Polish Chicken are beautiful

10 Beautiful Chickens That Add Variety To Your Flock

Even if you have an existing flock of chickens, adding a few ornamental chickens to your flock can add a lot of personality and fun to your chicken raising adventures. 

There are several beautiful and lovely breeds of chickens and several funny-looking and amusing chicken breeds available. Many of them blend well to high egg layers, meat chickens, and other dual-purpose chickens

Here are my top 10 unique chickens that are mostly fun to raise (there is one exception that’s noted and shouldn’t be raised with other chickens). All of these chickens are heritage chicken breeds that have been around for decades and have rich histories.

Many of these breeds lay 2-3 eggs a week and some of them lay colored eggs. But, all of them are sure to start a great conversation when you have company. 

1. Egyptian Fayoumi: Adventurous, Hardy Jungle Birds

The Egyptian Fayoumi is believed to be a cross of jungle hens and domesticated birds. They are a very old bird that hails from the Nile region of Egypt. Fayoumi have an interesting history.

In about 1860 b.c. the Egyptian Pharaoh, Amenemhat II built channels from the Nile River to the Fayoumi depression. As a result, most of Lake Quram was drained.

This left smaller areas with water and much of the natural wildlife left the area. Malaria bred rampant in the stagnant pools left. Local Sri Lanka Fowl stayed and through natural selection, became the Egyptian Fayoumi, a bird that is very disease resistant.

Fayoumi are possibly the first domesticated breed of chicken.

Looks Of The Egyptian Fayoumi Chickens

Fayoumi hold their tail feathers almost straight up. They have long necks and look like a very alert chicken. They are silvery-white. They have white bars on a black plumage. They have a single comb.

Fayoumi are a unique looking bird. They stand almost upright. Their long necks have caused them to be compared to a roadrunner. They have a smallish head.

Fayoumi chickens aren’t a recognized breed by the American Poultry Association. As a result, there aren’t breed standards.

They are heritage chickens in Egypt, where they are called Bigawi. They can live for 10-15 years.

Reasons To Raise Fayoumi Chickens

Fayoumis lay between 150-200 small cream-colored eggs a year. Hens mature early, at about 4.5 months. The mothers are broody when they reach 2-3 yrs old.

Fayoumis roosters grow to 4.5 lbs (2 kgs), while hens grow to 3.5 lbs (1.6 kgs).

They are very self-reliant, which makes them an economical chicken to own and raise.

Caring For Your Egyptian Fayoumi Chickens

Fayoumi are nervous birds and fly very well. That makes them predator resistant.

It also means they do best in a free-range environment. They don’t do as well in backyard scenarios because they can clear most backyard fences. They are also fairly noisy.

If Egyptian Fayoumi don’t have enough space, they will pluck their feathers from stress. They tend to be bossy, but not aggressive toward other birds.

They are territorial, this is truer of the roosters. But, even the hens are territorial about their favorite nesting spots. Roosters are noisy.

They are excellent foragers and require very little feed. They usually prefer to forage over commercial feed options.

They are very hardy birds and are disease resistant. They are naturally resistant to Marek’s disease. They do very well in hot weather.

Fayoumi are never fully tamed. They are vocal when picked up. They don’t like confinement and do much better when allowed to free range.

Egyptian Fayoumi chickens are pretty rare in the United States.

Climate Personality Use Size Eggs/ Yr Brooder Forages
Hot Active Skittish Eggs M: 4.5 lbs

F: 3.5 lbs

150-200 Later in Life Yes
  • Very Hardy, Good Forager
  • Predator Resistant
  • Best for Free Range Situations

2. Minorca Chickens: Spanish Chickens With A Flair

Minora chickens hail most recently from the Castile Region of Spain. Minorca is an island off the Spanish Coast.

Tradition holds that the Minorcas came to Spain from Africa vía the Moors. It has been called the Moorish fowl.  

Another tales bring them to Spain vía the Romans. Either way, Minorcas have been in Spain for a long time.

They came out of Spain and was found in Devon and Cornwall by the 1870s.

Minorca Chickens are often show chickens
Minorca Chickens
Photo Credit: Tatiana12

Minorca Chicken Physical Features

They are also called the “Red Faced Black Chicken.” but until recent breeding, they had white faces. Now Minorcas have red faces.

They also have huge wattles and combs. They come in a variety of colors, including black, white, barred, blue, and buff. White and buff Minorcas are rare.

Minorcas were accepted into the American Poultry Association in 1888 as a single comb black and white varieties. Rose comb black was admitted in 1904 and single comb buff in 1913. Rose comb white was most recently accepted in 1914.

Minorcas are considered a heritage chicken. They usually live an average of 6-8 years.

Minorca Chicken Uses

Minorca chickens were originally bred for eggs, but have recently been bred for looks. As a result, the number of eggs will vary and be based on specific lineage.

Generally speaking, Minorcas lay between 170-220 eggs a day. That’s 3-4 snow white eggs a week. Eggs are extra large.  They start laying eggs at about 22 months.

Although Minorcas are the largest of all the Mediterranean birds, they aren’t used for meat. That’s because the meat is dry and they are super slow growing.

Roosters can get to 8.5 – 9 lbs (3.85 kgs) and hens grow to 7.5 lbs (3.4 kgs).

Minorca chickens are beautiful deep black all rights reserved
Minorca Chickens
Photo Credit: Mindaugo Ivanausko zoo sodyba Flickr

Caring For Your Minorca Chickens

Minorcas love the heat but don’t do well in cold climates. They are very susceptible to frostbite.

They do ok in confinement but can fly as high as 2 meters (over 2 yards or 6 feet). They are less likely to fly if they have a large enough coop. They excel in a free-range environment.

They have been known to seek escape in confinement. They need a lot of grass to forage in.

They don’t get attacks from aerial predators as much as other chickens. They are very energetic.

Minorcas are rarely brooders. They are friendly, especially to people, social and playful.

They do well in suburbs if they have a decent sized backyard to forage in. They are relatively quiet chickens.

They are listed in a watch status by the Livestock Conservancy.

Climate Personality Use Size Eggs/ Yr Brooder Forages
Hot, dry Friendly Eggs M: 8 lbs

F: 7 lbs

170-220 No Yes
  • Great backyard chicken
  • Good family chicken
  • Red faces are adorable

3. Polish Chickens: Quirky Personality and Bad Hair Day

Polish chickens are fun, ornamental birds. They look like they are having a bad hair day and are sure to bring a smile to any observers’ face. They are inquisitive and happy birds.

There is a lot of debate and many stories about where they came from. They are featured in paintings dating back to the 1600s.

One story says that when the King of Poland was dethroned, he fled to France. Packed in his suitcase was his prized possession, a polish chicken, which soon became the darling of French society.

Another story brings Polish chickens to Holland from Spain during the Spanish occupation.

Yet another says they came from Russia and named for the hats the Polish soldiers wore. Similar skulls have been found in Russia, but remember that Poland and Russia has a shared history.

Once Polish chickens were renowned for their egg-laying abilities. But, their appearance was the focal point of breeding and so their egg production dropped.

Polish Chickens are entertaining
Polish Chicken
Photo Credit: Flickr Just chaos

Physical Traits Of Polish Chickens

Polish Chickens can have beards or no beards. Their crests can be different colors. They always have a pompom hairdo that resembles a chrysanthemum flower. They have a bony protrusion on their heads. The bony protrusion is only found in Polish, Crevecoeur and Houdan chickens.

Their red comb is a V shape. They have white earlobes and red wattles.

There are many feather colors and varieties of Polish chickens. The varieties include bearded and non-bearded colors. Bearded colors include the black crested white and the white crested black Polish. There are also golden, silver, white, buff and laced in both bearded and non-bearded varieties.

The tolbunt is a new variety that isn’t officially accepted but is a combination of white, brown and black.

The first colors of Polish Chickens that were accepted to the American Poultry Association were the non-bearded white crested black, golden, silver, and white in 1875. Bearded golden, silver, white, and buff laced were accepted in 1883. Nonbearded buff laced was accepted in 1938 and non-bearded white crested blue was accepted in 1963.

Polish chickens are considered a heritage chicken breed. They live a long life. They can live 7-8 years on average with some living longer. They usually stop laying eggs in the last few years of their life, but they never lose their enthusiasm for life.

Reasons To Raise Polish Chickens

Polish Chickens are most beloved for their interesting and fun looks. But they also have other purposes.

Polish chickens will usually lay about 2 eggs a week. Some specific lines will still lay as many as 200 medium, white eggs a year.

They usually start laying later in the season but go stronger once hens start laying. Hens don’t usually brood and aren’t very good setters.

They are small birds. The roosters grow to 6 lbs (2.7 kgs) and the hens grow to 4.5 lbs (2 kgs).

Poish Chicken are fun
Polish Chicken
Photo Credit: Flickr donald judge

Caring For Your Polish Chickens

Polish Chickens are one of the most unique looking chickens. They sport a 1970s hairstyle. Their head feathers often cover their eyes and make it hard for them to see well.

As a result, they can get startled easily. You can either trim the feathers around their face or make sure that you make noise when approaching them so they aren’t scared.

When they can see well, they are friendly, gentle birds. They are likely to be bullied by aggressive chicken breeds. Their crest may get picked on, which can be fatal to them.

For that reason, Polish and non-crested chickens should not be bred together. Plus, their crests should be kept dry and clean.

Otherwise, it can cause illness. Mites and lice can also get into the crest and will cause permanent damage if not treated properly.

Polish chickens look cuddly with their flowery hairdo and they usually tolerate cuddling. They are good for kids.

Nearly any dry climate is good for a Polish chicken. Wet climates are not good for them. They will need a covered run in wet climates. They do better in hot climates than in very cold climates.  

They do well in backyards and are generally quiet and friendly. They do need predator protection because they don’t see as well and don’t escape as easily as other breeds.

They are listed in watch status by the American Livestock Conservancy.

Climate Personality Use Size Eggs/ Yr Brooder Forages
Not Wet Gentle Ornamental M: 6lbs

F: 4.5 lbs

100-200 No Poor
  • Crested chickens with an exuberance for life
  • Decent egg-laying abilities
  • Spunky addition to any flock

5. Silkie Chickens: The Teddy Bear Of Chickens

Silkies are adorable furry chickens. The earliest European mention of Silkies is believed to have been by Marco Polo in 1290-1300 when he mentioned “furry chickens” in China. Chickens with “hair like a cat” and “black skin.”

The earliest silkies are believed to go all the way back to the Chinese Han Dynasty in 206 BC. They made their way across the silk road and are also called the Chinese Silk Chicken.

In the 1800s, they were said to be a cross between a chicken and a rabbit. They were sold as a freak chicken.

Black Silkie chickens are beautiful
Black Silkie
Photo Credit: Geograph.org

Physical Traits Of Silkie Chickens

Today, Silkies are called the teddy bear of chickens. And, no wonder! They are friendly, super tame, and cuddly.

The reason they look like they have fur is because the feathers don’t’ have barbicels. The berbing that holds feathers together is lacking and so each strand of a Silkie feather flies free, giving it a furry look.

That means they can’t fly or swim. It also means the feathers aren’t waterproof.

Silkies have other unique looks. They have a crested head and a walnut comb that is black or dark mulberry colored. If it’s red- it isn’t a purebred silkie. They have blue earlobes and dark wattles. They also have 5 toes, furry legs, and a grey-blue beak. They can be bearded or non-bearded.

They come in a variety of colors including black, blue, buff, white, partridge, splash and grey. Unofficial colors include red, lavender, porcelain, and cuckoo.

They are one of the few black-skinned and black-boned chicken breeds. It’s a condition called melanism. The black skin contains twice as much carnitine as any other chicken.

Silkies were accepted into the American Poultry Association in 1874. The recognized colors are black, blue, buff, gray, partridge, self blue, and white. Splash is not recognized.

Silkies are a heritage chicken. They live an average of nine years.

silkie chicken have beautiful faces
silkie chicken have beautiful faces

Reasons To Own A Silkie Chicken

Most people want to own Silkie chickens because of their lovely looks and fuzzy feathers. Silkies are one of the most unique looking chickens out there.

The Chinese use the carnitine in Silkie bones in their medicine for its healing and energy-giving properties. Carnitine is a strong antioxidant.

Silkies are small chickens. The roosters only grow to about 4-5 lbs (2 kgs) and the hens grow to about 3 lbs (1.8 kgs). Even so, the black skin makes them a delicacy and Silkies are often raised for meat.

All silkies are considered bantams in the US and Canada, but in Europe, there is a difference between standard Silkies and bantam silkies.

They don’t lay a lot of eggs. The hens can lay as many as 90-100 small, cream-colored eggs a year.  Hens start laying around 7-9 months old and can lay 3-4 eggs a week when they aren’t broody.

A Silkie hen will start laying early in the year, as soon as the days get longer. That usually means they lay in late December or early January.

However, hens are very broody and will get broody several times a year. It has been said that a silkie will hatch a rock. They are not particular about whose eggs they hatch.

Although, if they hatch another breed’s eggs, the hens get quite concerned when their “babies” go into the water since Silkies can’t swim. Silkies are natural mothers.

Silkie Chickens are beautiful
Silkie Chicken
Photo Credit: normanack Flickr

Caring For Your Silkie Chickens

They are calm, friendly and docile. They usually require no extra time to be tame and friendly to humans.

This means they are often picked on by other breeds.

Silkies are the best chicken for apartment living and do well in confinement. They are quiet and small. They do well in backyards.

They forage well, but can’t escape predators well so they do need to be protected. They can’t fly at all. They also won’t reap havoc on your garden!

They do well in both cold and hot climates but do not do well in wet climates. Their feathering doesn’t protect them from the water and they need to be dried off when they get wet.

They are very susceptible to Marek’s disease.

Climate Personality Use Size Eggs/ Yr Brooder Forages
Not Wet Gentle, Calm Ornamental & Meat M: 4 lbs

F: 3 lbs

100 All the time! Yes
  • Cuddly, mellow & friendly
  • Used as an ornamental chicken
  • Black bones & furry appearance

6. Malay Chicken: Funky Oriental Looking Bird

Malay chickens are a very ancient breed. They date back as much as 3500 years. They are believed to have originated from Jungle Fowl ancestors.

They are the tallest chicken. They stand at 26-30 inches tall! This is due to a long neck, long legs, and the upright carriage of the body.

They were originally found in the Orient. They were brought from India, Indonesia and Malaysia to England in 1830.

Malay Chickens add an air of nobility
Malay Chicken
Photo Credit: Wikimedia.org

Malay Chicken Purposes

Malay chickens are used primarily for ornamental purposes. They have very lean meat. That is either a great thing or a very bad thing, depending on tastes. The meat has been called coarse, dry and firm.

They are larger birds. The roosters grow to 9 lbs (4 kgs). The hens grow to 7 lbs (3.17 kgs).

Hens lay about 1-2 egg a week only part of the year. They only lay a few months. That equates to about 70 eggs a year.

Eggs will be a medium brown egg. Hens are good mothers when they get broody, but the roosters are likely to kill the young chicks.

Malay Chicken Physical Features

The Malay possibly developed their long necks because they were said to have eaten from the top of grain barrels in ancient days.

They come in several colors including black-breasted red, white, spangled, black, and red pyle.

The rooster crows much like a roar with a hoarse short croak. The beak is hooked and their expression is cruel. Feathers have a sheen in the daylight.

Black-breasted red Malay chickens were accepted into the American Poultry Association in 1883. White, speckled, black, and red pyle Malayas were accepted a century later in 1981.

Malay chickens are a heritage chicken that lives about 8 years if they stay healthy.

Caring For Your Malay Chicken

They don’t do well in confinement. They are already cancerous birds with a quarrelsome attitude. They get more ornery in confinement. They should be provided with a large garden and yard.

Malay have the habit of eating other bird’s feathers. They don’t do well with other breeds of chickens.

Malay have strong vitality. But, they don’t do well in cold climates. They don’t have enough feathers.

They are heat hardy. They cannot fly so they aren’t safe from predators.

They are active birds. They are also aggressive and will fight other birds. They can be very flighty and aggressive.

They are critically endangered and very sensitive to coccidiosis. They are also very sensitive to a lot of health issues in the U.S.

Climate Personality Use Size Eggs/ Yr Brooder Forages
Hot Quarrelsome Looks M: 9 lbs

F: 7 lbs

70 Yes Average
  • Super long body, legs and neck
  • Best for looks and conservation
  • Not great for starter flocks

7. Cochin Chicken: Europe’s First Exotic Chicken Breed

Cochins are known as a gentle giant. They were originally called the Shanghai Chicken.

They became famous in the 1800s when they were given as a gift to Queen Victoria.  She adored the birds and build them a special coop.

From that point forth, some of the breed became Cochin and others were bred into Brahmas.

Cochins originated in China and were bred for their meat. At the time of Queen Victoria, they provided more tender meat, but were must uglier and wild-looking birds than the breed is today.

cochin chickens are regal and lovely
Cochin Chicken

Cochin Chicken Looks

Cochins are covered in feathers and look like a fluffy ball of feathers. Even their feet and toes are covered in feathers.

They have red wattles, ear lobes, and comb. The comb has five points. Cochins are large birds, but their feathers give them the appearance of being much larger than they are.  

They are slow to mature and take 2 yrs to mature. Roosters usually grow to 11 lbs (5 kgs), while hens grow to 8.5 lbs (3.8 kgs).

Cochin chickens are considered a heritage breed. It helped to fuel hen fever, in England and America during the 1850s.

But, back then, they didn’t look the same as they look today. They looked a lot more wild, like jungle fowl. Since that time they have been bred for their looks.

Cochins were admitted into the British Poultry Standard in 1865 and the American Poultry Association in 1874. In England, the BPS recognizes them in buff, partridge, white, black,  and blue. The APA recognizes those colors plus silver, laced, golden laced, and brown. Outside the US, they also come in cuckoo and brown.

Cochins typically live 8-10 years. They are a heritage breed of chicken.

Reasons To Own A Cochin Chicken

Today, they are mostly used as ornamental birds, foster hens, and pets.

The Chinese found that they worked well as capon, the practice of raising castrated males and fattening them for meat. They would harvest them at 12 lbs around 15-16 months. Cochins provide more dark meat than breast meat.

Cochins don’t produce a lot of eggs, usually 2 brown eggs a week, but they will continue to lay during cold winter months. That’s about 100-180 small, brown eggs a year.

That’s because they eat a lot and will eat enough to produce both body heat and eggs. They do better in cold climates than they do in hot climates.

They are prone to laziness, even in a free-range environment and may overeat. Greens can be added to their diet to stem overweight issues.

The hens get broody, often more than once a year. They are often used as a foster mom for other bird’s eggs, including turkeys. They are the best chicken for hatching eggs.

They also make excellent mothers.

Cochin chickens are show chickens
Cochin Chicken
Photo Credit: Flickr CarbonNYC [in SF!]

Caring For Your Cochin Chicken

Cochins are very mellow and not an active chicken. They don’t forage very well because they prefer to eat food that’s available close to them.

They can be prone to getting too fat and becoming unhealthy. You will need to watch your hens to make sure they aren’t getting to heavy. You may also need to ration the amount of food they eat to encourage greater activity.

Their great amount of feathers make them susceptible to lice and mites and they may need to be treated. They are pretty cold hardy, although wet, freezing conditions can lead to frostbite on their feet because their feathers can pick up mud and other moisture and then freeze.

Cochins are super gentle. Even the roosters don’t become aggressive. They are easily tamed and are the type of chicken usually found in photos of chicken strollers and other pet activities.

They make a great chicken for children, as well as a wonderful backyard chicken.

Cochin chickens are listed as recovering by the Livestock Conservancy.

Climate Personality Use Size Eggs/ Yr Brooder Forages
Cold Gentle Brooder M: 11 lbs

F: 8.5 lbs

100-120 Yes Occasionally
  • Very Gentle Birds
  • Ornamental Birds
  • Chinese used for capon

8. Modern Game Chicken: Adventurous, Nerdy Chickens

After cockfighting was outlaws in England, chicken shows became the place to show off your chickens.

In the shows, taller, sleeker birds started winning the prizes. This led to the breeding of the Old English Game chicken ad the Malay, which produced a taller bird. Over several decades, the breed was improved.

Modern Game fetched very high prices. As a result, when World War I broke out new chicken owners couldn’t afford to purchase them. Plus, the birds cut into depleting resources.

By World War II, Modern Game were thought to be extinct, even though some of the breed had been exported to the United States. Breeder Paul Hohman obtained some Modern Game eggs from the United States and started a new breeding program.

He was able to raise their numbers. Modern Game is now a popular show bird in Australia and can be found in other countries.

modern game chickens are show chickens
Modern Game Chicken
Photo Credit: Wikimedia,org

Modern Game Chicken Uses

They are used purely for ornamental purposes. Their meat isn’t especially tender or tasty and they lay very few eggs a year.

A rooster Modern Game grows to about 6 lbs (2.72 kg) and a hen grows to 4.5 lbs (2 kgs).

Hens lay about 1 medium white egg a week, or about 50-80 a year. They will go broody and stop laying for part of the year.

Modern Game Features

Modern Game have a single red comb with 5 points and small wattles, which are usually cut off of the males for showing. They have an upright carriage, hard feathering and a short back.

It makes them look like a tall bird with their britches pulled too far up.

They come in black-breasted red, brown-red, golden duckwing, silver duckwing, birchen, red pyle, white, and black. There are other non-official colorings as well.

Modern Game chickens are a heritage chicken. They were admitted to the American Poultry Association in 1874.

Caring For Your Modern Game Chickens

The tight feathering means that they don’t do very well in the cold. They need good shelter. Many breeders will let them run free in a large enclosed area during the winter to keep them warm.

They do well in the heat.

Modern Game are active, friendly birds, but they can get aggressive on occasion.
They do not handle confinement well and need plenty of space to run around. They must be allowed enough space to be active and curious.

They are not well-suited for small backyards. They are also not as well suited for beginner chicken owners as they do need enough exercise to stay healthy and extra care in cold seasons.

Modern Game chicks can tame well if handled from a young age.

They are listed as critically endangered by the Livestock Conservancy. There is an estimated worldwide population of fewer than 2,000 chickens.

Climate Personality Use Size Eggs/ Yr Brooder Forages
Hot Active Show M: 6 lbs

F: 4.5 lbs

50 Yes Yes
  • Need a great shelter and place to run around
  • Ornamental chicken
  • Greatly endangered.

9. Old English Game Chickens: Fierce Warriors

Old English Game is the oldest British breed of chickens. As such, it is most often portrayed in art.

It descends from a fighting breed called Pit Game. The breed goes back to 54 AD when Julius Caesar introduced cockfighting to the British. He was the first Roman citizen to participate in cockfighting.

Old English Game is a descendant of ancient fighting cocks. Fighting cocks are mentioned in the records of the Phoenicians and ancient Egyptians, as far back as 3,000 years.

The game breed is the first breed developed in Britain and has been developed for thousands of years. It displays high endurance, stamina, and courage.

Old English Game was bred as a fighting rooster for cockfights. In the 1800s, cockfighting was introduced to the school system to inspire students to the courage, endurance, and strength of the fighting cocks.

When cockfighting was banned in England in 1849, many of the pure strains were exported out in an attempt to keep the breed pure.

Remaining Old English Game was then bred for shows. Two strains developed as breeders bred for size or for coloring.

The Carlile Old English Game and Oxford Old English Game were officially split in the 1930s.

The United States, Canada, Spain and India Old English Game usually come from the Oxford Old English Game. This strain is closer to the original breed.

Carlisle Old English Game is more commonly found in England.

Both breeds of Old English Game continue to retain a strong spirit. Roosters are very territorial and cannot be kept together after 6 months old.

If they are, roosters will fight to the death and cause great injury. Hens are also aggressive and can only be kept together if they have been raised together. New hens cannot be introduced to the flock.

Old English Game Chickens are often show chicken
Old English Game
Photo Credit: CackleHatchery

Reasons To Raise Old English Game Chickens

Old English Game is used as an ornamental bird and as a show bird. It is also often popular for meat.

When it is used as a show bird, it is dubbed. Dubbed means that the wattles and the combs are cut off. The were originally cut to eliminate places the other fighting bird could grab with the beak.

Old English Game is a noisy, active bird. Both hens and roosters are intolerant of confinement. They tolerate the cold better than the heat.

Because of their longevity, they are often used as a stock bird for new breeds.

Features Of The Old English Game Chickens

Both varieties are small bird with lots of plumage. They feature a single comb, strong beak,  and thin earlobes. The eyes are large on a small head. The legs are short with 4 toes. The nails need to be trimmed often.

Old English Game Chickens were admitted to the American Poultry Association in 1938. The colors admitted were white, black, and spangled. Blue-breasted red, lemon blue, blue golden duckwing, blue silver duckwing, self blue, and crele were admitted later.

They are very hardy and live a long time. Birds can live up to 15 years. They are considered a heritage breed.

Caring For Your Old English Game Chickens

Old English Game does well in a free-range situation and has been used in some areas as a peasant bird since it can fend for itself very well. It is not very susceptible to predators. It can also fly very well.

When allowed, Old English Game birds can become ferrell and go back to the wild. Wide borders or netting should be maintained to keep them from escaping.

In some areas cockfighting still exists and there is some information that indicates that a pure breed referred to as the “Pyles Strain of Charles II” is still bred and maintained for cockfighting. There if very little public information on this as cockfighting is done in secret.

Old English Game has very tight feathering and a puffed out chest. They is used as table meat because of the good muscle distribution.

Hens don’t lay a lot of eggs, about 2 medium cream-colored eggs a week. Hens are good, very protective mothers and can go broody.

Roosters usually grow to about 5 lbs (2.2 kg) and hens grow to 4 lbs (1.18 kg).

They are listed as a threatened breed by the Livestock Conservancy.

Old english Game chickens are beautifully colored
Old English Game
Photo Credit: CrackleHatchery

Carlisle Old English Game

The Carlisle Old English Game was bred for show. It has a horizontal back and carries the body flat.

It has a large breast. There are 13 recognized colors. They are: black red (partridge), black-red (wheaten), brown-red, splangle, britchen or grey, golden duckwing, blue-red, blue-tailed wheaten, creole, cuckoo, pyle, self white

Carlisle Old English Game is more commonly found in Britain. The bird is believed to be slightly milder than the original Old English Game birds of the 1800s.

Oxford Old English Game

The Oxford breed of Old English Game still carries the original upright carriage that the original breed had. The back is a 45-degree angle toward the ground.

There are 30 recognized colors of Oxford Old English Game. Those colors include: black-breasted red, black-breasted dark red, shady or streaky breasted light red, black-breasted silver Duckwing, black-breasted yellow Duckwing, black-breasted birchen Duckwing, black-breasted dark grey, clear mealy breasted mealy grey, brown-breasted brown-red, streaky breasted orange-red, ginger breasted ginger red, dun breasted blue dun, streaky breasted red dun, yellow silver and honey dun, Pyle, spangled, white, black, Furness brassy back and polecat, cuckoo, brown-breasted yellow birchen, Hennie, muff and tassel.

Neither breeds is recommended for beginners as they are very aggressive and require better borders and less confinement. They are not a good breed for families or children.

Roosters will usually attach small children and may even attack adults.

Old English Game Chickens are listed as a threatened species by the Livestock Conservancy.


Climate Personality Use Size Eggs/ Yr Brooder Forages
Cold Aggressive Meat & Show M: 5 lbs

F: 4 lbs

100 Yes Excellent
    • Males must be kept separated
    • Mostly kept away from milder breeds
    • Used for shows and exhibition

10. Sultan Chickens: Royal Flair

These once royal chickens were beloved for their feathers and beauty. They were ornamental birds in the Sultan’s gardens and beloved by many a royal visitors. Sultan chickens make great companions to Polish, Silkie, and Crevecoeur chicken breeds.

To find out more check out our full highlight on Sultan chickens here.

Sultan Chicken are noble birds
Sultan Chicken
Photo Credit: CackleHatchery

Last, but not least.

11. & 12. Bonus: Houdan and Naked Neck

If you’d like to check out some quirky-looking chickens, then take a look at the Houdan chicken and the Naked Neck. They add spice and variety to any flock!

Turken Naked Neck Chicken
Turken Naked Neck
Photo Credit: Flickr Katie@!
Houdan Chicken
Houdan Chicken
Photo Credit: Flickr by Ann Porteus


Whether you want a uniquely beautiful bird such as Old English Game or a beautiful bird that will get along with kids and other birds, one of these unique breeds can add fun and entertainment to your flock.


Chicken Breed Good for Showing Temperament Other Uses Other Strengths
Egyptian Fayoumi Not usually in fowl shows Nervous, Territorial Eggs 150-200 Excellent Foraging, Self Sufficient
Minorca Yes Friendly Eggs 170-200 Heat resistant, Backyards
Polish Yes Friendly, Shy Eggs 100+ Quiet, Friendly
Silkie Yes Friendly, Shy Eggs 90-100 Furry appearance
Malay Yes Quarrelsome Eggs 50-80 Heat Hardy
Cochin Yes Gentle, Friendly Eggs 100-180 Great for kids
Modern Game Yes Active Can be aggressive Eggs 50 Can be tamed from hatching
Old English game Yes Aggressive, Territorial Eggs 100 Best for experienced raisers
Sultan Yes Happy, Content Eggs 50 Heat Hardy, Family birds

Feature Photo Credit: Flickr fotopamas

My Favorite Chicken and Duck Supplies

This list contains affiliate products. Affiliate products do not cost more but helps to support BestFarmAnimals and our goal to provide farm animal owners with accurate and helpful information.

Manna Pro Oyster Shell keeps eggs strong. Before I gave my chickens oyster shell, I had the oddest eggs, many with weak and irregular shells. Now, I don’t have an issue.

Layer Feed by Manna Pro. I like pellets rather than crumbles as my chickens eat them better and less gets wasted or scavenged by rodents. A good layer feed makes the difference in hens laying many more eggs.

My chickens love this mealworm treat, which gives added protein, something that’s great during molting and winter months.

There are many ways to feed and water your chickens. I like this food and water setup the best because it reduces waste, saves me time feeding and watering, and keeps the food fresh longer. Except, in the winter, I use a heated waterer. The only problem is the heated waterers need to be replaced every few years.

I love this chicken veggie hanger. It makes it easy to give your chickens produce from the garden and keep them occupied in the winter with a fresh head of lettuce.

These chicken toys are a hoot! They will help curb bullying and keep your chickens active, especially in the winter when hens tend to get more lethargic.

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