10 Black Chicken Breeds

by Suzie Mitro
Last Updated: 16/09/2020
This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link. Learn more.

Starting a flock and looking to add some color? Maybe a black chicken together with other breeds could be what you are looking for. While your primary aim would be to find breeds with tasty meat or bountiful baskets of eggs, you might want to consider the color of the chicken.

White, red, and gray chicken are common backyard options, but if you want to add on to the color, then black chicken should be top of your list. They are stylish and add some uniqueness to your flock. In this article, you will learn about the different breeds of black chicken; hopefully, you will add one or two in your flock.

1. Ayam Cemani

Best for: Eggs and meat

Origin: Indonesia

Egg production: 60 to 80 eggs per year

Weight: 2 to 5 pounds

Ayam Cemani is one of the most expensive breeds in existence. It originated from Indonesia, where it was kept for mystical qualities and was thought to have medicinal powers. The breed has gradually grown in other parts of the world, including Germany, Slovakia, Netherlands, and the United States.

When it comes to appearance, Ayam Cemani chicken are all black chicken, including the feathers, feet, wattles, and combs. Interestingly, Ayam Cemani chickens also have black internal organs, muscle fibers and bones. The feathers of Ayam Cemani chickens have a beetle-green or light purple haze in sunlight. Like game breeds, the feathers are tucked tightly to the body and are not fluffy.

Being a totally black chicken, you would find it strange to keep it for meat. But, most people find the meat of Ayam Cemani chicken tastier than regular chicken breeds, although some do not notice the difference. Also, the blood of Ayam Cemani chicken is darker than usual due to fibromelanosis, a genetic condition that results in an extremely dark color.

2. Orpington

Best for: Eggs and Meat

Origin: England

Egg production: 150 to 300 eggs per year

Weight: 3.2 to 4.8 kg

Hardy birds, Orpington chickens, were designed to endure England’s harsh winters while still producing eggs at an impressive rate. They are fluffy and cuddly, making a great addition to any coop. The fluffy layer of feathers allows the chicken to adapt quickly to cold weather.

Earlier, the Orpingtons were white but are now prevalent in black and buff colors. They are gentle and calm, making lovely pets. Being hardy yet docile, Orpingtons are some of the most community-oriented chickens.

Unlike the Ayam Cemani, Orpingtons have white skin but features a black plumage. This feature makes it stand out in the backyard, not forgetting its fluffy, full-feather look. It is a fantastic breed to keep for eggs and meat, but most people keep it for eggs. On average, these chickens lay between 150 to 300 eggs per year.

They are less hectic to raise, as they are great foragers. This means you do not have to feed them much as they can find food on their own. If you are looking for pet chicken with the advantage of eggs all year round, Orpingtons are a great choice.

3. Minorca

Best for: Aesthetic and egg production

Origin: Spain

Egg Production: 120 to 200 eggs per year

Weight: 7.5 to 9lbs

If you are looking to add a beauty in your backyard but still enjoy additional eggs, you might want to get a Minorca chicken. A beauty, native to Spain, is a common ornamental bird. It features gorgeous pale red faces, which a mainly black body. Surprisingly, each hen has a unique comb making the breed one of the unique ones in the all-black chicken breed category.

These black chicken beautiful, but they do not adapt well to cold temperatures. They are more of a warm-weather bird whereby favorable conditions thrive and produce eggs as expected. Additionally, they are quite friendly, making them some of the best black breed pet chickens.

Minorca chickens are relatively large compared to other black chicken. Even so, they are not the best for meat production. The meat of these birds is blunt and has a loose texture hence not advisable for eating. However, they are great for egg production, averaging to about 200 eggs per year.

4. Australorp

Best for: Eggs and meat

Origin: Australia

Egg Production: 250 eggs per year

Weight: 6.5 to 8.5 lbs

This breed of chicken comes in different colors, but the black color one if one of the most common. These are readily available and reasonably affordable all around. They are the Australian hybrid of the Orpington, therefore available all over Australia.

Black Australorp chickens are sweet and calm but can be quite shy in new environments. As a breed with other colors, you can find black Australorps with hints of green on the feathers. They make great pets, thanks to their loyal personality and calm behavior. On this note, they are easy to train and can work well around kids and other pets.

In addition to their beauty and calm personality, Australorp chickens are amazing layers. They produce a considerable number of large brown eggs each week, one of the best layer birds among the black ones. You can keep some for meat as they produce high-quality broilers.

5. Silkies

Best for: Aesthetics

Origin: Asia

Egg Production: 100 per year

Weight: About 4lbs

Silkie chicken are such a beautiful breed to keep in your backyard. As the name suggests, these chickens have silky black feathers with a fluffy outlook. They make magnificent ornamental birds and are commonly used as show birds.

They have a unique feather pattern that gives the features a poofed-up look instead of a flat-laid pattern. Like Australoops, Silkie chicken are available in many different colors, but the black one is the most common.

However, the black color extends beyond the feathers. These birds have black skin and black bones. Interestingly, they have five toes instead of just four. The meat is a dark greyish and blue color. Although not eaten widely, the flesh of a silkie chicken is a delicacy in many places, and some believe it has medicinal qualities.

Silkie chicken are quite smaller than other black breeds hence great as pets. They are calm and friendly, which explains why they are amazing mothers. Although they do not lay as many eggs as other black breeds, they are fantastic for fostering eggs, as they tend to brood more. Since they have full feathers down to the legs, they need favorable living conditions to stay dry and free from problems.

6. Langsham

Best for: Eggs and meat

Origin: China

Egg production: 180 eggs per year

Weight: 7.5 to 9.5 lbs

Black Langsham is a rare breed; one of the endangered Chinese chickens. The chickens are some of the endangered chickens and can be quite challenging to find. If you are lucky to find one for your flock, you will love their friendly, calm personality. They can adapt well to new environments and do well with a mixed flock of poultry.

Langshams have feathered legs, and the plumage stops just before the toes. This makes them look like they have leg warmers on. You can keep them for both meat and eggs. They are relatively larger than other black chickens and produce a satisfactory amount of meat. They also produce medium-sized brown eggs each week.

As mentioned, they are quite rare and not readily available. Most poultry distributors do not sell this breed. However, you can find then at hatcheries that specialize in endangered chicken and heritage birds.

7. Sumatra

Best for: Ornamental

Origin: Indonesia

Egg Production: 100 per year

Weight: About 4lbs

Sumatra chicken comes in different colors, but the most common one if black. They feature a glossy black plumage that covers the entire body. The plumage is unique and ends in a gorgeous display of tail feathers taking the form of a waterfall. Like the Silkies, Sumatra chickens have black bones and skin.

One of the things that make them beauty chicken is the deep red color of the wattles, comb, and face. As beautiful as they are, these chickens are not advisable to keep with other members of your flock and backyard animals. They were once known as fighting cocks, so they can be quite aggressive and may not get along with other breeds.

On this note, they are not ideal for keeping if you have small children or other pets. But, if you intend to have just one in your backyard as a pet, they are great. However, they are poor layers with only one egg per week, and the meat can be tough and stringy. Therefore, they are only fantastic for aesthetics.

8. Swedish Black

Best for: Eggs

Origin: Sweden

Egg Production: 150 per year

Weight: 5 to 7lbs

This breed is similar to the Ayam Cemani regarding the color. Swedish black chickens are all black featuring the same genetic composition as the Ayam Cemani. On this note, the bones, feathers, and skin are entirely black. What’s more, the tongues are black too. However, unlike the Ayam Cemani, Swedish black chickens are a small and rare breed.

On the flip side, these black chicken amazing eggs layers and produce an average of 150 eggs per year. They are more docile than the Ayam Cemani and are a bit more friendly, making them some of the best domestic chicken. They are calm and do well in a mixed poultry flock. If you are looking for a black breed to add to your flock and one that will do well around kids and pets, the Swedish Black chicken is a viable option.

9. Jersey Giant

Best for: Meat

Origin: United States

Egg Production: 150 to 200 eggs per year

Weight: 11- 15lbs

Well, the Jersey Giant, as the name suggests, is the king of any backyard flock. They are big black chickens and the largest pure breed chicken you will find and make a great alternative to turkeys. Most people keep them for meat production but are relatively good for egg production too.

Owing to the size, you should provide enough space for this breed, including the backyard and coop. They are gentle and easygoing as long as they have enough area to run around and roam. Additionally, they are easy to keep, feed, and make fantastic pets.

The best thing about this breed of chickens is that it does well in cold weather. The body of Jersey Giants has ample fat to keep them warm and comfortable during winter. However, when it hot and humid, these chickens do not do well and might require cooler coops and shade.

10. La Fleche

Best for: Eggs and Meat

Origin: France

Egg Production: 200 eggs per year

Weight: About 6.5lbs

This breed might not be the prettiest of them all, but if you are thinking of building an unusual flock, it could be one of your options. It has a bizarre appearance that earned it the name ‘devil’s bird.’ It is all black but features a comb that takes the form of two horns.

As a heritage bird, it is one of the black chicken breeds that are listed as endangered, therefore a rare breed. However, its growth is tremendous as it produces unique, tasty meat. On the flip side, it grows slowly and takes about ten months to reach full growth. On this note, you would need a large flock varying in age for consistent meat production.

The good thing is that it is an amazing breed when it comes to egg production. A well-kept, mature hen can lay up to 200 eggs per year, considerably more than some black kinds. Also, La Fleche chickens do well in confinement, making them easy to raise. But, as they are mainly wild, you might take some time to tame them. Also, note that they do not like cold environments and prefer heat.

The Bottom Line

Some color in your flock can be what your backyard is lacking. Whether you are looking for black chicken breeds for eggs, meat, or both, you can choose from the above options. Are you looking for that black aesthetic? You can find amazing ornamental black chicken breeds on the list too.

Leave a Comment