An Overview of Different Types of Chickens
Most people have absolutely no idea just how many different types of chickens there are across the globe. Each type of chicken is a unique species that is bred for different reasons and purposes. Some are bred for meat, others for egg production, and still others are bred primarily for show. This article takes a look at several different types of chickens, including a brief physical description, their origin, and what they are bred for. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, but rather, a sampling of various species.
Araucana chickens are an intriguing breed to be sure. They have two incredibly striking features that set them apart from other types of chickens. First, they have little curling tufts of feathers that grown from near their ears that give the impression of an old west handlebar mustache. More notably however, is the fact that this is one of the rare breeds that actually lays colored eggs—blue ones to be precise.
The modern breed is from Chile and neighboring regions, originally bred and kept by Araucanian Indians in the area. They are still bred for their eggs, and are quite reliable as egg layers, although there are some genetic issues that result in death before hatching.
Barred Plymouth Rock Chickens
These chickens are amazing dual purpose birds, boasting great egg laying abundance and meat quality as well. Originating as an American breed in the 1800s, the Plymouth Rock Chicken is one of the most commonly bred chickens today.
They are named for their unusual coloring, a black and white stippling of feathers that has a marble-like effect, but they do come in other colors as well. These large birds also come in buff, blue, Columbian, partridge, and variations of silver.
Brahma chickens, one of the largest varieties around, originated in India. Their large size is seemingly increased by their loose featherings and the fact that feather coverage actually extends down the legs and over the feet as well. There are three recognized color varieties of Brahma chickens: light, dark, and buff. These variations boast different color combinations of white, black, and gold feathers and linings.
Although not good for meat, these chickens are average egg producers and incredibly hardy. They also make excellent mothers and are known for their docile temperaments.
As the name suggests, frizzle chickens are recognized by their unkempt and curling feathers. Typically any breed of chicken could have specimens that qualify for frizzle chickens; it just depended on their plumage. The UK, however, has declared frizzle chickens a distinct breed of its own.
They originated in Southeast Asia over 300 years ago, according to several records. Although they are not the best table birds, they are decent egg producers. Most people keep them only for show though.
Leghorn chickens, although rather small, are the world’s best commercial egg producers; on average they produce 280 eggs a year. They have a nervous temperament, however, and since they can fly most private home owners choose not to breed them.
This breed of chicken was first developed in Livorno, Italy and comes in a rainbow of colors. Common colors include the traditional white, blue, buff, barred, silver, red, light brown, and black, although there are many more color variations.
Perhaps one of the most unusual types of chickens in the world, the silky chicken boasts downy feathers that give it a fluffy, collie-like appearance. Although usually white in color, these birds can also come in splash varieties, blue, gray, buff, black, and can be found bearded or non-bearded as well. Their skin and meat is black in color, a highly prized commodity in Asia where they originated from more than 800 years ago.
They are small birds, staying below 5 lbs in weight, but they have wonderful temperaments and make great pets. Although they are not good egg layers, many farmers choose to keep them as broodies to care for baby chickens.