There are many reasons to own and breed chickens. They are popular for their meat, as well as their eggs. They can enable self-sufficiency, be bred to offer profit from their produce, or they can be kept as pets. They can also be shown and exhibited, in the hope of picking up some best-in-class rosettes. They can also be kept for their beauty.
While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, below are 12 chicken breeds that are highly regarded for their beautiful looks. And not just by us. If you’re looking for a coop that is filled with attractive birds, look no further than the breeds on this list.
The 12 Cutest Chicken Breeds:
The Silkie not only looks silky, hence its name, it feels it too. They are quite a unique breed, with black bones and skin. They also have blue earlobes and, unlike most breeds that have four, the Silkie has five toes on each foot. They are also known for their calm and friendly demeanor, which makes them a popular addition to a backyard coop. In fact, their calmness, coupled with their modest egg-laying, means that they can be used to hatch the eggs of other chickens.
Pekin bantams originate from Peking, now Beijing. While the breed remained in Chinese borders, they were brought to the West by British and French soldiers that stormed the Summer Palace in the 1860s. They were bred as show birds and quickly became a very popular breed. The Pekin comes in standard and Bantam as well as in colors like blue, buff, red, and silver. Their feathers can be solid or barred, birchen, mottled, partridge, or splashed. Whatever their color and pattern, though, the feathers continue to the feet of this breed.
The Frizzle breed is certainly unique looking. Feathers are light and curled. Although the recessive gene that causes the frizzled look was almost bred out of the chicken, it has been brought back, thanks to modern breeders. Although the Frizzle is recognized as its own breed in some parts of Europe, some countries classify them as a type because the gene can be found in any existing breed. As such, egg-laying and other attributes vary according to the actual breed of chicken but they all look incredible.
The Polish chicken has a somewhat unique appearance, and if you like headwear, you’re almost certain to enjoy the look of this helmet-wearing breed. Like the Frizzle and the Silkie above, the Polish chicken does not do well when wet, and you will have to take some extra care grooming this breed, especially to ensure that the hens can see out from behind their amazing coiffeur. Although loving and kind, this breed can become scared if frightened.
5. Belgian d’Uccle
The Belgian d’Uccle is a sweet and loving breed and although they come in a great variety of colors and designs, the Millie Fleur is a particular favorite because it has markings similar to that of a jaguar. They aren’t prolific layers, producing around 100 eggs a year, but that could be a benefit if you aren’t rearing hens for their egg-laying capabilities.
Named after the English politician of the 19th century that first bred them, the Sebright was the very epitome of his vision of the perfect chicken breed. The secret to creating these wonderfully feathered chickens is said to have died with Sir John Sebright, although it is believed that he bred a combination of Polish, Nankin, and Hamburg. They are difficult to find, possibly because this breed only lays around 60 eggs a year, but they are very small with beautiful laced feathers and are sweet, family-friendly birds.
The Orpington may not have laced feathers or a helmet-like hairdo, but this plump and healthy-looking bird is the epitome of what a chicken should look like. What’s more, they are friendly birds that enjoy cuddling, are prolific layers, and will get along with all the other members of the coop. Although the Buff Orpington is the most common, the Black is more unusual and equally attractive.
8. Phoenix Chicken
The Phoenix Chicken is a cross between European breeds and the Onagadori chicken. The Onagadori only molts every three years and, as a result, the Phoenix has very long tail feathers, and the original Phoenix was gold in color. They are hardy birds, good layers, and they come in silver, gold, or red colors.
The Cochin breed arguably started the craze for showing and breeding fancy chickens. Before their introduction in the 1800s, chickens were kept for meat and egg-laying, and that was it. The Cochin was good for both meat and eggs, but it was introduced to the UK and US for its beautiful boots. Queen Victoria, who was a chicken fancier herself, kept several Cochins in her coop.
10. Easter Eggers
The Easter Egger is a hybrid that crosses the Araucana and the Ameraucana breeds. Although the chickens are attractive in their own right, it is for the beauty of their eggs that they are revered. They can be aqua, blue, green, and even pink. That doesn’t mean that you can expect a full rainbow from a single hen, though. One hen will lay eggs of one of these colors, but if you have a flock, you could have a great variety of colors.
The Araucana, one of the breeds from which the Easter Egger hails, also makes this list. The free-ranging chicken lays blue eggs during the summer months. They mature quickly, love people, and have a tuft gene that means they have quite an unusual shock of facial hair.
12. Speckled Sussex
The Sussex breed is a dual-purpose breed that lays up to about 250 eggs a year. It also has great-tasting meat. The breed is known for being sweet and delicate, and it gets on with people as well as with other chickens. You will find the breed in colors including brown, buff, red, silver, and white. The Speckled Sussex is a particularly beautiful variant of the Sussex breed.
Cute Chicken Breeds
Chickens are multipurpose birds that can be bred for their meat, eggs, and their loving nature. They can be exhibited, bred, and the right breed will get along with all members of the family as well as the members of the coop. Above are 12 of the most attractive breeds, but there are dozens more to choose from, including some very rare and difficult to find breeds.
Next on your reading list:
- Do Silkie Roosters Crow? What You Need To Know!
- 12 Small Chicken Breeds (with Pictures)
- 18 Friendliest Chicken Breeds
Featured Image Credit: furbymama, Pixabay