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6 Chinese Chicken Breeds (with Pictures)
Many people don’t realize that there are different breeds of chicken, much less that different countries have raised their own unique breeds. However, you’ll find different varieties of clucker in just about every country on the map.
As you might expect, given its vast size, China has gifted the world with several different chicken breeds, each of which has their own special features and quirks. Today, we’ll take a look at six of the top chickens that hail from China.
1. Cochin Chicken
The Cochin chicken is a large bird, tipping the scales at anywhere from 6 to 13 pounds. They have a striking amount of plumage, including all over their legs and feet, and they’re primarily reared for exhibition purposes. Even so, they’re fairly productive, and the hens make doting and responsible mothers.
When these birds first hit the scene in the 1840s, they were so popular that they spread “hen fever.” That fever spread to Western countries as well, and poultry breeding became immensely popular for some time.
2. Nixi Chicken
While Cochin chickens are known for being large and impressive, Nixi chickens are small. They’re indigenous to the Yunnan province in southwest China, where they’re commonly used as the featured component in chicken soup.
Despite their diminutive stature, Nixis are well-suited for cold climates, which makes their living choice of Yunnan strange, as it’s one of the warmest parts of China.
3. Croad Langshan
While Croad Langshan might sound more like the name of a Steinbeck character than that of a chicken, these birds actually predate the author, dating back to the mid-19th century. While the chickens come from China, they achieved massive popularity in Britain, as a military man named Major F.T. Croad brought the breed home with him in 1904.
These birds are known for being large with long breasts and a small head, and they generally weigh between 7 and 9 pounds. They make excellent pets, as they are easy to tame and train. If kept healthy and happy, a single hen can lay upward of 150 eggs per year.
Silkies barely resemble chickens at all, so you can be forgiven if at first glance, you assume that the bird is a radioactive penguin or something like that. They have thick, fluffy plumage that’s quite silky to the touch (hence the name), as well as black skin and bones, blue earlobes, and an extra toe on each foot.
These birds are actually quite calm and docile. They’re an extremely old breed as well, with the first known references to them coming from the famed traveler Marco Polo in the 13th century. They’re often kept as pets, and they’re so agreeable that they’re often used to incubate and raise the offspring of other birds.
5. Yellow-Hair Chicken
The Yellow-Hair chicken is known for having extremely flavorful meat, but they’re low in fat, making it difficult and time-consuming to cook. They’re hard to find in restaurants outside of China, although they’re becoming rare there as well, as they’re beginning to get displaced by larger broiler chickens.
6. Pekin Bantam
The Pekin Bantam hails from China but found widespread popularity in Britain. The birds made the trip to the U.K. sometime in the 19th century; the first birds to hit England were supposedly looted from the Chinese emperor’s private stash by British soldiers at the end of the Second Opium War.
As you might expect from the name, these birds are all true bantams, with no larger fowl counterpart. They have a round shape and a head that stays close to the ground, and their plumage is elaborate, covering their feet and legs. They come in just about any color under the sun, and they can make excellent pets due to their calm and docile nature.
Which Breed Is Your Favorite?
Now that you’re up to date on some of the best chicken breeds that China has to offer, you need to pick a favorite. Personally, we feel that you can’t go wrong with a Croad Langshan, although we understand if you’re partial to Silkies.
Other interesting chicken breeds:
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay
Quincy has been around mutts his entire life and has been writing about them for the past nine years and now consists of sharing a house with three spoiled pups who couldn’t hold down a job to save their lives. Quincy never intended to be a cat person. When his wife brought home a kitten one day, he told her she had one week to find it a new home. That week turned into 10 years (his wife moves very slowly), and that kitten turned into three (they got two more, the kitten didn’t self-replicate). After a decade of sharing his home with the dogs and three cats, one horrifying realization finally set in: oh God, he’s a cat person now too, isn’t he???