Black Chicken Breeds

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

23 January 2015

Beautiful Black Chicken Breeds To Add Some Style To Your Backyard!

Coco Chanel - fashion genius - famously remarked that every fashion conscious woman simply must own a little black dress. As a result of this small remark, Coco Chanel placed the colour black upon the highest pedestal, a hallmark of elegance, style and sophistication. Though all chickens are cute and charming in their own way, black chicken breeds seems to outclass some other types with their effortless chic energy and appeal. But what type of black chicken breeds are there? Which black chicken breeds will best suit my needs? Though picking the right black chicken breed is a lot of fun, it isn’t as simple as putting on a little black dress.

Black Orpington

In the early years of the 20th century the black Orpington was created by William Cook and almost instantly made it’s mark on the poultry scene. This black chicken breed is immediately recognisable by its robust frame and proud stature. It’s not surprising that a prize winning black Orpington was sold at a New York show for well over two thousand dollars. This docile and friendly black chicken breed traditionally are quite large, weighing up to 6.5 kilograms, but are now also available in smaller bantam varieties. This particular black chicken breed lay approximately 150 eggs a year, but what they lack in yield they make up for in style. Please note, given the Orpington’s size and status they do prefer larger backyards so that they can strut their stuff.

Ancona

The Ancona hales from a small Italian city of the same name. This black chicken breed comes from humble origins but quickly came to notoriety when it was exported to England in the 19th century. These lively slim foragers are distinguishable by their sleek black plumage with white tips, which adopt a slight beetle green sheen in the sun. Though these beauties may be small in stature they are still able to lay up to 160 eggs a year. This black chicken breed is a small town country girl at heart and prefers to free range, but they aren’t divas and can adopt to more confined living arrangements.

White-Crested Black Poland

As far as black chicken breeds go, the white-crested black Poland is perhaps one of the most striking looking birds, yet by the same token are also one of the most vulnerable breeds around. These regal creatures possess stunning domed crests that are simply spectacular to see, however their plumes do unfortunately impair their vision. This black chicken breed does require the love and protection that only a true admirer can provide, as they are vulnerable to predators and the elements, especially colder climates. Conservative layers by nature the Poland can produce up to 80 eggs per year, however they offer them to you freely, as they are rarely, if ever, inclined to broodiness. The white-crested black Poland is slightly high maintenance, comparative to other black chicken breeds, however one cannot understate the appeal of their beautiful feathered crests and sleek black bodies.

Sumatra

Sumatra, a black chicken breed with a dark history, tend to be bold but wary birds, with the most remarkable long and lustrous black tails. The Sumatras heritage is tragic and violent, having been enslaved as fighting birds in its native Indonesia. They soon found salvation in Europe, which coincided with the abolition of cockfighting in the later 19th century. This black chicken breed has not lost it’s ability to fly, which is not surprising, considering its history - so tall fences are needed to keep this breed under wraps!. Their tails rest at a low angle, not unlike a pheasant and it’s important to ensure that their tail feathers do not get too dirty or damaged. They aren’t the best layers, averaging around 130 smallish white eggs per year, so if you’re someone who likes to eat a lot of omelettes, you may need to consider another breed.

Minorca

The Minorca breed has always been popular amongst urban domestic poultry keepers, as well as competitive breeders, however has never really found commercial success as a black chicken breed. There's something mysterious about the Minorca breed, which has been captured brilliantly by a number Dutch painters. Native to Spain, this black chicken breed has a distinctive fleshy red comb as well as a elegant wedge shapes frame. It is important to note however that given their exposed fleshy comb this black chicken breed is not suitable if you live in a colder climate. Minorcas are impressive layers, with one strain reported to having laid over 230 eggs in a year, however best check with the breeder to assess on average how much their strand might lay.

All these breeds are also available in colours other than black to suit your taste, however it’s important to emphasise the style, range and appeal of some black chicken types. If you know you’re interested in a black chicken, but none of these seem like the perfect fit, you can also look into Silkies which are an option you can have in your own backyard - or start dreaming about the exotic Ayam Cemani!

Stylish and elegant black chickens need a home to suit their level of sophistication, so why not look into the Taj Mahal, Penthouse or Mansion chicken coop! It will be the perfect home for your fine looking feathered friends.

Sources and further reading

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