Fancy Chicken Breeds: How Classy Can Cockerels Really Get? | Kidadl


Fancy Chicken Breeds: How Classy Can Cockerels Really Get?

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Yes, you read that right, our beloved domesticated chicken, the humble poultry bird, bred for eggs and meat, some even for ornamental purposes, does have some fancier and exotic members in its species.

Unlike what you may think, chickens actually come in hundreds of breeds. These underestimated birds do have some fancy relatives which you may be unaware of.

In fact, there are hundreds of popular breeds, a lot of them native to certain regions of the world. As with any other living being on this planet, their surroundings and environment, the food available for them to eat, and breeding conditions, all contribute to their different variations.

With the existence of such a huge number of breeds, it becomes important to categorize them based on certain factors. Hence, chickens are categorized into different breeds based on several factors like feather count, plumage, the color of their eggs, comb type, the purpose of breeding (whether for eggs or meat or both, or whether for decoration), skin type, and color, tail feather, meat production, crested breeds, plumage color, number of toes, size, and place of origin. There is a list of pre-set standards, laid down by governing authorities that mention the manner of judging and characterizing these breeds. Depending upon these categories, there are several interesting fancy chicken breeds, including Yokohama chicken, Sebright chicken, Polish chickens, Phoenix chicken as well as Swiss chicken breeds.

After reading about different fancy chicken breeds, also check biggest chicken and most expensive chicken.

American Fancy Chicken Breeds

The American Poultry Association, founded in 1873 and incorporated in 1932, is the biggest North American Association that has passed standards of perfection for breeding chickens. Its standards are perhaps the most widely used ones when judging breeds.

The American Bantam Association lays down some standards for characterization, however, this association deals exclusively with the bantam breed of Fowls. They concern themselves with bantam breeders. Bantams are basically smaller versions of several bigger chicken species. However, a true bantam does not have a bigger version.

Other famous American fancy chicken breeds include Leghorn, Lamona, Ameraucana, Jersey Giant, American Game, New Hampshire, Delaware, Buckeye, Holland, Brahma, Wyandotte (known for having a rose comb), Pyncheon, Dominique, California Gray, Clue Hen of Delaware, Java, Rhode Island White, Rhode Island Red, Iowa Blue, Plymouth Rock, and American Long Crower. The Ameraucana chicken is famous for laying blue eggs.

The American Game and Blue Hen of Delaware are two breeds that, though originally bred for cockfighting, have become breeds whose primary use is for poultry exhibition and ornamentation. The American Game, primarily used for ornamentation, lays brown eggs. The Blue Hen of Delaware became the state bird in 1939.

The majority of the above-listed breeds have a dual purpose, which is, meat as well as eggs. Breeds serving dual purposes include Brahma, California Gray, Buckeye, Dominique, Wyandotte, Java, Iowa Blue, Holland, New Hampshire, Jersey Giant, Rhode Island Red, and Rhode Island White.

The Leghorn, a popular breed, is primarily used for its eggs. Originally from Italy, this breed was brought to the US in 1828 from Tuscany. The name Leghorn is derived from the original Tuscan name Livorno from where these chickens were first exported to the states. Initially named “Italians” upon their first arrival in America, they came to be termed Leghorns in 1870 in Massachusetts.  They lay white eggs and are known to lay between 250-320 white eggs per year.

The Plymouth Rock chicken, originating in Massachusetts in the 19th century is another breed of fancy chicken. They are also used widely in America and the UK as they are good layers of brown eggs, with their ability to lay over 200 eggs per year. Additionally, these chickens are known for being friendly and of docile temperament. These chickens come under the category of chickens serving dual purposes as they are also known to be a good source of meat.

The Araucana chicken breed is a native of Chile, South America. Known for its blue and green colored Eggs, this breed is one of the fanciest chicken breeds in the world. However, it must be noted that the Araucana hen can only produce one color of eggs; and lay about 180 eggs per year.

Brazilian Fancy Chicken Breeds

There are not many Brazilian chicken breeds. The only recognized chicken breed, originating from Brazil is the Indio Gigante chicken. Also known as the Giant Indian, this breed is known for its massive size.

Belonging to the genus of Gallus Domesticus, this domesticated chicken breed is native to Brazil. This breed of chicken is a cross between a rooster with other breeds.

What makes them fancy, while domesticated, is that these are formed by cross-breeding chickens, usually a lot with the Malay chicken or the Japanese Shamo and some other chickens.

The pre-set standards to be considered an Indio Gigante are that the chicken must be at least 3.4 ft (1.05 m) in height with a minimum weight of 9.9 lb (4.5 kg) for an adult male chicken, and a minimum of 35 in (90 cm) height and 6.6 lb (3 kg) weight for an adult hen (female).

Afghanistani Fancy Chicken Breeds

There are several fancy chicken breeds from Afghanistan as well which you can choose from.

While not much is known about the chicken breeds or fancy chicken breeds native to Afghanistan, the Pusty, Sabzwari, Kulangi, Khasaki, and Ingriido are chicken breeds known to have originated from Afghanistan. Some of these breeds were formerly recognized breeds that have either now been extinct or have been disqualified on grounds of not meeting the set standards.

Serama is widely recognized as being the smallest breed of bantam chicken in the world.

Chinese Fancy Chicken Breeds

The Chinese poultry industry has some of the fanciest chicken breeds in the world. The Chinese Silkie chicken is in fact the fanciest breed of chicken in the world.

Known for its adorable appearance due to fluffy plumage, this chicken breed is considered a favorite breed to add to your backyard flock. Primarily a white chicken breed, the Silkie can also be found in black or dark blue skin colors. Hyperpigmentation is usually the cause of Silkies bearing a black skin color. However, if you just look at the feathers, Silkies can be found in black, gold, white, and red-colored feathers.

Originating from China, this breed is also categorized as a bantam, which implies that it is very small in size. Despite having a small size, Silkies are incredibly nutritious and their meat is known for having healing properties and for helping maintain warmer body temperatures in humans. Especially prescribed for pregnant women and new mothers to restore their health and vitality. However, they are not very good egg layers.

The Chinese Cochin breed of chickens is another well-known fancy chicken breed. Known formerly as the Cochin-China, these chickens were initially exported to North America in the 1840s to become Exhibition chickens. These are large chickens, feather-legged like the Silkie. Primarily bred for their appearance, these chickens are prolific egg layers, and are known for laying large eggs and for laying well especially in the winter months.

Another fancy breed of chickens, originating in China, the Croad Langshan is known for being heavy and soft feathered. Having a very distinct and unique appearance, these chickens can be identified as having a deep, long, and rather heavy breast, and a long tail that rises sharply from its long and sloping back. These are good winter layers as well and can lay very many eggs, about 140-150 eggs per year.

The Nixi chicken, which is another famous Chinese chicken breed hails from the Yunnan Province of China which is known as a landlocked province. Coming from cold climates, this chicken breed’s body temperature is well adjusted to thrive in cold weather and is valued particularly for its meat. The use of these free-range chickens and of their meat and bones in making soups and soup broths is praised all over and the soup made using this chicken is a local delicacy of the region.

Named after the city of Peking where it is believed to have originated, the Pekin Bantam, also known as a true bantam is a breed consisting of miniature chickens. This breed is so small that an adult male chicken weighs only a maximum of 1.5 lb (0.68 kg) while an adult hen weighs a maximum of 1.25 lb (570 g). They are known for laying white eggs and cream eggs, however, they are not the most productive in terms of laying a good number of eggs. The appearance is not all that unique. They are rounded and heavily feathered, with feathers covering their feet. Due to their feet having rather long feathers, constant care must be given to them because if their feet feathers get soiled, there is a danger of their feet becoming useless.

The Swiss chicken breed is one of the exotic chicken breeds and can be called an ornamental breed. They have tail feathers and feathered legs just like the Araucana chickens or the Araucana hens, but they are poor egg layers, just like the Silkie chickens and the Polish chickens. The Polish chickens lay eggs, but they are not reliable egg layers like the Silkie hens, Cochin chicken, and other breeds. The bearded silver-laced long-tailed chicken is one of the prettiest chickens around. There is the non-bearded silver, non-bearded white as well as a bearded golden chicken which is from the large breed.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for fancy chicken breeds then why not take a look at friendliest chicken breeds, or friendliest chicken breeds.

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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