How Many Toes Do Chickens Have?

The external anatomy of most chicken breeds is simple. It comprises the beak, comb, earlobes, hawks, tail, thighs, wings, spurs, and toes. We distinguish the different breeds of chicken through their sizes, colors, wattle, and combs. However, the more observant folk differentiate chickens by the orientation and number of toes they have.

Chicken use their toes to stand and walk. Most poultry have three toes that face forward and one that faces backward. However, this is not the case for all chickens. Several poultry breeds have more than the anticipated number of toes as we will explain in the course of this journey.

The condition of a chicken having more than four toes is called polydactyl. Unlike the human beings who have an extra finger (polydactyl) which does not serve any purpose, the extra toe of a chicken helps them.

Why Do My Chickens Have 5 Toes?

Having five toes is a rare and unusual trait for a chicken. However, even if the fifth toe is of no value to the owner, it is a worthy feature because few poultry breeds have this genetic anomaly. Therefore, it makes them special and easily identifiable from other chickens. Only five breeds of chicken have more than four toes.

What Chicken Breeds Have 5 Toes?

There is something unique about chicken feet with five toes. Mammals have the ankle bone enjoined to the foot. However, a chicken with five toes has a hock joint connecting the foot to the leg. The only chicken breeds that possess this feature are;

– Dorking

Dorking is a UK native chicken breed discovered in the medieval Roman ages. They are among the oldest domesticated poultry breeds. They have a great shape and grow quicker than most chicken breeds. They are flexible and adapt to different climatic settings.

Dorking chickens are long-lasting and can live up to seven years of age. Some farmers use Dorking chicken to crossbreed with other chicken breeds because of their tolerance and productivity.

Regular Dorking chicken is silver, gray, or white. They weigh eight pounds and are well built when fully grown.

– Silkie Bantam

This chicken breed has many features that distinguish it from other chicken breeds. Apart from having one toe more than other chickens, this breed has short legs and is hairier than its counterparts, making it more appealing to look at than other chicken breeds.

Silkie Bantam chickens came to America in the 13th century. These chickens are low maintenance and easy to manage, but they thrive better under warm and dry conditions. Silkies are flightless birds and enjoy domestication by humans. They produce small eggs and are not the best choice for meat production. Most people rear Silkie Bantam chicken as pets rather than for egg or meat production.

– Sultan Chicken

Sultan is an ancient Turkish chicken breed that also has five toes. Turks refer to Sultan chicken as Serai Tavuk. They got the name ‘sultan’ because of their appearance and fascinating nature. Farmers showcased them during events. and having caught the eye of Turkish royalty, the Sultan decided to keep the fowls in his castle gardens.

Sultan chickens are small but heavily feathered birds, giving them an elegant look.

– Houdan

Houdan is a dual-purpose chicken breed good for laying eggs and meat production. They are big and lay huge eggs that they often shatter when they sit on them due to their size. Houden is gentle and easy to domesticate.

– Faverolle

Faverolles are a special breed of chicken because of their behavior. They are noisy and like to interact with humans. Most farmers appreciate faverolles because of their pet-like tendencies. This chicken breed originates from France but is now common all over UK and North American farms.

Faverolles have thick feathers and heavy plumage enabling them to thrive during the winter season. They also have heavy beards and heavily feathered feet giving them a beautiful look.

Faverolle chicken is a dual-purpose chicken breed, great for meat and egg production.

Is It Normal for Silkie Chickens to Have Six Toes?

Whereas most chickens have four toes, three pointing forward and one backward, Silkie chickens have a unique genetic anomaly that allows them to have even six toes per foot. However, the extra toes have no functional benefit other than making them easily identifiable from different chicken breeds.

How Many Toes Do Roosters Have?

Apart from the five breeds of chicken mentioned above, all roosters have four toes like all chickens.


Most chickens have four functional toes. They use them for roosting, digging, holding, scratching, and walking. However, there are five unusual breeds of chicken that have added 1 or 2 toes. These extra toes make them unique and identifiable from other types.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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