Fancy chickens are kept for a different purpose other than those breeds kept for commercial purposes. Their physical appearance makes them eye cuddly and often preferred as ornamental or show birds.
For some, they are very tiny and cannot be used for meat while others are poor egg layers. Others offer very few and little eggs that do not meet the required market standard.
These chickens can still give eggs and some meat but this is not what they are kept for. Continue reading to know some of the fancy chickens to add in your backyard.
Silkie chickens are a breed with fluffy dense feathers and are small in size. They originate from China and some parts in Southeast Asia. These cute chickens are very calm and friendly and are kept as pets.
They are very different from other chickens as they have five toes on each foot. Their skin and meat are dark while the bones are greyish.
Silkie chickens are famous for being very calm and friendly. Most keepers love them as pets as they are not aggressive causing no harm to children.
They are poor layers and go broody very easily and are excellent mothers. Most silkie keepers use them to foster young of other domestic birds like ducks and turkeys and some game birds like quails.
Ayam Cemani is a rare breed of chicken that originates from Indonesia. They are popular for having a high concentration of melanin in their bodies.
This condition called fibromelanosis. It makes them have black skin, comb, wattles, meat, bones and internal organs.
The blood of this breed is darker than that of other chickens. Hens lay cream colored eggs and are not good setters. In Indonesia, these chickens are believed to possess some special powers that make them able to speak with the dead.
These chickens are not very common and this makes them very pricy. They are average sized chicken and many Indonesians keep them as show birds and also for meat.
Brahma chicken is an old heritage breed as poultry journals that were written in the 1800s still talk about them although the exact origin of these chickens remains unclear.
Some sources say that sailors who visited China brought these birds with them to the United States.
These chickens are large, calm and are kept as dual purpose breed. They are good egg layers and offer much meat due to their big size.
They are large birds and form a V shape when you view them from the back. The beak is short and strong and has a small pea comb. Their feet are feathered and love attention lovers.
Houdan chickens trace their origin from the village of Yvelines that is located west of capital Paris. These birds have both beards and crest. They have five toes on each foot like silkies while their plumage is mottled with white on a black background.
These chickens are medium to large in size and are good for both eggs and meat. Houdans have long bodies that are compact and well proportionate.
They are calm, gentle and tolerate confinement very well. Houdan chickens can easily adapt almost every kind of climate. Although they are not good setters, their chicks grow very quickly.
Silver laced Wyandotte
These hardy chickens are very popular with their striking feather patterns that make them unique and a breed you would wish to add in your flock.
Silver laced wyandotte is one of the oldest in America and was created in 1870s when farmers thought it was important to come up with a breed that could offer more meat and eggs. This bird was a thumb up as it could suit their needs.
The most spectacular feature with this chicken breed is its plumage coloring. They have grey feathers edged in black, which gives the chicken an almost mosaic appearance.
They have double combs and their eyes are reddish brown. Their wattles and combs are small and red in color. The skin, beak and legs are yellow with four toes on each foot and the legs being featherless.
They lay 200 light to dark brown eggs in a year and continue to lay even during winter months.
After laying they easily go broody and are very protective leaving the nest when going out to feed. They make good mothers and are sometimes used to hatch eggs of other breeds and foster their young.
This is a rare chicken breed that originates from Pays de la Loire region in France. It is named after the town of La Fleche. It was once famous for its meat until its popularity gone down after the Second World War when other breeds were developed.
La Fleche chickens were introduced in the United States in 1850s but the climate there was not conducive for them.
In 1970s these chickens were almost extinct and conservation efforts were introduced in France to save the remaining species.
Their unique distinguishable feature is the V shaped comb and their medium sized bodies. Hens can lay 180 white eggs per year.
In the late nineteenth century, Hugo du Roi the then President of Germany poultry association created the Phoenix chicken breed. They were developed after cross breeding imported long tailed Japanese birds that were similar to the Onagadori with other birds.
These chickens have a unique feature as they molt their feathers. Molting is when birds completely shed all their feathers and new ones grow.
They are raised as ornamental chicken and loved for their fancy appearance. Phoenix are expensive to buy and require owners who can afford to offer them high maintenance.
Phoenix has small combs in females and medium sized in males and these combs are red in color. They have white earlobes that are oval in shape in both genders.
These chickens are small ornamental birds that have long tails that stretch several feet long.
They lay 1 to 3 white, creamy or light brown eggs per week but their laying pattern is never constant. Phoenix like spending time alone and are not friendly to humans.
Hamburg chickens are a small sized breed that originated from Holland around the 14th century. Despite their size, these chickens are famous for being excellent egg layers.
They have a fancy appearance with white feathers molted in black. They do not do well when confined and love it out as they forage freely and roam in vast areas.
Hamburg chickens can be very noisy when frightened and easily fly due to their small size. They are notorious and will sometimes refuse to come back to the coop and prefer to roost on trees.
These birds have a long slender appearance and lay pale bluish legs.
They are easily confused with the Ameraucana and the Easter Egger and are responsible for the blue egg craze. Araucana chickens are very rare and most hatcheries don’t hatch them due to low hatch rates associated with genetics.
These chickens originate from Chile and arrived in the United States in 1930 and quickly became popular for their colorful blue eggs. They are known to have unique physical appearances that are not common with other breeds.
Have tufts a typical type of feathers that grows like men’s handlebar mustache from the cheeks under the skin of their ears…..the happy chicken coop.com.
Araucana resemble some game birds in their upright stance postures with their backs sloping towards their bottom halve and lack the long tail feathers that other chicken breeds have.
They have pea combs that lay close to the birds head and chicks are known to die during incubation stage due to the comical tuft feathers. This makes them rare to find and few dedicated breeders may have them.
These birds are small in size and cannot be good meat birds but are unique for their beautiful blue eggs. 3 small blue eggs is not a bad number for your egg tray although they will take a break and stop laying in winter.
Some say that Araucanas are the most friendly birds although they are very nervous and when frightened they will fly. They are good with kids and like being handled and cuddled a lot.
They easily go broody and make good mothers for their young. The problem with them is that their hatch rates are very low and only few eggs will turn into chicks.
Appenzeller are a mountain breed of chicken as they are well adapted to climbing and roosting on top of trees. These birds originate from Switzerland where they are the national breed.
Appenzeller chickens are easily distinguished their V shaped comb and an unusual forward pointing crest. They love to free roam and don’t do well when confined.
These chickens are cold hardy and will also tolerate heat well. They are active, alert and forage extensively. Appenzeller are a rare breed and can be good egg layers being able to produce a bunch of three eggs per week.
These birds are also referred as Cochin China and are a breed of chicken raised for exhibition purposes. They were developed from feather legged birds from China.
They have a calm disposition and are characterized by abundance of feathers on their bodies. Cochins lay very large eggs with majority of them coming during winter.
Being dense feathered, makes these chickens ideal for cold climates. They really eat a lot and this helps convert the feed into eggs and body heat that keeps them warm during such cold times.
Chicks feather very slowly and can grow very fat making them develop some liver problems. Being fat makes them live in very cold regions where other breeds cannot.
Cochins are extremely broody making prolific and prudent mothers where even roosters will help raise the chicks. They are known to foster young of other domestic poultry like ducks and turkeys.