Do you want to start your own poultry farm? Or are you looking for some black and white chickens to add to your backyard coop? We can help you make the best choice!
Black and white chicken breeds are among the most sought-after stocks. You will be amazed by the sheer variety in the size, color, feather pattern, diet, grooming, and even temperament of different black and white chicken breeds.
We have curated a list of 15 of the best black and white chicken breeds. Each of these breeds will be a gorgeous and nifty addition to your flock. From dual-purpose breeds to show birds to pets, these black and white chicken breeds would complete your perfect farm.
- Feather patterns of Black and White chicken
- 15 famous Black and White chicken breeds
Feather patterns of Black and White chicken
Before we dive into the different black and white chicken breeds, we need to be able to distinguish one breed from the other. The feather patterns on chicken indicate the breed of the bird. In some cases, they even help in distinguishing the bird’s sex.
With more than one color on their plumage, these chickens sport interesting feather patterns but don’t let the variety confuse you.
It might look like feather patterns of a Dominique and a Black Laced Silver Wyandotte is the same, but they are not! Here is a simple guide to help you recognize different patterns.
Feathers characterized by striped patterns constitute the Barred Pattern. The chicken’s plumage may not appear regularly striped as a whole. However, the stripes are visible if you take a closer look at individual feathers.
In the Columbian pattern, the expression of the color black is inhibited in certain parts of the chicken’s plumage. The effect created by this pattern is called the black restrictor. The black color is visible on the necks, wings, and tails of chickens, leaving the rest of their plumage white in color.
A lace effect may be observed when the outer edge of the feathers is darker than the rest of the feathers. This gives each feather a laced look, and it looks like the feathers have a decorative trim.
The Penciled feather pattern is one of the most exquisite patterns. Prim lines of color trace the contours of the bird’s feather, resulting in a neat contrast of colors on the plumage.
The Spangled feather pattern lacks pigmentation in the center of each feather. Hence, this pattern collectively appears to be round spots of colors on the chicken.
The pigment-free spots are present in the middle of the feather, and this creates the appearance of a white-colored bird with black spots. The Hamburg Chicken is an example of this pattern.
The mottled feather pattern is the reverse of the spangled feather pattern. In this pattern, there is a lack of pigmentation on the ends of the feather. This creates multiple layers of thick black bands with white at the tips of the feathers.
15 famous Black and White chicken breeds
Now that we have knowledge of the different types of feather patterns, let us check out 15 of the best black and white chicken breeds.
Barred Plymouth Rock
The Barred Plymouth Rock is a popular American breed of chicken. The breed is an all-rounder: it is a good egg-layer, popular show bird, makes for a fairly good table bird, and is a wonderful pet.
The Barred Plymouth Rock, as the name suggests, has a barred feather pattern. The Plymouth Rock is generally confused with the Dominique, which has a barred pattern too. However, the Dominique has v-shaped stripes on its plumage, which distinguishes it from the straight-striped Plymouth Rock.
The Barred Plymouth Rock is a large chicken breed that weighs about 7.5-9.5 pounds. It is one of the most common homestead breeds because of its remarkable large brown egg production. It is said to produce about 280 eggs per annum.
The Plymouth Rock’s yellow meat makes it a good table bird as well. This breed is a great option for your backyard coop if you are looking for dual-purpose chicken breeds.
This chicken breed is a popular show bird too. The breed is mainly seen to be calm and socializes well with all creatures, especially dogs. This breed tends to be broody, which is good if you are looking for chicks, but not so good if you are looking for a steady supply of eggs.
Black Sex Link
Sex Links are crossbred chickens, and their sex differentiates their color. The Black Sex Link is a cross between Rhode Island Red Rooster and Barred Rock Hen. The roosters and hens in the Black Sex link breed look different.
The hens have black bodies with brownish-red neck feathers, whereas the roosters of this breed have a black and white barred feather pattern.
Black Sex Link chickens are typically prolific egg-laying chickens. They are an extremely good egg-producing breed, laying about 300 eggs annually if given good feed and care.
These chickens weigh up to 6-9 pounds and lay large light brown eggs, and it does not tend to be broody. However, the Black Sex Link is not a great table bird, so they are not used for meat production.
The Columbian Wyandotte, an American poultry staple, is a large bird that has a distinguished collar of black feathers on its neck, wing, and tail. The contrast of color on this bird’s plumage looks magnificent.
It is named after the North American Wyandot, even though the breed does not have any specific ties with the tribe. The breed is said to be an outcome of a cross between white Wyandotte and Barred Plymouth Rock.
An adult Columbian Wyandotte weighs up to 6.5 – 8.5 pounds. Their loosely arranged feathers make them look larger than they actually are.
Columbian Wyandotte is a great egg layer and can produce up to 200 to 250 medium-sized brown eggs annually. Since these birds are cold-resistant, they can lay eggs even during extreme winter months. The breed is considered broody.
They are often used for egg production as well as meat. Hence, it is a dual-purpose breed, which is a perfect fit for a backyard coop.
Cuckoo Marans originated from a town in France, named Marans, during the mid-nineteenth century. The black and white barred feather patterns on the Cuckoo Maran often cause confusion between them and the Barred Plymouth Rock.
Cuckoo Marans are large birds that weigh up to 7-9 pounds on fully growing. Marans are fairly good egg layers, producing about 150-200 large-sized eggs annually. They produce deep dark brown eggs and are known for being fairly-good egg-laying chickens. The Cuckoo Maran has been noticed to be broody at times.
The breed is a fair egg layer, a source of quality meat, and a popular show bird. Hence, Cuckoo Marans meet the dual-purpose parameter.
The Dark Brahma is an old chicken breed, which is said to have originated from Asia. The breed was the outcome of crossbreeding a chicken breed imported from Shanghai and a Grey Chittagong bird, which would have been imported from present-day Bangladesh.
At an 1852 meeting in Boston, the bird was decided to be called the “Brahmapootra,” and later it came to be called “Brahma”.
This feather-footed breed has distinct characteristics that distinguish a Black Brahma rooster from a Black Brahma hen. The hen has a dark gray-and-black penciled feather pattern, whereas the rooster has a black-and-white penciled feather pattern with a black tail and white wings.
Dark Brahmas are large birds, weighing up to 9.5 to 12 pounds when fully grown. This breed is called ‘King of Chickens’ because of its large size. The breed is a fairly good egg layer, which produces about 150 medium-to-large-sized, brown-colored eggs per year.
At the advent of this breed during the mid-1800s, it was a good table bird. However, with the emergence of newer breeds, the bird slowly lost demand in the meat production sector, though its meat is still used today. Lately, the breed has been gaining popularity among backyard coops.
With its small pea comb and heavy feathering, this large-sized bird makes it extremely resilient to cold weather and can lay and set eggs during winter seasons.
Although these birds may look intimidating, they are calm, docile, and easy to contain. They also make good mothers to their young ones but are not excessively broody.
The Dominique chicken is known as the oldest breed in North America. The breed is characterized by a black and white barred feather pattern. They weigh up to 5 to 7 pounds and are prolific egg layers. They produce up to 260 medium-to-large brown eggs per year and are sometimes willing to set their own eggs.
Since it is a great egg producing breed, it is typically raised for egg production. However, some farmers consider it as a good source of yellow meat. Their magnificent colored plumage also makes them a popular show bird.
The feathers of the Dominique chicken are much sought after for stuffing mattresses and pillows. Hence, the breed is a great economic investment for homesteaders.
The bird is said to be well-mannered and self-sufficient. They prefer to feed themselves through foraging, so the feed intake is lesser than other chicken breeds.
This breed faced a sharp decline with the emergence of the Barred Plymouth Rock However, the surge in breeders who are interested in rare and heritage chicken breeds have revived the breed from the verge of extinction.
Light Sussex is one of the oldest breeds in Europe. The birds are dominantly covered in white feathers with black edgings on their tails. They are dual-purpose with great egg-producing capacity as well as high-quality meat.
They lay around 250-280 large light brown eggs per year. They are known to be broody. Its tasty meat makes it an excellent table bird, standing as a rival to other meat-producing chicken breeds.
They are hardy birds and are resilient to health issues and diseases. Its distinct and magnificent plumage pattern makes it an excellent show bird.
They are social birds that can get along with all other animals. They are characterized by a curious and friendly nature and tend to get attached to their owners.
The Mottled Ancona gets its name from the city of Ancona in Italy. As its name suggests, this breed has a mottled feather pattern: black feathers with white spots on the feather ends. Their feathers are tightly packed, so the bird can survive harsh weather conditions.
Originally, it was bred for egg production in North America and the United Kingdom. The Mottled Ancona weighs up to 4.5 to 6 pounds when grown fully. The breed is a prolific egg layer and can produce up to 280 medium-to-large white eggs annually.
The breed is known to forage and feed itself, reducing feed intake. This beautiful chicken breed is a great show bird too. However, it is skittish around humans and does not socialize much with other creatures.
Silver Laced Polish
The Silver Laced Polish originated in Poland and is popularly bred for egg production and show. The bird has an amusing appearance. Its head capped with laced feathers with the beak protruding from a capped crest, and a black laced feather pattern makes it a striking show bird.
Silver Laced Polish adults weigh around 4.5 to 6 pounds. It is a good egg layer and produces about 200 medium-to-large white eggs annually. Unlike other dual-purpose breeds, the Silver Laced Polish is not a good table bird.
Since the crest covers their eyes, these birds tend to spook easily and are clumsy.
Silver Laced Wyandotte
The Silver Laced Wyandotte is an exquisite bird with black-laced white feathers. It is a dual-purpose breed, giving 250 large brown eggs per year and top-quality meat. The Silver Laced Wyandotte weighs about 6.5 to 8.5 pounds and tends to be broody.
The breed is a favorite American backyard breed due to its prolific egg production, high-quality meat, hardiness, and friendly nature. Its elegant physique makes it an excellent show bird. This breed adapts well to all garden sizes and does well in confinement.
The Silver Laced Wyandotte is known to be a disciplined breed and a great supervisor of its children with the hens being broody.
The Lakenvelder is a domesticated breed of chicken that originated in Germany. The chickens have elegant black feathering on their necks and heads with monochrome speckles all over their plumage.
Silver Lakenvelders grow up to 4-5 pounds when fully grown. They are fairly good egg layers and lay about 130 to 170 medium-sized porcelain white eggs per year. The Lakenvelder was once a popular breed in pre-war Europe, revered for its eggs and good-quality white meat.
The breed has now declined in terms of its population. The Lakenvelder is rare in North America and is bred for its eggs, for show or as a pet. Since it is a rare breed, this addition to your farm is guaranteed to make head turns.
Moreover, Lakenvelder chickens are active and alert-foragers, a quality which makes them less vulnerable to predators.
Silver Spangled Appenzeller
The Appenzeller breed of chicken originates from Switzerland. The breed is relatively more common in the United Kingdom than in the United States. There are two types of Appenzellers: the Spitzhauben and the Barthuhner varieties.
In North America, the Silver Spangled Appenzeller has black speckles on its white plumage and a feathery bonnet on its head. As a result, they make excellent show birds.
The Silver Spangled Appenzeller weighs only about 4 to 5 pounds and is an average egg layer. They lay around 156 medium-sized white eggs per year. They make for a fairly good table chicken.
The breed is hardy and can do well in extreme climatic conditions. They are excellent foragers and good climbers, so it can be hard to confine them. They require a lot of space to forage freely. Additionally, Silver Spangled Appenzeller hens are not very broody and do not make the best mothers for their offspring.
Silver Spangled Hamburg
This beautiful black and white chicken breed originated in Holland. Its silver and white laced plumage with black speckles will make it an impressive addition to your flock. The birds are generally bred for egg production and show. They are relatively small breeds, growing up to 5 pounds as adults.
They are good egg layers and can produce about 200 to 250 medium-sized white eggs annually. The hens start to lay eggs as young as four to five months. Their white meat, however, is not much desired for consumption.
They are alert, cheerful, and active foragers who find their own food. Therefore, Silver Spangled Hamburg is a good option if you are looking for an economical addition to a backyard coop.
Silver Spangled Orloff or Russian Orloff
The Silver Spangled Orloff or the Russian Orloff traces its origin to Persia. However, the breed was bred and promoted by the Russian Count Orlov in the nineteenth century and is named after him.
Both the male and female of this breed look majestic with their spangled feather pattern. Black spangles cover the female’s plumage throughout, and her fanned tail is white with a few black spots. However, the male’s silver-white hackle feathers might have black penciling.
This dual-purpose breed is known for its tasty meat. Each adult Russian Orloff weighs nearly 6 to 7 pounds. They are not great egg layers; however, a hen of this breed produces around 90-100 medium to large light brown eggs per year.
The Russian Orloff starts laying eggs from as early as 24 weeks old. Apart from being a dual-purpose breed, Orloffs are great pets and add uniqueness to your farm or backyard coop.
The breed comes under the hardy chicken breed, as it can endure extreme cold conditions. Their fat bodies keep them warm, and their small comb prevents them from frostbites. These birds are said to be intelligent, alert, and friendly if handled and raised correctly.
Since the breed is quite rare in North America, breeders need to promote and breed Orloffs to save the breed from disappearing. The Russian Orloff has been listed under rare endangered breeds by the American Livestock Conservancy.
White Crested Black Polish
As the name suggests, the breed has a white feathered crest with a perfectly black body. The origin of the breed has been contested for decades. Some say it originated in Poland, while others argue that it comes from the Netherlands. Others say that the bird’s crest resembles the Polish Army’s feather cap and takes its name.
They are a smaller-sized chicken breed, weighing up to 4.5 to 6 pounds. They are mainly bred for their egg production and show. The hen of this breed produces about 110-150 medium white eggs annually and tends not to be broody.
The large feathery crest of this bird blocks its vision, so it is easily frightened. This also makes them vulnerable to predators.
Now, you have all the information you need about some of the best black and white chicken breeds. So, it is time to weigh the pros and cons and pick one for your farm or backyard chicken coop.
Any of these 15 varieties of black and white chicken breeds would be a useful addition to your flock. Remember, like any other investment, you must diversify your choice in chicken breeds. Now that you have exhaustive knowledge about so many gorgeous monochromatic chicken breeds, that should be an easy task.