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14 Fancy Chicken Breeds (with Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove

There are many reasons to choose one chicken breed over another. Some breeders choose a chicken for its egg-laying capability, while others choose a breed for its great tasting meat. Backyard owners may opt for the friendlier breeds that enjoy being handled. Fancy chicken breeds are those that are considered exotic, rare, or unique. They are not only popular because of their beauty, but also because they are recognized by chicken groups and have standards that mean they can be shown at exhibitions and chicken competitions around the world.

Below are 14 fancy chicken breeds that you can consider breeding.

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1. Silkie

Silkie Chicken
Image Credit: eloneo, Pixabay

The Silkie is quite a well-known breed and has a unique look. He has fluffy feathers that spread from the top of the head to the toes. It also has black or dark blue skin, although you can’t see much of the skin because the fluffy feathers are in the way. This breed is friendly with human owners and it comes in an array of colors. If you’re looking for a prolific layer, however, the Silkie is not the breed for you because it only produces an average of 100 to 120 eggs a year.


2. Serama

Serama
Image Credit: Rsteagall, Wikimedia Commons

The Serama is widely recognized as being the smallest breed of bantam chicken in the world. Adults weigh less than half a kilogram. As well as its diminutive stature, this Malaysian breed’s chest reaches up to its head giving it a unique appearance. As you would expect from such a small bird, the Serama lays small eggs measuring 1 inch in length.


3. Houdan

The Houdan chicken is a French breed, hailing from the commune of Houdan to the West of Paris. The males have a V-shaped comb and, like the Polish breed further down the list, the Houdan has a seriously coiffured haircut. The breed is docile and quiet, does well in confinement, and is one of a limited number of breeds that has five toes, rather than four. This large breed will give approximately 150 eggs a year.


4. Orpingtons

Orpington
Image Credit: Tamsin Cooper, Flickr

The Orpington, and especially the Buff Orpington, has become very popular in the chicken world. It is a plump looking chicken breed that will produce around 200 eggs a year and it is such a docile breed that your biggest concern will be whether it is getting picked on by other chickens in your flock.


5. Ayam Cemani

Ayam Cemani
Image Credit: Mark Hope, Flickr

The Ayam Cemani is a truly unique looking chicken breed from Indonesia. It has a dominant hyperpigmentation gene that causes almost all of the chicken to be black. As well as the feathers, the Ayam Cemani’s skin, beak, and even its internal organs are black. It is not a prolific egg layer by any means, offering less than 100 eggs a year, but it is a very rare breed and you may have to pay thousands for a breeding pair.


6. Frizzle

Frizzle chicken
Image Credit: Camille Gillet, Flickr

The Frizzle chicken breed is an old breed that was even mentioned by Charles Darwin, who called them Caffie Fowl and noted that they were found in India. Although the gene that gives the Frizzle its unusual looking feathers isn’t unique, because it is found in other breeds like the Polish, the Frizzle is considered its own breed in certain parts of Europe. This breed may need some help regulating body temperature and will only lay about 120 eggs a year.


7. Polish

polish chicken
Image Credit: Jason Riedy, Flickr

The Polish breed looks like it is wearing a crash helmet and they are a fun looking addition to your backyard flock. This breed is tame, can make good pets, but the lack of vision caused by the hair means that they can act a little odd sometimes. They are also quite submissive so might get picked on by bolder birds. They lay approximately 200 eggs a year.


8. Barnevelder

Barnevelder
Image Credit: Esin Üstün, Flickr

The Barnevelder is a Dutch chicken breed that is renowned for its laid-back character. It is very placid, which makes it a great addition to your flock. The Barnevelder lays quite dark brown eggs that are considered large and will produce up to 200 a year.


9. Plymouth Rock

Barred Rock Chicken
Image Credit: Thomas Kriese, Flickr

The Plymouth Rock hails from Massachusetts in the USA, and it remains a very popular breed in the country. They are considered friendly and are highlighted as being a good breed for families that are looking for poultry pets. The Plymouth Rock will lay up to 200 brown eggs a year and with dedication and effort, it may be possible to train them to follow you and eat from your hand.


10. Sebright

Sebright
Image Credit: Joe, Flickr

The Sebright is a British bantam chicken that was discovered by Sir John Sebright in the early 19th Century. Their feathers are a light brown with a darker brown border around the edge. The chicken is quite rare, which might have something to do with the fact that they only lay around 60 eggs a year, or just over one a week.


11. Onagadori

Onagadori
Image Credit: Tsunade13, Wikimedia Commons

The Onagadori is a long-tailed chicken. It comes from Japan and is considered a rare breed. Its tail can stretch as long as 10 meters and the size of the tail means that they need special coops in which to live. This coop is called a tombaku. It is a docile breed and its primary purpose is as an ornamental or show breed. There are only a few hundred of this breed alive today, making them one of the rarest breeds of chicken in the world.


12. Araucana

Araucana
Image Credit: MelaniMarfeld, Pixabay

The Araucana is a beautiful chicken in its own right, but it is perhaps best known for and reared for the eggs that it lays. The Araucana can lay any color egg from light blue to green. It should be noted that a single hen will not lay different color eggs, but if you have a flock of Araucana hens, you could end up with a rainbow assortment of egg colors. They will produce approximately 180 eggs a year, too.


13. Yokohama

Yokohama chicken
Image Credit: Hagen Graebner, Wikimedia Commons

The Yokohama chicken is another long-tailed breed that is becoming very rare. This breed is known to be very difficult to breed and it is listed as critically endangered. If you do see one, it has a red breast, red shoulders, white hackles, and white tail feathers.


14. Appenzeller Spitzhauben

Appenzeller Spitzhauben
Image Credit: Alice Wilkman, Flickr

The Appenzeller Spitzhauben is a Swiss chicken breed. It is a skilled climber that not only live in the mountains and climbs rocks but will climb trees, too. They produce medium to large, white eggs, and will yield around 200 a year. They do like to adventure and prefer to free-range, but they are a unique and attractive looking breed.

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Fancy Chicken Breeds

The 14 fancy chicken breeds listed above would make a great collection for any flock. Whether you are looking to breed rare and unusual breeds, or you want to add some character and an unusual appearance to your backyard flock, these breeds will not disappoint.

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Featured Image: Esin Üstün, Flickr

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.