'I don't know which is more discouraging, literature or chickens.' --
E. B. White 'We thought it was a bog-standard chicken until it started breathing fire.' -- JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, chapter 7

Henderson's
Handy Dandy

Chicken Chart

An Alphabetical List of More than 60 Chicken Breeds
With Comparative Information

'People who count their chickens before they are hatched act very wisely, because chickens run about so absurdly that it is impossible to count them accurately.' --
Oscar Wilde 'A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg.' -- Samuel Butler
Ameraucana | Ancona | Andalusian | Appenzeller | Araucana Australorp | Barnevelder | Brahma | Buckeye | Buttercup | Campine | Catalana| Chantecler | Cochin | Cornish | Crevecoeur | Delaware | Dominique | Dorking | Favorelles| Fayoumi | Hamburg | Holland | Houdan | Jaerhon |Java | Jersey Giant | La Fleche | Lakenvelder | Lamona | Langshan | Leghorn | Marans | Minorca | Naked Neck | New Hampshire | Orloff | Orpington | Penedesenca | Phoenix | Plymouth Rock | Polish | Redcap | Rhode Island | Spanish | Sultan | Sussex | Welsumer | Wyandotte | Yokohama

There is no poster version of this chart, but a PDF version of the chart is now available for better printing.
[length of file is 28 pages in landscape orientation]
To make this page more manageable, True Bantams and Game Fowl are now on a separate page.
See also Chicken Resources & "Why another chicken page?"
A word about sex-links.
Tips: Raising Chicks with a Mother Hen & Sexing Chicks
NOTES:
1) We have had personal experience with only a couple dozen of the breeds and varieties on this list.
2) The birds from our flock, past or present, are those listed with illustrations and "Our Birds" comments.
3) Sage Hen Farm is not a hatchery. The information is provided for educational purposes only.
4)
Regularly modified with additions and corrections, this chart has been on the web for more than ten years.
5) This was the first chicken breed chart on the web,
and it's still ad-free.

Breed
(with links to other sites with images and more information)

Varieties / Rarity / What's a hen weigh? Class and Type

Origins

Egg color & productivity; egg size

Comb
Skin color
Earlobes

Brooding
Hardiness
Maturing

Behavior

Ameraucana
Ameraucana
FS PB club


The chipmunky blue-egger.


Black, Blue, Blue-wheaten, Brown-red, Buff, Silver, Wheaten, & White


Easter Eggers are common. Standard Ameraucanas are rare.
80%/12% (EEs/pure)
Unchanged since 2003


Standard:
5.5 lb/2.5 kg
Bantam:
1.6 lb/0.75 kg

APA (1984):
Large
: All Other Bantam: All Other Clean Legged
PC: Not recognized


Layer
Fancy:
Muffed, Bearded

South American. May or may not be genetically related to the Araucana. One theory is that Ameraucanas were developed by crossing Aracaunas with other breeds. The more current, more accepted theory is that a different breed from Chile, the Quechua, was the parent stock from which the Ameraucanas were developed. Standardized & accepted into APA in 1984.

Note: whatever name they use, most hatcheries do not sell standard Ameraucanas, but sell Easter Eggers -- chickens that may lay blue, green, or other colored eggs, but do not conform to standard. Not a problem for backyard flocks.

very good

various
shades
of blue
&
blue-
green


average to above average
pea
white with slate colored shanks
red
occasional brooder
very cold hardy
moderately early maturing

well adaptable to confinement or free range; mostly calm, non-aggressive

Our Birds [mostly mongrel Easter Eggers]: a few have been among the most curious & most easily handled birds we have owned. Others have been calm, non-aggressive, but stand-offish. None of ours has gone broody. We wouldn't have a flock without them.

Ancona
portrait FS AL PP


Almost a Leghorn.

Black mottled, only


Uncommon.
40%
Unchanged since 2003
Standard:
4.5 lb/2 kg
Bantam:
1.5 lb/0.7 kg

APA (1898):
Large: Mediterranean Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Soft Feather Light


  Layer

Developed in Italy in mid-19th century probably from Leghorns sporting mottled feathers. Once rivaled the Leghorn in Europe, but never caught on in North America.

very good
white to
light cream


below average

single, also rose
yellow skin & shanks
white
non-setter
generally hardy;
very cold hardy except for combs
early maturing hens
prefers free range; nervous & restless in confinement; flyer; active, flighty, marked wildness, avoids human contact

Blue Andalusian
Andalusian
FS AL PP


The original blue.

Blue (Black and Splash [White] used for breeding, but not recognized)


Uncommon. bird.
32%
Unchanged since 2003
Standard:
5.5 lb/2.4 kg
Bantam:
1.75 lb/0.8 kg
APA (1874):
Large: Mediterranean Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Light, Rare
hackel feathers prized for fly tying
Layer
Fancy:
Blue feathered

Developed in Spain & England in mid-19th century. Studied by Gregor Mendel in experiments in genetics & heredity.
Blue color does not breed true. Black & Splash (White) are necessary for breeding.

good
chalk to creamy white

above average

single
white skin,
slate blue shanks
white
mostly a non-setter
heat tolerant; combs subject to frostbite; ours were not robust, but that may not be representative of the breed.
early maturing

semi-adaptable to confinement, but prefers free range; active, flighty, noisy, avoids human contact

Our Birds: ours, received as adults, never fit in well with the rest of the flock & were nervous all the time. Our one cock crowed louder than any other we've ever had. We've been hesitant to try them again, but we might, since they are such beautiful birds.

Appenzeller or Appenzell
FS PP club


The national breed of Switzerland.

Spitzhauben (Pointed Hood)
&
Barthuhner (Bearded)


Spitzhauben rare; Barthuhner practically unknown
8%/0% (spitz/barth)
Unchanged since 2003
4 lb/1.8 kg

APA: Not recognized
PC: Soft Feather Light


Layer
Fancy:
Crested
or Bearded

Developed in Switzerland centuries ago. The name is thought to derive from the lace bonnets of the Appenzeller region.

good
white

average

horn, V-shaped, duplex
white skin,
blue shanks
blueish white
can be broody
very cold hardy,
except may have problems
with freezing crest feathers
early maturing
not very tolerant of close confinement; flyer; active, flighty

Araucana or Rumpless Araucana
FS PP PB club


The rumpless, tufted blue-egger.


Black, White, Black Breasted Red, Blue, Buff, Silver


Purebreds are very rare.
0%
Unchanged since 2003
Standard:
5 lb/2.2 kg
Bantam:
1.4 lb/0.65 kg

APA (1976):
Large
: All Other Bantam: All Other Clean Legged
PC: Light, Rare


Layer
Fancy:
Rumpless
Ear Tufts

According to the latest theory I've seen, the breed was developed in Chile from a cross between the Collonca and the Queteros, two of several different blue egg-laying chicken breeds and introduced to North American in 1921. Likely that some "mongrelization" occurred before standardization. Standards differ from country to country, indicating that some different crosses and parent stock may have been involved in the development of the breed.

Note: no large North American hatchery, that I am aware of, sells Araucanas. Instead, whatever name they use, they are selling Easter Eggers -- chickens that may lay blue, green, or other colored eggs. For true Aracaunas, try some of the smaller farms and breeders.


fair

blue
only

below average

pea
yellow skin, willow shanks
red
good, or frequent, brooder
cold hardy. Araucanas carry a "lethal gene" which causes one quarter of chicks to die in the shell.
moderately early maturing
well adaptable to confinement or free range; calm, non-aggressive

Australorp
Australorp or
Black Australorp
FS AL PP club


The purported egg-laying champ from Oz

Black, only (standard); also blue & white


Common
80%
Down since 2003
Standard:
6.5 lb/2.9 kg
Bantam:
2 lb/0.9 kg

APA (1929):
Large
: English Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Soft Feather Heavy


Dual Purpose

Developed in 20th century in Australia, primarily from the Orpington. Gained notoriety when one hen in the 1920s laid a record 364 eggs in 365 days. In earlier "contests," a team of six Australorps averaged 309.5 eggs in a year. That individual performance has never been matched by subsequent Australorps. Not recommended if high egg production is your sole goal for getting chickens.

very good

brown


average
single

white skin,
dark shanks


red
can be broody; good mother
very hardy; very cold hardy
moderately early maturing

well adaptable to confinement or free range; calm, docile; more easily handled

Our Birds: confession: we have both Black Orpingtons and Australorps, and I can't tell them apart. They are docile, but haven't been close to what some call "friendly."

Breed
(with links to other sites with images and more information)

Varieties / Rarity / What's a hen weigh?

Class and Type

Origins

Egg color & productivity; egg size

Comb
Skin color
Earlobes

Brooding
Hardiness
Maturing

Behavior

Barnevelder
Barnevelder
FS PP


Pretty bird, pretty dark brown eggs.

Double-laced, Blue-laced, White, Black, others


Rare, but surging with new interest in dark egg layers.
12%
Up since 2003
Standard:
6-7 lb/2.7-3.2 kg
Bantam:
2.25 lb/1.0 kg

APA (2001):
Large
: Continental
PC: Soft Feather Heavy


Dual Purpose

Developed in late 19th century and early 20th century in Holland for dark egg laying. Developed from an older local variety that may date as early as the 12th century. In recent history, some strains have been bred for show and others for the darkness of their eggs.

good
very dark reddish brown,
with matte finish

average to above average

single
yellow skin &
shanks
red
mixed reports on
setting & brooding
less cold hardy;
developed in region known for damp conditions
slow to mature,
& some chicks can be easily bullied

well adaptable to confinement or free range; calm, docile

Our Birds: ours fit in well with the flock, but shied away with human contact. Ours laid reddish brown eggs, but most were not especially dark. None currently in our flock, we will likely try them again.

Light Brahma
Brahma
FS PP PB


Large and regal

Light, Dark, Buff


Once common, now uncommon.
40%/48% (light/all other)
Lights down , others up since 2003
Standard:
9 lb/4.1 kg
Bantam:
2.6 lb/1.2 kg

APA (1874):
Large
: Asiatic Bantam: Feather Legged
PC: Soft feather Heavy


feathers prized for fly tying
Dual Purpose
[formerly Meat]
Fancy:
Feather Footed, outside only

Once the largest breed of chicken, the Brahman has some mysteries. Its origin has been in dispute for more than a century and a half. Introduced in mid-19th century (whether first to New York City or London is also in question). Probably imported from the port city of Shanghai, but may have originated in Chinda, India, or elsewhere in the East Indies. Another claim is that the breed was developed in the United States using Cochins, Malays, and Dorkings. For more information on the origins, see Lewis Wright's 1873 monograph on the Brahma fowl.

Before the name Brahma was settled on, they were also called Chittagongs, Shanghais (as were the Cochins), and Brahmapootras. Since the Brahmaputra River flows through China, India, and Bangladesh, even the name doesn't help shed light.

good

brown

average

pea
yellow skin &
shanks
red
good, or frequent, brooder
robust; very hardy in heat & cold
slow to mature

adaptable to confinement or free range; mostly gentle; more easily handled.

Our Birds: some hens were among the gentlest birds we've owned; one rooster became too aggressive toward humans and other chickens in his older age. Some hens ate a lot, got fat, and never laid that many eggs, and we do not currently have any in our flock.

Buckeye
Buckeye
FS AL club


Buckeye brown bird from the Buckeye state.

Nut brown, only


Uncommon.
44%
Up from 12% in 2003
6.5 lb/2.9 kg

APA (1904):
Large: American
PC: Not recognized


Dual Purpose

Developed by Mrs. Nettie Metcalf of Warren, Ohio, in late 19th century to be a red-feathered, winter-hardy layer. Learning of the Rhode Island Red, she exchanged eggs and birds with RIR breeders to develop the Buckeye Red as a pea-combed variety of the Rhode Island Red. However, since the comb differed, the color was darker, and the genetics different, and because she was concerned that her birds would lose their distinctiveness as a variety of Rhode Island, she established the Buckeye as a separate breed -- Buckeyes and RIRs entered separately into the Standard of Perfection the same year, and pea-combed RIRs disappeared.

good

brown
good winter layer

average

pea
yellow skin & shanks
red
can be broody
very cold hardy
moderately slow maturing

adaptable to confinement, very adaptable to free range; calm, docile; can be curious; more easily handled.

Our Birds: some have been among the "friendliest." Perhaps because of docileness, none have risen high in the pecking order. Our first Buckeye hens had low egg production, but more recent hens have been much better.

Buttercup
Buttercup or Sicilian Buttercup
FS PP club


Known for its comb.

Golden


Uncommon.
32%
Unchanged since 2003
5 lb/2.2 kg

APA (1918):
Large: Mediterranean
PC: Light, Rare


Layer
Fancy:
Large buttercup comb

Originally developed in Dedham, Massachusetts, by C. Carroll Loring from stock purchased in Sicily by his neighbor a Captain Dawes, before 1860, perhaps as early as 1835. It took several generations longer for a standard color pattern to be developed and the breed to be accepted into the standard.

good
white

below average

buttercup
yellow skin &
shanks
white
non-setter (mostly)
heat tolerant; combs subject to frostbite
early maturing,
but full comb takes longer

does not do well in close confinement; very fidgety; active, flighty, wild even for a Mediterrean breed; avoids human contact

Our Birds: ours have been typically flighty and shy, but one has been as stubbornly broody as any hen we've raised. Email collaboration of broodiness elsewhere has inspired me to alter Brooding from "non-setter" to non-setter (mostly)

Breed
(with links to other sites with images and more information)

Varieties / Rarity / What's a hen weigh?

Class and Type

Origins

Egg color & productivity; egg size

Comb
Skin color
Earlobes

Brooding
Hardiness
Maturing

Behavior

Golden Campine
Campine

FS AL PP RB


Beautiful bird with unique pencilling.

Golden, Silver


Uncommon.
32%/24% (golden/silver)
Down since 2003
5 lb/2.2 kg

APA (1914):
Large
: Continental Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Soft feather Light


Layer
Fancy: Some males are hen-feathered

May have ancient ancestry, but refined & further developed in Belgium in the 19th century and further developed by British and American breeders. The breed is closely related to the Braekel, a larger, bulkier Belgian breed that did not spread so widely. They share a similar penciling feather pattern, although the Campine cocks are more hen-feathered. Named for the Campine region of Belgium, known for its sandy plains, moors, heath, and wetlands. One theory is that it evolved there where a smaller, lighter more active bird was better adapted to forage over a flat desolate land. The Campine, however, may simply be a lighter bodied Braekel sport.

good
white

average

large single
white skin,
blue shanks
white
non-setter
hardy; comb subject to frostbite
quick feathering
but late maturing

economical eater; semi-adaptable to confinement, but prefers free range; flyer; alert, lively; can be curious; some are rather wild, others can be quite tolerant of humans

Our Birds: one hen free ranges even to lay eggs -- never in a standard nesting area. Our cock refused to be confined when we tried to initate a breeding program. Some have been "friendly" enough to eat out of a hand or be a garden companion. Our favorites among the white egg layers. In 2013, one of our flightiest Campines went secretly broody hatched chicks from 14 of 15 eggs and settled down (if never quite calmly) to raise the chicks.

Catalana
FS

Buff


Rare.
12%
Up since 2003
6 lb/2.7 kg

APA (1949):
Large
: Mediterranean Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Not recognized


Layer

Developed in Spain in late 19th century as a meat & egg bird.

very good

white to
light tint

single
yellow skin &
shanks
white
non-setter
very hardy in heat
early maturing
less tolerant of close confinement; active, vigorous, avoids human contact

The most popular breed of South America.

average

Partridge ChanteclerChantecler
FS AL club


Canada's breed.

White, Buff, Partridge


Rare, even in Canada.
16%
Up since 2003
6.5 lb/2.9 kg

APA (1921):
Large: American Bantam: All Other Clean Legged
PC: Not recognized


Dual Purpose

Developed by Brother Wilfred Chatalain of the Oka Agricultural Institute in Quebec over the course of of a decade beginning in 1908. The goal of his carefully documented breedings was an "ideal fowl" for Canada, good for both meat & eggs and, with small comb and wattles that would be able to stand the extreme cold. Brother Wilfred, who earned a doctorate in agronomy, was also responsible for developing the two flock method for breeding. Among the breeds used in the crosses were Cornish, Leghorn, Rhode Island, Wyandotte, and Plymouth Rock. Brother Wilfred's preferred plumage was white, and he was not responsible for developing the other varieties.

Dr. J. E. Wilkinson, also a Canadian, developed the Partridge Chantecler in the 1930s, but it is totally unrelated to the original White Chantecler. The Buff was developed by an American, Walter Franklin, in the 1980s.

good
brown

good winter layer

below average to above average

cushion
yellow skin &
shanks
red
frequent brooder; good mother
extremely cold hardy
early maturing

bears confinement well; can be calm and docile or skittish.

Our Birds: our partridges have blended in so well they remained rather anonymous for a long time. One has been twice a successful mother hen. Frequent broodiness has been their most common trait.

Unlike our Partridge Chanteclers, our buff Chanteclers have been nervous and skittish.

Cochin
portrait FS AL PP PB club

Buff, White, Black, & Partridge


Uncommon.
44%
Down from 64% in 2003
Standard:
8.5 lb/3.8 kg
Bantam (aka Pekin):
1.3 lb/.6 kg

APA (1874):
Large
: Asiatic Bantam: Feather Legged
PC: Soft feather Heavy


Fancy:
Feather Footed, fully

Introduced from China in early 19th century. Originally known as the Shanghai (a name also used for the Brahma). The breed that launched interest in poultry shows in the nineteenth century. Pekins are recognized as a separate bantam breed in some countries, rather than as bantam Cochins.

poor to fair
tinted or
yellowy
brown

small single
yellow skin & shanks
red
excellent brooder (or exceedingly annoying as a too frequent brooder);
good mother;
often used as a foster mother
robust, cold hardy
slow to mature
well adaptable to confinement or free range; calm, docile; more easily handled

Big ball of fluff and feathers.

below average

Cornish or Indian Game
FS PP club

White, Dark, White Laced, Red, Buff


Uncommon.
44%
Up since 2003
Standard:
8 lb/3.6 kg
Bantam:
2.6 lb/1.2 kg

APA (1893):
Large: English Bantam: All Other Clean Legged
PC: Hard Feather Heavy


Meat

Developed in Cornwall in 19th century. Now principally used commercially for cross breeding purposes for Cornish X Rock.

poor

light
brown

pea
yellow skin & shanks
red
can be broody;
protective mother
cold hardy
moderately early maturing
easily contained; less active; very docile for a game bird, noisy; because of slowness and inability to well defend themselves, not recommended for a mixed flock

Famed meat bird, especially when crossed.

below average

Crevecoeur
FS AL PP

Black


Rare.
24%
Up since 2003
6.5 lb/3 kg

APA (1874):
Large
: Continental Bantam: All Other Clean Legged
PC: Heavy, Rare


Fancy:
Crested
Bearded & muffed

Developed in Normandy, during or before the 17th century. Believed to be the oldest of several breeds hailing from Normandy, and therefore most likely a forebearer of the others, including Houdans, Faverolles, and possibly La Fleche.

Named after the village of Crève-Coeur en Ange, which might be translated in English as Angel's Heartbreak

poor to fair
white

horn, V-shaped, duplex
white skin,
dark shanks
red [hidden by feathers]
non-setter
because of fancy feathering,
not suited for foul weather;
may have problems with
freezing crest feathers
moderately early maturing
suited for close (and dry) confinement; active; can be aggressive

Is it beautiful and elegant, or just peculiar-looking?

average

Cubalaya
FS AL


Cuba's fighting meat bird.

Black-Breasted Red, White, Black


Rare, but once unknown outside the Caribbean.
20%
Unchanged since 2003
4.5 lb/2 kg

APA (1939):
Large:All Other
PC: Not recognized


Game

Developed in Cuba in 19th century from Phillipine or Indonesian stock.

poor
white

pea
white skin & shanks
white
great, or very frequent, brooder
not feathered for cold winters; very hardy in heat
slow to mature
needs to be active; less tolerant of close confinement; aggressive, noisy; because of aggressiveness, not recommended for a mixed flock

Breed
(with links to other sites with images and more information)

Varieties / Rarity / What's a hen weigh?

Class and Type

Origins

Egg color & productivity; egg size

Comb
Skin color
Earlobes

Brooding
Hardiness
Maturing

Behavior

Delaware
Delaware
FS AL club

White [Columbian]


Uncommon.
44%
Up from 32% in 2003


Standard:
6.5 lb/2.9 kg
Bantam:
1.8 lb./0.8 kg

APA (1952):
Large
: American Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Not recognized


Dual Purpose

Developed by George Ellis in 1940 in Delaware while experimenting with crossing breeds for broilers. An off-colored sport of a Barred Rock / New Hampshire cross that bred true.

Unknown in most of the world.

very good

medium
to rich
brown

good winter layer

single
yellow skin &
shanks
red
can be broody
robust; hardy in heat & cold
early maturing

well adaptable to confinement or free range; calm, docile.

Our Birds: Where ours have stood out has been for decent productivity of very large eggs.

A broiler cross that became a breed.

well above average

Dominique
or Dominiker
portrait FS AL PP

Barred only


Uncommon.
44%
Down from 52% in 2003

Standard:
5 lb/2.2 kg
Bantam:
1.5 lb/0.7 kg

APA (1874):
Large
: American Bantam: Rose Comb Clean Legged
PC: Soft Feather
Heavy, Rare


feathers prized for fly tying
Dual Purpose

Developed in New England in early 19th century. Not distinguished from the Barred Rock until APA Standards were developed. Most modern Dominiques may be traced to stock developed by A. Q. Carter after 1900.

good

brown

good winter layer

rose
yellow skin &
shanks
red
good, or frequent, brooder; good mother
robust; cold hardy
early maturing
well adaptable to confinement or free range; calm mostly, but more flighty than other dual purpose breeds

Claimant to title "America's first breed."

average

Dorking
Dorking
FS PP RB club

Silver Gray, White, Colored


Silver uncommon, all others rare.
24%/4% (silver/all other) Up since 2003


Standard:
6.5 lb/2.9 kg
Bantam:
1.0 lb/0.8 kg

APA (1874):
Large
: English Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Soft feather Heavy


Dual Purpose
Fancy:
Five-Toed
Short legs

Ancient; believed to have been introduced to England by Romans -- based primarily on a description by a Roman writer of a chicken with five toes. May have origins in Normandy, where other five-toed chicken landraces have been known.

fair to good

creamy
white to
light tint

rose & single
white skin &
shanks
red
great brooder (or annoyingly too frequent brooder);
good mother
less hardy in general,
but cold hardy
chicks delicate
& slow to mature

adaptable to confinement or free range; calm; docile; stately or awkward; fattens easily; more easily handled

Our Birds: ours have varied from quiet & calm to flighty. Some hens have been very broody. Once they've reached maturity, our birds have been quite hardy. They are supposed to be oddly short-legged, but ours have only be slightly short-legged.

Short legged, very ancient, very English.

below average to average

Salmon Faverolle
Faverolles

FS AL PP

Salmon, White


Once rare, still uncommon.
40%
Down since 2003
Standard:
7.5 lb/3.4 kg
Bantam:
2.2 lb/1.0 kg

APA (1914):
Large
: Continental Bantam: Feather Legged
PC: Soft Feather Heavy


Dual Purpose
Fancy:
Bearded & muffed
Feather footed, outside only
Five-Toed

Developed in Normandy in early 19th century. Named after the village of Faverolles. In France it was considered a utility breed. The US standard more closely matches the British exhibition standard of Faverolles which was developed in the late 19th century. Because of the different times and countries were the breed was developed, it is not clear what breeds were used, but Houdon and/or Crevecoeur, and local five-toed landraces are thought to have been its primary forebears. Dorking, Brahma, and Cochin were possibly used as well, especially in later developments.

very good

creamy
tint

good winter layer

small single
white skin &
shanks
red [hidden by feathers]
can be broody
cold hardy;
because of fancy feathering,
not suited for foul weather

early maturing

bears confinement well; alert; calm; very docile; genteel; prone to bullying by others, so may not do well in a mixed flock

Our Birds: ours did not thrived well in the competition with mixed flock. Probably won't replace them.

The French Poodle of chicken breeds.

average

Fayoumi or
Egyptian Fayoumi
FS PP

Gold & silver penciled


Uncommon.
32%
Unchanged since 2003
3.5 lb/1.6 kg

APA: Not recognized
PC: Soft feather Light


Layer

Ancient Egyptian origins; only recently spread to the rest of the world. Iowa State's Poultry Genetics Program imported them to the US after World War II for a study to disease resistance. The Fayoumi was known for its resistance to avian leukosis. It remained a "lab animal" for many years before it was promoted as an excellent layer. That claim, however, has since been disputed.

very good

off-white
to light
tint

single
white skin,
dark shanks
white
non-setter
very hardy; excellent hot weather bird
quick feathering
& very early maturing
very economical eater; does not like containment; lively; flighty, known for wildness

Precocious scavenger and escape artist.

below average

Breed
(with links to other sites with images and more information)

Varieties / Rarity / What's a hen weigh?

Class and Type

Origins

Egg color & productivity; egg size

Comb
Skin color
Earlobes

Brooding
Hardiness
Maturing

Behavior

Silver Spangled Hamburg
Hamburg or Hamburgh
FS PP club

Silver-Spangled, Golden-Spangled, Golden-Penciled, Silver-Penciled, White, Black


Uncommon.
36%/24% (silver-spang/all other)
Silver spangled down from 56%, others up slightly since 2003
Standard:
4 lb/1.8 kg
Bantam:
1.5 lb/0.7 kg

APA (1874):
Large
: Continental Bantam: Rose Comb Clean Legged
PC: Soft Feather Light


Layer

Developed in Holland (not Germany) before 1700, possibly before 1400; may be even more ancient. An undocumented legend is that the first ever poultry exhibition that did not involve a cock fight occurred in an English pub during the reign of King George III and featured only Pheasant Fowl cocks -- what we know as Hamburgs. Other historical names include Yorkshire Pheasants, Moonies, Crescents, Corals & Everlayers.

Decades before he wrote The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum both raised and wrote about Hamburgs.

very good
low-gloss
white

rose
white skin, slate blue shanks
white
non-setter (or very rarely broody)
hardy; cold hardy
very early maturing

very economical eater; likes wide range; less tolerant of close confinement; high flyer; very flighty; spritely, active; mostly avoids human contact

Our Birds: ours have been very economical eaters, and in their prime laid well; even though smaller than most other hens, they have held their own in a mixed flock. We have one hen left that was ten years old as of spring 2011. In her old age she has mellowed and eats out of my hand every morning. Because small white eggs are not especially popular with most customers, we eat most of their eggs ourselves.

The spritely, little "everyday layer."

below average

Holland or American Holland
FS AL

White & Barred


Rare.
0%/16% (white/barred) Up since 2003


6.5 lb/2.9 kg

APA (1949):
Large
: American Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Not recognized


Dual Purpose

Established in 1949, after about 15 years of breeding experiments, as an improved Lamona, in other words, a yellow skinned meat bird that laid white eggs. The main improvement was it was heavier than the Lamona. One breed used had been imported from Holland, but other American breeds, including the Lamona, were mixed in as well. The White and Barred varieties were developed simultaneously, but different combinations of breeds were used.

Unknown in Holland & most of the rest of world. There is speculation that White Hollands have faded out of existence.

good
white

single
yellow skin &
shanks
red
can be broody
cold hardy
moderately slow maturing
well adaptable to confinement or free range; calm, good tempered

The calm white-egger.

average

Houdan
FS PP

White, Mottled


Uncommon.
32%
Unchanged since 2003
Standard:
6-7 lb/2.7-3.2 kg
Bantam:
1.75 lb/0.8 kg

APA (1874):
Large: Continental Bantam: All Other Clean Legged
PC: Heavy, Rare


Dual Purpose
Fancy:
Crested
Bearded
Five-Toed

Developed in Normandy before 1700, most likely from a cross of a local five-toed landrace and the Crevecoeur, but possibly Polish and Dorking were used in the breeding process.

fair
white

leaf (or V)
white skin,
darker shanks
white [hidden by feathers]
can be broody
because of fancy feathering,
not suited for foul weather;
may have problems with
freezing crest feathers
early maturing
bears confinement well; active; docile; more easily handled

The crested French bird with big eyes.

below average to average

Breed
(with links to other sites with images and more information)

Varieties / Rarity / What's a hen weigh?

Class and Type

Origins

Egg color & productivity; egg size

Comb
Skin color
Earlobes

Brooding
Hardiness
Maturing

Behavior

Jaerhon or Norwegian Jaerhon or Norske Jærhøne
FS

Dark Brown, Light Yellow


Rare, once unknown.
4%
Not found in 2003

Standard:
3.5 lb/1.6 kg

APA:
Not recognized
PC: Not recognized


Layer

Developed around 1920 in Norway. First imported to North America in 1998.

very good
white

small single
white with slate colored shanks
white
non-setter
cold hardy
early maturing

adaptable to confinement, but prefers free range; active, flighty

Pride of Norway.

above average

Java
FS AL

Black, Mottled


Rare, but there had been reports that it was critically endangered.
20%
Up since 2003
7.5 lb/3.4 kg

APA (1874):
Large: American Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Not recognized


Dual Purpose

Developed in U.S. after being introduced from Java in 1835 or earlier. Peaked in popularity as early as the 1880s, but not before being used in the development of several other breeds.

fair

brown

single
yellow skin,
dark shanks
red
good, or frequent, brooder
cold hardy
very slow maturing
well adaptable to confinement or free range; calm

A good, old breed, like a fine cup of coffee.

average

Jersey Black Giant
Jersey Giant
FS PP club

Black, White


Uncommon.
48%/24% (black/all other)
Down since 2003
10 lb/4.6 kg

APA (1922):
Large
: American Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Heavy, Rare


Dual Purpose

Developed near Jobstown, New Jersey, in the 1870s by John and Thomas Black, who crossed several breeds, most likely Black Javas, Black Langshans, and Dark Brahmas. Never widely popular commercially, for a several decades they were the bird of choice for heavy roasting capons.

Originally Black Giants referred to the name of the brothers who developed them, not for the color of the breed.

fair to good

brown

good winter layer

small
single
yellow skin,
dark shanks
red
occasional brooder;
protective mother
robust; very cold hardy
very slow to mature

because of size, not an economical eater; adaptable to confinement or free range; calm, gentle, more easily handled.

Our Birds: never reached giant-sized porportions; one gentle hen was among the easiest to pick up. We don't currently have any but may try them again.

The chicken world's largest breed.

average to above average

Breed
(with links to other sites with images and more information)

Varieties / Rarity / What's a hen weigh?

Class and Type

Origins

Egg color & productivity; egg size

Comb
Skin color
Earlobes

Brooding
Hardiness
Maturing

Behavior

La Fleche
FS PP

Black, Blue, White, & Cuckoo


Rare.
16%
Up since 2003
5.5 lb/2.5 kg

APA (1874):
Large: Continental Bantam: All Other Clean Legged
PC: Heavy, Rare


Dual Purpose
Fancy:
Horns for a comb

Dates back to France during or before the 17th century. It is unclear if it is older and a parent of the Crevecoeur, or if it worked the other way around.

good
tinted
white

horn, V-shaped, duplex
white skin,
dark shanks
white
non-setter
hardy
early maturing
well adaptable to confinement or free range; active, flighty, avoids human contact

The devil bird.

above average

Lakenvelder

Lakenvelder
FS PP

Black/white/black pattern.


Uncommon.
40%/28% (silver/gold)
Down since 2003
4 lb/1.8 kg

APA (1939):
Large: Continental Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Soft feather Light


Layer

Developed in Germany in early 19th century. Golden Lakenvelders are not standard. Vorwerk is a bantam with the black/gold/black pattern.

good

white to
light tint

single
white skin,
dark shanks
white
non-setter
hardy
early maturing

well adaptable to confinement or free range; flyer; flighty, avoids human contact.

Our Birds: never sociable, but not easily startled, either. If we get more, it will be because they are handsome birds.

Shadow on a sheet.

below average to average

Lamona
portrait FS

White


Extinct or verging on extinction.
0%
5.5 lb/2.5 kg

APA (1933):
Large: American Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Not recognized


Dual Purpose

Developed by Harry Lamon from 1912 to 1923 specifically to be a breed that laid white eggs but could serve as a meat bird as well. For the American market, it had to be yellow skinned. It is not clear how important to him developing a white egg layer with red ear lobes was, but that fact was well noted when the breed was first released.

fair
white

single
yellow skin &
shanks
red


The rare, possibly extinct, yellow-skinned, red-ear-lobed, white-egg-laying table bird.

average



Black Langshan
Langshan
FS AL PB

Black, White, & Blue.


Uncommon.
32%/20% (black/all other)
Unchanged since 2003
7.5 lb/3.4 kg

APA (1883):
Large: Asiatic Bantam: Feather Legged
PC: Soft feather Heavy


Dual Purpose
[formerly Meat]
Fancy:
Feather Footed, outside only (some varieties are clean footed)

Introduced from China in mid-19th century. Major Croad introduced them to England & gave his name to an early variety of Langshans. In Europe & elsewhere, distinctions are made between Croad & Modern Langshans.

good

brown
[Croad
Langshans
once lay very
dark
brown]

single
greyish white skin,
dark shanks
red
can be broody
very hardy; cold hardy
slow to mature

well adaptable to confinement or free range; active for their size; graceful; not as calm or docile as other large breeds

Our Birds: One rooster was very personable and had a lovely, deep crowing voice. We liked him better than the hens who have not stood out either in egg-laying nor personality.

The long-legged, high-tailed, and feather-footed regal bird.

average

White Leghorn
Leghorn
FS PP PB RF club club

White, Dark Brown, Light Brown, Buff, Black, Silver, Red, Black-Tailed Red, Columbian


Common.
84%/80% (white/all other)
Whites down since 2003
Standard:
4.5 lb/2 kg
Bantam:
1.75 lb/0.8 kg

APA (1874):
Large
: Mediterranean Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Soft Feather Light


feathers prized for fly tying
Layer

Ancient, but greatly developed in 19th & 20th centuries. Honored by the Romans, and the white variety was reportedly developed for use in ceremony and foretelling the future. One of the most popular birds around the globe.

prolific+
pearl
white
(non-white feathered varieties are less prolific.)

large
single;
also rose
yellow skin &
shanks
white
non-setter (or very rarely broody)
hardy; heat tolerant (esc. white variety); combs subject to frostbite
very early maturing

economical eater; better adaptable to confinement then some Mediterranean; enjoys free range; flyer; flighty; spritely, noisy, nervous, usually avoids human contact.

Our Birds: Flighty does describe them pretty well, but they aren't without personality. One of our first white Leghorns would lead the pack in greeting us when we came home.

The ultimate egg machine.

above average
[commercial whites' are especially large]

Breed
(with links to other sites with images and more information)

Varieties / Rarity / What's a hen weigh?

Class and Type

Origins

Egg color & productivity; egg size

Comb
Skin color
Earlobes

Brooding
Hardiness
Maturing

Behavior

Cuckoo Marans
Marans
FS PP RF club

Black Copper [APA], Cuckoo, and others


Uncommon.
36%/12%
Up from 4%/0% in 2003
Standard:
6.5 lb/2.9 kg
Bantam:
2.2 lb/1.0 kg

APA: (2011):
Large: Continental
PC: Soft Feather Heavy


Layer
Feather Footed [US and French standard, but Clean Footed for English standard]

Developed in France in early 20th century, but a Marans-type bird is said to have begun as early as the 13th century. Imported to North America from both France, England, and elsewhere, post-WWII. Although the Cuckoo has been the most prominent variety, the Black Copper, for which there was clearer consensus for a standard, is the only variety currently recognized by the APA.

good

dark
chocolate
russett
brown

ideally,
varies widely & seasonally

single
white skin &
shanks
red
great brooder (or annoyingly too frequent brooder) in some strains
developed in marsh lands, so apparently tolerant of wet conditions. Some rapid and carely breeding have made some strains less hardy than others.

varies widely by individual and strain.

Our Birds: We've only had clean-legged Cuckoo Marans. Although "cuckoo" was meant to describe feather pattern, we thought it fit the personality as well. Not exactly wild, some have been very active and somewhat difficult to manage. Others have been quite calm. None of ours have laid especially dark brown eggs.

Known for one thing -- chocolate colored eggs.

average to above average

Minorca
portrait FS PP

Black, White, Buff


Uncommon.
28%/24% (black/all other)
Blacks down from 44% in 2003
Standard:
7 lb/3.2 kg
Bantam:
1.75 lb/0.8 kg

APA (1888):
Large: Mediterranean Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Soft Feather Light


feathers prized for fly tying
Layer

Developed in Spain. Whether it was named for Minorca in the Balearics Island or actually developed there is uncertain. Once known as the Red-faced Black Spanish. In Spain the name of breed is spelled Menorca, as is the island.

very good
white

single & rose
white skin,
dark shanks
white
non-setter
excellent hot weather bird;
combs subject to frostbite
early maturing
adaptable to confinement, but prefers free range; restlessly active, flighty, avoids human contact

Largest Mediterranean, extra large eggs.

above average









Breed
(with links to other sites with images and more information)

Varieties / Rarity / What's a hen weigh?

Class and Type

Origins

Egg color & productivity; egg size

Comb
Skin color
Earlobes

Brooding
Hardiness
Maturing

Behavior

Naked Neck or Transylvanian Naked Neck or Turken
portrait FS PP

Black, White, Red, and Red are recognized by the APA, but other varieties include Blue and Cuckoo or Barred.


Uncommon.
44%
Unchanged since 2003
Standard:
6 lb/2.7 kg
Bantam:
1.5 lb/0.7 kg

APA (1965):
Large: All Other Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Heavy, Rare


Fancy:
Bare neck

Originated before 1700 in the Transylvanian region of Central Europe that is now part of Romania. Further developed in Austria and Germany. The naked neck trait possibly came from game birds found in Madagascar. First shown in Vienna in 1875 by breeders from counties that are now part of Romania.

fair

creamy
light
brown

single
yellow skin &
shanks
red
can be broody;
good mother
hardy in both cold and extreme heat
slow to mature
well adaptable to confinement or free range; active; calm, docile; more easily handled

No, it's not a turkey / chicken cross.

average to above average

New Hampshire Red
New Hampshire or New Hampshire Red
FS PP club

Light brownish red, only


Common
60%
Down since 2003


Standard:
6.5 lb/2.9 kg
Bantam:
1.9 lb/0.85 kg

APA (1935):
Large
: American Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Heavy, Rare


feathers prized for fly tying
Dual Purpose

Developed in New Hamphire from the Rhode Island Red in early 20th century.

very good

light to
medium
dark brown

good winter layer

large
single
yellow skin &
shanks
red
good, or occasional to frequent, brooder; good mother
robust; hardy in heat & cold;
combs subject to frostbite
very early maturing

well adaptable to confinement or free range; calm; can be docile or aggressive; can be curious

Our Birds: a few have been among our favorites. Addled Adelaide was our first hen to raise a brood of chicks. She earned her name for appearing to be scatter-brained at times as a pullet, but when older could almost seem affectionate -- maybe she was just very hungry. Several enjoyed keeping close to us while gardening. Some have been aggressive in maintaining their position in the pecking order.

New Hampshire's answer to Rhode Island.

average to above average

Orloff or Russian Orloff
FS PP

Red, White


Rare.
24%
Up since 2003
6.0 lb/2.7 kg

APA: Not recognized (dropped from Continental)
PC: Heavy, Rare


Fancy:
Bearded & muffed

Reportedly developed in Russia in 18th century from Persian stock. Once called Chlianskaia, current name probably derives from Count Orloff-Techesmensky, a Russian breeder

fair

light
brown

walnut
yellow skin &
legs
red
non-setter
hardy
slow to mature
adapts to confinement; calm, but not docile, avoids human contact

Wild-looking thing

below average

Buff Orpington
Orpington
FS PP

Buff, Black, Blue, White


Buffs common, others rare.
84%/12% (buff/all other)
Unchanged since 2003
Standard:
8 lb/3.6 kg
Bantam:
2.2 lb/1 kg

APA (1902):
Large
: English Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Soft Feather Heavy


Dual Purpose
[formerly Meat]

Originally developed by William Cook in Orpington (County Kent) the 1880s. Some varieties developed by his daughter.

good

brown

good winter layer

single
white skin &
white or dark shanks
red
good, or frequent, brooder;
excellent mother
hardy; very cold hardy
moderately early maturing

adaptable to free range; very adaptable to confinement; docile; more easily handled; can be bullied

Our Birds: ours have been docile enough, and some have fit pretty low in the pecking order, but none of ours have shown the "friendliness" that others have claimed for the breed.

Big gentle bird.

average to above average

Breed
(with links to other sites with images and more information)

Varieties / Rarity / What's a hen weigh?

Class and Type

Origins

Egg color & productivity; egg size

Comb
Skin color
Earlobes

Brooding
Hardiness
Maturing

Behavior

Penedesenca
FS club

Creole, Partridge, Wheaten, Black


Rare.
8%
Not found in 2003
4 lb/1.8 kg

APA: Not recognized
PC: Not recognized


Layer

Rescued, or somewhat developed, from ancient stock in Catalan district of Spain in 20th century. Penedesenca Negra developed in 1980s.

very good

very
dark
red-
brown

clavell (carnation)
white skin, blue-grey shanks
white
non-setter
very hardy in heat
slow to mature
well adaptable to free range; active; flighty; avoids human contact

The dark egg layer that wears a crown

below average
to average

Phoenix
portrait FS PP

Honorable long-tail.

Partridge; Silver Duckwing; White; other colors


Uncommon.
32%
Down since 2003
Standard:
4 lb/1.8 kg
Bantam:
1.75 lb/0.8 kg

APA (1965):
Large
: All Other Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Light Rare (not recognized separately from Yokohama)


hackel feathers prized for fly tying
Fancy:
Long-tailed

Developed in Europe and the U.S. from the Japanese long-tailed breed called the Onagadori.

poor

white to tinted

below average

single
yellow skin; yellow or slate shanks
red
can be broody,
protective mothers
reportedly short lived;
because of fancy feathering,
not suited for foul weather
slow to mature
requires special housing or cages & high perches to accommodate long tails; generally docile

Barred Rock
Plymouth Rock
FS PP

Barred, White, Buff, Silver Penciled, Partridge, Columbian, Blue


Common
88%/64%/48%/24% (barred/white/
partridge/all other)

Down since 2003
Standard:
7.5 lb/3.4 kg
Bantam:
2.2 lb/1 kg

APA (1874):
Large: American Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Soft Feather Heavy


feathers prized for fly tying
Dual Purpose

Developed in New England in 19th century.

Once common on the homestead, still popular in the backyard.

good

light (or pinkish) to
medium
brown

good winter layer

small
single
yellow skin &
shanks
red
infrequent brooder; good mother
robust; very cold hardy
somewhat early maturing

well adaptable to confinement or free range; calm, docile; more easily handled

Our Birds: ours have been good, solid, dependable birds that have blended in well with the flock, not standing out for good or bad reasons.

Once upon a time America's favorite breed.

above average

Polish or
Poland
portrait FS PP club

Bearded & Beardless; Black, White, Golden, Silver, Buff Laced


Uncommon.
48%
Down from 56% in 2003


4-4.5 lb/1.8-2 kg

APA (1874):
Large
: Continental
Bantam: All Other Clean Legged
PC: Soft Feather Light


Fancy:
Crested

Originated in Europe, but probably not Poland, before the 16th century. Once known for good egg production, now almost strictly ornamental.

varies widely

poor

to

very good
white
small V
white skin,
blue shanks
white
non-setter
some subject to health problems;
because of fancy feathering,
not suited for foul weather;
| may have problems with
freezing crest feathers;
special care may be needed
since plumage blocks vision
bears confinement well; mixed reports -- either calm or somewhat flighty; obstructed vision can hinder some activities; can be bullied; mixed reports on how well they do in a mixed flock

Perhaps the oldest of the crested breeds.

below average

Breed
(with links to other sites with images and more information)

Varieties / Rarity / What's a hen weigh?

Class and Type

Origins

Egg color & productivity; egg size

Comb
Skin color
Earlobes

Brooding
Hardiness
Maturing

Behavior

Redcap or Red Cap or Derbyshire Redcap
FS PP

Red & black pattern, only


Rare.
8%
Unchanged since 2003
6 lb/2.7 kg

APA (1888):
Large: English Bantam: Rose Comb Clean Legged
PC: Soft feather Light


Layer
Fancy:
Large rose comb

Developed in Derbyshire.

good
white

very large spiked rose
white skin,
blue shanks
red
non-setter

hardy


moderately early maturing
can adapt to confinement; active

Think huge rose comb.

below average

Rhode Island Red
Rhode Island
FS AL PP

Rhode Island Red & Rhode Island White
(two separate breeds)


Common, but show quality reds are rare.
64%/28% (red/white)
Down since 2003
Standard:
6.5 lb/2.9 kg
Bantam:
2 lb/0.9 kg

APA (1904/1922): Large: American Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Soft Feather Heavy


Dual Purpose

Developed in New England in 19th century.

prolific

rich
medium
brown

good winter layer

large
single;
also rose
yellow skin &
shanks
red
infrequent brooder;
can be dutiful mother
robust; hardy in heat & cold;
combs subject to frostbite
moderately early maturing

well adaptable to confinement or free range; active, calm & fairly docile, can be aggressive (cocks are especially notorious)

Our Birds: we've had very limited experience, but the few hens we have had have been more aggressive than most other breeds.

Best of breeds for producing brown eggs.

above average

Spanish, White-Faced Black Spanish, Spanish White Ear, or Clownface
FS PP

White-Faced Black only


Uncommon.
20%
Up since 2003
6 lb/2.7 kg

APA (1874):
Large
: Mediterranean Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Light, Rare


Layer
Fancy:
White face

Oldest of the Mediterranean breeds, developed in Spain.

good, but some are very poor
white

large single
grey skin,
dark shanks
white
non-setter
reportedly subject to health problems; heat tolerant;
combs subject to frostbite
slow to develop;
white face takes more than a year
adaptable to confinement, but prefers free range; flighty, haughty, noisy, avoids human contact

Handsome, graceful, rare.

above average

Breed
(with links to other sites with images and more information)

Varieties / Rarity / What's a hen weigh?

Class and Type

Origins

Egg color & productivity; egg size

Comb
Skin color
Earlobes

Brooding
Hardiness
Maturing

Behavior

Sultan
FS PP

White, only


Uncommon.
28%
Standard:
4.0 lb/ 1.8 kg
Bantam:
1.4 lb/0.65 kg

APA (1874):
Large
: All Other Bantam: Feather Legged
PC: Light, Rare


Fancy:
Crested
Bearded & muffed
Feather-footed, fully
Five toed

Introduced from Turkey in mid-19th century.

poor
white
horn, V-shaped, duplex
white skin & shanks
white? [hidden under feathers
non-setter
not suited for foul weather;
may have problems with
freezing crest feathers
moderately slow developing
suited for close confinement; calm, non-aggressive; more easily handled

All for show.

below average

Speckled Sussex
Sussex
FS PP RF club

Speckled, Red, Light


Uncommon.
44%/4% (speckled/all other)
Speckled unchanged; others not found in 2003
Standard:
7 lb/3.2 kg
Bantam:
2.2 lb/1 kg

APA (1914):
Large
: English Bantam: Single Comb Clean Legged
PC: Soft Feather Heavy


Dual Purpose

Developed in county of Sussex in early 19th century.

very good

creamy
to light
brown

good winter layer

single
white skin &
shanks
red
good brooder & mother
robust; very cold hardy
moderately early maturing

well adaptable to confinement or free range; calm; gentle; active; can be curious; more easily handled

Our Birds: a few have been among our favorites for personality.

An old English favorite

average

Breed
(with links to other sites with images and more information)

Varieties / Rarity / What's a hen weigh?

Class and Type

Origins

Egg color & productivity; egg size

Comb
Skin color
Earlobes

Brooding
Hardiness
Maturing

Behavior

Welsumer
Welsumer or Welsummer
FS PP club

Red Partridge


Uncommon.
36%
Up from 12% in 2003
Standard:
6 lb/2.7 kg
Bantam:
2 lb/0.9 kg

APA (2001):
Large: Continental
PC: Soft Feather Light


Dual Purpose

Developed in Holland in the 20th century. "Welsummer" may be the accepted spelling in the United States, but a Netherlander has told me Welsumer is the correct spelling, meaning a resident of Welsum.

There is a rumor circulating around poultry circles that the Kellogg's cornflakes rooster is a Welsumer, but nothing from Kellogg's confirms this, and since Cornelius has a green body and multicolored tail, I see no resemblance.

good, some very good

rich
dark
terracotta
brown, often mottled with dark spots

Very large speckled brown Welsumer eggs are the most popular with many of our customers.
small single
yellow skin &
shanks
red
mixed reports on
setting & brooding
hardy; cold hardy
moderately early maturing

well adaptable to confinement or free range; lively, but more docile than flighty.

Our Birds: none of ours have gone broody. Most have been docile. Most of our roosters have been gentle, but a couple have become bullies in later years.

Backyard bird with big brown eggs.

above average

Silver Laced Wyandotte
Wyandotte
FS PP PB club

Silver Laced, Golden Laced, White, Buff, Partridge, Silvered Penciled, Columbian


Common.
76%/56%/40% (silver/gold/all other)
Silver and gold down, others up since 2003
Standard:
6.5 lb/2.9 kg
Bantam:
2.2 lb/1 kg

APA (1883):
Large
: American Bantam: Rose Comb Clean Legged
PC: Soft Feather Heavy


feathers prized for fly tying
Dual Purpose

Developed in New York State & Wisconsin in late 19th century.

good

light
to rich
brown

good winter layer

rose
yellow skin &
shanks
red
infrequent brooder;
excellent mother
robust; very cold hardy
moderately early maturing

well adaptable to confinement or free range; calm.

Our Birds: Most of ours have been docile, but some individuals have been aggressive. Most have been aloof in terms of human contact.

The "bird of curves."

above

Yokohama
portrait FS PP

Elegant long-tail.

Red shouldered & white; White; other colors


Very rare.
8%
Up since 2003
4 lb/ 1.8 kg

APA:
Large
: All Other Bantam: All Other Clean Legged
PC: Light Rare


hackel feathers prized for fly tying
Fancy:
Long-tailed

Called Yokohama from the port of origin. Developed in Germany in the 19th century from the Japanese long-tailed breed called the Minohiki.

poor

tinted

below average

walnut or pea
yellow skin & shanks
white
can be broody,
protective mothers
because of fancy feathering,
not suited for foul weather
slow to mature
requires special housing or cages & high perches to accommodate long tails; generally docile; cocks can be pugnacious around other cocks; because of special needs, not recommended for a mixed flock


Numerous books (new and old, and including those by authors Harry Lewis, Lewis Wright, Alanna Moore, H. S. Babcock, Caleb N. Bement, Frank L. Platt, Louis M. Hurd, James E. Rice and Harold E. Botsford, Joseph Batty, Ian Kay, Eric Bailey, Page Smith and Charles Daniel, and Tamara Staples have been consulted. I have also looked at articles from Mother Earth News, Organic Gardening, and Science News. Information from hatchery catalogues, especially those from Murray McMurray and Glenn Drown's Sand Hill Preservation Center provided valuable information. Other websites in the "KEY TO LINKS" section below and on my page of Web sites were consulted in creating or updating the chicken chart. Sources, of course, do not always agree, so personal judgments, common sense, and some personal knowledge were also used in determining the final make-up of the chart. If you have corrections or suggestions, please let me know at "jhenderson @ icyousee . org".


KEY TO LINKS

The links in the first column are to some of the most useful sites I found for information about specific breeds.
portrait = portrait (illustration rather than photograph) available on the Web. Most illustrations are by
Diane Jacky, found either on her site or in an online poultry catalog.
FS = Barry Koffler's FeatherSite (usually lots of photographs available)
AL = The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy Conservation Priority List
PP = PoultryPage from Britain
PB = DOM_BIRD Breed Encyclopedia (Formerly associated with the Palm Beach County Poultry Fanciers Association)
RF = Rupert the Fish, the website of a short poultrykeeper from Coventry, aka Robert Stevenson
RB = Rare Breeds Trust of Australia
club = pages specific to the clubs established for specific breeds


VARIETIES AND RELATED BREEDS

Among the poultry associations of different countries, different breeds are officially recognized and different varieties within the same breed are accepted. Not all breeds listed here are recognized by the American Poultry Association, but for the breeds that are APA Standard, I have tried to use the APA accepted varieties. For some breeds, I have listed colors that are available, not that are recognized varieties by either the APA or another official poultry association. Names and terms also differ around the world.

RARITY

Notes on rarity are related to availability in North America. In general, common = 50% or more; uncommon = 20% to 50%; rare = under 20%; very rare = under 5%. The percentages are based on a survey of US and Canadian hatchery catalogs and breeder lists conducted in March 2011. Comparisons refer to a survey I conducted in February 2003. Only if the percentage change was significant did I list the previous percentage. For standard breeds, 25 hatcheries/breeders were used; for bantams, I surveyed true bantams only, and used 15 hatcheries/breeders. Since the previous survey, some hatcheries have disappeared and others either started up or have put their catalogs on the web. Eight years ago, I relied on catalogs sent in the mail for almost half of the hatcheries. For the survey in 2011, I used only catalogs found on the web. The percentage is somewhat skewed, since some hatcheries consulted, such as Sand Hill Preservation Center, specialize in rare breeds. A list of sources used is available upon request. Breeds available through small-scale breeders is not addressed.


CLASS AND TYPE

Class:

APA = American Poultry Association (Year in parenthesis is first year any variety of the breed was admitted to the Standard of Perfection)
PC = Poultry Club [of Britain]
Chicken breeds have been classified many different ways. Class as defined by the American Poultry Association indicates place of origin. The Poultry Club in the UK uses classes based on type of feathering, Soft (or loose) and Hard (or close) and body type, Light or Heavy.

Type

Breeds can also be separated by the purpose for which they were originally developed. Dual Purpose were develped for both meat and eggs. These days, most of these breeds are only found in backyards and small farms. [formerly Meat] indicates that in the days before Cornish X Rock dominance (post World War II), this breed was highly prized as a meat bird. Layers are those breeds that are principally used for egg production. As a general rule these birds are active and lively, lighter in weight than most other standard breeds, and not broody. Game breeds were once bred for cockfighting. It is believed they were the first chickens to be bred by humans. As a general rule, they are noisy and pugnacious, but some can be docile toward toward humans, and hens can be very protective mothers. As a rule they have low egg production. Fancy breeds are those with special features, such as crests, feathered feet, unusual colors, beards, muffs, or five toes. Some fancy breeds are strictly ornamental, but many others are will also be found among the layer and dual purpose breeds, as well. Bantam breeds are little birds of ornament and pleasure. The term bantam comes from a small chicken that originated in the Bantam region of Java, but after they were introduced to Europe centuries ago, any small variety of fowl was called a bantam. Bantams include both miniature versions of the large standard breeds and True Bantams, breeds for which there is no matching large standard. The descriptive term True, however, does not mean a naturally diminutive breed, since many True Bantams have been highly engineered by breeding programs.
feathers prized for fly tying indicates that the hackle and saddle feathers of the cocks in some colors and varieties of these breeds are particularly prized for use in tying fishing flies.


EGG RATE

I have been inexact with the egg rates, because egg production is only partly influenced by the breed of hen. In general, one egg means poor and five eggs means prolific. Egg production of an individual hen, however, is dependent on such factors as age, health, nutrition, space, housing, sanitation, light, humidity, temperature, and contentment. Although one Black Australorp laid a record 364 eggs in 365 days, your Australorp may not reach half that number in her best year. Different lines of the same variety have been bred for different reasons, some emphasizing breeding to standard, others emphasizing egg-laying.
good winter layer = winter layer. Note, however, that chickens tend to be much better layers in the spring and summer; winter layers are those hens whose weekly egg rate show significantly less drop in the colder/darker months, even if they aren't especially prolific overall.

EGG COLOR

Egg colors used on this page are estimations and will also appear differently on different monitors. Egg colors will vary from bird to bird. This is especially true of the dark brown egg laying breeds, many of which, disappointingly, will lay much lighter shades than listed. In general for brown egg layers, the color of eggs will lighten as the hen ages.

EGG SIZE

Sizes listed are not related to USDA grades but are provided as a general reference to compare relative size of eggs among breeds. Egg sizes for bantams, except True Bantams that have their own listings, are not provided, but they fit the label TINY. Size is based on those laid during a hen's prime laying years. Pullets will lay much smaller eggs, and, as hens get older, they will lay increasingly larger eggs. Size of eggs will vary by both variety and individual hen. Perhaps the best example of this is the leghorn, since the commercial white has been developed to lay a very large egg, but most other varieties lay medium sized eggs.


COMBS

For pictures of combs, see this old Cornell poultry textbook with a chapter on comb types. The illustrations, seen quite a few places on the web unattributed, are credited in the book to W. C. Baker. A hen's comb is generally smaller than a coxcomb, and in the case of the large single comb, the hen's comb flops over rather jauntily instead of standing erect like a large single coxcomb.
The University of Illinois Extension site includes descriptions of combs with its illustrations. It also describes a Silkis comb [silkie's comb?], which is most elsewhere called a walnut comb.

BROODING

Broodiness can be a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective. When hens go broody, they don't lay eggs, so especially for commercial egg producers, this is a bad trait. On the other hand, for some backyard chicken enthusiasts, the opportunity of having a natural hatching experience is very desirable, so having a broody hen is a good thing. The range of broodiness goes from non-setters to great brooders. The Mediterranean breeds are notorious for not setting on their eggs. Silkies, on the other end of scale, have both greatly frustrated some owners for going broody so often and been prized for so often being available for hatching out eggs. Hens of all breeds can go broody, according to testimony from many friends and correspondents. In 2009, we first observed a broody brown leghorn. With notoriously broody breeds, individual hens may never or never conveniently go broody at convenient times.

HARDINESS

What is the difference between hardy and robost? For purposes of this chart, Hardy has more to do with ability to deal with different climate and weather related conditions. Robustis more health-related and indicates not prone to sickness.

BEHAVIOR

Chickens don't make good pets like cats and dogs, and chickens really aren't friendlylike house pets. What some interpret as friendly is most often little more than not not avoiding human company, not struggling when held, or willing to eat out of a human's hand. Calm, docile birds can appear to be "friendlier" than flighty birds that squawk and run away whenever a human gets close or an aggressive bird that will peck at other birds and humans alike.

OUR BIRDS

Please keep in mind that the notes on our birds are based on a small sample size of chickens found in a small, mixed-breed, backyard, free-ranging flock. Your experience in a different environment may be quite different.


This page authored and maintained by John R. Henderson (jhenderson@ithaca.edu), Sage Hen Farm, Lodi, NY.
The chart's original title was the ICYouSee Handy Dandy Chicken Chart.
Last modified on January 13, 2014.
All chicken portraits are by Diane Jacky and are used by permission.
Photograph of egg assortment (before they became chipotle scrambled eggs) by Kelda Brown.
Thanks to Heather Mericle for creating the pdf version of the chart.
All information formerly found at http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html is now hosted here at
   http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html