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15 Most Colorful & Beautiful Chicken Breeds (with Pictures)
For most folks, the ideal chicken for their backyard coop is one that is either a prolific egg layer or a great table bird. While those are indeed important attributes, one cannot deny the aesthetic appeal that beautiful chickens add to a backyard.
If you are thinking about adding a couple of birds for pure ornamental value, the following are some of the most beautiful chicken breeds to consider.
1. The Ameraucana
The Ameraucana is a recognized purebred that many people have on their dream flock list. These birds have cute faces and come in a decent array of plumage colors, ranging from buff to blue and lavender to wheaten.
When it comes to personality, they tend to be docile but extremely alert; you will never catch them off-guard. Their character varies between individuals, with some enjoying human company while others tend to be more skittish.
While they are not the most prolific egg layers, you can expect between 3 and 4 medium-sized blue eggs per week from an Ameraucana.
2. The Mille Fleur d’Uccle
With a name that means “a thousand flowers” in French, the Mille Fleur does not lack in looks. This gorgeous bird sports a dazzling orange plumage dotted with numerous black and white spots that resemble flower petals.
As if its gorgeous plumage is not enough, the bird comes with a full beard and fluffy feet, making it unbelievably cute.
But they are not just looks; Mille Fleurs are sweet-natured and enjoy handling. When you couple their great looks and sweet personalities, they make for a great pet chicken. They are wonderful show birds too.
However, they only come as bantams. Bantams are small-sized chicken. Thanks to their small stature, they do well in hotter climates. Nonetheless, this also means that their flying ability is above average. Therefore, keep that in mind when planning their ranging space.
Additionally, you might not want to keep the Mille Fleur together with larger and more assertive breeds, as they will likely get bullied. The hen is not a good egg producer, only laying a couple of small white eggs per week.
3. The Houdan
Despite being recognized as a French breed, the Houdan is believed to be a descendant of chickens that lived in Normandy about 2,000 years ago. The Houdan is a cross of those ancient birds with the present-day Norman crested chicken.
This bird has a unique appearance, boasting a beard and a massive, impressive crest. Coupled with a V-shaped comb, the Houdan is an incredibly good-looking bird. It also happens to be one of the few chicken breeds that have five toes on each foot.
For a bird that seems custom-made for shows, the Houdan is surprisingly good at egg production. Its meat is not bad either. This makes it one of the best options for people looking for a multi-purpose chicken breed.
4. The La Fleche
Despite the La Fleche’s terrifying nickname, it is a sweet and beautiful bird. This French chicken comes with a V-shaped comb but with no crest, thus the “Devil Bird” moniker.
The La Fleche makes a great table bird. In fact, these birds are renowned for their high-quality meat in their native home of France. Unfortunately, they are not a hardy breed, which is why they are not popular in the United States.
5. The Naked Neck
While no one can accuse Naked Necks of being the prettiest of them all, their uniqueness is what most people find appealing. Naturally lacking feathers on both their necks and vents, they are also known as the Turken or the Transylvanian Naked Neck.
The “Turken” name came about from the misconception that this breed is a hybrid of a domestic turkey and a chicken.
There are several other reasons that make the Naked Neck a great addition to any flock. For starters, they are good egg layers, producing an average of three eggs per week. They make great table birds, as well.
Additionally, due to their significantly smaller amount of feathers as compared to other breeds, they are much easier to pluck. What’s more, the Naked Neck is one of the hardiest breeds out there, with immunity to most avian diseases. They are also incredibly good foragers, making their maintenance less demanding.
6. The Russian Orloff
With their tiny combs, dense beards, heavily feathered necks, and outstandingly elegant plumage, the Russian Orloff is one beautiful bird. This breed is a descendant of a Persian chicken breed that was imported to Russia in the 18th century by Count Alexei Grigoryevich Orlov.
The Russian Orloff has a calm disposition and is typically kept for meat production. However, it lays decently even during winter.
7. The Polish
When you look up the phrase “ridiculously adorable” in the dictionary, you should see a picture of the Polish. This breed grows an afro that gets so full that it can blind their vision. As a result, keepers often trim it or pull it back into a “bun” to prevent that issue.
Even though the” cute-factor” is the biggest reason people keep this bird, it is a decent egg layer, often producing several medium-sized eggs per week. However, it tends to be inconsistent, sometimes going for significant periods without laying any eggs.
The Polish is the ideal pet bird, especially for children, as it is sweet, tame, and does not mind handling. Worth mentioning is that these chickens tend to be curious, which is a habit that can get them in tricky situations when they are in a flock with larger, more aggressive breeds.
Additionally, they have good flying skills. Therefore, it is best if you keep them confined. Fortunately, they do not mind confinement.
8. The Sicilian Buttercup
With a name such as “Buttercup,” it is hard to imagine this breed being anything else but darling. The hens sport a golden plumage with black spangles, while the roosters come with a reddish-orange plumage and a black tail.
As you can tell from its name, the Buttercup comes from the Italian island of Sicily, where it was bred for aesthetic value. Unfortunately, it isn’t great for egg or meat production.
9. The Sultan
The Sultan looks very much like its name, which means “King” in Muslim countries. This Turkish breed sports a dense plumage, consisting of a prominent crest, a V-shaped comb, a beard, a long tail, and heavily feathered legs and feet. The bird also has five toes on each foot.
However, since the Sultan is bred for looks, it does not make a good egg or meat producer. Nonetheless, its calm and friendly temperament makes it an excellent pet bird. Additionally, it does not mind confinement.
10. The White-Faced Spanish
This Mediterranean breed gets its name from its snow-white face. Like other Mediterranean chicken breeds, the Spanish is renowned for its superior flight capabilities. Therefore, keep that in mind if you decide to rear this bird.
In contrast to its white face, the Spanish chicken has a solid black body with a beetle green sheen to its plumage. It is a remarkably striking bird, to say the least. It is also a prolific egg layer. However, it is not the hardiest of chicken.
11. The Cochin
The Cochin is a breed that you will fall in love with. It comes with plumage so dense that you cannot see its feet. If you are the kind of person that values inner beauty, you will not be disappointed, as Cochins are some of the most wholesome birds you will ever meet.
Docile, friendly, and receptive to cuddles, the Cochin is like a pooch with feathers. Interestingly, these birds make exceptional parents, with roosters taking dad duties seriously.
While they do lay large brown eggs, they are not exceptional egg producers, only laying a few per week. The good news, however, is that they can lay eggs throughout the winter. Their immense fluff makes them one of the most cold-hardy breeds out there. As you might expect, they don’t do well in warm climates.
12. The Phoenix
This breed’s trademark feature is its extremely long tail, which can measure 35 inches or more. The Phoenix is a German breed that came about from crossing some Japanese chicken with local breeds, such as Leghorns.
13. The Silkie
The Silkie almost looks like a plush toy and gets its name from its unique silky feathers. These birds are extremely friendly and love being handled. As a result, most people keep them as pets and show birds.
Their fluffy, silky feathers, however, come with some disadvantages. For starters, they do not stick together, which means that the Silkie cannot fly. This makes the bird highly vulnerable to predators or bullying by larger birds. Additionally, they are not waterproof, meaning that Silkies cannot do well in wet climates.
Nonetheless, for a show bird, the Silkie is a decent egg layer, making up to three eggs a week. Additionally, it is a good free ranger, meaning that it can fend for itself. It is also quite tolerant to heat, making it a great option for those who live in warmer climates.
14. The Ayam Cemani
The Ayam Cemani is a unique breed and is one of the rarest chickens in the world.
What makes this bird unique is that it comes in all black, including its meat and bones. This can be attributed to a condition known as fibromelanosis, which is characterized by the excess production of dark pigment. Interestingly, its eggs are cream-colored.
As you can expect, these birds are not cheap owing to their rarity. If you are lucky, you can get a dozen Ayami Cemani hatching eggs for around $160, while an unsexed chick costs around $50.
15. The Brahma
Also known as the “King of Chicken,” the Brahma is the largest chicken breed in the world today. In fact, some individuals have been recorded weighing up to 18 pounds. Nonetheless, despite their larger size, Brahmas are gentle, friendly giants.
They also tolerate handling, making them ideal for families with children since they can handle some roughhousing.
In addition to their great size, their plumage is quite dense, making them appear even larger. Nonetheless, it also gives them a fluffy, adorable look.
The Brahma is great for egg and meat production, laying an average of 3 to 4 eggs per week. When it comes to meat production, the bird’s size speaks for itself. As expected, Brahmas rule the roost in any coop they find themselves in.
People consider numerous factors when choosing the stock they want to add to their flock. However, if you are after pure beauty, the breeds on this list are hard to beat. Check them out and let us know what you think.
Featured Image Credit: ArtistLens, Pixabay
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.