Even the most ordinary of chickens can be eye-catching and entertaining to watch, but have you ever seen a chicken with an afro? There are a wide variety of crested chicken breeds out there. Some with plumes of feathers or tufts that stick straight up. The breeds are all unique in their own way, and they have a rainbow of colors to choose from. Here are the top 12 crested chicken breeds for you to peruse. Who knows? You might fall in love with a breed and decide to add it to your flock!
List Of Beautiful Crested Chickens:
1. Appenzeller Spitzhauben
There are two kinds of Appenzeller chickens from Switzerland. The Barthuhner does not have a crest; the Spitzhauben, which alludes to a kind of lady’s hat, is known for its V-shaped comb and mohawk-like crest. Appenzeller Spitzhauben comes in either black, golden-spangled, or silver-spangled, and each variation is absolutely beautiful.
The Appenzeller is a fashionable chicken that looks well-groomed and elegant. It is no surprise that this breed is the national bird of Switzerland. While this breed was originally bred solely for ornamentation, a hen will provide you with 2-4 white eggs a week, which is decent.
Being that they were bred for the climate and environment of Switzerland, the Appenzeller Spitzhauben can spend hours on foot. They can also fly short distances and prefer roosting in trees. Cooler weather is best, though they can adapt to warmer temperatures when given plenty of water and shade.
The one thing you need to know about this breed is that they loathe confinement.
Did you know that Crevecoeur means “broken heart”? Now you do. This has nothing to do with the chicken but with the region where the breed was developed. Supposedly, the ground around Crevecoeur was so infertile that it would break the hearts of all those who tried to grow something.
Interestingly, the Livestock Conservancy has named this breed as among the rarest, since it is not well known outside of France. All the more reason to consider raising this breed. Crevecoeur chickens are friendly, resilient, and love to forage. However, since their crests can get in the way of their vision, they tend to prefer confined areas.
You may think that Crevecoeurs and Houdans are the same breed, but they are not. The Crevecoeur has four toes on each foot and is mainly black. Plus, they lay only 120 eggs per year.
Originating from the Netherlands and Belgium, the Brabanter chicken is small, hardy, and has a stylish appearance. With small wattles and combs — alongside a plume of feathers that looks like a crown — the Brabanter is a cold weather survivor. You can find Brabanter chickens in their standard size or the rare bantam variety.
Aside from being great in cool weather, the Brabanter is loved for its colorful plumage and appearance. They have a trilobed beard, muffs, and a devil’s comb (also known as a V-comb). Interestingly, Brabanters are missing one feature that is common in many crested breeds; they do not have domed skull knobs!
Brabanters are largely ornamental, but females will lay a moderate number of eggs, usually ranging between 2-3 eggs per week.
4. Polish Chicken
Out of all the crested chickens on this list, the Polish is the most popular. You can easily recognize a Polish chicken by the shape and look of its wild mane. Interestingly, the Polish chicken is a Dutch breed, though it has gained love throughout the world and can be found in many places.
Polish chickens have different crests based on their sex. Females have clean, tidy crests that look like a coiffed hairstyle. Males are messier, with their crests looking as if they had been electrocuted. Plus, they have a V-shaped comb. Both roosters and hens do not have feathers on their feet.
On the subject of temperament, these are great birds for the backyard. They are reserved, calm, and docile. Confinement is not much of a problem for them, though they do love to roam. Just be sure no predators are close by, as the crests prevent this breed from seeing very well. Polish hens are not known for their egg-laying, though you can expect up to 3 eggs a week per hen.
What they are better for is exhibitions.
5. Burmese Chicken
The Burmese bantam chicken is known for a couple of things. First, it has a short body covered in dense feathers. The name originates from the country of Myanmar. But how did this chicken become so well known throughout the world? Thank a British officer who was stationed in Myanmar back in 1880. They sent three of the chickens to a friend in Scotland.
The two hens that were sent died, but the cockerel survived and was used to breed with Sultan bantams. Unfortunately, these chickens were not so hardy and were having trouble staying alive. A man named Andrew Sheppy was able to get a few more Burmese chickens, bred them with White Booted bantams, and created a whole new breed.
Burmese chickens have large crests, a lower tail carriage, and are known for being incredibly fertile. The hens can lay many eggs throughout the year.
This breed is considered rare these days, so if you can get your hands on a breeding pair, be sure to hatch a couple of chicks.
As a short break, you can watch this informative video:
Alsoknown as Sciata or Sciatica, the Polverara comes from the Padova province in Italy. It was developed mainly to be an ornamental bird and is also considered a historic breed. Polverara chickens have an appealing build, making them an excellent option for shows. They have high crests that rise above the eyes, so their vision is not affected.
Usually, Polverara chickens have small wattles that are hidden beneath a feathery beard, a V-shaped comb, and either white or black earlobes. Their plumage is often some color mixed with black, and the black is iridescent in the light.
One defining feature, however, is the willowy build of their legs.
Polverara chickens do not get too large. Roosters weigh around 5 pounds, while hens typically weigh 4 pounds. 150 eggs per year is generally what you can expect. Being that the hens are not great sitters, you will either need to incubate these eggs or give a Silkie the mothering job.
Developed in France, the Houdan was bred to be dual purpose. They are large birds that grow fast and have beautiful plumage atop their heads. Other features include five toes on their feet, butterfly combs, three clump beards, and clean legs. Houdans most commonly come with black mottled colors, but white and lavender have been added to the list of colors.
Being that they are dual purpose, they have delicious meat and produce many eggs. In fact, you may find that they give your Leghorns a run for their money. Since the hens tend to go broody, you can use them to hatch the eggs of less broody breeds. They also continue laying well into winter, so you never have to worry about running out of eggs.
Raising Houdans comes with some special considerations. First, due to their beards and crests, they require a special drinker. Secondly, their crests will limit their vision.
They will feel much more comfortable somewhere confined than running around on their own.
Say hello to the Padovana chicken, a tiny Italian breed that was first bred in the Padovana region (hence the name). You may think you are looking at a miniature Polverara, and you would not be too far off. Somewhere along the line, the Padovana and Polverara bloodlines crossed. As such, these chickens have some interesting features.
Padovana chickens come in white, black, buff-laced, gold-laced, or silver-laced. They have white-colored skin on most of their bodies, but their legs are usually either slate or black. Also, they lack combs and have vestigial wattles.
Padovana hens weigh between 3 to 4.5 pounds, and males are between 4-5 pounds. Due to their size, they are recommended for mixed bantam flocks or those with docile breeds. They are very friendly, but they cannot handle more aggressive chickens.
The Padovana is rather rare beyond Italy, and so you will have to do a fair share of searching to bring some home. That said, they are a pleasure to have as companions or to take to shows. Their small size keeps them off the dinner table, and hens occasionally lay an egg or two.
9. Kosovo Longcrower
The Kosovo Longcrower is named for where it was bred — Drenica, Kosovo. The black color is said to come from the Sanjak Longcrower. You may also notice some gold or red speckling on the black feathers. When the chickens age, white spotting is also common.
Their crests are large and look much like afros. Kosovo Longcrowers may also have small horns around the beak. Their red earlobes and yellowish legs make them stand out in a crowd of all-black cluckers.
Kosovo Longcrower hens are decent egg-layers, providing up to 160 eggs a year. They are not known for getting broody.
So what makes these birds so special? That would be in the name. As you may suspect, the Kosovo Longcrower has a pair of spectacular lungs. A single crow can last between 20 and 40 seconds. Some roosters have been said to crow nonstop for a full 60 seconds.
10. Sultan Chicken
Sometimes confused for Burmese chickens, the Sultan is yet another interesting breed. Hailing from Turkey, the Sultan is a sought after rarity these days. They are fluffy birds with huge, upright crests, long tails, beards, and five toes per foot. You will find that most Sultans are white-feathered, but blue and black varieties also exist.
Most Sultan chickens are around 4-6 pounds, so they are just above the typical bantam size. Keeping Sultan chickens does require a little extra work. Due to the feathers on their feet, they are susceptible to foot problems. You must keep their coop dry and clean.
Sultans are docile chickens that do not mind enclosed spaces. Bred to be dual purpose, you can expect eggs between March to September then enjoy their excellent meat for the holidays. Of course, there is nothing wrong with keeping these companionable birds around for their personality either.
11. Dutch Owlbeard Chicken
Here is one breed you have probably never heard of before. The Dutch Owlbeard is an old breed — perhaps one of the oldest in the world. Owlbeard chickens come from the Netherlands, look like the ancestors of Polish chickens, and are striking in appearance. Large, upright, and with high combs, they are a sight to behold. Furthermore, the Dutch Owlbeard has developed wattles, tail coverts, and, for the roosters, long, curved sickle feathers.
You can find Owlbeard chickens available in a wide variety of colors, including white, black, yellow-white spangled, silver-spangled, black-laced blue, and silver-penciled.
Why should you consider adding a few Owlbeards to your flock? Well, aside from the awesome name, these birds are friendly and pleasant to be around. They like coexisting with other breeds, so you won’t have much trouble introducing them to your current flock. Owlbeards are also very hardy and resourceful. Leave them to free range, and you will have some happy chickens.
12. Silkie Chicken
Despite their small size, the Silkie breed has a tremendous personality. Although the hens are not known for laying loads of eggs, they do have one special ability. They love acting as incubators. Silkies are loved for their friendly nature, which is why they are often used at petting zoos. Plus, they are amazingly hardy, despite their looks.
Speaking of appearances, Silkies have unique feathers that looks more like fur than anything else. It stands a little on end, which is why their crests are so crazy looking. Their feathered legs and feet add to their overall fluffiness. Some variations of the Silkie breed will have beards, but others will not.
Keeping Silkies in your yard requires some special care, as these birds need to have a clean environment. Since they cannot fly, you can put them in a fenced area without any worries.
Afros For Days
Chickens with afros, also known as crested chickens, make for wonderful chickens to have in the backyard or farm. Many of them are ornamental, but that does not mean you won’t get any enjoyment out of them. Elegant chickens are a fun addition to any flock, especially since some of them are broody and good for incubating eggs. Other crested chickens are excellent for meat and eggs, so take your pick of the basket. You are sure to get a chicken that you will love.
Valerie has been content writing since 2016 for websites and companies all around the world. A traveler, dancer, martial artist, Valerie loves gathering experiences and wisdom. Her travels have taken her to over 20 countries, and she hopes to see more of the world soon.