8 Beautiful Black Chicken Breeds (With Pictures)
While brown and white remain the most favored colors for chickens, black is gaining popularity. Black chickens look mysterious and easily draw the attention of many poultry enthusiasts.
However, not all black breeds are suitable for every backyard chicken owner. Let’s review the most wanted black chicken breeds and why (not) to buy them.
- Ayam Cemani
- Mystic Onyx
- Jersey Giant
- White Faced Black Spanish
- Black Silkie
- Black Araucana
- Black Malay
1. Ayam Cemani
Adding an Ayam Cemani to your flock would bring a black chicken superstar into your collection. The breathtaking appearance of Ayam Cemani chickens makes them the most expensive chicken breed in the world.
Some people refer to the Ayam Cemani as the ‘Lamborgini in poultry’, and they’re not wrong! With its black color from head to toe, high price, and rareness, the Ayam Cemani is one of the most mysterious chicken breeds in the world.
|Eggs||Between 60 – 100 eggs per year|
|Weight||3.5 – 5 lbs|
|Hardiness||Cold & heat|
|Temperament||Docile and friendly|
The price of unsexed chicks can range from $70 to an astonishing $2500, depending on the ancestors of the chick.
Despite their scary and intimidating appearance, Ayam Cemani chickens are actually family-friendly birds. They are known for being docile, amiable, and gentle towards children and other chicken breeds.
One major disadvantage of an Ayam Cemani, apart from the high price, is they are not the best egg-layers. They lay between 60 and 100 eggs yearly, significantly less than most other breeds. The eggs are also small in size. An Ayam Cemani does not lay black eggs, all eggs are cream-colored.
Ayam Cemani chickens are a hardy breed that can thrive in many climates. Additionally, they are a healthy breed that requires minimal care; they only need water, food, and shelter. As a result, they are an excellent option for beginners and are easy to care for.
If you don’t want to spend the $ on an Ayam Cemani, check out number two on our black beauty list!
2. Mystic Onyx
Mystic Onyx chickens are not a real breed; they’re a hatchery mix of Silkies and a larger meat bird to create an attractive dark-colored chicken that looks a lot like the Ayam Cemani for a fraction of the price.
However, Mystic Onyx chickens are not as dark as an Ayam Cemani; some have orange flares in their feathers. But their skin is also black, making them an ideal breed for those wanting a beautiful black chicken without paying as much.
|Eggs||220 eggs per year|
|Egg Color||Light brown|
|Weight||5 – 6 lbs|
|Hardiness||Cold and heat|
|Color||Black with little orange flares|
They’re good layers and lay up to 220 light brown eggs annually. All eggs are medium-sized. They reach sexual adulthood around 20 weeks old and start laying around the same time.
These birds are cold-hardy, so they’ll keep laying during winter. However, egg production can slow down. They’re excellent laying hens giving you a year-round egg supply, except during molting.
Although Mystic Onyx chickens remain unknown to the large public (until now), they are a beginner-friendly breed. They are a great addition to your backyard flock, whether you are new to chicken keeping or not.
Another black hatchery mix is a Fibro Easter Egger, created by Meyer Hatchery. These chickens are also completely black, but lay beautiful colored eggs. Or black sex-linked Marans, like the Midnight Majesty Marans, that lays dark brown eggs.
Australorps are usually black, this is also the only plumage color officially recognized in the US, but Australia also recognizes blue and white as colors.
|Eggs||250-300 eggs per year|
|Egg Color||Light brown|
|Egg Size||Medium to large|
|Weight||6.5 – 9 lbs|
|Temperament||Friendly and docile|
Australorps are very good egg layers, though, laying between 250 and 300 eggs yearly; that’s 5 or 6 per week. This breed usually starts laying at five months of age, although this depends on bird to bird.
Their eggs are medium to large in size and light brown colored. Australorps are cold-hardy birds; they’ll keep on laying during the winter, although egg production can slow down. In other words, they’ll give you a year-round egg supply.
However, Australorps tend to fatten easily when kept in captivity, which can negatively influence their egg-laying skills. When you don’t have a large backyard, an Australorp may not be the breed for you.
Australorp chickens are a great addition to any backyard flock; they’ll get along with other chickens and are great to have around children. Even the roosters are rarely assertive or aggressive.
4. Jersey Giant
Jersey Giants, as the name reveals, are one of the largest chicken breeds in the world. Some might assume they’re unsuitable as backyard chickens because of their size, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Giants are known for their sweet, docile, and calm nature, making them a fantastic addition to any backyard flock. On top of that, they are great egg-layers too.
|Eggs||150 – 200 eggs per year|
|Weight||10 – 13 lbs|
|Temperament||Friendly and docile|
|Color||Mostly black, but three recognized colors|
Jersey Giant was developed as a large dual-purpose breed by cross-breeding Black Javas, Black Langshans, and Dark Brahmas. They come in three color varieties: Black, White, and Bleu, but black is the most popular color.
Jersey Giant chickens lay between 150 – 200 eggs per year, between 3 and 5 eggs per week. All eggs are large, and the color varies between cream and brown.
As they look massive, it may come as a surprise Jersey Giants are great pet chickens. They have calm and friendly personalities and are great to keep with small children running around. You can even teach them how to do tricks.
5. White Faced Black Spanish
The White-faced Black Spanish chicken, or in short, Spanish, is an ancient chicken breed with a distinctive appearance. The black feathers with a greenish sheen and oversized white earlobes make them look like a Spanish Don.
The breed is also called the ‘Clown Faced Chicken’ because the face’s colors resemble a clown’s makeup.
|Eggs||180 eggs per year|
|Weight||6.5 – 8 lbs|
|Temperament||Vocal, not aggressive|
One thing you should know about White-Faced Black Spanish chickens is that they do need more care than most breeds on this list. Being a Mediterranean breed, they don’t thrive in colder climates which is something to keep in mind.
When living in areas with harsh winters, the White-Faced Black Spanish is not the best breed to keep. There are plenty of hardy breeds that’ll do better in extreme weather. They are, however, heat-tolerant birds.
Spanish are decent egg layers that lay up to 180 eggs per year. The eggs are large, around 2.8 oz (80gr), and have a chalk-white color. The breed will start laying at the earliest, at 20-22 weeks.
They’re not the most friendly or cuddliest birds around, but they are never aggressive. A Spanish also requires extra care. However, these fantastic chickens can be an excellent addition to your backyard with enough space and time to devote.
6. Black Silkie
Silkies are widely known because of their fluffy appearance and friendly nature. They are cuddly and sweet and great to have as pet chickens. Even Silkie roosters are known to be less dominant than other roosters.
The most popular color in Silkies is white, but black and buff are runners-up.
|Eggs||Three eggs per week, but are often broody|
|Egg Color||Cream to tinted|
|Weight||2 – 3 lbs|
|Temperament||Docile and friendly|
|Color||Varies. Black, white, and buff most popular|
Silkies are a black-skinned chicken breed, like the Ayam Cemani or the Mystic Onyx. Black skin in chickens is far from ordinary; imagine ordering a chicken filet in a restaurant, and the meat you get is black.
This breed looks nothing like a regular chicken breed. Their feathers look like a chick’s down because they lack hooks on the barbicels. Therefore, their feathers can not stick together like normal bird feathers.
Silkies are ornamental birds, which makes them not specially bred for eggs but mainly for their looks. However, Silkies lay around three eggs per week, resulting in 160 eggs per year. But Silkies are extremely broody chickens, and egg production will always temporarily stop during broodiness.
Therefore, it’s more likely to state that they’ll lay up to 100 eggs annually. All eggs are small in size and cream to tinted in color.
7. Black Araucana
Araucanas are medium-sized birds, not the heaviest or the tallest of the bunch. But they make up for the lack in size with their striking looks and wonderful colored eggs.
|Eggs||150 eggs per year|
|Egg Color||Light blue/green|
|Weight||5.5 – 6.5 lbs|
Araucana chickens come in various colors, with black and white being the most popular. Araucana chickens have distinctive ear tufts, a pea comb, and are born rumpless, meaning without a tail.
Araucanas lay up to 3 eggs per week. That’s approximately 150 eggs per year. All eggs are medium-sized and light blue or green in color. The color can vary between (very) light blue or green and khaki.
Araucanas are active birds that love roaming around in the garden and need plenty of space to stretch their legs. They can be flighty and have no trouble jumping or flapping over a high fence.
8. Black Malay
If you’re looking for something different, a fighter breed, like the Malay chicken, may be what you’re looking for. They are not cuddly chickens or good egg layers, but they look spectacular and can reach up to 3 feet tall.
With their scary look, upright stance, and fierce appearance, they can be very intimidating. The Malay chicken is an endangered species, with less than 300 yearly registrations in the US.
|Eggs||70-120 eggs per year|
|Egg Color||Tinted, Light brown|
|Egg Size||Medium to Large|
|Weight||7 – 9lbs|
|Color||Black, White, Red Pyle, Spangled, Wheaten|
Although Malay is categorized as Game Fowl, they are not bred for fighting. They are mainly kept by breeders and enthusiasts, as they lack pure game blood.
Malay chickens are big active birds that need plenty of space. They can get aggressive towards each other when confined by a lack of space. Ideally, they can forage in the sun during the day.
Malays are not the best egg layers and lay 70-120 eggs yearly. The eggs are tinted light brown. They are regular-sized eggs at the beginning of the laying cycle but get larger when the hen ages.
In general, Malay chickens are quite docile towards humans. But keeping their fighting instincts in mind, Malays don’t mix well with other breeds.
Black chickens are gaining popularity each day because of their mysterious looks. There are plenty of breeds and chicken types to choose from without spending all the money on a purebred Ayam Cemani.
However, not all black breeds are suitable for every backyard chicken owner. We address all the best black chicken breeds and the reasons why one should or should not consider buying them.