Top 10 show chicken breeds

  • Cubalaya

    The lobster tail is a distinctive feature on this native of Cuba. Colors range from blue-red wheaten to a black-breasted red. These birds may take up to three years to reach adulthood. They are easily tamed and don't have spurs.

  • Favorolle

    This bird originates from the Eure-et-Loire region in France southwest of Paris. It's a mix of other breeds, but a registered standard breed with the American Poultry Association (APA). Color patterns include Salmon and White. It's a strong breed that matures quickly.

  • Cochin

    Pretty birds with fluffy feathers. Their color patterns include Brown, White, Buff, Partridge, Silver-Laced, Black, Blue, and Golden-Laced. They have gentle dispositions but are also quite hardy.

  • Brahma

    Known as "The King of All Poultry", Brahmas are large, with dense down and smooth plumage. Their color variations include Dark, Buff, and Light. They do well in the northern U.S. and are easy-going, docile birds.

  • Dominique

    This Asian/European breed is known as America's first chicken. Attractive features include a black and white "cuckoo" pattern, tight plumage, and a tight comb. They have easy temperaments and winter well.

  • Java

    Thought to be the second-oldest breed in the U.S., the Java is a good free-range choice. Varieties include Auburn, Black, Mottled, and White, although not all of these are recognized by the APA. Key feature: the comb should have the first point above the eye, not the nostril.

  • Orpington

    These birds mature fast. There are four colors: Blue, Buff, Black, and White. Their tight feathers and standing combs make for good show. They're great layers and easy keepers.

  • Dutch Bantam

    The Dutch Bantam is a popular exhibition chicken overseas, and has increased exposure in America. An upright bird with glossy plumage, colors include Silver Partridge and Red-Shouldered White. A good bird for the southern U.S. It's a bit flighty, but easily tamed.

  • Langshan

    Raise the fence for these chickens! They're tall birds with lighter-than-average bones, so they'll scale almost anything. They grow fast and are simple to raise. Distinguishing features include a closely-feathered body and feet, with hues of white, black, or blue.

  • Malay

    Only experienced handlers should select this breed, as it's quite difficult. Males can be quarrelsome, and cruel toward chicks. It's best to limit confinement. But what a show bird: Malays grow 2-3 ft. high, and have glossy feathers. Varieties include Spangled, Red Pyle, Black Breast Red, and White.

  • Silver Phoenix

    We couldn't resist adding one more. This bird slightly resembles a pheasant, with a showy tail that grows up to 4-ft. in length. Provide plenty of open space for it to roam and encourage full tail growth. Plan to also feed it extra protein to supplement tail development.

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