Most consumers are not aware that chickens come in a wide variety of breeds, from the exotic looking Frizzled Cochin to the more mundane Rhode Island Red. Chicken breeds come in an amazing variety of sizes, colors, and shapes, with some species producing high amounts of eggs, while others are bred for ornamental or meat producing reasons. Most chicken breeds are readily available through special suppliers, and are a fun way to liven up the farmyard and the house, with some breeds making very good pets.
Among the more exotic chicken breeds is the Araucana, a chicken that produces eggs that range in color from pale green to blue. Araucanas have tufts of feathers over their ears and long, slim bodies, and are a medium sized breed of bird. Another exotic breed is the Phoenix. Phoenix roosters have long, flowing tails which can reach up to three feet (one meter) in length, while hens have a soft golden coat. The Phoenix is a Chinese breed, and they were highly prized in pleasure gardens for centuries.
One of the smallest chicken breeds is the Bantam, with most birds able to fit nestled in the palm of your hands. Bantam roosters typically have very upright, flowing tails and a cocky strut that belies their size. Hens are small and sleek, laying delicate pale white eggs on a frequent basis. Bantams are also very tame, and made ideal house pets as well as companions.
Among the more peculiar looking chicken breeds are the Cochins, which include the Frizzled Cochin, which looks as though it has been through a wind tunnel. Other unusual chicken breeds include the feather-footed breeds, which have tufts of feathers resembling booties on their feet. Most of the feather footed-breeds are also very fluffy, with multiple layers of soft feathers on their bodies.
Many chicken breeds also have exotic and decorative crests, including the Polish, Houdans, Sultans, and Crevecouers. These chicken breeds should be monitored carefully to ensure that other birds are not harassing them, as some chickens cannot resist the target of a large fluffy crest. If not separated in time, other chickens will peck the crested breeds bald.
For meat, flavorful chicken breeds such as the Cornish are ideal, with a large, firm breast. For eggs, chicken breeds such as the Rhode Island Red, Orpington, Minorcas, Hamburgs, and Leghorns are all excellent choices.
A flock of chickens can bring light, color, character, and fun to a farmyard, while some chicken breeds may become beloved members of the family. Many people are unaware of the wide variety of chicken breeds, which all produce eggs and meat while being entertaining to have around.