Just like how every woman needs a little black dress, every backyard flock needs black chicken breeds. Why? Because it’s a beautiful and elegant color!
Luckily, black chicken breeds can be found easily in hatcheries and private sellers. If you’re interested in getting to know the various kinds of breeds with dark feathers (including black and white speckled chicken breeds!), you’re in for a treat!
You’ll discover your options in this ultimate list of black chicken breeds!
Ultimate List of Black Chicken Breeds
- Ayam Cemani
- Black Sex Link Chickens
- Black Australorp Chicken
- Silkie Chickens
- Black Star Chickens
- Marans Chicken
- Black Jersey Giant Chicken
- Cochin Chickens
- Orpington Chicken
- Black Polish Chicken
- Sumatra Chicken
- White Crested Black Polish Chicken
- Black Rock Chicken
- Bantam Cochin Chickens
- Frizzle Chickens
- Minorca Chicken
- White Faced Black Spanish
- Castellana Negra
This type of chicken originally hails from Indonesia, where it’s prized for its mystical abilities. Ayam Cemani chickens are completely black (both inside and out), and have a heart as black as its feathers.
Their blood is also said to be quite thick, and a darker red than normal (although this theory hasn’t been proven).
In Indonesia, this black chicken is said to be a good luck charm, and some people believe it can communicate with the beyond. In some cultures, the Ayam Cemani is used in ceremonies before big events.
However, you might be disappointed to learn that even though the Ayam Cemani is the only true 100% black chicken breed, they don’t lay black chicken eggs. They lay cream colored eggs of medium size.
If you do buy this breed, please do your homework and make sure your supplier is honest – there’s many people who try to pass off hybrid chickens as purebred Ayam Cemani.
Some hatcheries that offer Ayam Cemani are Featherloverfarms, Cackle Hatchery, and Greenfire Farms Hatchery. You can read our review of Cackle Hatchery here.
Black Sex Link Chickens
This breed isn’t really a black chicken breed (it’s a hybrid) but they’re still very beautiful birds that are also super friendly (and the roosters tend to be calm).
Black sex link chickens are the result of crossing two purebred heritage chicken breeds – a Rhode Island Red rooster with a barred rock hen. The term “sex link” means that the coloring of the chicks depends on the sex of the chick.
When black sex link chicks are born, the male chicks have a white spot on their heads – the females don’t (they’re all black). This unique trait only consistently occurs when the Rhode Island Red rooster is crossed with a Barred Rock hen – in other words, black sex link chickens don’t breed true.
This chicken breed is very healthy and make great layers and pets. Many prefer this breed to raise free range chickens eggs and organic free range chickens.
You can purchase black sex link chicks at Cackle Hatchery, Purely Poultry, and McMurray Hatchery.
Black Australorp Chicken
Black Australorps are wonderful chickens to have in your flock! This clean-legged breed originated in Australia from the Orpington chicken. They got a lot of attention in the 1920s when they broke several world records for the most eggs laid! You can find them now in any farm store in the US.
Their black feathers also have shades of green, and the hens are great layers and very friendly. This big black chicken will tolerate confinement well, and is an egg laying machine of over 250 eggs per year.
You can purchase this breed at Cackle Hatchery, Purely Poultry, and Meyer Hatchery.
Silkie chickens are another black chicken breed.. They are cute and cuddly, so they are easily loved as family pets. They’re calm, and are patient with being held. The hens are well-known for their brooding ability and their extra toes! They lay 2-3 cream colored eggs per week, and are generally friendly. Kids just love them!
Their feathers are more like down, and you’ll fall in love with their feathered feet! They lay around 250 brown large to extra large eggs per year. In addition to black, Silkies also come in a variety of other colors, including white and buff.
You can purchase this breed at Cackle Hatchery, Chickens for Backyards, and Meyer Hatchery.
Black Star Chickens
A relatively new edition to the backyard chicken world, this breed is medium sized and weighs in at around 7 to 8 lbs, with hens at 5 lbs. This bird is very docile, hardy, and low maintenance since they can adapt to local conditions.
You can purchase this breed at Chickens for Backyards and Meyer Hatchery.
This breed is called “chocolate eggers” because they’re well known for their dark colored eggs. Marans originated in the town of Marans, in France, and their eggs are said to be the best in the world. Not all hens will lay the deep chocolate brown eggs, although all females will lay brown eggs.
You’ll love their feathered feet and hardy natures. While black Marans chickens are said to have the best eggs, this breed also comes in other varieties, including Wheaton, Cuckoo, Blue Copper, and more. They are a rarity, and have wonderful personalities.
You can purchase this breed at Cackle Hatchery and Purely Poultry
Black Jersey Giant Chicken
This black giant chicken breed is the largest purebred chicken in the US, and possibly the world. This heritage chicken breed originated in the United States as a meat bird and an alternative to turkeys.
This black chicken breed weighs in at around 11 to 15 pounds. They are docile and mellow, and the roosters have even temperaments. The roosters are good protectors, and are hardy.
The hens aren’t as large as the roosters, but are consistent egg layers with friendly, even cuddly, temperaments.
You can purchase this breed at Cackle Hatchery, My Pet Chicken, and Purely Poultry.
Cochins are also larger birds (although there is a bantam variety) that come in many colors including black! The name refers to the fact that the bird is a Chinese Shanghai Fowl, and among the many reasons you would want one is that they get along well with children. They’re also gentle, and great for raising chicks. They lay small to medium sized brown eggs, and this particular variety is known for its dark black coloring.
You can purchase this black chicken breed at Cackle Hatchery, Purely Poultry, and Strombergs Chickens.
This particular breed is well known for its historical significance – they’ve been around for a long time! The original Orpingtons were white, but they also come in buff and black colors. They’re also one of the most gentle and docile breeds, and it makes them great pets.
The roosters are hardy, friendly, and great protectors. They love finding food for the hens, and will “round” their hens up at night to make sure everyone is in the coop!
Although they were originally bred for both eggs and meat, they’re better as egg layers. Their eggs are a tinted pink to brown color, and they lay about 300 eggs per year. This breed is a good forager and greatly desired for their looks and easy going nature.
You can purchase Orpington chickens at most major hatcheries and farm stores.
Black Polish Chicken
Polish chickens are an adorable ornamental breed! They’re best known for the tufts of feathers on their head, lovingly referred to by chicken owners as their “pom pom.”
This breed is a stunning mix of white, brown, and black making it a real head turner. The silver laced polish varieties are black and white chickens. They’re aloof birds, although they can be friendly if you interact a lot with them. They’re also moderate egg layers – but their beautiful feathers and personalities make up for whatever they lack in the egg laying department!
You can purchase this breed at Cackle Hatchery and Meyer Hatchery.
While a bit more difficult to find, this black chicken breed is worth it! With their long tail feathers, they’re a gorgeous addition to any flock. They’re named after their place of origin: The island of Sumatra, in Indonesia. The hens lay white eggs, but don’t lay that often – maybe twice a week. However, if you want to hatch chicken eggs naturally, then this might be the breed for you – like Silkies, Sumatras tend to “go broody.” In addition to black, you might find the blue and white varieties for sale.
You can purchase this ornamental breed at My Pet Chicken, mypetchicken, Cackle Hatchery, and Purely Poultry
White Crested Black Polish Chicken
You’ll fall in love with these birds! They’re adorable! Originally from the Netherlands, the White Crested Black Polish chicken has a striking contrast in color between it’s dark body feathers and it’s poofy white crest. They’re friendly, although the crest does sometimes make it hard for them to see. If you spend a lot of time with them, though, they’re more likely to trust you. The hens lay white eggs, although not every hen will lay consistently. This breed is mainly kept for ornamental purposes.
You can purchase this breed at Cackle Hatchery and Strombergs Chickens.
Black Rock Chicken
This particular breed was developed in Scotland, and isn’t well-known in the United States. It’s a hybrid cross from selected strains of Rhode Island Red and Barred Plymouth Rock.They’re good foragers, and excellent layers: you can expect to get about 250 brown eggs per year.
You can purchase this breed at Farmfowl if you live in the UK.
Bantam Cochin Chickens
Bantam cochins make a wonderful addition to any flock – and you’ll love how the black variety has feathered legs! This breed is perfect for anyone who is looking for a docile and kid-friendly chicken. The hens lay small brown eggs (because the chicken itself is small), and the roosters enjoy human companionship. They love to be cuddled by their humans! In addition to black, bantam cochins come in white and buff varieties.
You can purchase this breed at Cackle Hatchery and Welp Hatchery.
A frizzle chicken is fun and lovable with a very unusual look – their feathers “frizzle” and curl upwards. They’re not a separate breed, but a variety of many different types of breeds. Some cochins have a frizzle variety. Children love them because they look so cuddly. Frizzles tend to be smaller, and they have friendly and docile dispositions. They will lay around 120 to 150 light brown colored eggs per year. Be sure to keep an eye on your frizzle over the winter – because their feathers don’t lay against their bodies, they might have a harder time in colder weather.
You can purchase this breed at Meyer Hatchery and Strombergs Chickens.
Minorca chickens look unusual – they’re mostly black, but with a white spot near the ears. They’re an old breed, and have grey legs. Minorcas are named after its place of origin: Island of Minorca, off the coast of Spain. They lay about 200 white eggs per year, and the hens don’t tend to go broody. This hardy breed does well in warmer climates, so it’s a good option if you live in a warm area.
You can purchase this breed at Cackle Hatchery and Strombergs Chickens.
White Faced Black Spanish
These chickens look odd – they’re black, except for their face, which is white. While English speakers call this ancient breed “white faced black Spanish,” in their native Spain, they’re referred to as “Española Cara Blanca.” Their white faces give them a look similar to a mime. They are prolific egg layers of white eggs.
You can purchase this breed at Purely Poultry, McMurray Hatchery, and Cackle Hatchery.
This black breed originates from China and is named after it’s place of origin: a district along the Yangtszekiang River. It’s a unique looking breed of bird – like cochins, it has feathered legs! They’re hardy birds that lay large brown eggs – some say they’re as dark as Marans eggs. The hens don’t tend to go broody. They’re also large, and with bright, intelligent eyes, they’re a great addition to any flock.
You can purchase this breed at McMurray Hatchery and Tangled Wood Farm Miniatures
This breed has a unique trait – their very dark red combs that almost look black! They have black skin and are said to have descended from chickens from Mozambique and brought to Scandinavia in the 1700s. They are hardy and good foragers, even though they’re not great layers. You can expect 2 to 3 cream-colored eggs per week.
You can purchase this breed at Purely Poultry and My Pet Chicken.
This breed is a Mediterranean type from Spain and is one of the oldest strains of poultry in Europe. Currently, it’s status is threatened, and the breed is on the verge of extinction. It is also believed that it is the ancestor of many European black breeds such as Minorcas and Black Spanish chicken breeds. They have decent laying abilities – you can expect about 250 eggs per year.
Black Chicken Breeds with Feathered Feet
Which black chicken breed is your favorite? Leave a comment below!
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.