Exploring The Origin, Size & Lifespan Of The Cutest And Fluffiest Chickens Around
Chickens come in many different shapes and sizes, and many colors too. Some have feathered legs, others thin and spindly. Some have thick plumage while others look rugged and hardy. There are those bred for eggs, some for meat and some as show birds. It should be no surprise that some of the most popular show birds are fluffy chicken breeds.
But which breeds are the fluffiest of them all? And which fluffy breeds make good mothers, or are bred also for their eggs or meat? Let’s take a look at some of the most fluffy chicken breeds, and where they come from.
13 Fluffy Chicken Breeds
The Silkie chicken breed is a domesticated chicken that is named for its characteristic silky plumage. The downy undercoating of a Silkie’s feathers is so soft and silky that it feels like silk to the touch. This makes them very popular as pets and show birds.
Silkies are an ‘ornamental’ chicken breed, known for their sweet temperament. Their soft, fluffy appearance is down to the fact that all of their feathers are similar to ‘down’, rathern than there being different textures to the different layers. This is because none of their feathers have functioning barbicels, which are like mini hooks that allow feathers to interlock with each other.
Interestingly, although a Silkie may have white feathers, they are known to be one of the black chicken breeds. They are one of the few rare birds that have black skin, bones and internal organs!
- Weight: Rooster – 2.25 lbs, Hen – 2 lbs
- Life Expectancy: Average around 9 years
- Origins: Asia
The Brahma has a large, upright body and short legs; it stands approximately 20-25 inches tall. The Brahma’s feathers are long, soft, and glossy. They may be solid black or white, but they can also come in various shades of buff and blue. Their comb is medium to large in size and has five points.
There are also a bantam variety of the Brahma, which is similar in its appearance, but a much smaller size, standing around 6 inches tall. In either variety, they are known for their incredibly gentle nature, and to be great around children too!
The ancestry of the Brahmas chicken traces back to China although much of their development took place in the U.S. between 1850 and 1890. They are one of the most favourite birds with showmen and fanciers.
- Weight: Rooster – 2.38 lbs, Hen – 2.13 lbs (for the bantam variety)
- Life Expectancy: Average 8 -10 Years, up to 15.
- Origins: China/Bangladesh stock – Bred in USA
The Ameraucana breed of fluffy chicken is a unique bird that is distinguished from other breeds by its characteristic tufted ears. Native to the United States, this variety of chicken was developed in the 1970s from a mix of other breeds including Chilean Araucana Stock. It was accepted by the American Poultry Association in 1984.
The Ameraucana chickens come in a variety of colors, with fluffy feathers that have a slightly iridescent sheen. These birds are also well-known for their friendly personalities and make wonderful pets, as they tend to be quite docile and easy to handle.
The Ameraucana chicken is also known for its egg-laying capabilities, with hens laying approximately 150-200 eggs per year in total. They come in both the standard and bantam size varieties.
- Weight: Rooster 2.5–2.9 kg, Female 2.0–2.5 kg (Standard Variety)
- Life Expectancy: 7 – 8 Years On Average
- Origins: USA
The Orpington is a British hybrid breed, originating in the late 19th Century. The original Black Orpington was introduced by William Cook in 1886, as a result of crossing Minorcas, Langshans and Plymouth Rocks. It is a bold, upright breed with a wide chest, broad back and smallish head and tail.
Their large size and soft, fluffy appearance together with their rich color and gentle contours, make them a very attractive breed. These chickens are typically black with a thick, soft plumage that also covers the head and neck. They were originally intended to be bred for food and as a show bird, but are more or less exclusively a show bird now.
They are an easy breed to handle, docile and friendly. These chickens make great back yard or homestead chickens.
- Weight: 3.6 – 4.6 kg (rooster), 2.7 – 3.6 kg (hen)
- Life Expectancy: 8 – 10 Years on average
- Origins: United Kingdom
The Chantecler Chicken is a breed of fluffy chicken that was developed in Canada in the early 20th century. It was bred to be a dual-purpose bird. The Chantecler is an attractive bird with its white plumage and large, reddish-brown combs, wattles and earlobes.
It is a hardy breed that tolerates cold weather well and can lay a decent amount of white eggs in the spring. It has a docile temperament, making it an especially good choice as a backyard chicken breed. This breed is known for being calm, friendly, and easy to handle, which makes them an ideal choice for families with children.
The Chantecler is also a good choice if you’re looking for a breed that can be free-ranged. They are active and curious chickens, so they do well when allowed to roam the yard in search of food. They enjoy spending time outdoors and often make good watchdogs since they are quick to alert their owners of potential intruders.
- Weight: Rooster 4 – 5 kg, Hen 2.9 – 3.4 kg On Average
- Life Expectancy: 8 – 10 Years On Average
- Origins: Canada
Sultan Bantam Chickens
The Sultan, were developed in Turkey during the 19th century and are known for their unique crest of feathers and V-comb that give them a striking silhouette. They are also known for having heavy feathering on their feet, as well as long legs, a broad chest and pristine white feathers.
These majestic birds have a long and regal history in their native Turkey. They were said to gracefully glide through the gardens at Constantinople providing company for Turkish royals.
The Sultan comes in both standard and bantam sizes, and are known to be a relatively low maintenance breed. The bantam Sultan is a very popular small chicken breed.
- Weight: Rooster – 1.63 lbs, Hen – 1.38 lbs (For Bantam Variety)
- Life Expectancy: Average 5 to 8 years
- Origins: Turkey
Cochin/ Pekin Chicken – Standard & Bantam
Cochin chickens are another well loved breed of fluffy chickens that are known for their friendly personalities and beautiful feathers. Also sometimes known as Pekin Chickens, they come in both the standard and bantam sizes.
These chickens were originally from China, but they are now a popular breed across the world. They were first brought to Europe in the 1840s and became one of the most popular breeds very quickly. Different countries recognize a range of different colors, with 6 accepted in the UK and 9 in the USA.
The plumage on a Cochin can make them look much bigger than they actually are physically. They have a much thicker coat of feathers than many other breeds. They are mostly bred as show birds, but they do lay well and make good mothers.
- Weight: Rooster – 2 lbs, Hen – 1.75 lbs (Bantam Variety)
- Life Expectancy: Average 5-8 Years
- Origins: China – Bred in the USA and Europe from the 1840’s
The Welsummer Chicken breed is a large, fluffy chicken with a deep coloring and unusual speckled feathers. There are three distinct color variations called partridge, gold duckwing, and silver duckwing. The feathers also tend to have specks or spots of black or white, giving them a unique look. These are beautiful birds.
They originate from the Netherlands and are known for their good-natured personality and gentle disposition. They are friendly birds that can make great pets, as well as layers of really good eggs.
The Welsummers have an upright stance with a deep chest and short legs. They are very tolerant of the cold and are also a good free-ranging breed, with exceptional foraging capabilities.
- Weight: Rooster 3 – 3.5 kg, Hen 2.5 – 3 kg On Average
- Life Expectancy: 6 – 9 Years On Average
- Origins: The Netherlands
The Wyandotte Chicken breed is a large, fluffy chicken with a beautiful, iridescent feathering. It originates from the United States and is known for its sociable personality and friendly disposition. Its plump body and soft, ‘laced’ feathers make it a distinctive breed, particularly among fluffy chickens.
The Wyandotte chicken was developed in the 1870s and derived its name from the indigenous North American Wyandot people. This breed of chicken has become an integral part of many farms across America, with their hardy nature ensuring that they produce a healthy yield year after year. They are also a popular choice as a show bird.
- Weight: Rooster 3.5 – 4 kg, Hen 3.7 – 3.2 kg On Average
- Life Expectancy: 6 – 12 Years
- Origins: USA
One of the earliest known mentions of this breed was by the Roman writer Columella during the reign of Julius Caesar. It is therefore believed that the Dorking chicken breed originated in Italy during the period of the Roman Empire. It was the Romans who introduced this breed of chicken to the UK.
Dorking chickens appeared in the first British poultry show in 1845. They were later used to produce the Sussex and Faverolles breeds. It has a large, rectangular body with very short, five-toed legs. Due to its relatively large comb it generally requires protection in cold weather.
They are a fairly submissive breed, but they do make very good, attentive mothers. They do come in bantam as well as standard size.
- Weight: 5 – 6.5 kg Rooster, 3.5 – 4.5 kg Hen – (Standard Size)
- Life Expectancy: 5 – 8 Years On Average
- Origins: Italy
The Marans Chicken has French origins, and were imported into the United Kingdom in the 1930s. These are a small breed compared to other chickens. They are popular at poultry shows and preferred for their eggs rather than their meat. There are 9 recognised colors or Maran and Black Copper is the most common of these. All have red or orange eyes and white feet.
Marans chickens are an ideal candidate for free ranging, as they don’t make much noise and can handle difficult terrains. Additionally, these gentle birds have a strong immunity to disease.
- Weight: Rooster 3.5 – 4 kg, Hen 2.5 – 3 kg On Average
- Life Expectancy: 7 – 8 Years On Average
- Origins: France
Developed in the 1860s around the villages of Houdan and Faverolles in France, The Faverolles is a highly prized French breed of fluffy chicken.
A somewhat unique trait of this breed is its unusual five-toed feet, which help them traverse slippery surfaces with ease. They have a medium-sized body and their fluffy, bouncy feathers are often white, laced with salmon, grey or black.
The Faverolles is another friendly breed, that is relatively docile, good natured and fit in very well to small homesteads and backyard flocks. They are comparatively quiet too, and known to be gentle around children.
- Weight: Rooster 4 – 5 kg, Hen 3.5 – 4.5 kg On Average
- Life Expectancy: 5 – 7 Years On Average
- Origins: France
Easter Egger Chicken
Easter Egger chickens are a classical ‘designer breed’ of chicken. This breed was created by crossing Araucana and the Ameraucana chickens. As a result, this breed produces eggs in an array of colors, including pink, blue, and green. This has earned these birds the nickname “rainbow layers” because of the range of colored eggs they produce.
For offspring to be trully considered easter eggers, they are expected to have inherited the blue egg laying gene from their parents.
This breed is considered an excellent choice for both show and backyard purposes. They come in a variety of different feather colors and have an average lifespan and weight.
Easter Eggers are friendly, docile chickens that get along well with other birds and animals. In addition, they are relatively low-maintenance and easy to keep in small or large flocks. They usually require a minimum of space to thrive and consume a typical chicken diet. Plus, these birds are also heat-tolerant so they can tolerate higher temperatures.
- Weight: Rooster – Around 2.5 kg, Hen – Around 2 kg
- Life Expectancy: 5 – 8 Years On Average
- Origins: USA
What Is A Frizzle Chicken?
Frizzle chickens are not any specific breed of chicken but rather the term ‘frizzle’ refers to the appearance of their feathers. Frizzled chickens have a distinctly frizzled coat of feathers. This effect is caused by the lack of barbicles in their feathers, similarly to how a silkie’s feathers remain ‘down-like’. The lack of barbicles in frizzled feathers causes them to stand away from the body, creating a distinctive curl or fluff.
Many different breeds of chicken can be a frizzled chicken, including Silkies, Cochin, Japanese Bantam, Polish Chickens and Barred Rock Chickens.
What Is A Sizzle Chicken?
A sizzle chicken, is the affectionate name given to a Silkie chicken that has frizzled feathers, rather than their usual ‘silk, down’ style of feathers.