Chickens with Feathered Feet: A Guide to 11 Beautiful Breeds

Did you know that only a handful of chicken breeds possess the uncommon trait of feathered feet? While there are hundreds of recognized chicken breeds worldwide, only twelve of them exhibit this unique characteristic. The Marans, Brahma, Sultan, Booted Bantam, Cochin Bantam, Silkie, Frizzle, Croad Langshan, Barbu d’Uccle, Cochin, Malaysian Serama, and Faverole breeds all boast feathers on their feet, making them truly distinctive in the world of poultry.

Feathered feet not only add a touch of beauty and uniqueness to these breeds but also serve practical purposes. Feathered feet provide additional insulation, keeping chickens warm in colder seasons or climates. The feathers also offer protection against injuries and help navigate rough terrains.

Now, let’s dive into a complete guide of these fascinating breeds and discover their various traits, colors, and purposes. We will also explore how to properly care for these chickens to maintain their pristine appearance.

Why Do Chickens Have Feathers On Their Feet?

Feathered feet is a genetic trait known as Ptilopody, seen in only a few chicken breeds and other bird species. This trait causes feathers to grow on the feet, legs, toes, and even the outer toes of the birds. Feathered feet develop through selective breeding and natural genetic inheritance across multiple generations.

Contrary to popular belief, feathered feet are not solely for aesthetic appeal. They also serve functional purposes. Feathered feet provide additional insulation, helping chickens stay warm in colder seasons or climates. The feathers also offer protection against injuries, such as scratches or pecking, and may assist in navigating rough terrains.

Let’s Meet the Top 11 Chickens with Feathered Feet

1. Marans

Black Cooper Maran

  • Origins: South-Western France
  • Primary use: Egg & Meat
  • Egg Production in A Year: 150 – 200
  • Egg Color: Dark Brown
  • Average Weight: 6 – 8 lbs.
  • Feather Colors & Varieties: White, black, black copper, blue copper, salmon, silver, blue, blue Wheaten, Golden cuckoo, Columbian, Wheaten, and Brown Red

Marans are known for their beautiful feathered feet and their unique dark brown eggs. Originating from Marans, France, these chickens are famous for their feather colors, including black, blue, golden, and copper. French Marans have feathered feet, while English Marans do not. Marans are valued for their attractive appearance, but they require extra attention to cleanliness and vigilance against leg mites and frostbites.

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2. Brahma

Brahma Chickens

  • Origins: United States
  • Primary use: Egg and Meat
  • Egg Production in A Year: 150 – 200
  • Egg Color: Brown
  • Average Weight: 10 – 12 lbs.
  • Feather Colors & Varieties: Buff, dark, light, black, white

Brahma chickens are known for their large size and feathered feet. They lay larger, medium-brown eggs and are considered heavy winter layers. While Brahma chickens are excellent layers and have feathered legs, they require more food and are susceptible to mites and lice. Care must be taken to keep their feet clean and free from irritation.

3. Sultan

Sultan Chicken

  • Origins: Turkey
  • Primary use: Exhibition/Ornamental
  • Egg Production in A Year: 50 – 80
  • Egg Color: White
  • Average Weight: 5 – 7 lbs.
  • Feather Colors & Varieties: Blue, white, black

Sultans, originating from Turkey, are known for their elegant appearance, including their feathered feet and crests. They have feathers that spread throughout their toes, making them living ornaments. Sultans have a variety of colors, larger crests, and a gentle demeanor. Care must be taken to prevent bullying, as they are smaller and slower egg producers.

4. Booted Bantam

Booted Bantam

  • Origins: Europe
  • Primary use: Exhibition/Ornamental
  • Egg Production in A Year: 160
  • Egg Color: White/Tinted
  • Average Weight: 1.9 – 2.9 lbs.
  • Feather Colors & Varieties: Grey, lavender, blue, white, black, gold, silver, porcelain, cuckoo, buff

Booted Bantams, also known as Dutch booted bantams, are small chickens with feathers resembling little boots on their lower legs and feet. Their charming appearance and various colors make them eye-catching additions to any flock. However, their small size and lesser meat value make them primarily kept as pets for ornamental purposes. Attention should be given to their cleanliness and protection from bullying.

5. Cochin Bantams

Pekin Bantam

  • Origins: China
  • Primary use: Exhibition and Egg
  • Egg Production in A Year: 120 – 160
  • Egg Color: White/Cream
  • Average Weight: 1.2 – 1.9 lbs.
  • Feather Colors & Varieties: Grey, lavender, blue, white, black, gold, silver, porcelain, cuckoo, buff, barred, Columbian, mottled

Cochin Bantams originated from China and are popular for their fluffy feathered feet. They come in various colors and are docile birds suitable for backyard chicken keeping and exhibitions. Although they are not productive egg layers and their meat is not in high demand, their feathered feet require attention to prevent foot rot and maintain fertility.

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6. Silkie Bantam

Silkie Bantam

  • Origins: China
  • Primary use: Exhibition
  • Egg Production in A Year: 120
  • Egg Color: Cream
  • Average Weight: 4 – 6 lbs.
  • Feather Colors & Varieties: Black, brown, blue, gray, partridge, white, buff

Silkies are known for their unique appearance, with soft, fur-like feathers and feathered feet. They have a prominent crest of feathers on top of their head and a muff and beard under their beak. Silkies are adored for their gentle nature and make excellent pets. While not the most prolific egg layers, they provide a modest supply of small to medium-sized eggs.

7. Cochin

Cochin Chickens

  • Origins: China
  • Primary use: Exhibition/Ornamental, Egg, Meat
  • Egg Production in A Year: 100 – 120
  • Egg Color: Brown
  • Average Weight: 5 – 6 lbs.
  • Feather Colors & Varieties: Black, birchen, white, red, blue, brown

Cochins are characterized by their abundant plumage and fluffy appearance. They feature feathering from their heads down to their shanks and toes. Cochin chickens are dual-purpose birds valued for their meat and medium-sized eggs. Their feathered feet add to their charm but require cleanliness to prevent foot rot.

8. Frizzle

Frizzle Chicken

  • Origins: N/A
  • Primary use: Exhibition, Eggs
  • Egg Production in A Year: 160
  • Egg Color: White or Tinted
  • Average Weight: 5 – 8 lbs.
  • Feather Colors & Varieties: Blue, brown, cuckoo, black, white

Frizzles are distinctively ruffled chickens with outward-curled feathers. Their feathered legs feature smooth feathers with frizzled feathers, ensuring that their offspring inherit the frizzled trait. Frizzles are primarily bred for exhibition purposes, and their bantam varieties are more common. Their friendly nature can make them susceptible to bullying, so keeping them with like-minded chicken breeds is recommended.

9. Croad Langshan

Croad Langshan

  • Origins: China
  • Primary use: Ornamental, Egg Production, Meat
  • Egg Production in A Year: 120 – 160
  • Egg Color: Plum or different shades of brown
  • Average Weight: 6 – 8 lbs.
  • Feather Colors & Varieties: Black

Croad Langshans are known for their glossy black/iridescent green sheen feathers and feathered feet. They have a calm demeanor and excellent egg-laying productivity, making them a profitable breed. Their large size also makes them a favored choice for meat production.

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10. Barbu d’Uccle

Barbu d

  • Origins: Belgian breed
  • Primary use: Ornamental
  • Egg Production in A Year: 100 – 120
  • Egg Color: Tinted/Cream
  • Average Weight: 1.4 – 2 lbs.
  • Feather Colors & Varieties: Black, golden, blue, blue quail, white, mottled, porcelain

Barbu d’Uccles, also known as Belgian d’Uccles or Belgian Bantam, are pint-sized bearded bantam chickens with feathered feet. They have a distinctive appearance with feathers filling their legs, except for the outer toe. Available in various colors, these charming birds make excellent pets but are not kept for their eggs due to their small size.

11. Faverole

Faverolle Chicken

  • Origins: France
  • Primary use: Egg & Meat production
  • Egg Production in A Year: 150 – 240
  • Egg Color: Tinted, pink tint, light brown
  • Average Weight: 6.5 – 8 lbs.
  • Feather Colors & Varieties: Salmon and white

Faverole chickens are fluffy beauties with pinkish-white feathery shanks and toes. Their feathering on the shanks and outer toes sets them apart from other breeds. Due to their docile nature and high egg production, they are primarily kept as egg-producing flocks. Their large size also makes them ideal for meat production.

FAQs

  1. Do all chicken breeds have feathered feet?
    No, only a few chicken breeds possess the feathered feet trait.

  2. What are the benefits of feathered feet for chickens?
    Feathered feet provide insulation, protection against injuries, and enhance the chickens’ overall appearance.

  3. Can I keep chickens with feathered feet in the same flock as other breeds?
    Yes, but caution must be exercised to prevent bullying and feather plucking.

  4. How do I care for chickens with feathered feet?
    Regularly clean their feathered feet, protect against leg mites, and pay attention to cleanliness to prevent foot rot.

Conclusion

Chickens with feathered feet, such as the Marans, Pekin Bantam, Silkies, and Faverole breeds, captivate enthusiasts with their gorgeous appearances. While some are primarily kept for ornamental purposes, others excel as egg-laying breeds. The feathered feet trait adds both aesthetic appeal and functional benefits to these extraordinary birds. Whether you are a poultry enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty they bring, chickens with feathered feet will leave a lasting impression in any flock.

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