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10 Best Chicken Show Breeds (And Why They’re a Keeper!)

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If you’re here wondering what are the best chicken show breeds to keep, this article has got you covered.

But just a short story… My husband and I attended our local Fall Fair years before keeping chickens.

There, in a stuffy, converted shack, is where the Show Birds were held.

We’d walk through the isles of cages of the best chicken show breeds, noting which colorful Roo obtained the most ribbons, which hen impressed with her plumage, and which couple made the most handsome pair.

Though we didn’t know much about chickens at the time, let alone show them, we knew these were the cream of the crop.

As time went on, it came time to add our first addition! Chickens!

We didn’t intend to show, but we were in if eggs could be provided in a beautiful package with a friendly disposition, requiring little maintenance and partaking in building a sustainable farm!

Chicken Shows used to be based on egg or meat production.

You’ll see plenty of ornamental, heritage, or otherwise rare breeds more often now.

By maintaining a high breed standard, the best chicken show breeds remain healthy, accessible, and thriving.

I’ve added over fifteen chicken breeds to the farm, and I want to share the feathery triumphs and flying flops with you.


10 Of The Best Chicken Show Breeds


Silkie - best chicken show breeds

Characteristics and Personality

The Silkie (or Silky) is a flightless, furry-looking bird of small stature.

It’s sometimes mistaken as a bantam, but that is not the case. Hailing from China, India, or Japan (true origin unknown), The American Poultry Association Standard Perfection entered the bird in 1874.

The body is covered in a silky (hence the name) plumage, closer resembling fur or hair than feathers.

The Silkie has black skin, with a deep maroon-colored comb and waddles.

The ears are turquoise and stunning against the plumage and dark face.

The Silkie has 5 toes instead of 4, which is difficult to see below their feather-covered legs.

This breed has various colors, including White, Black, Partridge, Buff, Grey, and Blue (specifically for showing).

Why The Silkie?

The Silkie is an attractive ornamental breed, but why choose this as one of the best chicken show breeds?

Well, most chicken keeper’s intending to show chickens keep them housed separately from a regular flock, especially leading up to a show.

Despite its small stature, the silkie fairs remarkably well with larger chickens.

After a string of unfortunate losses, I had one remaining silkie hen who I worried would be bullied or pushed around by the larger hens, but that was not so.

She faired well, laid consistently, and remained friendly.

This tough chicken in a small package makes it possible to keep them in with regular-sized chickens.

An added benefit to the Silkie breed is due to their plumage lacking barbicels, the SilkieSilkie cannot fly, which makes containment of the breed slightly easier.

Remember, due to the furry nature of their feathers, a Silkie can drown as it is quickly drenched and unable to flap itself out of deep water. Farmers must keep troughs or stock tanks out of it the area.


Blue CochinBlue Cochin best chicken show breeds

Characteristics and Personality

The Cochin Blue is a personal favorite of mine.

Its effortless beauty makes it an easy choice in the show ring.

The Cochin Blue has slate blue, grey, and deep blue feathers capped with a vibrant red comb and wattle.

Exaggerated rump feathers and feathery legs and feet meet the bird’s sleek body.

Originating in China, the Cochin Blue was brought over on ships in the 1800s.

They’re friendly, calm birds keen to lay and set eggs.

Why The Blue Cochin?

This bird thrives and thrills in the show world. This bird has other color varieties, such as Buff, White, Black, and Cuckoo (in the UK).

Their large size is often a favorite of judges and onlookers alike.

This chicken can take up to 2 years to fully mature!

So while they take a bit to reach the showing circuit, a Blue Cochin remains an easy keeper as it grows.

It also willingly hatches its clutch frequently, giving you quality, hardy show birds for the future.

Due to their sheer size, a Cochin Blue cannot fly well, making containment slightly easier than regular flighty birds.

Remember, a Cochin Blue has the weight and size which make an adult a formidable opponent for smaller or aerial predators. However, they move slightly slower, so secure pens are necessary to keep them safe.

Polish ChickenPolish Chicken best chicken show breeds

Characteristics and Personality

If you can believe it, the Polish chicken was first highly sought after due to their white egg-laying ability and not their funky hairdos.

However, shortly after the Leghorn bumped them off the podium for the #1 best white egg layer, their striking appearance secured them a spot in the “Ornamental” category, where they were bred for looks.

The Polish’s pom-pom hairstyle makes them easily one of the most recognizable birds in your local agricultural show.

Aside from the prominent head crest and hairdo, the Polish have an entire body of haphazard-looking and remarkably colorful feathers.

The birds are known to be gentle, calm, and content birds that are rarely aggressive.

With origins unknown, the Polish breeding lines vary between prolific egg layers to variable or sparse.

Their intent to go broody is minimal, though not entirely unheard of.

If just the appearance through a photo intrigues you and you want to learn more about this goofy-looking feathery beauty, check out Polish Chickens: Temperament, Color, and Egg Laying – to decide whether they’re a must-have in your flock.

Why the Polish?

As mentioned above, the Polish breed of chicken has such a gentle disposition that they make a fantastic show chicken.

They are ideal candidates for a 4-H prospect as they tolerate and enjoy a child’s cuddle.

The Polish will turn heads in any chicken show but remain a joy to watch amongst your backyard flock in the off-season.

I dare you to look out over your pen and not chuckle at the rock-style type head feathers and quirky, fluttery movements as it attempts to see beyond its plumage.

The only minor downfall to the Polish is the bird’s floppy top; its eyesight may be impeded, making predator avoidance slightly more complicated. They can also be prone to startling again due to lack of vision.

Lavender Orpington Lavender Orpington_best chicken show breeds

Characteristics and Personality

The Lavender Orpington tops the list of show quality extravagance.

A heavy yet agile chicken who displays a full body of light purple/grey feathers below a bright red comb and wattle.

The combs vary between birds, as I have a few hens with tiny pea combs and others with slightly larger ones.

The Orpington’s beauty is, well, in the butt. A rump full of spiraling feather-set is show-stopping.

There is barely a color the Orpington breed doesn’t come in.

These colors include Lavender, Buff, White, Lemon Cuckoo, Chocolate, Spangled… the list goes on.

The Orpington hens are chatty, curious, gentle, and friendly.

I can always count on one of my Lavender Orpington to warble and coo at me during egg collecting.

The roosters we’ve had did not enjoy the company of our children but were relatively easy on our hens.

It’s said the roosters are generally even and calm, but that has yet to be our experience.

They are, however, tall, big-breasted beauties that are captivating to watch in the chicken yard.

A British breed, they maintain a show-quality, fancy appeal the British breeds are known for.

Why the Lavender Orpington? 

My bias may be showing. This coop favorite meshes well with every other breed of chicken.

It is a rarity these birds fly due to their heavyset body and ample plumage, making their containment a breeze.

Their friendly nature handles holding, petting, and viewing well for the chicken exhibits.

The Lavender does breed true, so breeding show-quality offspring is a simple task ensuring future ribbons at the state fair.

Brahmabest chicken show breeds - Brahma chicken

Characteristics and Personality

The Giant, the King, the Brahma.

The Brahma chicken was a prevalent breed in the 1930s for many reasons. However, it fell off the radar commercially soon after while remaining a favorite amongst backyard flocks.

The Brahma is a tall, erect bird despite its size (approx 10lb for a rooster, 8lb for a hen).

With tight feathering, it thrives in cooler climates and appears “fluffy” under sleek feathers.

The Brahma ranges in colors: dark, light, and buff.

The variety is beautiful amongst a mixed flock. Long, feathered legs support the chicken’s weighted body and strong wings.

Despite their wingspan, they cannot fly well.

This particular breed is known for its docility.

The personality of Brahma is gentle, calm, and curious.

Why the Brahma?

The rooster is beautiful in the show ring and easy to handle due to their relaxed nature.

Containment is easier for this breed as their flight abilities are limited.

The Brahmas size deters smaller land predators and aerial threats.

With the Brahma’s large size comes limited coop space and a bit higher feed bill, but their success in the ring makes up for the smaller flock size.


FaverolleFaverolle chicken

Characteristics and Personality

The Faverolle is a multi-purpose bird used for eggs and meat and performs well in the show ring.

A full-bodied bird with loose feathering consisting of white and honied salmon.

Faverolle’s cheeks are full and fluffy, making them look as friendly as they are.

Feathered legs and small rose-colored combs give them a delicate, pretty look.

The Faverolles were imported to the states in the 1900s and are becoming a hit among backyard keepers and show breed enthusiasts.

Why the Faverolle?

The Faverolle, chosen for its tolerance of cages over the favored Houdan, makes it the perfect show breed.

Like the Orpington, the Faverolle is chatty, friendly, and tolerates handling well.

Their exceptional coloring is unlike many other breeds, making them stand out.

The Faverolle is a reliable layer, the bottom of the pecking order, and a gentle mother, ensuring continued breeding stock for years.

Their gentle, friendly nature makes them a wonderful 4-H project for younger chicken keepers!

AustralorpAustralorp Rooster

Characteristics and Personality

Reining primarily from the land down under, with Australia being mostly credited for the breed’s development, the Australorp is a mixture of many breeds with a base of Orpington, Rhode Island Reds, Minorcas, Langshan, and White Leghorns.

The finished product is a tall, black bird with iridescent feathering in deep shimmering green.

The Australorp is an upright, reliable egg layer and very friendly to boot!

Their slow, stately walk and inquisitive personality make them excellent pets with a purpose.

This breed tolerates confinement well but can be prone to obesity if that is their sole management style.

This breed is keen to forage, go broody, and lays light brown eggs.

Why the Australorp?

The Australorp’s full, hardy body makes it easy to keep them in your backyard flock.

Sturdy from chicks, the Australorp is ideal for beginner chicken show enthusiasts, with their friendly personalities and suitable mothering tendencies.

In many areas, the Australorp is easy to come by. Therefore continuing breeding and replenishing of a flock is relatively simple.

Ayam CemaniAyam Cemani

Characteristics and Personality

Welcoming this rare, exotic, and unusual bird from Sumatra, Indonesia – is the Ayam Cemani.

The Ayam Cemani is an erect muscular bird boasting black, shimmering feathers.

So what’s the big deal?

Fibromelanosis makes this bird all black, including their skin, bones, and bone marrow.

Considering its eye-catching and rare appearance, the bird is said to have magical powers connecting the spiritual and living worlds in its native land.

This bird was and is owned by those of wealth and status in their home country and is well cared for.

A friendly, gentle bird by nature, they are sure to add a conversation piece and feathery friend to your flock.

Why the Ayam Cemani?

As with any rare or unusual breed, the Ayam Cemani can be profitable if strict breeding practices are followed.

This breed can fetch you ribbons, but selling chicks for fertilized eggs could also help your profit margin.

The Cemani is said to be flighty though I’ve read mixed reviews.

Many people find them relatively easy to contain and handle confinement well. However, like any bird, they also value foraging and exercise.

Rosecomb Bantambest chicken show breeds - rosecomb bantam

Characteristics and Personality

Like the Brahma, this bird is eye-catching for its size.

Except the Rosecomb Bantam is recognizable for its lack of size! Rosecomb bantams are considered a “true bantam,” meaning they are not a miniature of anything but a breed itself.

The compact bird comes in various colors but is most notable for their large, bright red comb and oversized white ears.

Their feathers are long, and the tail appears large and full.

The Rosecomb Bantam is a joy (and quite comical) to watch in the barnyard.

I once watched one call out, sprint, and rally hens amongst a flock of substantially bigger roosters. The Rosecomb Bantam is known for being friendly and easy to handle.

Why the Rosecomb Bantam?

As you can imagine, this bantam breed is ideal for smaller coops, enclosures, and pens.

Requiring less room than their regular-sized cousins, a Rosecomb Bantam would be the perfect companion to travel around the show circuit given its compact size, lesser food requirements, and friendly disposition.

This breed could be for a 4H project or beginner chicken keeper!

CubalayaCubalaya chicken breed's appearance

Characteristics and Personality

If you had to guess the origin story of this beautiful bird based solely on its name, you’d likely choose Cuba, and you’d be correct!

Though tracing its earliest connection lands you in the Philippines!

This bird is a mixture of greens, black, orange, and red.

The hens are slightly less captivating, with white and neutral color plumage. The tail feathers are long and downturned.

The Cubalaya has short legs giving the long downturned feathers a regal appearance.

Their history involved cockfighting; therefore, they are known to be aggressive toward other roosters in a flock but don’t let that deter you!

Many exhibitionists choose the Cubalaya due to their ease of handling and friendly disposition toward people.

Why the Cubalaya?

Despite their tough guy persona, the Cubalaya rooster does not grow spurs. A plus for constant handling!

The Cubalaya is beautiful and sure to turn heads at the State Fair.

It will succeed in the show ring and is considered a reliable year-round egg layer while producing decent meat.

Cubalayas are hardy and active; therefore thrive in a free-range or extensively penned environment.

While confined, they can get rather vocal, so something to keep them busy while caged would be best!


Best Chicken Show Breeds: Breed or Behavior?

Whether you show chickens locally, dip your toes in the agricultural exhibition waters, or show at a higher level, such as breed-specific competitions – there are the best chicken show breeds for everyone to choose from!

Some of these breeds listed above are excellent beginner birds as they’re relatively easy to come by, handle, and house.

In contrast, others are for advanced chicken keepers wanting to take their next steps!

The choice should make the most sense to you. Which best chicken show breeds will best suit your farm?

Do you prefer rockstar hairstyles or shimmery feathers? Do you value a gentle disposition or the rarity of a bird? How far do you want to take yourself in chicken competitions?

After you have a few of these questions answered, a proper setup, and a breed in mind, the best way to learn is diving in.

Happy Chicken Showing!

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