Henderson's Handy Dandy Chicken Chart
'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 | Faverolles | 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

Lists of Chicken Resources Raising Chicks with a Mother Hen Sexing Chicks
Sex-links True Bantams
Game Fowl
NOTES:
1)
Sage Hen Farm is not a hatchery. We do not sell chicks, pullets, nor hatching eggs. This site is and will remain ad-free.
2) The birds from our flock, past or present, are those listed with illustrations and "Our Bi
rds" comments.
3)
Regularly modified and corrected, this chart — the first chicken breed chart on the web — has been on the web since 2001.
Why Another Chicken Page?


small to medium

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 (wk/yr)
Egg size

Comb
Skin color
Earlobes

Brooding
Hardiness
Maturing

Behavior

Ameraucana
Ameraucana


The chipmunky blue-egger.


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


Easter Eggers are common. Standard Ameraucanas are rare.


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.

3-4/180-200

various
shades of blue & blue-green

medium to extra large

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 Ours have been 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

Ancona


Almost a Leghorn.

Black mottled, only


Uncommon
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, except in pockets of the Appalachians.

4-5/220-300
white to
light cream

medium to extra large

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

Our Birds: After many years, we have finally acquired some. We will soon find out how they do as part of our flock.

Blue Andalusian
Andalusian


The original blue.

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


Uncommon

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.

3-5/180-280
chalk to creamy white

extra large

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, obtained 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.

Appenzeller or Appenzell


The national breed of Switzerland.

Spitzhauben (Pointed Hood)
&
Barthuhner (Bearded)


Spitzhauben rare; Barthuhner very rare

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.

2-3/120-180
white

medium

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


The rumpless, tufted blue-egger.


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


Purebreds are very rare.


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.

2-3/120-180

blue

small to medium

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


The purported egg-laying champ from Oz

Black, only (standard); also blue & white


Common

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.

3-5/180-280

brown

mediumgood winter layer

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


Pretty bird, pretty dark brown eggs.

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


Rare
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.

3-4/180-220
very dark reddish brown,
with matte finish

large

As with all dark brown egg layers, individual differences are wide, and eggs become less dark over the laying season.


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


Large and regal

Light, Dark, Buff


Once common, now less common

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.

2-4/150-220

brown

medium to large
good winter layer

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


Buckeye brown bird from the Buckeye state.

Nut brown, only


Uncommon
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.

3-4/180-220

light to medium brown

medium
good winter layer

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


Known for its comb.

Golden


Uncommon
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.

3-4/180-260
white

small to medium

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


Beautiful bird with unique pencilling.

Golden, Silver


Uncommon
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.

3-4/180-260
white

medium

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 and hatched chicks from 14 of 15 eggs and settled down (if never quite calmly) to raise the chicks.

Catalana


The most popular breed of South America.

Buff


Rare

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.

4-5/220-300

white to
light tint

medium

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

Partridge ChanteclerChantecler


Canada's breed.

White, Buff, Partridge


Rare, even in Canada
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.

2-4/150-220
brown

small to large

good winter layer


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


Big ball of fluff and feathers.

Buff, White, Black, & Partridge


Uncommon


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.

2-3/120-160
tinted or
yellowy
brown

small to medium
good winter layer
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.

Our Birds: our only experience with Cochins has been with a buff rooster with a mysterious tale.

Cornish or Indian Game


Famed meat bird, especially when crossed.

White, Dark, White Laced, Red, Buff


Uncommon, except as a cross

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.

1-2/90-120

light
brown

small


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

Crevecoeur


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

Black


Rare

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

2-4/120-180
white

medium to large

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

Cubalaya


Cuba's fighting meat bird.

Black-Breasted Red, White, Black


Rare, but once unknown outside the Caribbean
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.

1-2/90-120
white

small to medium

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


A broiler cross that became a breed.

White [Columbian]


Uncommon


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.

3-5/180-280

 brown

medium large to jumbo

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.

Dominique
or Dominiker


Claimant to title "America's first breed."

Barred only


Uncommon

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.

2-4/120-200

brown

good winter layer

medium

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

Dorking
Dorking


Very ancient, very English.

Silver Gray, White, Colored


Silver uncommon, all others rare


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.

2-3/120-180

creamy
white to
light tint

small to medium

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.

Salmon Faverolle
Faverolles


The French Poodle of chicken breeds.

Salmon, White


Once rare, still uncommon

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.

3-5/180-240

creamy
tint

medium

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 thrive well in the competition with mixed flock. Probably won't replace them.

Fayoumi or
Egyptian Fayoumi


Precocious scavenger and escape artist.

Gold & silver penciled


Uncommon

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. It remained a "lab animal" for many years before it was promoted as an excellent layer. That claim, however, has since been disputed.

2-4/120-180

off-white
to light
tint

small

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

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


The spritely, little "everyday layer."

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


Uncommon, but most varieties rare

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.

3-4/150-180
low-gloss
white

small to medium

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 in size than most other hens, they have held their own in a mixed flock. One hen reached the age of 13 years. In her old age she became mellow enough to eat out of my hand every morning.

Holland or American Holland


The calm white-egger.

White & Barred


Very rare


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.

There is speculation that White Hollands have faded out of existence.

2-4/120-180
white

medium

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

Houdan


The crested French bird with big eyes.

White, Mottled


Uncommon

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.

2-3/120-150
white

small to medium

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

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


Pride of Norway.

Dark Brown, Light Yellow


Rare, only recently introduced to North America

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.

3-4/180-220
white

large
good winter layer

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

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

Java


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

Black, Mottled


Very rare
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.

2-3/120-150
medium brown

medium

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

Jersey Black Giant
Jersey Giant


The chicken world's largest breed.

Black, White


Uncommon since the 1940s

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. So the name reflects on both the name of the developers and for the original color of the breed. The brothers crossed several breeds, most likely Black Javas, Black Langshans, and Dark Brahmas. For many decades before WWII they were the bird of choice for heavy roasting capons.

My dad raised Jersey Black Giants when he was a young teenager.

 

3-4/180-260

medium brown

large to jumbo

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: Our first hens, from a nationally known hatchery, never reached giant-sized porportions, but a cock and hens from a smaller supplier were as large as has been promoted. One gentle hen was among the easiest to pick up.

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

La Fleche


The devil bird.

Black, Blue, White, & Cuckoo


Rare

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.

3-4/180-220
tinted
white

medium to extra large

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.

Our Birds: Never fit in well with rest of flock, being somewhat bullied. Our remaining hen nests at night in a corner, instead of roosting.

Lakenvelder

Lakenvelder


Shadow on a sheet.

Black/white/black pattern.


Uncommon

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.

3-4/160-200

white to
light tint

small to medium

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.

Lamona


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

White


Extinct or verging on extinction
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.

n/a
white

medium?

single
yellow skin &
shanks
red
n/a
n/a
n/a

n/a

Black Langshan
Langshan


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

Black, White, & Blue.


Uncommon
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.

2-4/150-220

brown
[Croad
Langshans
once lay very
dark
brown]

medium to large

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.

White Leghorn
Leghorn


The ultimate egg machine.

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


Common

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.

5-7/300-350
pearl
white
(non-white feathered varieties are less prolific.)

large to jumbo

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.

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


Known for one thing -- dark chocolate colored eggs.

Black Copper [APA], Cuckoo, and others


Increasingly common

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.

3-4/180-220

dark
chocolate
russet
brown

medium to extra large

As with all dark brown egg layers, individual differences are wide, and eggs become less dark over the laying season.

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: 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. Later cuckoos and black coppers have been quite calm. Only our black coppers have laid especially dark brown eggs.

Minorca


Largest Mediterranean

Black, White, Buff


Uncommon

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.

4-5/220-320
white

large to jumbo

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

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
Naked Neck or Transylvanian Naked Neck or Turken


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

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


Uncommon

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.

3-4/180-220

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.

Our Birds: We worred about our hens getting sunburn, but they were fine. Very personable and good layers, but it took a while to take them seriously.

New Hampshire Red
New Hampshire or New Hampshire Red


New Hampshire's answer to Rhode Island.

Light brownish red, only


Common


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.

4-5/260-320

light to
darkish brown

large to extra large

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.

Russian Orloff
Orloff or Russian Orloff


Wild-looking thing

Red, White


Rare

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

2-3/100-160

light
brown

small to medium

walnut
yellow skin &
legs
red
non-setter
hardy
slow to mature

adapts to confinement; calm, but not docile, avoids human contact

Our Birds: Ours have fit in well with the flock, but haven't shown much personality other than being somewhat shy.

Buff Orpington
Orpington


Big gentle bird.

Buff, Black, Blue, White


Common, especially Buff variety

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.

3-4/200-280

cream to light brown

large to extra large

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.

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


The dark egg layer that wears a crown

Crele, Partridge, Wheaten, Black


Rare

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.

4-5/280-340

very
dark
red-
brown

small to medium


As with all dark brown egg layers, individual differences are wide, and eggs become less dark over the laying season.
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

Phoenix


Honorable long-tail.

Partridge; Silver Duckwing; White; other colors


Uncommon

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.

1-2/100-130

white to tinted
small
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


Once upon a time America's favorite breed.

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


Common

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.

4-6/220-300

varies from light (or pinkish) to
medium
brown

large to extra large

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, but have not stood out for good or bad reasons.

Polish or
Poland


Perhaps the oldest of the crested breeds.

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


Uncommon


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.

1-3/110-150

whites
small to medium
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

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


Think huge rose comb.

Red & black pattern, only


Rare

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.

2-4/180-240
white

small

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

hardy


moderately early maturing
can adapt to confinement; active

Rhode Island Red
Rhode Island


This is one solid chicken.

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


Common, especially commercial strains

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. Promoted as the world's most successful chicken breed.

5-6/250-320

varies from light to rich
medium
brown

large to jumbo

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.

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


Handsome, graceful, rare.

White-Faced Black only


Uncommon
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.

2-4/160-280
white

large to extra large

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

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


All for show.

White, only


Uncommon
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.

1-3/120-180
white

small
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

Speckled Sussex
Sussex


An old English favorite

Speckled, Red, Light


Speckled are common, other varieties are rare

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.

3-4/200-280

creamy
to light
brown

medium

good winter layer

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

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

Our Birds: sweet birds; among our favorites for personality. Among the easiest to catch. Some have been quiet, others talkative. Since the feathering of the speckled variety provides pretty good camouflage, we can recommend them for free range. A cockerel of ours once survived for 8 days out on his own.

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


Backyard bird with big brown eggs.

Red Partridge


Uncommon
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 since Cornelius has always had a green body and multicolored tail, I see no resemblance.

3-4/200-280

rich
dark
terracotta
brown, often mottled with dark spots

large to jumbo

As with all dark brown egg layers, individual differences are wide, and eggs become less dark over the laying season.
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: Fit in well in a mixed flock: not aggressive, but not bullied either. 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.

Silver Laced Wyandotte
Wyandotte


The "bird of curves."

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


Common

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.

3-4/180-260

light
to rich
brown

medium to extra large

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.

Yokohama


Elegant long-tail.

Red shouldered & white; White; other colors


Very rare

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.

1-2/90-130

tinted

small


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; 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".


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. Ratings are based on surveys of US and Canadian hatchery catalogs and breeder lists available online.


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

The numbers indicate the range of eggs to expect on a weekly basis for most of the year followed by an estimate of the number of eggs that can be expected for the year. Egg production of an individual hen, however, is dependent on such factors as age, health, nutrition, space, housing, sanitation, light, humidity, temperature, and contentment. For some breeds, some varieties are more productive than others.
good winter layer = winter layer. 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 laying season progresses and 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. Robust is 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 19 April 2020.
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 original content on this site is the property of Sage Hen Farm and is protected by copyright laws, trademark and design rights.
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