13 Rare & Beautiful Chicken Breeds

Humans have been tinkering with the domestic chicken’s genetics for countless generations with surprising results.

In the world of chickens, there’s a breed for every purpose. Some are prized for their beautiful plumage and make great exhibition birds or pets, while others are valued for their practicality. Whether you’re looking for excellent egg layers, meaty birds, or dual-purpose breeds, there’s a chicken for everybody.

Barbu de Grubbe

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The Barbu de Grubbe, a small, bearded chicken breed from Belgium, is known for its unique look, featuring a face and throat covered in feathery “beards.” They come in various colors and are prized for their quirky appearance and friendly nature. They make great pets for those with limited space. Despite their size, they lay about 80 to 100 eggs a year. People love them for their distinctive style, manageable size, and the personality they add to any flock.

English Orpington

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I’m biased on this one but I think you can clearly see why. I raise a beautiful line of Orpingtons from show lines that I love and they are a fantastic dual-purpose heritage breed that comes in many colors. Orpingtons lay jumbo-sized eggs and provide a hefty carcass as meat birds, although they take longer to reach maturity in both regards. Their fluffy beauty is paired with a gentle and relatively quiet disposition, making them great for family homes with little kids running around.

Read more: Is The Buff Orpington The Best Dual-Purpose Heritage Breed?

Salmon Faverolles

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The next heritage breed on my list of chickens I want to raise is the old French Faverolle chicken — another beautiful dual-purpose breed. Some lines of this chicken actually lay eggs that are pink in color! Though most will be beige-brown, some breeders focus on egg color, and I have seen some incredible eggs.

Read More: Salmon Faverolles {The Beautiful French Chicken That Lays PINK Eggs!}

Brahma Hen

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The Brahma chicken breed is renowned for its impressive size and striking appearance. These gentle giants typically weigh 9 to 12 pounds for hens and 12 to 18 pounds for roosters. While they may not be the most prolific egg layers, their eggs are quite large, averaging 3-4 browns per week.

This breed was very popular with the early pioneers and I find numerous references to them in old writing from that time period.

Brahma Rooster

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Brahmas are dual-purpose birds, initially raised for meat due to their substantial size. Still, they have also become popular as ornamental birds, thanks to their majestic, feathered feet and friendly disposition.

They make excellent additions to backyard flocks and are known for their calm and sociable nature, making them a favorite choice for families and poultry enthusiasts.

Sebright Chicken

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The Golden Sebright is a small, strikingly beautiful chicken breed, admired for its lustrous golden plumage with black laced patterns. Originating from England in the early 19th century, this bantam breed is known for its active and friendly temperament, making it a popular choice among poultry enthusiasts. The Sebrights are true bantams, meaning there is no large version of the breed, which contributes to their appeal for backyard flocks and those with limited space. They lay a modest number of small, white eggs, typically around 60 to 80 per year. The Golden Sebright’s eye-catching appearance and sociable nature make it a favorite for exhibitions and as pets, with people appreciating their decorative beauty and lively personalities.

Cochin

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The Cochin chicken breed is celebrated for its remarkable appearance and charming personality. These birds are large and fluffy, with hens averaging around 8-10 pounds and roosters 11-12 pounds. Although they don’t lay as many eggs as some other breeds, they will produce about 3-4 large brown eggs per week. Cochins are often dual-purpose, initially raised for meat, but today, they’re mostly kept for their captivating looks and friendly temperament.

Cochin’s Are Fluffy & Gentle

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The Cochin breed is affectionate and docile, making it an excellent backyard pet. Its feathered feet and gentle disposition have made it a popular choice for both beginners and experienced poultry keepers who appreciate its ornamental and companion qualities.

Polish Chicken

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Polish chickens are known for their distinctive appearance, particularly their striking crests of feathers. They are relatively small, with hens typically weighing around 4-5 pounds and roosters slightly heavier at 6-7 pounds. Regarding egg production, Polish hens lay approximately 150 to 200 medium-sized white eggs per year.

More Polish Hen Beauty

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While they are primarily raised for their ornamental charm, their eggs are a valuable addition to the flock, offering both aesthetic appeal and a moderate egg supply. With their quirky crests and friendly disposition, Polish chickens are a popular choice for those who appreciate poultry with personality and some egg-laying capability.

Padovana Chicken

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The Padovana chicken breed, often mistaken for Polish chickens due to their similar crests of feathers, has its own distinctive features. These birds are small in size, with hens weighing around 4-5 pounds and roosters slightly heavier at 5-6 pounds. In terms of egg production, Padovana hens lay approximately 150 to 180 medium-sized white eggs each year.

Like Polish chickens, Padovanas have ornamental qualities and are known for their friendly and sociable nature, which makes them appealing to poultry enthusiasts.

Silkie

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Silkie chickens are fluffy, unique-looking birds with soft, silk-like feathers. They’re smaller, come in various colors, and have friendly personalities, making great pets. Silkies lay relatively few eggs, typically around 100 to 120 per year, but they excel at hatching and caring for chicks, often used as natural incubators or “broodies” for eggs. People get them for their charm, companionship, and their helpfulness in raising other poultry.

Ameraucana

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The Ameraucana chicken lays blue eggs and comes in many colors herself. They have a hawk-like face and a fascinating history that goes back to the ancient origins of the blue-egg-laying gene.

Read More: Ameraucana Chicken: The Myths, Lies, & FACTS

Black Sumatra Chicken

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Black Sumatra chickens are celebrated for their striking and elegant appearance. They are a relatively small breed, with hens typically weighing around 4-5 pounds, and roosters slightly heavier at 5-6 pounds. Regarding egg production, Black Sumatra hens are modest layers, producing about 100 to 150 small to medium-sized white eggs annually.

These chickens are primarily raised for their ornamental charm, as they boast glossy black plumage with lustrous greenish sheen and striking red combs and wattles. Their attractive appearance and regal bearing make them a sought-after breed for poultry enthusiasts who appreciate their unique aesthetic qualities. Black Sumatras are also known for their active and spirited nature, adding a layer of personality to any flock.

Read More: 16 Black Chicken Breeds {5 Have Black Skin!}

Barbu d’Anvers

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Barbu d’Anvers chickens are beloved for their petite and charming presence. They are one of the smallest chicken breeds, with hens typically weighing around 1-1.25 pounds and roosters slightly heavier at 1.25-1.5 pounds. In terms of egg production, Barbu d’Anvers hens are not the most prolific layers, typically producing around 150 small to medium-sized white eggs annually.

These chickens are mainly raised for their ornamental qualities. They are absolutely adorable with their unique beards and muffs and come in various color variations. Their small size, captivating looks, and friendly disposition make them popular for those seeking ornamental and companion or pet poultry.

Barbu d’Anvers chickens have a lively and sociable nature, adding charm to any backyard flock.

Wyandotte Chicken

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Wyandotte chickens are known for their striking appearance and versatile qualities. They are medium-sized birds, with hens typically weighing around 6-7 pounds and roosters slightly heavier at 7-8 pounds.

When it comes to egg production, Wyandotte hens are moderate layers, producing around 200 to 220 brown eggs each year. These chickens are renowned for their dual-purpose attributes, excelling in egg production and meat quality.

With their distinctive laced plumage patterns and rose combs, Wyandottes come in various color varieties, adding to their appeal. They are friendly and calm, making them a favorite choice for backyard flocks and families. Wyandotte chickens are a well-rounded breed, providing both aesthetic pleasure and practical benefits.

Read More: Wyandotte Chicken {The Most Beautiful Dual-Purpose Heritage Breed?}

More Chicken Facts

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Want more interesting chicken articles? See the 11 breeds of chickens that lay blue eggs.

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Read The Article: 16 Black Chicken Breeds {5 Have Black Skin!} too.

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