Are you looking to add some excitement to your backyard flock? Or maybe you’re interested in breeding the next generation of extravagant hens for your homestead? If so – consider raising one of these beautiful, glamorous, fancy chicken breeds!
|Fancy Chicken Breed||Uses|
|Polish Chickens||Ornamental and sometimes eggs|
|Araucana Chickens||Colorful eggs|
|Silkie Chickens||Egg brooding, ornamental|
|Barbu D’Uccle||Eggs, meat, ornamental|
|Houdan Chickens||Exhibition, ornamental, eggs, meat|
|Sebright Chickens||Ornamental and eggs|
|Brahma||Meat and eggs|
|Wyandotte||Ornamental, meat, and eggs|
|Faverolles||Exhibition, meat, eggs|
|Sultan||Ornamental and as a pet|
|Orpington||Exhibition, eggs, and meat|
Let’s also explore these beautiful chicken varieties in further detail.
- 15 Fancy Chicken Breeds for Your Homestead or Backyard Flock
- 1. Polish Chickens
- 2. Araucana Chickens
- 3. Silkie Chickens
- 4. Barbu d'Uccle Chickens
- 5. Appenzeller Spitzhauben Chickens
- 6. Houdan Chickens
- 7. Sebright Chickens
- 8. Serama Chickens
- 9. Ayam Cemani Chickens
- 10. Yokohama Chickens
- 11. Brahma Chickens
- 12. Wyandotte Chickens
- 13. Faverolles Chickens
- 14. Sultan Chickens
- 15. Orpington Chickens
15 Fancy Chicken Breeds for Your Homestead or Backyard Flock
The chicken world seems to split into three groups – the farming industry, backyard chicken keepers, and a third group known as poultry fanciers. This latter group places less emphasis on keeping chickens for egg or meat production. Instead, they breed birds for their exotic appearance, fancy crests, flowery feathers, ornamental benefits, and rarity.
So, as much as we love our ordinary chickens, don’t rule out adding some fabulously fancy chicken breeds to your flock. Not only do they look breathtakingly beautiful and quirky, but many also have tremendous productivity.
And – of all fancy chicken breeds – the following 15 are our favorites.
1. Polish Chickens
|Nicknames:||Paduan, Tophat, Poland|
|Fancy Qualities:||Easily one of the most uncommon and fancy chicken breeds. They possess beautiful feathery headgear. Some also have lovely muffs and beards.|
|Uses:||Ornamental and sometimes eggs|
|Breed Club:||Polish Breeder’s Club|
The Polish chicken boasts an impressive headdress of feathers, forming a crash helmet-shaped crest resembling a pom-pom. Polish chickens come in ten different color varieties and two sizes – standard and bantam.
This quirky breed of chicken is more commonly kept as an ornamental bird, although they will lay around 3-4 eggs per week. They are very docile and friendly, making them great pets for children. Polish hens are prone to bullying by more dominant breeds. They are best kept only with their kind. They prefer warmer climates and will fail to thrive in cold, wet conditions.
2. Araucana Chickens
|Nicknames:||Blue egg chickens|
|Fancy Qualities:||Araucana chickens are highly unusual. You’ll notice their elegant and flowery ear tuft feathers. They also lay blue eggs – making them one of the fanciest layers in any flock.|
|Breed Club:||Araucana Club of America|
Many fancy chicken breeds are rare. But you can find Araucana happily thriving in many backyard chicken flocks. Famous for their fabulously tufted ears, the Araucana is a medium-sized chicken breed that produces 3 to 4 blue-green eggs weekly. They come in a range of speckled colors and have very short tails.
Araucana chickens fit in well with backyard flocks as they are avid foragers who like to explore. These confident birds also fly well, so you may need to trim their flight feathers to prevent them from escaping. Although very active and adventurous, Araucana hens make friends easily and will quickly become tame.
3. Silkie Chickens
|Nicknames:||Chinese Silkies, Silky|
|Fancy Qualities:||Silkies are arguably one of the fanciest chicken breeds. They have distinctive dark blue to turquoise earlobes, walnut-shaped combs, and five toes. Some silkies also have attractive crests.|
|Uses:||Egg brooding, ornamental|
|Breed Club:||American Silkie Bantam Club|
If you bring a few Silkie chickens into your life, you will quickly become besotted with these beautiful birds. Silkies love to make friends and can become very tame – most Silkie owners regard their birds as pets rather than livestock!
Silkies get their name thanks to their barbless feathers, which resemble fluffy cotton balls. These feathers are not water resistant, so they need adequately dry shelter if you decide this is the breed for you. They also have unusual pigmentation that results in black skin, beaks, feet, internal organs, and fabulous blue ear lobes.
Unfortunately, these fluffy chickens are poor egg layers, producing just 2-3 small eggs weekly. However, Silkie hens go broody readily and are fantastic mothers, making them ideal for rearing your next generation of laying hens.
4. Barbu d’Uccle Chickens
|Nicknames:||Belgian d’Uccle, Millefleur chicken|
|Fancy Qualities:||Barbu d’Uccle chickens boast luxurious muffs and full beards. They’re also surprisingly low to the ground – with fabulously fluffy and feathered feet.|
|Uses:||Eggs, meat, ornamental|
|Breed Club:||Belgian d’Uccle and Booted Bantam Club|
Also known as the Belgian d’Uccle, this bantam chicken breed is famous for its feathered muff and beard that extends right around the head. They also boast heavily feathered legs and a fine plumage of tail feathers, giving them a distinctive exotic appearance.
Barbu d’Uccle chickens are average egg layers, producing 150 – 200 yearly. They are one of the few breeds that lay into the winter months, making them ideal if you want a steady supply of eggs all year round. They also make fantastic mothers, going broody readily and providing devoted care to their chicks.
5. Appenzeller Spitzhauben Chickens
|Nicknames:||Spitzhaubens, Star spangled chickens|
|Fancy Qualities:||Appenzeller Spitzhauben chickens have funkily feathered crests resembling a wild hairdo. They’re also one of the rarest chicken breeds on this list – adding mystique to their unique and fancy nature.|
|Breed Club:||The Appenzeller Spitzhauben Club of America|
Just look at that magnificent plumage! Appenzeller Spitzhauben chickens are the national bird of Switzerland and are famous for the splendid crest of feathers on top of their heads. They come in many colors, but the most striking is the black-and-white Dalmatian variety.
Appenzeller Spitzhaubens are reasonable egg layers but need plenty of space to roam. They are a better choice for larger homesteads rather than small backyards. They get on well with other chicken breeds but can become aggressive if confined to a small space.
6. Houdan Chickens
|Nicknames:||Poule de Houdan|
|Fancy Qualities:||Houdans have highly irregular combs that resemble a leaf. Like Silkies, Houdan chickens possess a fifth toe – making them unique among many other breeds.|
|Uses:||Exhibition, ornamental, eggs, meat|
|Breed Club:||Houdan Chicken Fanciers|
Houdan chickens are currently listed as an endangered breed, which is a shame as these fabulous birds have an incredibly distinctive appearance. This medium-sized breed features a magnificent feather ruff around its head, which looks striking – making it an elegant addition to any homestead.
This quirky bird may look purely ornamental, but Houdan chickens are an excellent choice for any domestic chicken keeper. They are a docile breed, easy to care for, and produce up to 230 eggs per year – that’s pretty impressive for such a beautiful bird! Houdans also make good table birds and have been awarded the highly sought-after Label Rouge certification for their excellent flavor.
7. Sebright Chickens
|Fancy Qualities:||Sebrights are famous for being the original bantam chicken. They’re elegant, teeny, and possess remarkable lace plumage.|
|Uses:||Ornamental and eggs|
|Breed Club:||The Sebright Club|
One of the few true bantam chicken breeds, the feathers of Sebright chickens have a distinctive black outline, giving them a truly unusual appearance. The roosters have particularly long wing and tail feathers, making this breed popular in chicken competitions.
Sadly, although these beautiful chickens can make good pets, they are not particularly useful for producing eggs or meat. Sebrights can be flighty and nervous at first. But, with time and patience, they will become more confident and easy to handle.
Want to brainstorm more luxurious chicken breeds? Then check out the Chicken Encyclopedia by Gail Damerow! It’s a perfectly entertaining, all-in-one reference guide for chicken fanciers. It includes breed descriptions, photos, common medical issues, and light-hearted chicken trivia.
8. Serama Chickens
|Nicknames:||Ayam Katik, Pygmy chicken|
|Fancy Qualities:||Serama chickens are tiny, adorable chickens with grandiloquent, upright tail feathers and wings that point straight down like a soldier at attention.|
|Breed Club:||American Serama Association|
Serama chickens are one of the tiniest breeds in the world, with some growing to just six inches tall! They have a fabulously proud posture and gorgeous colored plumage. These miniature, pint-sized birds are a delight to watch as they strut around the coop.
These little birds are famously good egg producers, laying around 4 to 5 per week. However, bear in mind that the eggs are teeny! Their affectionate nature and adorable appearance make them a fun option for a small backyard coop.
9. Ayam Cemani Chickens
|Nicknames:||Goth Chicken, Dark Sith chicken|
|Fancy Qualities:||Ayam Cemani chickens appear nearly entirely black due to hyperpigmentation. They have black feathers, black skin, black beaks, and even black eyes! Welcome to the dark side.|
|Breed Club:||Ayam Cemani Breeders Association|
It is no wonder that the magnificent Ayam Cemain once boasted a reputation as a magical creature. This chicken breed does look like something out of this world! Every part of the Ayam Cemain chicken is jet black or dark grey, with a beautiful iridescent green sheen to the black feathers.
They may look fabulous, but this fancy chicken breed is unlikely to make it onto your wish list – a single bird can set you back around $200! (We’ve even heard of them selling for up to $6,000.) Ayam Cemani chickens lay eggs sporadically and are more likely to be kept as ornamental show birds than as part of a productive poultry flock.
10. Yokohama Chickens
|Fancy Qualities:||Yokohama chickens are one of the most graceful breeds. They possess strikingly white plumage with a luxuriously long, streaming tail. They also have lavish saddle and sickle feathers, making them even more poofy.|
|Breed Club:||Yokohoma Chickens America|
How eye-catching are those fabulous tail feathers! The tail of the Yokohama chicken can grow up to three feet long, making this ornamental chicken breed hugely popular with poultry fanciers.
Yokohama chickens are very tame and affectionate, and they often like to be petted and cuddled. They will only produce a couple of eggs per week, but if you’re looking for a pet, this friendly breed could be a fun option!
11. Brahma Chickens
|Nicknames:||Shanghai chickens, Burnham chickens|
|Fancy Qualities:||Brahma chickens have adorably feathered feet and smooth, fluffy plumage all over their bodies. They’re surprisingly tall and showy birds – reaching 30 inches tall.|
|Uses:||Meat and eggs|
|Breed Club:||American Brahma Club|
Of all the large chicken breeds, the magnificent Brahma has to be the most beautiful. These giant birds boast stunning multi-colored plumage that extends right down the legs.
Unlike many fancy chicken breeds, Brahmas tolerate cold temperatures well. They are good dual-purpose birds, commonly used for meat and egg production. Brahmas are also famed for their docile and gentle nature, and the hens are incredibly dedicated when rearing chicks.
12. Wyandotte Chickens
|Fancy Qualities:||Wyandottes come in various breathtaking color patterns – including gold-laced, silver-laced, silver-penciled, and partridge. They also possess a luxuriously voluptuous shape – making them an underrated ornamental breed.|
|Uses:||Ornamental, meat, and eggs|
|Breed Club:||Laced Wyandotte Club|
The dense feathering of Wyandotte chickens gives these birds a comically plump appearance. But the Wyandotte’s lace-like coloring is beautiful. Wyandottes are a relatively large breed of chicken, although bantam-sized birds are also available.
They are a popular chicken breed for homesteaders, as Wyandottes are famous as one of the best dual-purpose birds for cooler climates. Hens will lay around 200 eggs yearly, and any surplus stock provides an excellent source of meat. Wyandotte hens also make great mothers, often rearing large clutches of chicks with very little trouble.
13. Faverolles Chickens
|Fancy Qualities:||Faverolles are beautiful and elegant birds with thick and downy feathers – most often with salmon coloring. Faverolles possess five toes, like Silkies and Houdan chickens.|
|Uses:||Exhibition, meat, eggs|
|Breed Club:||Faverolles Chicken Club US (unofficial)|
With their large fluffy beards and feathered legs, Faverolles have a fabulously striking appearance. This large bird is also the only chicken in the world with salmon coloring, making them highly sought after as an ornamental breed. Many other dazzling color variations exist – including cuckoo, ermine, white, blue, splash, black, and mahogany.
The large size of Faverolles makes them a good choice for both egg and meat production, and they are one of the few fancy breeds of chicken to lay through the winter months. Their gentle and affectionate nature means they are easy to care for. But, they do not mix well with other breeds as they get bullied.
14. Sultan Chickens
|Nicknames:||Sarai-Tavuk, Fowls of the Sultan|
|Fancy Qualities:||Sultant chickens possess elegant and flashy decorative plumage. They have fluffy crests, fancy tails, and dapper, feathery feet.|
|Uses:||Ornamental and as a pet|
|Breed Club:||Sultan Chickens – The Poultry Club|
Sultans are an ornamental chicken variety with a fantastic crested headdress and docile temperament, making them easy to keep as pets. Standard-size Sultans are relatively small, while their chicken bantam counterparts can weigh less than a pound.
Sultan chickens were once famous for meat, with their small size making them highly sought after as a delicacy. These days, they are more commonly kept for ornamental purposes, as they are notoriously poor egg producers. They thrive in warmer climates and do not cope well with cold weather.
15. Orpington Chickens
|Nicknames:||Orp chickens, Orps|
|Fancy Qualities:||Orpington are stately birds with lovely feathers, short legs, and beautiful color variations – including buff (most popular), black, blue, splash, and white. They have markedly viscous feathers that stretch from their shapely, full-figured bodies to their lower thighs.|
|Uses:||Exhibition, eggs, and meat|
|Breed Club:||United Orpington Club|
The final fancy chicken breed on our list is the majestic Orpington – a chicken breed that looks far better in real life, as photos do not do this bird justice! The primary feature of Orpington chickens is their lustrously dense plumage that ripples softly in the light, giving it an almost iridescent sheen.
Orpington chickens make excellent show birds. They are also good dual-purpose chickens that produce flavorsome meat and a steady supply of eggs. They are incredibly laid back and often regarded as lazy, with poor natural foraging instincts.
Thanks so much for reading our fancy chicken breed guide!
We can’t decide which fancy chicken breed is our favorite. Each one is fluffier than the last!
What about you?
- Do you have a favorite elegant chicken breed?
- Are there any extravagant chicken varieties that we missed?
- Do you raise chickens for ornamental purposes?
- Or – do you raise chickens for eggs and meat?
We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks again for reading.
Have a great day!