Who said gray was a boring color? Gray chicken breeds are here to prove those naysayers wrong. There is a broad variety of chickens, and many of them are being bred to show off more popular colors, including a rainbow of grays. From egg-laying pros to bantam companions, there are plenty of gray chickens to go around. You are sure to discover at least one breed that tickles your fancy, so keep reading.
- The Top 14 Gray Chicken Breeds
- Which Gray Chicken Is Getting Added to Your Flock?
The Top 14 Gray Chicken Breeds
Interestingly, a lot of gray chicken breeds are called “blue” or “lavender” instead of gray. Make no mistake, though. Be they gray, blue, or lavender, these are all birds of feather!
The Blue Australorp breed is a stunning example of gray plumage. Family-friendly and proficient at laying eggs, there are few reasons to add this breed to your flock. The Blue Australorp has thick feathering that makes it look a bit like a storm cloud. Plus, they have white talons and black feet. However, this breed is very friendly and easy going. They lay around 4-5 eggs per week, but some may lay even more.
Australorp chickens are large. A full grown hen is about 6 pounds, and roosters reach around 10 pounds. This makes them suitable for meat.
2. Blue Orpington
Orpingtons are one of the most well known breeds of chicken out there, particularly for their wide variety of accepted colors. Although the original Orpington was black, the buff variation rivaled it. Now, the Blue variety is gaining momentum around the world — and for good reason. There is no doubt that the Blue Orpington, with its fluffy plumage and dense body, is a handsome bird. Hens weigh between 6-8 pounds, and roosters reach 10 pounds, making them ideal for laying eggs and meat. Expect between 150-250 eggs per year.
3. Lavender Pekin Chicken
Seeking a gray bantam chicken for your yard? Look no farther than the Lavender Pekin breed. This breed is small, but their plumage is comically dense, making them look like little clouds walking around. Lavender Pekins have elegant feathers that vary in shades. You may have one chicken with light grays and white, while another is darker, almost charcoal.
Since the Lavender Pekin chicken breed is docile and well-behaved, they are recommended for young or inexperienced chicken handlers. They love to be held and will happily sit in your lap for a while.
Keep in mind that bantam chickens are not dependable layers. Plus, their size means they are not very meaty. This breed is best for companionship and shows.
4. Lavender Cochin
Cochins are known for being large and beautifully feathered. The Lavender Cochin looks all the more majestic with its long grayish-white feathers and regal stance. Currently, in the APA, there are thirteen accepted color varieties of Cochin, and lavender is among them. As such, you should have no trouble finding a breeder who can get you Lavender Cochin chicks easily.
Cochin hens are top-rated mothers who lay around 2 eggs per week. Since they go broody, you can let your Cochins incubate the eggs of other more industrial layers, so you can keep your flock going strong. When Cochins are not brooding and mothering, they are incredibly companionable chickens who love children. They rarely bully but will also hold their own.
One thing you have to know about Cochins and similarly feathered chickens is that they have an increased risk of lice and mite infestation. Be sure to keep their enclosure and coop clean!
5. Sapphire Gem
What breed is better named than the Sapphire Gem? This hybrid chicken is bound to turn your neighbors’ heads with its black, gray, and bluish feathers and bright red comb, wattles, and earlobes. Although the Sapphire Gem is a hybrid and, therefore, not recognized by the American Poultry Association, they are becoming increasingly popular throughout North America and Europe.
Sapphire Gems are friendly and do well with inexperienced handlers. They also gift you with 5-6 brown eggs per week.
Want chickens that know how to forage? Get some Sapphire Gems. Not only are they great are free-ranging, they are also very vigilant and hard for predators to catch.
When thinking of a gray chicken, the Ameraucana may have been one of the first to pop into your mind. This breed of chicken has an interesting appearance, being that they have a beard of feathers around the bottom of their beak and head. The Blue Ameraucana, as the color is officially called by the American Poultry Society, is also known for their blue eggs that they lay throughout the year.
This is a beginner-friendly breed. Laidback and calm, the Ameraucana tolerates people well and enjoys foraging from their own food. They are vigilant chickens with a fair amount of survival instincts.
7. Blue Andalusian
Yet another Blue chicken that is actually gray. Blue Andalusian chickens look similar to Australorps, Wyandottes, and Sapphire Gems, but they also have some key differences. For one thing, this breed is one of the reasons many other breeds have gained their bluish gray plumage, for the Andalusian has a blue dominant gene in their blood.
Interestingly, no one really knows where Andalusian chickens came from. They were originally kept by Romans — yes, the breed is that old — but the origin of the breed has yet to be uncovered. Since the time of the Romans, the Andalusian has not changed much. It is still a great table bird that provides its owners with some challenges.
This breed is not beginner-friendly, because it tends to be a bit flighty. However, if you do not mind having anxious birds running around, you will be rewarded with 100-170 eggs per year.
The fluffy gray Silkie chicken has long been a favorite among chicken owners. Silkies get their name from the smooth yet voluminous plumage. Most of the time, these chickens are white with black beaks and skin, but the gray variety is becoming more common. Other unique Silkie features include blue earlobes, five toes, and black bones. They are tiny chickens, and so you should only expect them to be companions or go on the road with you to shows. Hens are wonderful mothers, though they do not lay very many eggs.
Silkies make for wonderful pets, especially for children. They do not mind confinement, and they tend to tolerate being handled.
As such, they should only be placed in mixed flocks if the other members are just as placid as your Silkies. Otherwise, they may be bullied.
9. Blue Wyandotte
There are 9 recognized color variations of the wonderful Wyandotte breed. The Blue Wyandotte happens to be another example of a “blue” chicken that appears to be bluish-gray in coloring. Aside from their slate gray feathering, Blue Wyandottes have bright red earlobes, wattles, and combs. Their combs are close to their skulls, adding to their resistance to the cold.
Wyandotte chickens are not known for being too affectionate, but they are friendly birds. They also provide you with 3-4 eggs per week per hen, which means you will be swimming in eggs by the time winter comes around. These chickens are reserved and gentle, though they will not tolerate being bullied.
Often confused as an Ameraucana, the Araucana is yet another chicken with a pea comb, cheek tufts, upright stance, and large eyes. The Araucana is also known for laying pretty blue eyes that look like something out of a fantasy book. However, these birds are a rarity, as many American hatcheries do not breed them. If you do get your hands on an Araucana or two, you will love them. These chickens do not necessarily pump out loads of eggs — they lay about 3 a week. Instead, you can enjoy their company, as they are extremely friendly and intelligent.
Though Araucanas are usually black or buff, you will occasionally find blue/gray ones as well. Their gray plumage has a tinge of lavender, too. It’s a very lovely color on this breed, especially with their tufts.
Commonly, Minorca chickens are seen in white, buff, or black. However, the blue version is recognized in the UK. Minorca chickens lay some of the largest eggs out there. But that is not the most defining feature of this breed. They also have large earlobes, making them the Dumbos of the chicken world. Yes, this breed is very floppy, and so they are not cut out for winter wonderlands.
That said, Minorcas carry their weight well. Though they don’t go broody often or lay many eggs, they are large enough to feed a family. Minorcas also love to free range and spend time with humans. They are the first chickens out into the yard when you open up the coop, and they will be the last inside when the sun sets.
12. Isabella Leghorns
Most people think of Leghorns as being white or red or brown. Well, you have yet to see the stunning Isabella Leghorn chicken. Retaining the same physical characteristics as the typical Leghorn, the Isabella variety is a charming whitish gray. Roosters have some blond feathering on them as well. The Isabella Leghorn is an original from Buddy Henry, who used Lavender Orpingtons and Leghorns to make this mix.
When fully matured, Leghorn hens are around 5 pounds. Roosters reach 7.5 pounds. The hens are very productive and can lay an estimated 220-270 eggs per year. Although the Isabella Leghorn is not recognized by the APA, you can find many breeders in the US with this color in stock.
13. Gray Booted Bantam Chickens
The Gray Booted Bantam is one breed that has quite a following. Due to their tall stance, flared tails, and feathered feet, they make adorable additions to the flock. The Gray Booted Bantam also looks unique on account of its coloring. Unlike some gray breeds, this chicken is covered in a mix of spotted gray and white feathers that even have some brushes of cream or lavender.
One surprising thing about Gray Footed Bantam chickens is that they have a lifespan of 10 years and lay an average of 180-200 small eggs annually. Sounds pretty good, right?
Well, you also have to account for their feet. You might think their little boots keep them warm in the winter, but it works in reverse. These chickens need extra shelter when it rains or snows, because their feet make them susceptible to all kinds of injuries. For that reason, most chicken handlers keep their bantam buddies indoors.
14. California Gray Chicken
The California Gray has “gray” in its name, so it has to include that coloring, right? Similar to Barred Rocks in appearance, California Grays have either gray-and-white (roosters) or black-and-white barred feathers (hens). Hens can sometimes look charcoal gray in appearance. Chicks are black and white and have patches on their heads. These chickens are large in size, have yellow shanks and toes, tiny earlobes, crimson wattles, and reddish brown combs.
California Grays, as the name suggests, were developed in California and are commercially bred for their egg-laying capabilities. Being that they are a hybrid, they can lay around 300 eggs a year, even during the coldest months of the year. California Grays lived around 6-10 years and tend to be friendly yet quiet.
They are a popular hybrid for backyards and commercial farms, especially since they have a low egg-to-feed ratio.
Which Gray Chicken Is Getting Added to Your Flock?
There are many breeds of chicken out in the world, though most people have yet to see a gray chicken. Gray is an interesting color because, as you have seen, most of the time it is called blue or lavender. There is a wide variety of gray plumage to see, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself pining for more than one gray chicken breed. They are all beautiful, after all. So, which one are you going to choose?
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.