15 Outlandish Chicken Varieties

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The familiar profile of a chicken is recognizable anywhere—a pointy, upturned tail and a smooth rounded head with a full heavy-bellied body in between. But these chicken varieties don’t fit the mold.

1. Polish Chickens

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Polish chickens are distinctive for their outrageous poofy "hairstyles." This chicken sports a coloring called “silver laced.”

2. Sumatra Chickens

These birds from Indonesia have been used for cockfighting but are now usually show birds. The most common coloration is black, although their feathers show an iridescent green in the sunlight.

3. Silkie Chickens

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Silkies are popular backyard chickens because of their friendly personalities and soft, silky feathers. They are also known for having black skin and blue earlobes.

4. Appenzeller Spitzhauben Chickens

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This chicken is named after the pointed hat worn by women in the Appenzell region of Switzerland, where the birds originate.

5. Yokohama Chickens

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These birds, which originated in Japan, are quiet and gentle birds suitable for exhibition or use as laying hens. Like many Japanese breeds, they have spectacular long tail feathers.

6. Frizzle chickens

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Frizzle chickens have feathers that curl outward, giving them a frizzled appearance. In some countries they are considered a separate breed, although not in the United States.

7. Naked Neck Chickens

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You can guess why they’re called "naked neck"—they have no feathers on their necks. They’re also sometimes called "turkens" because they resemble turkeys. These chickens are both heat-and cold-tolerant.

8. Fayoumi Chickens

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These chickens come from Egypt, and the hens have white heads and barred black and white bodies. They are also known for having blue skin.

9. Sultan Chickens

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Although they’re crested like Polish hens, these chickens also look like they’re wearing feathered boots. They’re bred for their decorative qualities rather than their laying abilities.

10. Houdan Chickens

Houdans originated in France. Although they were originally used for meat and eggs, they’re now more commonly used as show chickens.

11. Hamburg Chickens

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This heritage breed dates to 17th century Germany and Holland, and was the subject of L. Frank Baum’s first book. (He later wrote The Wizard of Oz.)

12. Onagadori or Long-Tailed Chickens

These Japanese decorative chickens are bred for their long tail feathers, which can reach more than 25 feet.

13. Phoenix Chickens

Another long-tailed chicken, the Phoenix’s tail is not as spectacular as the Onagadori's.

14. Faverolles Chickens

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These French chickens originated in the same region as Houdan chickens. They have beards and feathery feet.

15. Showgirl Chickens

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Showgirls are a type of silkie with featherless necks. They’re not considered a separate breed, but they’re docile and they’re good layers.