Campine Silver male, a Belgian bird

Fancy Chicken Breeds

It is not always easy to categorise a pure chicken breed. The chicken breed may be divided into a variety and again subdivided into a strain. Illustrations of a breed may be taken as an example. For many birds, there will be variation in several characteristics, e.g., feather colour, comb type and leg length. Males are invariably bigger and more colourful than hens. Breeds are maintained by the rigorous standards of judging that are applied to fanciers at the many poultry shows held across Australia each year, as well as articles in magazines such as Australasian Poultry.

Pure breeds are usually categorised into:

  • Hard feather – heavy
  • Soft feather – heavy
  • Soft feather – light
  • True bantam

Almost all breeds have miniatures. In some classifications, miniature breeds are also referred to as light breeds or bantams. They are normally exact replicas of their heavier counterpart. There are also those breeds which have reduced numbers of females (around 500 or less), which are classified as rare. Reference is sometimes made to pullets and hens, and cock and cockerels. In both cases the former refers to the bird before the first adult moult, which always weigh less than the mature or adult bird. Some breeds are reluctant to go broody and these are usually referred to as non sitters. The breeds described here are but a sample of what is available worldwide, but are those breeds which are likely to be of interest to Australian poultry keepers.

AustralorpAnconaAndalusianAracuanaAustralian GameBarnevelderBrahamaCampineDorkingFaverollesFrizzleHamburg/HamburghHoudanIndian GameJapaneseLangshanBelgianLeghornMalay GameMinorcaModern GameNew HampshireOld English GameOrpingtonPekin bantamPit GamePlymouth RockPolishRhode IslandRosecombSebrightSilkieSussexWelsummerWyandotte