Have you often thought that a chicken is just a chicken? If so, you probably aren’t aware that there are so many chicken breeds out there that nobody even keeps track of them all. No doubt, there are probably many hundreds of chicken breeds, including some that haven’t even been defined yet.
Here, we’ll take a look at seven of the rare chicken breeds you’ve probably never heard of.
1. Dong Tao Chicken
This special breed of chicken is getting increasingly rare with every passing year. In Vietnam, the Dong Tao is highly-prized and much sought-after for its amazing meat.
The breed originally comes from the Dong Tao village, which is located in Vietnam’s Khoai Chau District. Dong Tao male chickens grow to over 13 lbs., while the females average around 10 lbs.
Local people often refer to the Dong Tao chicken as the Dragon Chicken because of its extremely large feet and thick, powerful-looking legs. The legs of the Dong Tao chicken can reach a similar size to the wrist of a human male.
The size of the legs and feet make the Dong Tao very clumsy with their eggs. While this breed only tends to lay two or three eggs every week, the majority of the eggs are destroyed due to the chicken’s own carelessness.
This makes it imperative for Dong Tao breeders to be extremely vigilant in locating eggs and transporting them into safe incubators. This gives breeders much better odds on birthing hatchlings.
Dong Tao females are also infamous for being really poor mothers. It’s no wonder, then, why this particular breed is extremely rare and valuable. It’ll cost you about $2,500 to buy a breeding pair of Dong Toa chickens.
2. Ayam Cemani Chicken
While the Dong Tao is one of the very expensive and rare chicken breeds, the Ayam Cemani breed is in a class all by itself. Some refer to the Ayam Cemani is the absolute Lamborghini of rare chicken breeds.
These chickens are mysterious, beautiful and extremely rare. In Java, from where they originate, they’re regarded as a sacred bird. The color of this chicken is a stunning inky-black on every single part, including the:
They conduct their business in a way that causes people to become mesmerized by their overall uniqueness.
Another thing that makes this one of the rare chicken breeds of the world is that it’s not only the outside appearance of the chicken black. Each chicken’s organs, meat, skin and bones are also black. Even the blood, although not completely black, runs very dark throughout the body of this breed.
This factor makes the Ayam Cemani a very popular bird for local rituals.
If you’re interested in adopting an Ayam Cemani, expect to get on a waiting list and wait for up to a year. The price you’ll pay will be in the neighborhood of $2,500 each, or $5,000 for a breeding pair.
Another of the rare chicken breeds is known as the Onagadori. This is a large bird that comes from Japan. The translation of the word Onagadori loosely means “the honorable fowl.”
Onagadori chickens were designated in Japan as an official National Treasure in 1952. As of today, only about 250 of these chickens remain in Japan.
This is one of the rare chicken breeds that boasts a unique beauty. In fact, the roosters grow tails that can easily exceed five feet in length. The longest recorded rooster tail on an Oragadori was nearly 40 feet long.
Their tails have around 18 features that don’t ever molt.
The saddle hackles on the breed also grow very quickly and reach relatively long lengths. Oragadori comes in a variation of three different colors:
- Black-breasted white
- Black-breasted red
For many, the full white is the most popular variety.
If you’re fortunate enough to get your hands on one of these chickens, you’ll need to spend a lot of time attention on caring for the bird’s features. Oragadori owners normally keep the chickens perched. This prevents their feathers from dragging on the ground.
They also tie the chicken’s tail with a silk ribbon to keep it in the best possible condition.
4. Golden Campine
This breed of chicken is typically overlooked by a lot of breeders that, instead, are looking for chickens that mature faster, lay more eggs and better condition themselves to harsh climates. Because breeders overlook the Golden Campine, its numbers are in a steady decline.
These active, alert and highly intelligent fowl require some help to make sure their population begins to rise again. Even though they don’t produce as fast or as often as commercialized, hybrid chickens, they are still quite useful.
Hens will lay between 180-200 medium-sized white eggs every year. If you choose to cull a Golden Campine before 18 months, the bird meat is quite nice. Granted, you won’t have a lot of meat, but one will make for a nice sized meal.
What makes this breed very unique is that the males are all hen feathered. This means that females and males share the same exact patterns and colors.
It’s also believed that the Golden Campine is so ancient that it dates back to the times of Julius Caesar. The ruler is rumored to have owned several Golden Campine chickens that he took for himself after looting a village in Belgium.
5. Naked Neck
Many people refer to the Naked Neck chicken as a Turken. This name stems from the fact that a Naked Neck chicken looks like a cross between a chicken and a turkey. It was even once rumored that Naked Necks were in fact a cross-breed.
However, the rumor was proven to be false. In fact, the naked neck of the Naked Neck chicken is due to a gene that’s unique to the breed. The gene gives the chickens about 50% less coverage of feathers than other breeds of chickens.
Most of the missing feathers are most noticeable on the chicken’s neck, where there is typically little to no feature coverage. This is what makes the chicken resemble a turkey.
This is one of the rare chicken breeds that come from Transylvania. In many circles, they’re known as the Transylvanian Naked Neck chicken.
Egg production of this breed is very strong, at around 200-250 per year for each chicken. Each egg is quite large and brown. They also have very good-tasting meat.
6. Vorwerk Chicken
The Vorwerk chicken is known to be a dual-purpose breed. Its skin is slate-grey, the body features gorgeous plumage and the nature of the chicken is quite good. Vorwerk chickens definitely aren’t a shy breed. They love to keep up with everything going on around them.
They’re also excellent foragers, lay about 180 medium-sized brown eggs every year, and have delicious meat.
Hailing from Germany, the breed was developed by a man named Oskar Vorwek who wanted a chicken breed that was good at pleasing everyone. He wanted to create a breed that was good at laying eggs, had great meat quality and was nice to look at.
A Vorwerk is a combination of the following breeds:
- Buff Orpington
- Buff Sussex
Many of the breed’s characteristics resemble that of the Lakenvelder. Some Vorwerks are often confused with this breed.
7. Modern Game Breed
Another one of the rare chicken breeds is the Modern Game variety. This breed is mostly kept as ornamental or show birds today. They’re often referred to as supermodels of the runways at poultry shows. This is due to their straight posture and long legs.
This breed also comes in a very wide array of plumage colors. They are all quite magnificent. This gives them another leg-up on the competition at poultry shows.
Unfortunately, the Modern Game breed isn’t as common as it was in times past. Their numbers have been severely declining in recent years.
It’s important to note that Modern Game chickens don’t adapt well to cold climates. They’re definitely a warm-weather fowl. But for the lucky owners of this breed, the chickens are extremely friendly and show off plenty of entertaining antics.
If you’re fortunate enough to get your hands on a few chickens from the Modern Game breed, you’ll end up wishing that all of your chickens were as much fun as these.
Rare Chicken Breeds You Probably Didn’t Know About
These are just seven of the rarest, most beautiful chicken breeds in the world. There are dozens of other rare chicken breeds to explore that are both fascinating and lovely in and of themselves.
Get to know some of these rare chicken breeds if you’re looking to start raising chickens that you’ll be proud to own.