I began studying the largest chicken breeds when someone gifted us a magnificent Brahma cockerel. Despite his enormous size, he is a true gentle giant who commits every minute of his day to ensure his beloved flock of hens is safe and happy.
I’ve since been fascinated by the variety of hefty chicken breeds worldwide – and now I’m showcasing some of my favorites!
So, if you’re ready to learn about some insanely large chicken breeds perfect for homesteaders, let’s go!
15 Largest Chicken Breeds!
We’ve got a small disclaimer regarding our large chicken breed list! There are countless hundreds of chicken breeds worldwide. It would be a tremendous task comparing them all. So we’ve examined several of the most common and popular chicken breeds that are also massive. The following list is based on the average size of the cockerel, as they tend to be larger than the hens.
So, for clarity, here is our list of the most common large chicken breeds ranked in order of size!
1. Jersey Giant
The largest and tallest chicken breed on Earth is undoubtedly the Jersey Giant. As the name suggests, this is one massive chicken!
Jersey Giant cockerels weigh about 13 to 15 pounds, and the hens weigh between 10 and 12 pounds. Originally all Jersey Giant chickens were the black variety. But more recently, blue Jersey Giant chickens and white Jersey Giants have joined the breed list.
Although Jersey Giants are sizeable chickens, they are calm and docile. They are very hardy and often continue laying eggs through the winter months.
In the 1840s, tremendously-sized chickens with feathered legs got imported into America from the Chinese port of Shanghai. The popularity of these unusual birds soon rose, and poultry breeders used them to create a breed of their own – the now-famous Brahma.
With their impressive plumage and fabulously feathered legs, Brahma chickens are now ubiquitous worldwide. Initially, homesteaders raised them for meat consumption. But their tendency to lay well through the winter meant many farmers kept them for egg production.
A Brahma rooster weighs around 12 pounds, and the hens weigh between 9 and 11 pounds. In America, the breed standard only accepts light, dark, and buff coloring, but a wider variety of colors, such as partridge, are commonplace elsewhere.
Our third-place spot goes to the Orpington. They’re a British breed of chicken once reared for meat. But now they are more of an ornamental show bird. Male Orpington roosters weigh around 10 pounds and females around 8 pounds. Fans of this friendly breed love their beautiful eggs, which come in varying shades of brown.
Faverolles are a large breed of chicken that originates from France. They are good dual-purpose chickens that can get reared for egg production or meat. The quirkiest feature of Faverolles is the ruff of feathers around their neck, which resembles an impressive beard!
The Cochin chicken is often confused with the Brahma, and it is easy to see why! Both breeds can trace their origins to large birds from China that came to the US in the 1800s. But, the Cochin failed to gain popularity as a meat bird and is now more commonly kept as an ornamental egg layer. The joy of this breed is their relaxed temperaments, making them great family pets for first-time and backyard chicken owners.
The Cornish chicken was once known as the Indian Game hen, and sadly the origins of this breed lie in attempts to breed the ultimate fighting roosters. Luckily this practice has since been outlawed, and this breed is now hugely popular as a meat chicken due to its impressive stature. The Cornish chicken would not be a good choice as egg-laying hens. They are notorious for their poor egg production.
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Although the origins of the Dorking chicken breed are a bit of a mystery, they could have links dating back to Roman times! They became hugely popular in Britain in the 1800s, and to this day, there are many fans of this breed worldwide. The Dorking is arguably one of the best chicken breeds to rear for meat. And they are also fair egg layers.
Unlike all the large chicken breeds we have discovered, the Dorking is famed for its flying ability! These heavy birds like to roost in trees and will enjoy a coop with high perches to sleep on.
Sussex chickens are not particularly well known, which is a shame as this is a lovely breed that can be a great addition to any homestead. They are considered one of the best dual-purpose chicken breeds and can get reared for either meat or egg production.
9. Rhode Island Red
If you live in a rural area with a large population of chicken predators roaming about, then Rhode Island Reds are a good choice! This large breed of chicken is known to be particularly savvy when it comes to evading predators, and these survival skills mean they are particularly suited to free-range living.
Rhode Island Red roosters have a reputation for aggressive natures, so it may be best to stick to hens if this is your preferred large chicken breed.
Fun fact – there is a bantam Rhode Island Red if tiny chickens are your thing!
The first time I saw a Turken chicken, I thought there was something wrong with it! This breed also gets referred to as naked neck chicken because it lacks all feathers around the neck. This neck baldness is due to a dominant gene. And Turken chickens got selectively bred by the chicken industry to carry this trait, which makes them easier to prepare for the table.
As we travel down our large chicken breed list, we now approach medium-sized hens such as the Delaware chicken. This low-maintenance docile breed is easy to rear and is a prolific egg layer – two traits that make it increasingly popular amongst backyard chicken keepers.
12. New Hampshire
New Hampshire chickens are another American breed prized for their docile temperament and excellent egg production. These friendly birds are famed for their mothering skills. And are even known to adopt orphan chicks as part of their family! These family-oriented characteristics make the New Hampshire chicken an ideal breed to choose if you plan on rearing birds – to keep or sell.
Minorca chickens are relatively large, but their star quality is the size of the eggs they can lay. This breed likely lays the grandest white eggs of any chicken breed in the world – quite an impressive claim to fame! They also produce plenty of eggs yearly, making them a great choice to ensure a regular supply of good-sized eggs for your family.
Another breed of chicken that produces huge white eggs is the Leghorn, and the fascinating thing about these hens is that the eggs they lay get heftier and more impressive throughout their lifetime! Each Leghorn hen will lay at least four good-sized eggs weekly, which makes them hugely popular in the egg production industry.
15. Lohmann Brown
Not only do Lohmann Brown hens produce large brown-tinted eggs, but they are also prolific layers. This breed is not particularly heavy. But they lay up to 320 supersized eggs yearly! The sad news is that these lovely hens do not live that long. All their energy gets put into their insane egg production skills.
Largest Chicken Breeds – FAQs
Raising regularly-sized chickens is a ton of work. And oversized chickens are even more trying!
So – we penned the following list of massive chicken breed questions and answers.
We hope they help you!
Jersey Giants are likely the grandest and heaviest chicken breed – the males can weigh 15 pounds. How did the Jersey Giant get so big? Over the centuries, chicken enthusiasts have developed many breeds of hens with specific characteristics, and chickens now come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. A chicken breeder breeds selectively to enhance certain bird features, such as feather color or more productive egg laying.
But when it comes to the size of chickens, things have got extreme! The size difference between the smallest and largest chicken breed is an incredible 13 pounds. We’d love to see these two side-by-side!
Jersey Giant chickens can fly, but not very well. Their large size makes it difficult for them to leave the ground. And a Jersey Giant attempting to aviate is not an elegant sight!
The responsible chicken raiser must help accommodate Jersey Giant chickens and their lackluster flight capabilities! Like all chickens, their instinct is to roost at night, but they cannot fly high or reach lofty perches. It is vital to provide lower perches or a series of steps so your Jersey Giants can roost at night.
You may have come across other sources that say the Brahma is the world’s largest chicken breed. And there is some truth to this claim. However, official breed records state that the Jersey Giant slightly edges ahead regarding weight, making it the true winner in this contest!
Brahma chickens are second in command of our jumbo chicken list! The second contender on our world’s largest chicken breeds list also has a special place in my heart, as it just happens that our majestic rooster Mary (don’t ask!) is a Brahma!
OK, so do oversized chickens produce equally large eggs? Not necessarily! The size of a hen is not always in proportion to the size of eggs she can produce, and some breeds lay more impressive eggs than others.
We could not locate an official world record for the world’s most sizeable individual chicken. But, we have heard farmyard rumors and legends that the title resides by a giant rooster from Kosovo named Merakli. This magnificent 16.5-pound Brahma rose to fame when his owner first posted a picture of him on Facebook, and he stands well over 2 ½ feet tall.
Now, that’s one rooster that I would not want to mess with or doublecross!
We hope our list of heavy-hitting and large chicken breeds makes your quest finding a lovely backyard bird easier.
We included some of our favorite meat birds, egg birds, and dual-purpose hens for any homestead. Which is your favorite? Or maybe we overlooked a large chicken breed?
Let us know if you have further questions or comments about large chicken breeds!
And – we thank you once again for reading.
Have a great day!