There is nothing as striking as a black and white chicken in your backyard. These birds have an exotic appearance which makes them unique among other chicken breeds. Another conspicuous feature about these chickens is that they possess one pigmented cell called a melanocyte, resulting in feather coloring.
The amount of pigment has little effect on the appearance, but still, some breeds have more pigment than others. As a result, feather patterns can range from solid black, pied, and spangle. Below is a description of feather patterns in black and white chickens.
Types of Feather Patterns
Before getting into more details about the black and white chicken breeds, let’s first take a look to their feather patterns:
The feather pattern has a distinct design with vertical lines extending from the breast to the abdomen. These birds look stunning with their solid black body and barred feather patterns.
These birds are well known for their two-color shades on their skin. The head of Columbian is usually bright red, which looks stunning along with the other color shades.
The laced pattern is quite similar to barred except for a few variations. Laced feathers have lines that are curved inwards, whereas they curve outwards on Barred chicken. Also, they have a lighter-colored area around the vent, which is absent on Barred.
The pattern looks like small pencil stripes on the bird’s back and extending from the breast to the abdomen. Sometimes, you can find spots or streaks of color on the lines in some chickens.
Spangle chicken has a solid patch of color on its body with no other markings at all. This pattern has three different segments in their feathers, i.e., dark, medium, and light shades running side by side.
This trait gives them an attractive appearance that people usually look for when buying them as ornamental birds. The spangle patch can range from blue to deep red or any other shade.
Mottled birds have light-colored patches over their wings, back, or head, while Columbian ones have dark spots on their necks along with medium size patches, which make them appear attractive to lay colorful eggs.
16 Beautiful Black and White Chicken Breeds
Black and white chicken feathers have been used for centuries to make beautiful ornamental pieces. They usually lay 160-170 eggs annually with some varieties famous for meat production too. Here is a list of some of the most remarkable black and white chicken breeds.
– Amrcok Chicken
Amrcok chickens have a unique appearance that makes them stand out from other species. They have dark gray or almost black-colored feathers and white ones covering the lower part of the body, including the tail, thighs, and legs. Combs are red while eyes are orange-brown shaded, which gives them an attractive sight when moving around freely on your farm or in some showroom.
The best thing about this breed is that it can fend for itself due to its aggressive behavior. You can keep the bird for ornamental purposes because of its beautiful plumage. On average, they weigh between 3.9 to 4.5 kilos which are ideal weights for meat production and egg-laying purposes. A well-fed chicken can give you between 150 to 200 eggs per year.
– Ancona Chicken
Anconas were first developed in Italy in 1865. Since then, they have been popular with small-scale growers who are comfortable with two to three eggs weekly per chicken.
An adult bird weighs about 3.2 and 3.6 Kg, with a height of around 30 inches. These birds are popular in show rings where farmers display them based on age, weight, and plumage characteristics.
– Barred Rock
This is one of the oldest breeds in the U.S, rumored to have been created in 1822. Mainly, this is because they are excellent dual-purpose breeds. Their color combination consists of black feathers with some white patches that give them a unique appearance. As a result, they are favored for pet or show bird appearance.
Barred Rocks have brown eyes and red combs and skin, giving them an attractive appeal when displayed on your farm. They are considered the best among all black breeds as they lay more than 100 eggs per year. Often an adult Barred Rock weighs between 3.7 to 4.8 kg and measures a maximum length of 38 inches.
– California Gray
It is estimated that the first California Gray chicken was developed in 1849. They are considered an attractive breed because of their black plumage covering their entire bodies, including wings.
However, their lower parts, such as thighs and legs, remain purely white. They weigh around 4.6 kilos on average and produce medium-sized eggs. You can get about 100 gray chickens per year which indicates their high productivity levels. In most cases, these birds do not grow more than about 24 inches.
California grays have dark brown eyes, orange legs, and red combs, making them attractive as pets and in shows, fairs, and competitions.
– Columbian Wyandotte
This is one of the oldest breeds, which was first reported to have been developed in 1874. They have black feathers along with white wings that look pretty attractive during shows.
In addition, they have some pink skin around their eyes and legs which makes them different from others. This unique structure makes them ideal for ornamental purposes and breeding purposes due to higher productivity levels.
The birds are known for their excellent egg-laying abilities, which often vary between 100-120 eggs per year. If fed well, a Columbian Wyandotte can weigh about 4 kilos which is suitable for meat production.
– Cuckoo Maran
Cuckoo Maran chickens are a result of cross-breeding between a Norfolk Maran and Java cuckoo. This black breed of hen has white and black feathers covering its entire body, including wings, tail, and legs. However, their skin is primarily red, which makes them stand out from other breeds.
They are highly prized for their ornamental purposes, especially during fairs or shows. Cuckoo Marans are also bred for egg production by crossing it with other varieties in the same color category, such as Rhode Island Red chickens. Typically, the bird weighs around 4-5 kilos and lays about 120 eggs per year.
– Dark Brahmas
The most outstanding feature about this bird is the beautiful black plumage covering the entire body, including wings and tail. Yet, they have white-colored skin, making them different from other breeds, such as barred rock chickens. They weigh around 4.4 to 4.7 kilos on average, along with high levels of egg production.
Even though they are considered one of the most ornamental birds in this category, Dark Brahmas possess low meat-producing abilities. Usually, these birds lay about 120 eggs per year and have a high chance of survival.
– Delaware Chicken
The bird’s history traces back to the 1500s in Europe. This breed has black and white feathers covering the entire body along with heavily feathered brown legs. Delaware chickens possess a distinctive white and red-colored comb on top of their heads.
They are famous for exhibiting higher meat production abilities and ornamental purposes. They weigh around 4-5 kilos on average and produce 72 eggs per year in most cases.
– Dominique Chicken
Dominique chickens have black and white feathers with yellow skin on their legs. They are classified as a medium weight variety with a bodyweight of about 5-6 kilos. In addition, they are excellent egg producers ranging from 120 to 150 pieces each annually.
These birds have exceptional laying abilities owing to their high productivity rates during shows or fairs across the U.S. They are suitable for meat production, provided you crossbreed them with heavy-built and healthy roosters.
– Lakenvelder Chicken
Lakenvelder chickens are well known for their impressive egg production, starting from 120 eggs per year. They weigh around 4-5 kilos on average, with higher meat production levels than other ornamental breeds.
Thanks to their small body sizes, they require less space and consume reduced food quantities. This variety of chicken is recommended for both meat and ornamental purposes by most farmers across the U.S.
– Light Brahmas
These chickens are classified as a lightweight variety, having a bodyweight of around 2-3 kilos on an average basis. The birds have low egg production rates compared to other types.
In recent times, breeders have used artificial insemination to cross-breed Light Brahmas hens with other species to improve meat and egg production.
– Silver Laced Cochins
A Silver Laced Cochin chicken has black and white plumage covering their bodies. Moreover, they have unique yellow combs and white legs, and yellow combs. These birds are also known for higher productivity rates during shows and fairs across the U.S.
They are considered lower-level egg producers, which usually range to about 120 eggs per year. For meat-producing purposes, they also require additional cross-breeding with larger-sized breeds for better results.
– Silver Laced Polish
Silver Laced Polish are classified as heavyweight varieties weighing approximately 6-7 kilos. These birds possess amazing laying abilities, which can range from 140 to 150 eggs per year. Due to higher levels of cock competition among males, it is prudent to limit the number of roosters in your flock with these birds.
Remember that although these breeds are not excellent meat producers, you can cross-breed with larger species like Barred Rock Chicken to improve on it.
– Silver Laced Wyandotte
Silver laced Wyandotte feathers possess a unique trait on their feathers known as lacing. Here the white feathers have irregular black edges at the end of every piece. Nonetheless, the tail is purely black, making the combination pretty unique. They are also known for higher productivity rates during shows or fairs across the U.S.
The birds weigh around 2-3 kilos and are excellent for meat-producing purposes. It is common for breeders and farmers to use artificial insemination to cross-breed these birds with other perfect egg layers and meat producers. In such cases, your Silver laced hen can give you 100 to 150 eggs annually.
– Sussex Chicken
Sussex chickens are best known for their beauty, sweet temperament, and gentle nature. The black and white birds are bred as dual-purpose chicken to enhance meat production and egg laying abilities.
Rather than being a single breed, Sussex chicken is a group of species that descend from different parentages such as Xiang Su (which originate in China), Sebright, and Dark Cornish chickens (both originating from England). These ornamental types of chicken also possess thick plumage covering their bodies and weigh around 3-4 kilos on an average basis.
Like other chicken varieties, these birds may be released into a free-range farming system or kept confined in battery cages depending on seasonal weather conditions and the availability of resources. However, confinement provides better productivity rates over time.
– White Crested Black Polish
This chicken variety is also a dual-purpose type that possesses both white and black plumage covering their bodies. Also, they have white skin on wings and black combs. White Crested Black Polish have been bred to obtain an overall bodyweight of around 3-4 kilos on an average basis.
This variety of chicken is recommended for both meat and ornamental purposes by most poultry keepers in the U.S. For meat-producing purposes, they also require additional cross-breeding with larger-sized breeds such as barred rock chicken, leading to higher levels of meat production opportunities in the long run.
Currently, there are many different varieties of chicken available to farmers and poultry owners. Each type has its unique qualities and widespread uses, but all can be used for meat or egg production, depending on the owner’s goals.
This article presents a comprehensive collection of 16 different black and white chicken breeds that have been selectively bred. As a result, the breeding process produces an assortment of birds with desirable traits, excellent body size, and ornamental quality like unique plumage colors.
Bear in mind that these attractive chicken varieties can be released into a free-range farming system or kept confined in battery cages depending on seasonal weather conditions and availability of resources. What are you waiting for? Consult a verified breeder today and get started with your own flock of black and white chicken breeds.Chickens