. They most often present as gold and silver. They have long legs, unfeathered, and a distinguishable leader (or head spike). Sebright cocks are also hen-feathered, which makes them an interesting breed to study to cross-compare male/female hormone development; in addition, the breed is prone to developing Marek's disease.
9. Java Chicken
The Java chicken is one of the oldest chicken breeds to originate in the United States but is an endangered breed to this day. They come in a variety of colors, including white, mottled, and black. They are good meat producers and egg layers and tend to be heavier with strong builds. Javas are known foragers and do well free-ranged. A particularly hardy breed, they can withstand a variety of climates and are mild-tempered.
10. Cochin Chickens
Cochin chickens are absolutely lovable with their exquisite, fluffy looks and wonderful temperaments. Cochins originated in China as meat and egg producers, but their incredible traits made them a popular focus of poultry-enthusiasts.
They are feathered from head to toe and must be kept in dryer climates but fair well in colder climates. They are extremely gentle and do well with other animals and like to stick close to their home turf—they are not so keen on roaming. Their impressive body type makes them incredibly attractive and hardy but they can tend towards putting on too much weight if offered too many treats, so beware.
- Wikipedia.org "Frizzle (chicken breed)"
- Wikipedia.org "Brahma chicken"
- Wikipedia.org "Ayam Cemani"
- Wikipedia.org "Barbu_d'Uccle"
- Wikipedia.org "Sebright chicken"
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Laynie H
Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on January 17, 2021:
Hi Chitrangada, I'm glad you find these breeds beautiful, I do too! They have unique names as well.
Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on January 17, 2021:
Hi Linda, thanks for reading. I find these breeds beautiful too, and I especially love the Cochin chicken! A true favorite.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 16, 2021:
Nice and informative article.
They are really beautiful. Wasn't aware of some of them by their names.
Thank you for the education.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 16, 2021:
The birds that you’ve described and shown are beautiful. I would love to meet some of them in real life, especially the Cochin chicken. Thank you for sharing the information.