The 10 Rarest Chicken Breeds in the World

Chickens might be a common sight throughout the world, but there are hundreds of breeds. Many countries have their local breeds, while other chicken keepers might have a preference, depending on what they are using the chickens for. However, there are some breeds that you might never see because they are so rare and coveted.

Here are the 10 rarest chicken breeds in the world:

1. Dong Tao Chicken

dong tao roosters
Photo credit: Flickr

Despite their popularity in Vietnam, the Dong Tao chicken is becoming more and more scarce around the world. These birds have succulent meat that is favored by luxury restaurants in Vietnam. But their delectable meat is not the only distinguishing feature. Dong Tao chickens can grow large, between 10-13 pounds, and have thick legs that can be as big as a human wrist.

Dong Tao chickens are also poor egg layers, and the hens do not get broody. In fact, the carelessness and clumsiness of the breed makes them notorious for destroying their own eggs. For that reason, breeders must collect the 2-3 eggs laid per week and transport them to somewhere safe for incubation.

Because of the value of Dong Tao meat, as well as the already small population, you can expect to pay around $2,500 for a pair of Dong Tao chickens.

2. Golden Campine Chicken

belgian golden campine cockerel
Photo credit: Flickr

The Golden Campine breed is as the name describes — golden. This breed is from northeastern Belgium and southeastern Netherlands. Within the region, this breed is called “Kempish Hoen.” While there are two different color variations — golden and silver — the Golden Campine is much rarer, because they take a long time to mature. Both sexes have the same color patterns.

Another reason the Golden Campine population has dropped is due to poor egg production. These chickens do not do well in cold temperatures, either. However, that doesn’t mean Golden Campine chickens would not be a welcome addition to your yard. Their plumage is bound to turn heads, and they produce around 200 eggs a year. If you don’t want them for eggs, they fully mature within 18 months and have delicious meat.

Interestingly, it is believed that the Golden Campine is an ancient breed, dating back to the days of Julius Caesar. It is believed that Caesar favored this breed of chicken after finding them during a raid in Belgium.

3. Ayam Cemani Chicken

black ayam cemani hen

The Dong Tao may be an expensive purchase, but the Ayam Cemani is called the “Lamborghini of chicken breeds.” Why? Because it is beyond rare.  These beautiful birds are protected by Java, where the breed originates. In fact, they are sacred and used in Javanese rituals.

There is a reason for this. The Ayam Cemani is pure black. The outer appearance is totally black with only a little iridescence of green and blue. The bird’s eyes, wattles, comb, feathers, legs, and beak are all black. Sometimes, you will see Ayam Cemani birds with a slight tinge of purplish-red in their comb or wattles, but the blacker the better for this breed. However, it is not just the bird’s exterior that is black.

Ayam Cemani have pitch black organs and bones. They lay pure black eggs. Even their blood is darker than normal and looks almost black.

If you want to purchase a pair of Ayam Cemani to raise your own, expect to be placed on a waitlist for over a year. You will also pay around $5,000 for a male and female.

4. Modern Game Chicken

The Modern Game chicken is a leggy breed that is considered ornamental. Hailing from England, the Modern Game breed is made solely for exhibitions. Their long legs and tiny bodies give them a supermodel look, and it is obvious they are made neither for eggs nor meat. Their colors are brilliant and stunning, making them the star of the chicken runway.

Unfortunately, the Modern Game breed has fallen out of favor over the years and the population has shrunk dramatically. Despite looking lovely and having sweet personalities, these birds are high maintenance. They also cannot survive in colder regions. That said, if you are looking for a companion, the Modern Game chicken is perfect for you.

5. Onagadori Chicken

cock onagadori hakuro

With a name that translates to “honorable fowl,” the Onagadori from Japan is an incredible looking bird. In 1952, the breed was designated as a National Treasure by the Japanese government. Sadly, about 250 of these chickens remain. It is a shame they are fading from existence and may go extinct, because the Onagadori is stunning. The roosters can grow tail feathers over 5 feet long. In fact, the longest recorded tail feathers of this breed reached almost 40 feet in length. Plus, their tails never molt.

The Onagadori comes in three colors:

  • White with red wattles and comb
  • Black-breasted with red
  • Black-breasted and white

White is the most popular variety.

Should you be lucky enough to bring home an Onagadori chicken, be prepared to spend a lot of time taking care of it. These birds need to be perched, because it stops them from dragging their long tail feathers everywhere. Onagadori hens also have long tails — but not as long as their male counterparts. Hens will lay around 80-100 eggs, and they are non-broody.

We also think that you will be interested to watch this video about rare breeds:

6. Vorwerk Chicken

vorwerk cockerell
Photo credit: Flickr

The classy-looking Vorwerk chicken is from Germany and was originally bred by Oskar Vorwerk. He wanted a breed that could please everyone, as in good at laying eggs, having tender meat, and looking good around the yard. He succeeded by blending Andalusian, Lakenvelder, Buff Orpington, and Buff Sussex breeds. The Vorwerk is rare outside of Germany, though.

This breed has gray skin, bright red combs and wattles, black feathers around their head and neck, and reddish-gold plumage on the breast and back. They are also very curious and friendly chickens who love to engage with whoever is in the yard. If you are looking for a breed that loves to forage, these chickens are excellent for that.

Hens lay around 180 eggs a year, and they also are very tasty.

7. Crevecoeur Chicken

Do you love crested chicken breeds? Then you are going to love the Crevecoeur chicken breed. Unfortunately, bringing a few home to your flock is going to be difficult, as the breed is considered endangered. Although the exact origin of the breed has never been figured out, the Crevecoeur is one of the oldest breeds of chicken in France. They were bred to be dual purpose for meat and eggs. However, because they can take up to 8 months to mature, they are no longer the best option for commercial use.

The Crevecoeur is lovely, though. These birds have large crests, dark feathers, and a pronounced confident posture. Their personalities make them the perfect companion chicken. Docile, gentle, and quiet, they will be happy spending their days free ranging around the yard. However, these birds do tend to startle easily, because their crests can block their view of the world.

8. Polverara Chicken

Here is another rare crested chicken from Padova province in Italy. The Polverara chicken is ancient, as records claim it originated in the 1470s. You won’t find many Polverara chickens outside of Italy, unless they are at an exhibition.

During the 19th century, the population of Polverara chickens saw a decline due to interbreeding with other chickens. However, breeders saw the importance of these birds and are working to bolster the population. In the 1980s, the European Community named this breed protected.

Aside from being excellent for shows, these birds are excellent around the backyard. Though they only lay around 150 eggs per year, they can aid with pest control by foraging. Once they mature, you can use them for their dark-colored tasty meat.

9. Naked Neck Chicken

portrait of banat naked neck

You may see the Naked Neck breed referred to as a Turken, because this breed looks like a cross between a domestic turkey and chicken. It was once rumored that Naked Necks were indeed cross-breeds. However, that is not the case. The Naked Neck chicken is simply aptly named for its bald neck. A unique gene causes this breed to have about 50% less feathers than other breeds, so they look a little disheveled and awkward.

The Naked Neck chicken comes from Transylvania, Romania, where they are also incredibly popular. Elsewhere, people have most likely never seen a Naked Neck chicken.

This rare breed is excellent at producing large brown eggs — around 200-250 per year. Though it doesn’t look like it, Naked Neck chickens also taste delicious and produce a decent amount of meat.

Check out this video of a Naked Neck Chicken:

10. Ixworth Chicken

ixworth cockerel
Photo credit: Flickr

Originating from Sussex, England, the Ixworth chicken is a stunning white fowl that was bred to be dual purpose. Despite laying around 160-200 eggs per year and producing high-quality meat, the population of Ixworth chickens has declined. That said, you can still find these domestic chickens on many farms in the UK. They make great companions as well, since they are docile and calm when handled.

As of 2007, the Ixworth breed has been listed as “endangered-maintained” by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Hopefully, breeders will see the value of this stunning and friendly breed and work to bring it back from the brink of extinction.

Conclusion

There you have it: a look at the 10 rarest chicken breeds in the world. From the stunning Ayam Cemani to the quirky Naked Neck chicken, there are many breeds out there that are hard to find unless you go to a chicken show. If you are looking to add a rare breed to your flock, be prepared to pay the price!

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