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Exotic Chicken Breeds That Will Stand Out in Your Flock

Dong Tao Chicken

Sometimes, it’s fun to venture outside the common barnyard breeds, don’t you think?

This is why we’re covering some of our favorite exotic chicken breeds here in the United States.

Each of these breeds hails from foreign lands, many of which are unique, rare, or culturally important.

If you want to add new breeds to your flock or develop a new and rare breeding program, this is a great place to start learning about these breeds.

What Makes a Chicken Exotic?

The term “exotic” in the context of chickens typically refers to breeds that are uncommon, unique, or have distinctive characteristics that set them apart from more common poultry varieties.

Several factors contribute to a chicken being considered exotic, but for this blog, we primarily mean that the chicken originated from a foreign country.

With that said, several of the breeds on this list are also:

  • Unique in their appearances or purposes
  • Rare or uncommon
  • Culturally or historically significant

In essence, the exotic designation in the chicken world is a broad category that encompasses a variety of breeds with standout qualities, making them a source of fascination for poultry enthusiasts and collectors.Chickens in a poultry farm

Top 16 Exotic Chicken Breeds

Looking to add some different feathered friends to your flock?

Here are some of our favorite exotic chicken breeds that we love and recommend.

Svart Hona Chicken

Svart Hona (Svarthöna) Chickens – Sweden

Svart Hona, often called the “Swedish Black Hen” or “Swedish Black Death,” is a rare and captivating chicken breed with an all-black appearance—from feathers to skin and even internal organs.

Originating in Sweden, these chickens are renowned for their unique genetic trait known as fibromelanosis, which results in their striking black coloration.

With a friendly demeanor, Svart Honas make excellent backyard companions.

Despite their rarity, enthusiasts appreciate them for their aesthetic appeal, adaptability, and ability to thrive in various climates.

The Svart Hona stands as a testament to the diversity within the world of poultry.

Best chickens for broodiness- Silkie Bantam

Silkie Chickens – China

Silkie Chickens are adored for their distinct appearance and charming personalities.

Originating in China, these fluffy, docile birds are characterized by their soft, silky plumage and unique black skin and bones.

Silkie Chickens are prized for their friendly nature, making them excellent pets and ideal for families.

Their distinctive appearance includes a crest of feathers atop their heads and feathered feet, giving them an endearing, fluffy appearance.

Despite their smaller size, Silkie hens are renowned for being excellent mothers, often displaying nurturing behaviors.

Beyond their ornamental value, Silkie Chickens contribute to backyard flocks with a reputation for laying small, cream-colored eggs.

Cute chicken breeds- Frizzle chicken

Frizzle Chickens – Far East China or East Indies Area

Frizzle Chickens are known for their curly and inverted feathers, which create a unique and eye-catching spectacle in any flock.

Originating in Asia, Frizzles are recognized for their friendly disposition and adaptability.

Their feathering pattern results from a genetic trait that causes the feathers to curl outward instead of lying flat, giving them a perpetually ruffled and stylish appearance.

Beyond their aesthetic appeal, Frizzle Chickens make delightful additions to backyard flocks, offering a lively and engaging presence.

These whimsical birds are beloved in backyard flocks as pets, show birds, and among serious conservationists.

Best chicken breeds australia: Campine

Campine Chickens – Belgium

Campine Chickens are an ancient breed known for their distinctive appearance and active demeanor.

Sporting a sleek and lustrous black or silver-white plumage, Campines feature a unique barred pattern that adds to their charm.

These medium-sized birds are recognized for their upright posture and vigilance, making them excellent foragers on homesteads.

Campine hens are proficient layers, producing 140 to 200 medium-sized white eggs annually, while their active and independent personality makes them resilient in various environments.

With a history dating back centuries, Campine Chickens continue to captivate poultry enthusiasts with their elegance and utility.

onagadori chicken

Onagadori Chickens – Japan

The Onagadori Chicken, hailing from Japan, is renowned for its majestic long, flowing tail feathers that can reach astonishing lengths, exceeding 20 feet.

These chickens do require special care to attain tailfeathers of that length and quality.

This captivating breed serves both ornamental and cultural purposes.

Onagadori, translating to “long-tailed bird,” is often featured in Japanese cultural events and exhibitions.

Apart from their aesthetic appeal, these chickens were historically bred for their unique plumage, symbolizing prestige and honor.

While primarily ornamental or for poultry show purposes, Onagadori Chickens showcase the harmonious blend of utility and beauty, embodying a cultural legacy that has endured for centuries.

Serama - best desert chicken breeds

Serama Chickens – Malaysia

Serama Chickens, the smallest chicken breed in the world, originate from Malaysia and are adored for their tiny size and friendly disposition.

These pocket-sized birds stand around 4 to 8 inches tall, making them a novelty breed for many.

Despite their diminutive stature, Seramas possess a confident and social nature, making them ideal pets.

Beyond their role as companions, Serama Chickens are popular participants in competitive shows, where they are judged on criteria like posture and feather quality.

sultan chicken breed

Sultan Chickens – Turkey

Sultan Chickens, originating from Turkey, are a regal and ornamental breed celebrated for their distinct appearance.

These strange creatures have a prominent crest of feathers on their heads and plus feathered feet.

This breed was historically cherished by Ottoman royalty; they were symbols of status and prestige.

Today, their purpose has evolved to ornamental and exhibition purposes, enchanting poultry enthusiasts worldwide with their unique aesthetic.

Be warned that this breed is aggressive and may not play nicely with the other birds in your coop.

erminatte exotic chicken breed
Photo Credit: Funky Cluckers Hobby Farm

Erminette Chickens – West Indies

Erminettes are probably my favorite breed on today’s list of exotic chickens.

These are just gorgeous birds that remind me of “cookies and cream.”

This is the only breed where the color of the feathers is based on a co-dominant factor.

Some people say that Erminettes originated here in the United States, but many records point to them being imported here from the West Indies in the 1860s.

They were further developed in the US, but this is not their origination point.

You can expect 180-200 large cream-colored eggs from these chickens. They are rarer to find, but a few dedicated breeders sell them in the US.

Kid friendly chicken- Polish Chicken

Polish Chickens – Netherlands

Polish Chickens, with their flamboyant crest of feathers and striking appearance, are a breed renowned for both ornamental and practical purposes.

Originating in the Netherlands, these charming birds come in various color varieties.

Despite their extravagant plumage, Polish Chickens are valued for their egg-laying capabilities, producing white or tinted eggs.

Their distinctive appearance makes them popular in poultry exhibitions, where they often steal the spotlight.

Beyond their ornamental value, Polish Chickens contribute to backyard flocks by combining unique aesthetics with friendly demeanors, making them ideal companions and emotional support chickens.

Burmese exotic chicken breed
Photo by Matthew Crabb on behalf of the Cobthorn Trust, courtesy of Andrew Sheppy

Burmese Chickens – Myanmar (Burma)

Burmese chickens are a bit rarer of a find, especially on modern homesteads.

They are a resilient and hardy breed valued for both their ornamental beauty and practical purposes. Characterized by their striking red plumage, these chickens exhibit an elegant appearance.

Their primary purpose lies in providing meat and eggs for local communities, contributing to sustenance in the region.

You can expect around 120 eggs a year, even through the winter.

Beyond utility, Burmese Chickens play a cultural role in traditional ceremonies and events, reflecting their significance in Burmese society.

These flighty birds are almost impossible to find in the US. You will likely have to import them if you want to raise this breed.

Hemedora Chicken exotic chicken breed
Photo Credit: Chicken Fans

Hedemora Chickens – Sweden

Hedemora Chickens, originating from Sweden, are a robust and dual-purpose breed cherished for their practical contributions to agriculture.

Displaying distinct black and white plumage, these chickens thrive in harsh Nordic climates.

They are prolific egg layers and are a source of slow-growing yet flavorful meat.

Their ability to forage efficiently makes them well-suited for free-range systems, emphasizing sustainability in farming practices.

These are one of the most cold-hardy breeds of chickens, making them ideal for those of us in the north country.

Best chicken breeds for Australia: Australorp

Australorp Chickens – Australia

Australorp Chickens are acclaimed for their exceptional egg-laying prowess.

Recognized as one of the most prolific laying breeds, one hen set a world record by producing 364 eggs in 365 days.

Remember that most Australorps will realistically lay closer to 250 light-brown eggs a year.

With sleek black or blue plumage, Australorps are not only renowned for their utility but also exhibit a striking appearance.

Their primary purpose revolves around egg production, making them valuable contributors to backyard flocks and commercial poultry operations alike.

These are also notably docile birds who are forgiving and patient, which makes them suitable for families with small children.

Best chicken breeds for confinement- Cochin

Cochin Chickens – China

Cochin Chickens, originating from China, are beloved for their gentle disposition and distinctive appearance.

With profuse feathering, particularly on their legs and feet, and a round, fluffy shape, Cochins exude a sweet and “soft” charm.

Originally bred for meat, their purpose evolved, and they gained popularity in the West during the 19th century as ornamental birds. They lay around 150 to 180 medium to large eggs per bird per year.

Today, Cochins are admired for their friendly nature, making them ideal pets.

While they may not be prolific egg layers, their engaging personalities and ornamental value have solidly secured their place in backyard flocks.

Derbyshire Redcap Chickens exotic chicken breed
Photo Credit: Morning Chores

Derbyshire Redcap Chickens – England

Derbyshire Redcap Chickens, originating from England, are notable for their distinct appearance and historical significance.

Recognized by their striking rose comb and vibrant chestnut-red plumage, they present a picturesque image in any flock.

Bred primarily for their dual purposes as egg (200 eggs per year) and meat  (good flavor and weighing about seven pounds), Derbyshire Redcaps were popular in the 19th century for their utility.

Although their practical purpose has diminished with changing agricultural trends, these chickens are now appreciated in backyard settings for their hardiness, adaptability, heritage value, and overall rarity here in the US.

They are one of the rarest and most critically threatened breeds.

La Fleche Chicken rarest chicken breeds

La Fleche Chickens – France

La Flèche Chickens, originating from France, are distinctive with their V-shaped comb and striking appearance.

Known for their big bodies and jet-black plumage, these birds have a regal bearing.

Historically, La Flèche were prized for their white earlobes, signifying their superior meat quality.

While their numbers have diminished, they are valued in contemporary settings for their ornamental qualities and heritage status.

Though not as prolific egg layers, their role has evolved to be a novelty in backyard flocks.

You can expect about 180 to 200 eggs per year, with hens laying consistently for their first four years of life.

These chickens weigh around seven to nine pounds at full maturity.

Dong Tao Chicken

Dong Tao Chickens– Vietnam

The Dong Tao Chicken is a rare and striking breed known for its massive “dragon-like” legs and cultural significance in Vietnam.

Recognized for their disproportionately large, sturdy legs and feet, these chickens are traditionally raised for their flavorful meat, considered a delicacy in Vietnamese cuisine.

Beyond their culinary value, Dong Tao Chickens have become a symbol of prosperity and luck in Vietnamese culture.

With their distinctive appearance and cultural ties, these birds hold a dual purpose, serving both as a source of exceptional meat and as a revered cultural icon, embodying the rich tapestry of traditions and practicality in poultry farming.

Exotic Chicken Breeds: Before You Go…

In conclusion, the world of exotic chicken breeds has a vibrant history woven with diversity, utility, and cultural significance.

It takes an incredible amount of determination and effort to develop and transport these birds, which is another feat in itself.

Whether valued for ornamental appeal, historical significance, or practical purposes, these exotic breeds showcase the fascinating interplay between aesthetics and utility.


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