Why Ayam Cemani Chickens Are So Rare

The Ayam Cemani chicken is the “Lamborghini” of the backyard poultry world. Like the car, the Ayam Cemani (“Ayam” translates into “chicken” in Indonesian. “Cemani” is both the name of the village it is from and “completely black” in Sanskrit) is sleek, shiny, and financially out of reach for most buyers. So, what is it about the Ayam Cemani that makes it such a rare and expensive commodity? 

What Do Ayam Cemani Look Like?

These chickens are a black chicken breed. Black feathers, black beak, black legs, black tongue, black eyes, black comb. But it doesn’t stop there. This “hyperpigmentation” continues to their bones, organs, skin, and internal workings – they’re also black. Some people have incorrectly claimed that their blood is also black. It isn’t – it’s just as red as a normal chicken’s blood. 

But rather than exist as a dull or matte black, their feathers have a greenish sheen that really sparkles in sunlight. As a result, these birds are remarkably beautiful because of their coloration. They stand tall and proud, like they are always alert. With the sheen of their feathering, they are a very regal-looking bird. 

ayam cemani rooster

How did Ayam Cemani Become Black?

Ayam Cemani’s coloration comes from a pigment mutation called fibromelanosis. It is a mutation that is present in more than 25 avian breeds. It is touted as being a “complex rearrangement in the genome”, and is directly responsible for the totality of black pigmentation in the bird’s body. Essentially, fibromelanosis is the opposite of albinism; instead of the pure white resulting from a total lack of pigmentation that is albinism, Ayam Cemani become pitch black from an overabundance of pigmentation.

Where Do Ayam Cemani Come From?

Ayam Cemani are a breed of chicken that has been around for a relatively short amount of time. They are believed to be an offshoot of the Ayam Kedu breed where darker coloration was the focus. Ayam Cemani got their start on the Indonesian island of Java. 

Their peculiar coloration marked them as targets of legend, lore, and mysticism. Seldom were they eaten, or their eggs used for the dining tables. Instead, they were used in ceremonies (and still are in some areas). Their blood was considered to possess healing qualities when rubbed over the face or arms, or in conjunction with mystical recitations. With the advent of Islam as the dominant religion in Indonesia, much of this practice has fallen to the wayside, yet there are still individuals and social minorities who use these birds for mystical means. 

How Did Ayam Cemani Chickens Spread Around The World?

Were it not for Dutch chicken breeder Jan Steyerink, this remarkable bird might never have left its native Indonesia. He first imported these birds to the Netherlands in 1998. Since then, Ayam Cemani have found homes in Germany, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and the USA. They continue to be one of the rarest breeds of chicken on the planet, with a population counting only an estimated 3500. However, with more dedicated breeders devoting themselves to this unique bird, those numbers should increase in years to come. 

How Big Are Ayam Cemani? How Long Do Ayam Cemani Live?

These are medium-sized chickens. Roosters weigh about 5 to 6 pounds. Hens usually weigh between 4 and 5 pounds. The average lifespan is 6 to 8 years. 

ayam cemani chicken hen

What is the Ayam Cemani Temperament?

These are docile chickens that might start out skittish or untrusting of humans, but with enough interaction and attention, they can be very trusting. Roosters are also friendly and can even become more involved with the raising of chicks than many other roosters tend to be. Your Ayam Cemani might get bored easily, and could do with some distractions in the pen, or by making the pen large enough to give them room to explore. The hens tend to become broody, and are excellent mothers. 

Are Ayam Cemani Weather Hardy?

Coming from Indonesia, which is a very hot archipelago in the South Pacific, Ayam Cemani might be expected to be poor in colder climes. Oddly, though, they are as excellent at adapting to colder weather as they are to scorching temperatures. Part of this is because they naturally absorb sunlight and heat because of their black feathers. Another possible reason is the tightness of their feathering, which acts as a natural barrier from cold temperatures

Are Ayam Cemani Good Egg Layers?

They are alright with this job, and are capable of laying about two to three medium-sized eggs a week. They sometimes need breaks from laying, which can reduce the number of eggs you can expect from them. On average, you can expect about 80 eggs per year, though some sources claim that they might lay up to 140 eggs per year. Strangely, their pigmentation does not carry on into their eggshells, which are white, or white with a slight tint of coloring. 

Are There Any Problems That Ayam Cemani Breeders Should Be Aware Of?

impure ayam cemani

This rooster has specks of cream in his feathers and his comb isn’t pure black. He’s probably a mixed breed Ayam Cemani.

The black pigmentation is not absolute. It could be diluted through the appearance of other colors in their offspring, or through an appearance of two recessive genes (the black is dominant, and should breed true with careful attention). If, for example, one of the offspring should have a tongue that is not completely black, this bird should be removed from the breeding pool. Such potential abnormalities in a breed that mostly breeds true is a possible bother in keeping these birds. You should breed Ayam Cemani carefully so you produce the best possible – and blackest – versions.

Until now, the Ayam Cemani has not been approved by the American Poultry Association – probably in part because of the strong standard of perfection, and in part because of the relative difficulty in breeding these birds. The Ayam Cemani Breeders Association is an official breeding group founded in 2015 that is dedicated to the promotion of this bird. They are a good resource of Ayam Cemani enthusiasts that can help you raise and breed this unique chicken. 

ayam cemani chicken baby

Where To Buy Ayam Cemani?

This is perhaps the biggest challenge with regard to these striking birds. Their rarity and coloring make this one of the most challenging birds to get ahold of (at least purebred chickens – you can find diluted genes anywhere). While this breed is advertised in the locations below, stock is incredibly limited. Even worse, they carry a hefty price tag outside Indonesia. On Java, they are comparatively expensive, with a rooster costing between $45 and $70. However, this is nothing compared to the $2500 price tag initially applied to the first Ayam Cemani in the USA. Since then, the rates have declined quite substantially (this will depend on where you get them and how much you can trust whether the chickens are purebred), but they are still considered a very expensive fowl. 

When looking into these birds, you will find that availability is very limited. As a result, you might have to come back to the sites below at various times of the year. You should also check each website for its most current pricing.

  • Greenfire Farms (one of the original importers, and a trustworthy source) in Florida offers unsexed Ayam Cemani for $199.00. 
  • Cackle Hatchery in Missouri offers unsexed Ayam Cemani for $99.00.
  • Northwoods Poultry in Wisconsin offer day-olds for $45.00. 
  • Buchanan’s Barnyard in Tennessee offer one dozen Ayam Cemani eggs for $100.00

Why Buy Ayam Cemani?

This is a big question. Pound for pound, the Ayam Cemani is probably one of the most expensive chickens on Earth. This distinction alone could put off potential owners from owning one. They are not the biggest chickens on the planet, so they might not be ideal for dining purposes. They possess an average egg production, but this will not set any records. 

On the positive side, they are very docile birds that can endure and thrive in nearly any weather. Without a doubt, they will be an excellent addition to your home flocks. The real reason to splurge on one lays in the aesthetic value of the Ayam Cemani chicken. These birds are striking to behold, and will add a tremendous prestige to your flock. 

Salmon Faverolles Chickens Owner’s Guide

Salmon Faverolles chickens are stunningly cute – just as much in body as in personality. Friendly, cuddly, and fluffy, they are great with children, too. 

 

Faverolles chickens come in a wide color palette, from Mahogany, Black, Buff, Blue, Blue Salmon, Cuckoo, Ermine, Laced Blue, to Splash. But only two colors are actually recognized by the American Poultry Association: White and Salmon. 

 

Any and all of these color variations possess the unique traits of the Faverolles, but it is in the Salmon that their colors really shine best. If you want to know more about the other types of Faverolles, you can click here. This article covers everything you need to know about Salmon Faverolles.

 

What are Faverolles?

Faverolles are a French chicken breed. They take their name from the French village that they were first bred in, Faverolles, which is about 50 miles northeast of Paris. There are no records of the creation of this breed, so no one knows who actually created this chicken breed, but Houdon, Brahma, Crêve-Cour, Dorking, CouCoo and Cochin have all been connected to their origins. 

 

Faverolles were first bred for the dual purpose of eggs and meat. 

 

At the time of their introduction to the markets of France, they took to close confinement better than other breeds, like the Houdan. This quickly brought them to the forefront of the poultry market, and by 1886 or 1894 (depending on your source), they found their way across the English Channel. The Faverolles were quickly developed to exhibition standards in England. 

 

They came to the USA in the first few years of the 20th Century, and settled in Glens Falls, NY, not far from the state capital of Albany. Since then, this docile breed has served Americans in three distinct ways: as food, for their eggs, and as a show breed.

 

This delightful breed are rare chickens, despite their ability to lay about 200 eggs per year and the fact that roosters can grow to 8 pounds and hens can grow to 6 pounds. 

salmon faverolles hen on white

5 Amazing Faverolles Chicken Facts

  • They have super soft and downy feathers.
  • They are a truly all-purpose breed, serving as excellent layers and lovely show chickens.
  • They are super-cuddly, sociable, and love attention and kisses. 
  • Roosters and hens are two distinct colors: with the males being a greater color mix than the two-toned females.
  • The word “Faverolles” is French. As a result of this, the tail “s” is silent, so the pronunciation of the singular and plural is both “fa-ver-ell” or “fa-ver-oll,” though an Anglicized “fa-ver-olz” isn’t unexpected. The spelling of both singular and plural is both “Faverolles”, however. 

 

What Do Salmon Faverolles Chickens Look Like?

Physically, Faverolles are quite unique. The first major difference is their toes. Most chicken breeds have 4 toes, but like Silkies, Faverolles have five toes. 

 

Faverolles also possess a beard under their beaks that adds a lovely layer of fluff to their appearance. Their wattles are tiny to non-existent, and they have feathers on their legs. 

 

What is the Color of a Salmon Faverolles Hen?

Salmon Faverolles hens have white to light caramel breasts and underbellies, but sport a splash of rich color on the hackle, back, and wing. The colors of their backs are a light pink salmon through a darker bronze. The spread of color could stretch further down the wing, or along the flank, but regardless of distribution, the two-toned quality of their coloring is always present in Salmon Faverolles hens.

 

What is the Color of a Salmon Faverolles Rooster?

Male Salmon Faverolles are almost as unique as their tufted ears and fluffy beards. Unlike the females, who possess the exquisite caramel topping on a large vanilla sundae, the males have a secret weapon: black chocolate feathers. 

 

The average Salmon Faverolles rooster has a thick black beard, breast and undercarriage. Occasionally, one might have a white beard to match his white (or cream) neck and head. The black coloring usually fills out his breast and legs, and may be separated by more white or it may just continue on through his tail. 

 

Splashes of straw or dark straw stretch across his upper wings, and spot his hackles, back and saddle. White compliments his colors; in addition to it serving as a mane around his neck, it sometimes gives a spotty reappearance along his back. Then, in a very cool touch, white serves as a peculiar triangular accent at the triangular tips of his wings. 

 

What is the Color of a Salmon Faverolles Chick?

Chicks start off as downy fluffs of yellow, but once their feathers start coming in, you’ll see the salmon coloring replacing their yellow. 

baby salmon faverolles chicken

What Other Colors Appear on a Salmon Faverolles Chicken?

Their faces, comb, and what little wattle that they have are red. If their coloring reaches their eyes, that is also red. Their single comb is medium in size with five point.

 

Faverolles have bay-colored eyes. Their skin and legs are white.  

 

How Else are Salmon Faverolles Different from Other Faverolles?

Beyond color, not very. Faverolles are famous for their curious and family-oriented personalities. These are the kinds of chickens you want to bring home to mom and are just as cuddly for children as they are for adults. Roosters are also extremely friendly, but I would still recommend keeping children either separate or very well-supervised. 

 

As Faverolles were originally bred for meat and eggs, Salmon Faverolles are an excellent source for meals. Their eggs are cream-colored and medium-sized like the eggs of other color varieties. 

 

Salmon Faverolles are amazing birds that will bring you great humor, laughter, and pleasure. They are a medium-sized bird that does have some minor health worries, but these are easily managed with frequent checks.

 

By being the most popular Faverolles chicken breed in the USA, finding them isn’t too extreme a chore. 

 

Can I Buy Salmon Faverolles Chicks? Where are Salmon Faverolles Chicks for Sale?

  • Purely Poultry, out of Fremont, WI, offers a supply of female, male, and non-sexed Salmon Faverolles. 
  • From Rudd, IA, day-old males, females, and unsexed Salmon Faverolles are available at various times of the year. 
  • There are also periodic supplies of Salmon Faverolles at My Pet Chicken in Monroe, CT. 

 

Where Can I Buy Salmon Faverolles Chickens?

  • Seasonally, from February to July, you can find Salmon Faverolles at Cackle Hatchery in Lebanon, MO. 
  • Meyer Hatchery in Folk, Ohio, also has seasonal supplies of Faverolles. 

 

Do you own any Salmon Faverolles chickens? Leave a comment below!

Lavender Orpington Chickens: Owner’s Guide

We recently started raising Lavender Orpington Chickens this year, and WOW! They’re a wonderful, friendly breed, especially for children!

 

Every minute I’ve spent with mine, I’ve fallen more and more in love – and I’m sure you will, too!

 

5 Amazing Lavender Orpington Chicken Facts

Here is where we’ll reveal some very interesting facts about the beautiful breed that is the Lavender Orpington:

  • Although the Lavender Orpington is a relatively new variety, they have acquired the title of a “designer bird.”
  • The Lavender Orpington is described as a rare bird,however, you’d be surprised at how many breeders across the US sell it.
  • They are incredibly fluffy and cute!
  • They have a profusion of feathers that make them seem much larger than they actually are.
  • Their feather color is a dilution of the black gene – and Lavender Orpingtons “breed true!”

What are Lavender Orpington Chickens?

The Orpington is a chicken breed created in the 1880’s in Kent, England by William Cook. The goal of this breed was to create a chicken that could provide both major poultry food sources: meat and eggs. 

 

The resultant Orpington was a breed that was both large enough for the table and that provided a large quantity of eggs. Orpingtons are famous for averaging about 200 lovely brown eggs per year! 

 

The first Orpingtons were Black Orpingtons, and this breed was so popular that it quickly found itself on both sides of the Atlantic, filling coops and spreading flavor to dining tables in both the current UK and in the Americas. 

 

After his success with the Black, William Cook played around with other fowl colorings, Buff being the most commonly-known of his other successes. 

 

The groundwork of variety was set during Cook’s time. Since then, the dark coloring of the Blacks was diluted with the reds of the Buffs, and over time, this dilution created a splash plumage and another variant called “Blue”. This blue was taken one step further to create a more genetically-stable slate-blue coloring that has the more official moniker “self-blue.” 

 

What is the Color of a Lavender Orpington?

The color’s official title is “lavender”, but what you’ll get is a grey bird with a violet shimmer in the sunlight. 

 

To create the lavender coloring of the feathers, breeders reduce the pigmentation in black feathers. Over time, this dilution becomes more and more pronounced, until the resultant feathers look lavender. 

 

This is a truly beautiful color that can easily trick the eye regarding what it really is. 

 

Don’t worry though – Lavender Orpingtons breed true, so if you breed a rooster and a hen, you can be sure the resulting chicks will be Lavender too!

 

The Lavender gene is recessive, so both parents must be Lavender to get chicks of the same coloring – so don’t breed a Buff hen with a Lavender rooster and expect soft, grey colored chicks!

 

Some Lavender Orpingtons have a darker head and its color lightens towards the tail feathers, others have lighter heads and darker tail feathers, still others have light heads and necks and darker body coloring. 

 

Regardless of how prominent the Black coloring is, the purple shimmer is present across its whole downy body, making for truly remarkable-looking birds. 

 

Sometimes Lavender Orpingtons can have a bit of yellow in their coats. Sadly, these yellow-coaters should not be used for breeding, as the yellow will carry through future generations. Their combs, wattles, and earlobes are red. 

 

What Are Lavender Orpington Feathers Like?

Lavender Orpingtons are fluffy-looking birds whose thick feathers excel at dealing with cold weather. One of the characteristics of these fluffy feathers is that your birds may appear larger (and heavier) than they actually are. 

 

Their feathers stop at their legs, and these birds wear no feathers on their legs. 

 

How Large Do Lavender Orpingtons Get?

Lavender Orpingtons mature moderately early, and are considered heavy birds (they’re one of the more giant chicken breeds). Each one weighs in at 7 to 8.5 pounds (3.8 to 3.86 kilos). Some males can even reach 10 pounds (4.5 kg). This is a sizable chicken that can feed a family, much as William Cook intended when he created the Orpingtons 140 years ago. 

 

What are Lavender Orpington Roosters Like?

Like all other variations of Orpington chickens, Lavender Orpington roosters generally exhibit the standard docile and even temperament. We have several Orpington roosters (both Buff and Lavender), and each is friendly to humans, and very gentle with his hens. 

 

However, just remember that roosters CAN sometimes exhibit aggressive or possessive tendencies when their hens are threatened by a predator, but this is quite rare. You can learn how to deal with a naughty rooster here.

 

What are Lavender Orpington Hens Like?

Lavender Orpington chickens are quite docile, friendly, and calm. They love foraging and seeing the sights on your farm. 

 

They can make excellent pets that are a genuine treat to have around. Females occasionally can go broody, which can be a great benefit when you are trying to create a next generation of Lavender Orpingtons. 

 

How Many Lavender Orpington Eggs are Laid Each Year?

Lavender Orpingtons are excellent egg layers. A single hen can lay as many as 280 brown eggs in a year. The best part about these eggs is their size: very large. 

 

Do Lavender Orpington Chickens Come In Bantam Size?

As a matter of fact, they do. Many major hatcheries will carry a bantam variation of the Lavender Orpington chicken. Bantams make great pets, although their eggs tend to be smaller. You can learn more about raising bantams here.

 

Are Lavender Orpington Chickens Rare?

Yes. Because it’s recessive, and both parents must have the genes, Lavender Orpington chickens are rare. However, they’re becoming more popular because of their excellent personalities, and more and more breeders are offering them for sale.

 

Even more rare are Frizzled Lavender Orpington chickens! These beauties have frizzled feathers, and are not just friendly, they’re absolutely adorable! You can learn more about frizzles here. They’re a great pet for adults AND children!

 

What is the Difference Between Blue Orpington and Lavender Orpington Chickens?

One of the biggest differences between Blue and Lavender Orpingtons is the predictability. Blue Orpingtons do NOT breed true; Lavender Orpingtons WILL breed true. 

 

If you mate a Lavender Orpington with another Lavender Orpington, you’ve have a new clutch of Lavender Orpingtons. If you are breeding Blue Orpingtons, a look at this chart could be helpful in navigating the complexities of their genetics

 

Another excellent explanation between the two different colors is here

 

What is a “Pure English Lavender Orpington”?

A Pure English Lavender Orpington is just another name for a Lavender Orpington chick that’s the result of two parents of the same soft-grey coloring.

 

Can I Buy Lavender Orpington Chicks? Where are Lavender Orpington Chicks for Sale?

 

  • Cackle Hatchery in Lebanon, MO, generally offers Lavender Orpington chicks, but their availability depends on the year and the season.  
  • Purely Poultry in Fremont, WI offers day-olds that are female, male, or unsexed. 
  • Hoover’s Hatchery, in Rudd, IA, offers a variety of Lavender Orpingtons. They even provide a handy chart that you can use to anticipate your orders. 

 

Can I Buy Lavender Orpington Hatching Eggs?

 

  • Chicken Scratch Poultry, based in McLeansboro, IL, offers Hatching Eggs. Be sure to follow the instructions on their web page to ensure that you are getting the product you are after. 
  • Meyer Hatchery in Polk, OH, also offers hatching eggs.  
  • Itty Bitty Chicken Farm in South Carolina also sells Lavender Orpinton eggs (which is where I get mine from)

 

If you are looking for a lovely chicken that walks just this side of rare, is famous both for its abundance of dinner meat and an extra-large annual delivery of extra-large eggs, a Lavender Orpington chicken could well be for you!

 

Frizzle Chickens: Buyer’s Guide & Care

Looking back at the first time I ever learned about frizzle chickens, I remember I was REALLY excited to add these crazy looking creatures to my flock!

 

I finally added some this year, but learning about this particular breed has been a lesson in math.

 

You might ask: “what do math and chickens have in common?” On the surface, nothing really. (Unless we’re talking about chicken math, but I digress…..) 

 

If we follow the simplest equation of 2 or 3 hens in the same back yard, then you’ll likely get eggs. 

 

Put a rooster into the same coop, and then there will probably be chicks. 

 

Math and chickens really shouldn’t extend beyond that, but where Frizzle chickens are concerned, math becomes a far more important part of the equation than we might think! 

 

Today, we’re going to delve into just what makes a Frizzle so frizzley. 

 

We’re also going to be sure that we don’t let them Frazzle (because it is a thing!), and in the process, we’ll look at some other important details about this special chicken breed.

 

What Is A Frizzle Chicken?

Perhaps the most important thing to consider when discussing Frizzle chickens is the fact that the Frizzle isn’t one particular chicken breed. 

 

Instead, it is the result of careful or selective breeding and a whole lot of patience. Its defining feature is the curly feathers which makes these chickens reminiscent of a feather duster with a beak! 

 

They are very striking in appearance, but Frizzles take their genetic and shape cues from their originating breed (such as cochins or silkies). 

 

If, for example, you breed a Jersey Giant chicken with Frizzle genetics, it would big a big floofy critter with all the size and mass of the Jersey Giant (not that it is a very common occurrence.) 

 

Indeed, it appears to be a purely speculative breed. But this would hold true in theory! 

 

Just as with their baseline variety, Frizzle chickens can come in a wide variety of colors ranging from black, blue, buff, white Columbian like the Wyandotte, duckwing, black-red, brown-red, cuckoo, pyle, spangle as in the Old English Game and red as in Rhode Island Red.

 

Temperament is another area that Frizzle chickens are generally pretty consistent with. They are a friendly and lovable bird that are delightful to have in any backyard flock. 

 

So if you’re willing to add a Frizzle to your collection, here is everything you need to know about this curly chicken breed.

 

What Is Frizzling?

Frizzling is what happens when a chicken feather curls upwards and outwards from the body, and it’s a mutation resulting in imbalances in the genetic pool. 

 

Most chicken feathers lay flat against the body, but frizzling is special – it creates a very distinct-looking bird that some say resembles a muppet. 

 

It is the result of an “mf” gene which, if present, will result in your chick taking on either a normal-feathered chick or one that sports that “Frizzle look”.

 

Keeping track of which chicks have the gene is a very important task, as it is only through the mating of a Frizzle with normal-feathered fowl that results in the Frizzles that you are looking for. 

 

And herein lies the math that could potentially be so irritating (keeping really good records is a must!)

 

The outcome of the matings can result in three distinct varieties of chicken: 

  • Two of which are wonderful and a delight, but the last of which… well, that’s something that is best avoided. 
  • If you mate one Frizzle with another Frizzle, there is a 25% chance that the result will be something called a Frazzle

 

Frazzles are almost too delicate for their own good, and indeed, their feathers are almost brittle to the touch; Frazzles often suffer bald spots where the feathers have broken away. 

 

Not good because feathers play an important part in maintaining body temperature!

 

For these and other reasons, including heart and other physical issues that often prevent Frazzles from living to maturity, Frazzles are best avoided. 

 

When I first started researching Frizzle chickens, I spoke with various breeders who have experience breeding these creatures.

 

My friend Katie at Itty Bitty Chicken Farm in South Carolina told me it’s very critical to only mate a normal feathered chicken with a Frizzle (and to avoid a Frizzle/Frizzle mating at all costs.)

 

If you decide you want to hatch Frizzle chicks, here’s what you need to know:

 

Normal x frizzle = 50% frizzle, 50% normal
Frizzle x frizzle = 50% frizzle, 25% normal, 25% frazzle

 

While the science isn’t overly complex, good note-taking and controlled breeding is important to ensure all your chicks get the chance to live healthy lives. 

 

Luckily, the genetic chance of getting a Frazzle isn’t too hard to remember. 

 

What is most important is exercising care and caution with your birds, so that the Frizzles you’re looking for are the best quality bird that you can develop. 

cochin frizzle chicken on white

What chicken breeds have Frizzles? 

Common Frizzle bantam breeds:

  • Cochins
  • Silkies
  • Orpingtons (Buff, Lavender, etc)
  • Plymouth Rocks
  • Japanese Bantams
  • Polish Bantams

 

Cochin

Cochin chickens are one of the most popular breeds among beginners because they’re hardy, lay brown eggs consistently, and enjoy human company. 

 

Both the full-sized cochin and the bantam variety have been known to produce Frizzle variations. The standard sized cochins have big and beautiful bodies that can weigh in at about 5 pounds and have an abundance of fancy soft feathers. 

 

They are gentle giants that are easy to handle, and this temperament makes them great pets for families while also making them great foster moms for hatching and brooding. The bantam variety weighs about 2 pounds, and is exceptionally friendly. 

 

They are common in black, white, and red varieties. You can read more about cochins here.

 

Plymouth Rock

A dual-purpose bird that is one of America’s oldest chicken breeds, the Plymouth Rock is an excellent egg layer. 

 

This breed also has a distinct black and white bar plumage, which is a beautiful addition to any Frizzle flock. Both roosters and hens are generally calm, and these birds get along well with everyone. 

 

The roosters are good protectors for their flocks, and aren’t aggressive towards people. They’re curious and generally will prefer to free range and find morsels in the yard, although they do tolerate confinement well.

 

They come in the standard colors: Barred, Blue, Buff, Colombian, Partridge, Silver Penciled, and White. You can read more about Plymouth Rock chickens here.

 

Silkies

Silkies are a special, fully-bantam variety of chicken that are almost perfect for a Frizzle. Their legs are completely covered in feathers, so if you get one of these Frizzled up, you’ll have a feathery friend whose unique curvy feathers stretch from toe to top! 

 

A Frizzle silkie chicken is an adorable sight to behold!

 

With their super-soft plumage and easy-going temperaments, these beauties make for wonderful pets. Other details that make these birds such oddities (as far as other chickens are concerned) are their black skin and bones, blue earlobes, and feet covered in five toes each. 

 

If you don’t want to have your Silkies lounge about as pets, they can average at about 150 eggs a year, which makes for a sizeable contribution to the pantry.

 

They come in black, blue, buff, white, partridge, splash and gray varieties. You can read more about silkie chickens here.

 

Japanese Bantam

Japanese bantams are known in some parts of the world by another name: Chabo. Whatever their name, they got their start in the Land of the Rising Sun, and are a true bantam breed. 

 

These birds are distinctive for their upright tails that often stick up higher than the peaks of their combs! These beautiful birds are mostly decorative, as their small stature isn’t ideal for meals, and they only produce about 75 eggs per year. 

 

These fuzzy babies are born to strut the catwalk! 

 

Japanese Bantam Frizzles come in all the standard colors: black-tailed white, black, mottled, black-tailed buff, and gray. You can read more about bantams here.

 

Polish Bantams

Another show bird is the Polish Bantam. These sweet birds were originally developed as egg-raisers who can produce a solid 200 eggs each year! However, their primary function soon went to the wayside because of their telltale crest of curly feathers that engulf their heads. 

 

These crests have made them distinctive enough for chicken lovers around the world to covet them for their visual appeal. They are sweet – and oftentimes quirky or flighty owing to poor vision resulting from their crests – chickens whose unique qualities make them ideally-suited for a Frizzley offspring. 

 

The colors for the Polish Bantam Frizzle run the whole list, and as it is a show bird, the list is vast: white crested black, golden, silver, white, buff laced, white-crested blue. And then there are also the bearded and non-bearded varieties as well as the unrecognized varieties, too! 

 

You can read more about Polish bantams here.

 

Orpingtons

Originating in the UK, the Orpington is the quintessential chicken breed whose round body and distinctive buff coloring is often envisioned when one thinks of chickens. 

 

These chickens are hardy and rugged, and are ideal for confinement or small yards (like are most common on the small islands of Great Britain). These birds are consistent egg-layers, grow rapidly, and make for a tasty 2- to 3- pound bird. 

 

Although there have been sightings of all varieties of Orpington Frizzles (including black, blue, white, and the unrecognized splash and lavender), the buff variety is by far the most common.

 

You can read more about Orpington chickens here.

 

Is it a Frizzle rooster or hen?

So, how do you tell the males and females apart? Just like other chickens, there’s some easy and not so easy ways to tell frizzle hens from roosters:

  • Roosters will have redder combs/wattles earlier (about 4 – 8 weeks old)
  • Roosters will have longer tail feathers
  • Roosters will crow! (starting anywhere from 3 days old to 16 weeks)

You can read more about how to sex a baby chick here.

 

frizzle rooster and hen

 

Additional Frizzle Facts

Do Frizzles lay eggs?

Yes, frizzle chicken breeds do lay eggs, however, some breeds produce more than others. The amount of eggs laid will depend on the breed – for example, Cochin frizzles will produce about 200 eggs a year, while Japanense bantam frizzles will only lay about 75. 

 

What color eggs do Frizzles lay?

The color is dependent upon the root breed of the Frizzle. Cochins and Buff Orpingtons lay brown eggs, while Silkies lay white eggs. If you have a frizzle Easter Egger, than who knows what color eggs she’ll lay!

 

Are Frizzle Chickens good egg layers?

Across the board, the Frizzle chicken breeds are gentle and good layers, though some breeds produce a sizable quantity more than others. 

 

Can you breed Frizzle to Frizzle? Can you breed two Frizzle chickens?

Technically, you can, but with a one in four chance that it will produce a Frazzle, the practice is discouraged. Frazzles have feathers that are so brittle that they often break off the birds’ bodies and leave unsightly bald spots, making them more susceptible to cold in winter. These Frazzles also suffer a number of other health risks like organ problems. If you’re looking for your Frizzles to enjoy a long healthy life, it is best to breed them to non-Frizzles. 

 

Are Frizzle Chickens cold hardy?

While some breeds of the Frizzles are more cold-hardy than others, all Frizzles suffer one drawback. Because their feathers turn upwards, they cannot seal the heat the way their feathers are supposed to. As a result of this, they have a hard time creating an air buffer between their bodies and the outside air. In colder months and wet weather, pay special attention to their comfort, just in case they can’t keep as warm as the other non-Frizzles in your coops. 

 

Do fancy chickens lay eggs?

Yes. All of the Frizzle Chicken breeds lay eggs, and if you’ve decided to add these birds to your flock for eggs, you’re in luck! Keep in mind, however, that some breeds, like the Cochin and the Orpington, are better at producing a strong supply than, say, the Japanese bantam. The Japanese bantam do not particularly excel at laying eggs, and a yearly yield maxes out at about 75.

 

Where do frizzle chickens come from?

Records of the birds go back as far as the 1600s! Charles Darwin, the famed British evolutionary, made mention of them as being predominantly from India. He called them “Caffie Fowl.” Officially, there is no record (in English, at least) of where these birds came from, however, all details point to Asia, maybe China or the East Indies. 

 

Are all Frizzles Bantams?

No. At least one breed, Cochins, have varieties that are standard-sized. Generally speaking, though, most Frizzles are bantams. 

 

Is the frizzle gene dominant?

Yes, the frizzle gene is dominant and 50% of the offspring will at least have one frizzle gene and one normal gene, though the mixture of the flock does not always produce 50% Frizzle feathered chickens and 50% non-Frizzles. 

 

Are Frizzle roosters and hens friendly to raise?

Yes! While your experience will depend on the individual chicken, most Frizzles are extremely friendly, especially if you give them lots of treats!

 

Coops for Frizzles

 

What size coops do Frizzle Chickens Need?

Because most Frizzle Chickens are bantams, most advice relating to their homes overlap with rules for bantams. Providing them with perches for them to hang out will help keep them happy and content. As far as their coop space is concerned, about 1 to 2 square feet per bird is ideal. This is a little more than half as much as a full-sized chicken requires. 

 

Common Health Issues

As with any other chicken, Frizzles are not immune to their environments, and are susceptible to lice, mites, worms, and other parasites. To help boost their immune systems and beat the bugs, feed apple cider vinegar and crushed garlic daily. You can learn more about my favorite herbs for deterring mites here.

 

Where can you buy Frizzle Chickens?

One of the biggest problems with ordering your Frizzles is getting them to actually be Frizzles. If you buy day-old chicks in advance, there is no guarantee that they will be, and a dozen purchased might result in only six being Frizzles, or you could luck out and find the whole dozen frilled and foofy! Keep such in mind as you plan to acquire your chickens: buying mature, or at least semi-mature birds are more likely to actually be Frizzles. 

 

As far as where to order your chickens:

  • My Pet Chicken has a variety of Frizzles including day-olds. 
  • Meyer Hatchery, based in Ohio, might not immediately have stock, but they have a handy breeding schedule that you can use to help arrange to get the latest additions to your family. 
  • Strombergs’ Chicks and Game Birds, based in Pine River, MN, offers some Red Frizzle Cochin bantams.
  • Purely Poultry, based in Fremont, WI, offers Frizzle Cochin Bantams. 

 

The most important thing is to choose a high-quality hatchery that’s also close to you, so your new pets don’t spend forever in the mail.

 

You might have difficulty finding the colors of Frizzles that match your vision, so it might be best to contact a qualified breeder and discuss color possibilities with them. 

 

Most Frizzle chickens should cost just a little over $5.00, which is a small amount more than some other breeds. The increase price is a result of the need for handlers to plan them carefully.

Plymouth Rock Chickens: Buyer’s Guide

I gotta give my love to Plymouth Rock chickens – they’re a true American breed.

 

Chickens come in all shapes and sizes, and the numerous breeds around the world have long found key roles in our backyards, our farms, and sometimes, even in our houses (silkies especially)!

 

Yet there has long been a misconception among chicken lovers: The Plymouth Rock and the Barred Rock are two different types of chickens.

 

In reality, the Barred Rock is just one Plymouth Rock chicken recognized variety; in other words, it is a variation of the standard breed.

 

While it is unlikely that these chickens have purposefully been pulling the wool – or the proverbial feathers – over our eyes, we are nonetheless presenting you with a great opportunity to learn about this wonderful chicken – before you decide to make a better backyard flock with its inclusion.

 

In this article, we will bring you characteristics, origin, weight, and we will even show off the wonderful plumage that help us distinguish true Plymouth Rock chicken varieties from one another.

 

5 Amazing Plymouth Rock Chicken Facts

 

  • With popularity stretching back to before the Wild West was tamed, these fluffy butts are one of America’s oldest breeds.
  • One of their greatest appeals is their long-lived hardiness. Not only are they rugged and can weather some of the worst storms that Mother Nature throws at them, but their large size makes for more satisfying hugs.
  • Gossip in the hen house is spread in relative contentment, as mothers bear confinement well, and can make a home even in limited space.
  • Forget the Apple Pie! Until World War II, it could have been said that nothing was as American as the Plymouth Rock Chicken, as no other breed was kept and bred as extensively as the Plymouth Rock Chicken.
  • Considering that it took a little while for the name “Plymouth Rock” to stick, it makes sense that the original Plymouth Rock Chicken was actually of the Barred Rock variety.

barred rock rooster vs. hen comparison

Where To Buy Plymouth Rock Chickens

You can buy these chicks at most major hatcheries and farm stores (such as Rural King or Tractor Supply.) Some hatcheries include:

  • My Pet Chicken (based in Connecticut)
  • Cackle Hatchery (based in Missouri. Read our review of Cackle here)
  • Meyer Hatchery (located in Ohio)
  • Stromberg’s Chicks (located in Minnesota)
  • Ideal Poultry (located in Texas)
  • Metzer Farms (located in California)
  • Murray McMurray (located in Iowa)

The most important thing is to choose a high quality hatchery that’s also close to you, so your new pets don’t spend forever in the mail.

 

You might have difficulty finding colors other than the barred variety, so it’s best to check with qualified breeders if you want any variation besides a barred Plymouth Rock.

 

Most Plymouth Rock chicks should cost under $5 (although some breeders who raise heritage chickens might charge more, but you’ll likely be getting a show quality bird.)

 

Raising Plymouth Rocks As Pets

Do Plymouth Rocks Make Good Pets?

Absolutely! Plymouth Rocks are one of the best chicken breeds for mixed flock because they’re easy-going and friendly. The rooster temperament is calm, and they take great care of their hens. The Plymouth Rock Chicken recognized variety, the Columbian, is especially good, with their striking white coloring and their heavy (up to 6 pounds for females) weight.

 

Are Plymouth Rock Chickens Friendly?

Yes, especially if hand raised, and given lots of treats. The roosters have temperaments that are generally peaceable with other animal species. They are usually calm and docile and often enjoy happy lives with people and other animals. Barred Rock chicks handle confinement well, and mother hens, like their male counterparts, have spread untold contentment to their human handlers.

 

What Is The History Of The Breed?

It is fitting that the Barred Rock chicken has taken the more popular name of “Plymouth Rock Chicken.” Like the United States, itself, the Plymouth Rock chicken origin is in Massachusetts. Unlike the USA, which became official in the 1700’s, this breed got its official start in the nineteenth century. For much of the early twentieth century, it was the most popular breed in the United States.

 

Plymouth Rock Breed Characteristics

What Do Plymouth Rocks Look Like?

It’s a sturdy looking bird, with white skin and yellow legs. Two of the most striking features is the yellow beak and the bright red single comb. The roosters have long, beautiful tail feathers, while the hens have a squarish body. Plymouth rock chicken weight varies between the hens and roosters: The roosters tend to be larger, weighing in at around 8 pounds, while the hens are around 5 pounds.

What Colors Do Plymouth Rocks Come In?

Plymouth Rock chickens don’t just come with barred feathers (although in my opinion, they’re the most beautiful!) Another popular option is the White Plymouth Rock Chicken, although it’s lesser known than the barred variety.

Plymouth Rock chicken colors include:

  • Barred
  • Blue
  • Buff
  • Colombian
  • Partridge
  • Silver Penciled
  • White

What Is The Plymouth Rock Chicken Used For?

It’s an excellent dual-purpose bird. Their large size Is ideal for meat production. It also boasts fine egg laying capabilities, and a single hen can produce 200 eggs per year. These days, they’re also kept as pets, and in breeding programs that want to raise sex-linked chickens..

barred plymouth rock chicken hen

Are Plymouth Rock Chickens Noisy?

Not compared to other breeds. The Plymouth Rock Chicken is usually a quiet bird, and you might notice the roosters don’t crow as much as other breeds (Buff Orpington or Brahmas, for example). They make for quite good neighbors. Those rare times when they DO make a commotion is a good sign that something sinister is afoot, like a raccoon, or a potentially bad weather (usually it’s a predator though).

 

How Long Do Plymouth Rock Chickens Live?

The standard life expectancy of these fluffy butts is usually 6 to 8 years but some have been known to live until 10 to 12 years. Like any other breed, your chickens’ lifespan depends on factors such as genetics, feed, and housing (a well built predator-proof coop with good quality chicken wire is one place to start). You can read more about how long chickens live here.

 

Are Plymouth Rock Chickens Cold Hardy?

Yes! Considering the heavy snowfall and occasional negative temperatures of their home state of Massachusetts, yes, Plymouth Rock Chickens are quite cold-hardy. Because of this, large numbers are not required for survival; they are ideal for small individual farms with low chicken populations.

 

Can Plymouth Rock Chickens Fly?

Although the Plymouth Rock Chicken is not considered a strong flier compared to other birds, they are capable of limited flight. They can fly up into roosts, but not really much more than that. You can read more about whether chickens can fly here.

 

Are Barred Rock And Plymouth Rock Chickens The Same?

Yes, the Barred Rock is just a color variation of Plymouth Rock Chickens. You can read more about Barred Rocks here.

 

Coops For Plymouth Rock Chickens

What Kind Of Coop Does This Breed Need?

Plymouth Rocks do best with plenty of room inside the coop (about 10 square feet of space per chicken) so that they can move around. It should also be predator proof, include roosts, and space for a feeder and waterer. In this article, I show you 55 different coops you can build yourself.

 

What Kind Of Predators Attack These Chickens?

Considering how valuable they are as food to humans, it is not surprising that predators like raccoons, wolves, and other fierce animals also prey on these birds. You can learn more about how to spot chicken predators here (based on their footprints).

 

Plymouth Rock Chicken Eggs

Are Plymouth Rock Chickens Good Layers?

Yes! They’re one of the champion egg layers of the coop! You’ll find your Plymouth Rock heb lays 280 eggs per year, which amounts to about 5 eggs a week.

 

What Color Eggs Do Plymouth Rock Chickens Lay?

The Plymouth rock chicken egg color is a light brown (some say it’s the color of a latte). The actual shade will vary from bird to bird. Stresses like extreme heat can also effect egg shell color. You can learn more about abnormal eggs you might find here.

brown plymouth rock chicken eggs

At What Age Do Plymouth Rocks Lay Eggs?

Plymouth Rock hens begin laying their eggs at around 6 months. However, several factors can effect when your chickens lay eggs (and how often), such as diet, time of year, environmental stresses, etc. You can learn more about how often chickens lay eggs here and reasons why chickens stop laying here.

 

To prompt your hens to lay (assuming they’re the correct age), you should offer clean nesting boxes in a quiet place. You can learn more about nesting boxes here.

 

How Long Do Plymouth Rock Chickens Lay Eggs?

Like other chickens, Plymouth Rock hens will lay eggs consistently for the first 2-3 years. After that, you’ll likely see a decrease in the amount of egg laid each week, until she stops laying altogether (there will be some champion layers who lay until they’re a ripe old age, so these numbers are just generalizations).

 

Common Health Issues

As with any other chicken, Plymouth Rock chickens are susceptible to lice, mites, worms, and other parasites. To help boost their immune systems and beat the bugs, feed apple cider vinegar and crushed garlic daily. You can learn more about my favorite herbs for deterring mites here.

In summary, the Plymouth Rock chicken has been one of the leading chicken breeds for well over a century, and not by coincidence. These rugged fowls put little stress on their handlers, while putting lots of yummy eggs in their bellies. With enough color varieties to satisfy owner whimsy, these are good-looking birds that certainly are among the best chickens for a backyard flock!

Cream Legbars: Hatchery Reviews & More

Pet birds don’t get much better than Cream Legbar chickens. They lay blue eggs and you can tell which are males and which are females seconds after they hatch – what’s not to love?

 

This fascinating breed of chicken is a relative newcomer to the backyard flock scene, but because of their good looks, excellent egg laying ability, docile personality, and sky-colored eggs, they’ve become extremely popular.

 

However, you might not be sure where to find these wonderful colored egg layers

– or which breeders are the best.

 

In this article, you’ll discover everything there is to know about Cream Legbar chickens, where to buy them, what to look for, and how to care for these feathered beauties.

 

5 Amazing Cream Legbar Chicken Facts

  • They’re an unusual crested chicken breed.
  • The chicks are autosexing
  • They lay blue or blue/green eggs
  • The breed almost went extinct in the 70s because nobody wanted blue eggs (surprising since powder blue suits were all the rage).
  • It took several decades of study for the breed to form.

 

Where to Buy Cream Legbar Chickens

There are several major hatcheries and a few recommended breeders where you can buy your Cream Legbar chicks from.

 

With a breed like this – very popular and not very well publicized – it’s easy to head to the wrong place and purchase chickens that LOOK like Cream Legbars, but won’t lay blue eggs or are unhealthy.

 

(One popular cross I’ve seen is a Cream Legbar and a Welsummer chicken – they look like the real deal, but likely won’t lay blue eggs.)

 

Or, you might find the breeder doesn’t know the difference between Cream Legbars, Ameraucanas, Easter Eggers, or Araucanas and accidentally sells you the wrong breed. You can learn the difference between these super blue egg layers here.

 

Because of their popularity, they tend to be much more expensive than other chicken breeds, which makes it tempting for people to pass off hybrids for purebred Cream Legbars.

 

When it comes to this breed, make sure you’re prepared to spend a bit more at a reliable hatchery. While most chicken breeds tend to cost between $2 – $5, Cream Legbar pullets start at approximately $25, while the young roosters are less.

 

Recommended Hatcheries

The top hatcheries to purchase Cream Legbars are:

  1. My Pet Chicken
  2. Meyer Hatchery
  3. Cackle Hatchery
  4. Murray McMurray

 

My Pet Chicken

Located in Connecticut. If you live on the East Coast, you’ll want to use this hatchery so your chicks don’t travel too far.

 

This has been one of the top hatcheries for decades in the United States. They carry day old chicks that you can have shipped right to your door. The Cream Legbars on their site have gotten many 5 star reviews, and owners seem happy with their purchase.

 

Meyer Hatchery

Located in Ohio. If you live in the Mid-Atlantic or Northern Midwest, this is a good hatchery to order from. Your chicks won’t travel too far.

 

Meyer has a good reputation, and on their website, they show photos of beautiful sky blue eggs that’ll be perfect in any morning egg basket. Their reviews aren’t quite as good as My Pet Chicken’s, although it seems there are more reviews (which is a good thing). The prices of the Cream Legbars are the same as other hatcheries.

 

Cackle Hatchery

Located in Missouri. A good hatchery to order from if you live in the Midwest, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, the Dakotas, etc. This is the hatchery I have the most experience with. Every time I’ve ordered from them, the chicks arrived ASAP and in good shape.

 

Their prices for Cream Legbar chicks are competitive. Note that as of the time of press, they only shipped these chicks through June, so get your orders in early.

 

The roosters in particular look very beautiful. You can read our review of Cackle Hatchery here.

 

Murray McMurray

Located in Iowa. A good place to order from if you live in the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota, etc. I’ve ordered from this hatchery before (although not Cream Legbar chickens), and had a good experience.

 

Their prices are very competitive, and the photos on their website show pretty blue/green eggs, and hens with very impressive crest feathers!

 

There’s only 1 review on their site for this chicken breed.

 

Recommended Cream Legbar Breeders

Greenfire Farms

One of the top breeders (if not THE top breeder) in the United States, Greenfire Farms, also has Cream Legbar chickens for sale. As one of the first importers of these chickens, they’ve helped establish solid flocks for other breeders, and only raise healthy birds you’ll be proud to have in your flock. You can expect to make more of an investment in your birds, but you’ll have beautiful parent stock from which you can establish your own flocks.

 

Willow Croft Farm

These breeders are based in Washington state, and might be a good option for those living on the West Coast. They only offer a limited number each year, so it’s best to check with them directly. According to buyers, their Cream Legbar chickens come from Greenfire stock, are very healthy, and lay every day.

 

Cream Legbar Chicken Hatching Eggs

If you want to purchase hatching eggs, Purely Poultry seems to have them in stock. Bear in mind that while this can seem like an easy way to save some money, the phrase “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” rings true for a reason – there’s no guarantee you’ll have any chicks. The USPS is notoriously bad for shipping eggs.

 

Other Ways To Purchase Cream Legbar Chickens

 

  1. You can join the Cream Legbar Club to connect with other enthusiasts (and possibly breeders).
  2. Join Facebook groups and ask for breeder recommendations. Here’s a popular group called Cream Legbar Breeders of America.

 

Cream Legbar Eggs

What Color Eggs Do Cream Legbars Lay?

Because of their Araucana heritage (and selective breeding), the crested Cream Legbar egg color is blue or blue/green. If your Cream Legbar hen doesn’t lay blue eggs, then it’s likely a hybrid (you can find out about other colored egg layers here.).

 

How Many Eggs Does A Cream Legbar Lay?

Cream Legbars lay about 280 eggs each year, and are noted for being very prolific egg layers. So, don’t be surprised if you find lovely blue eggs in your nesting boxes 5 times a week!

 

You can learn more about which nesting boxes chickens prefer here.

 

What Age Do Cream Legbars Start Laying?

Like most chickens, Cream Legbars start laying their eggs at about 6 months of age. This will depend on different factors, however, such as her diet and the time of year. It’s always best to feed your hens a high quality layer feed that’s at least 16% protein. You can also supplement with extra treats, such as black soldier fly larvae and oyster shells for extra calcium.

 

Many readers ask “When do cream legbars start laying?” because their chickens are 7 months old, with no eggs in sight. Remember that if your hen turns 6 months old during winter, she is less likely to start laying. In fact, she might wait until spring before beginning egg production. You can find out more about how often hens lay eggs here.

 

If your Cream Legbar hen stops laying eggs, you can troubleshoot egg laying problems here.

 

Cream Legbar Vs. Ameraucana: Which Is Better?

When it comes to laying eggs, many owners report that Cream Legbars are more prolific layers. However the Ameraucana is more likely to be friendlier and cuddlier. Ameraucana roosters are also usually pretty mellow.

 

Cream Legbar Breed Standard

History Of The Cream Legbar Breed

Established in the United Kingdom, Cream Legbars are getting more popular, but are still considered to be a fairly rare breed in the USA.

 

It was developed by Reginald Crundall Punnett and Michael Pease, researchers at Cambridge University, who wanted to create a breed that could easily be sexed at hatching (you can read more about how to sex a baby chick here).

 

These gentlemen crossed a Gold Legbar chicken (a hybrid of Barred Rocks and Brown Leghorns) with white Leghorns and Aracauna chickens.

 

While this gets a bit technical about chicken genetics, the Araucanas brought the dilute creme gene to the mixture, which inhibits the gold gene from being expressed in the chicks (which is why Cream Legbars are a light grey or cream color).

 

It’s also from the Araucanas that the Cream Legbar gets its crest and blue egg laying genes.

 

Thanks to this mixture, the chicks can be sexed after they hatch by examining their down. Like other autosexing chicken breeds, Cream Legbars have specific markings when they’re born. The pullets have a dark brown stripe extending over the head, neck and tail, and barring around the eye. They also have a head spot. Roosters have paler down, and less pronounced barring.

 

Breed Standard

According to breeding clubs, these are the required markings of Cream Legbar hens and roosters:

 

Roosters: Cream neck hackles, sparsely barred. Crests are cream and grey colored. Saddle hackle feathers are long and cream barred. The wings are also faintly barred.

 

Hens: The breast is salmon colored and the rest of the body is silver-grey with soft barring. The neck hackles and tail are covered with cream feathers with grey barring. Like the roosters, the crest should be cream and grey. The hens should lay blue or blue/green eggs, and should lay prolifically.

 

Unlike their Araucana ancestors, these chickens don’t have the tufts.

 

You can read detailed breed standards here.

 

What Color Legs Do Cream Legbars Have?

Cream Legbars have yellow legs and feet.

 

Feeding Cream Legbar Chickens

Like most chickens, the best Cream Legbar diet includes a lot of protein. Chicks need a high protein diet to grow correctly- 18% protein chick starter is best.

 

Layers need it also so they can provide you with yummy eggs. The ideal diet for a hen includes a 16% protein layer feed and fresh, clean water every day.

 

Most commercial feeds are perfectly adequate. If you want to save some money and keep rodents away from your hens, use a no-waste feeder like these. You can also build your own with these tutorials.

 

This is especially important since Cream Legbars (thanks to the Leghorn genes) have a very good feed to egg ratio, so they won’t eat as much as bigger chickens. You want that feed to last as long as possible!

 

Keeping the feed out 24 hours a day will attract pests and predators. Since your Cream Legbars are smaller chickens, they’re more susceptible to being attacked. Keep their feed locked up at night when they’re not going to eat it anyway.

 

For nicely colored yolks, you can add herbs high in beta carotenes, such as calendula.

 

Your flock should have 24 hour access to water (although they probably won’t drink at night). An automatic waterer makes this easy. You can find recommended waterers here.

 

If you want to build your own, you can get my tutorial for a $12 gravity waterer here.

 

Keeping Cream Legbar Chickens as Pets

Are Cream Legbar Chickens Friendly?

The cream legbar temperament is usually docile, but it depends on how they’re raised. Because they have Leghorn genetics, they can be a bit flighty (Leghorns are notorious for their flightiness). However, many owners report that if the Cream Legbar chicks are hand raised, they’re very friendly and will take treats from your hand.

 

According to the breed standard, having a docile Cream Legbar is ideal.

 

Cream Legbars also have a bantam variety, and on the whole, bantams tend to be friendlier than full sized chickens. You can read more about bantams here.

 

Are Cream Legbar Roosters Aggressive?

Some breeders report that Cream Legbar roosters tend to be more aggressive than other chicken breeds, and are good protectors. So, if you’re looking for a pet chicken for your children, then this breed might not be the best available (Silkies and Cochins are two options.)

 

Cream Legbar Chicken Lifespan

Cream Legbars tend to be healthy birds, and on a general basis, you can expect yours to live between 5-10 years. Note that the exact lifespan depends on lots of different factors, such as diet, shelter, and veterinary care. You can learn more about the factors that can effect how long your chickens live here.

 

Coops For Cream Legbar Chickens

The perfect Cream Legbar chicken habitat should be:

  1. Safe from predators
  2. Well ventilated
  3. Draft-free
  4. Easy to clean
  5. 10 square feet of space per chicken
  6. Full of environmental interest, such as branches and toys

 

While Cream Legbars are not very large, they can be flighty and nervous. It’s best to stick to the 10 square feet of space per chicken rule of thumb.

 

These are also smaller birds, and easily picked off by predators, including dogs, raccoons, opossums, and larger predators like bears. Make sure your coop is 100% predator proof, and use a run or tractor to allow your flock some outdoors time.

 

You can learn how to build a predator proof coop here and figure out the best chicken wire here for your particular coop. If you want to know how to identify common chicken predators, you can read this article.

 

Cream Legbars are both cold hardy and heat hardy, but remember that they’re still fairly small birds. So, your coop should keep them dry and warm in the winter so they don’t freeze.

 

In the summer, your coop should have good cross breezes so they don’t overheat. A few windows are always a good idea – just be sure to use screens or hardware cloth so no predators can eat your flock.

 

You can also offer frozen treats like these Beef Tallow Treats. Your flock will love you for it.

 

Known Health Issues

When Greenfire Farms first imported Cream Legbar chickens, Marek’s seemed to be a big issue. The breeder reported that this was partly due to the imported birds having no resistance to the strains of the virus we have in the USA. Subsequent generations seem more immune. However, it’s not a bad idea to have your Cream Legbar chicks vaccinated for Mareks to be on the safe side.

 

Because Cream Legbar hens are such prolific layers, there’s a chance she might end up with a prolapsed vent. However, this seems unlikely, and reports are few and far between.