Breeds

20 Amazing Giant Chicken Breeds

By Chicken Fans Editorial Team

If you have the space, why not go for a large chicken breed instead of a normal-sized bird or a Bantam? Plenty are available on the market; many have friendly personalities and excellent egg layers.

Let’s go over 20 of the giant chicken breeds and best meat birds!

  1. Jersey Giant
  2. Dong Tao
  3. Orpington
  4. Brahma
  5. Coucou de Malines
  6. Malay
  7. Plymouth Rock
  8. Australorp
  9. German Langshan
  10. Cornish (Indian Game)
  11. Cochin
  12. Delaware
  13. Rhode Island Red
  14. Java
  15. New Hampshire Red
  16. Sussex
  17. Wyandotte
  18. Niederrheiner
  19. Faverolles
  20. American Bresse

1. Jersey Giant

The largest chicken breed is the Jersey Giant, an American breed of domestic chicken.

Weight henWeight rooster
10 lb (4.5 kg)13 lb (5.9 kg)
Bantam: 2.2 lb (1 kg)Bantam: 2.4 lb (1.1 kg)

Jersey Giants were bred by two Americans intending to replace the turkey as the primary meat bird. The Jersey Giant was created by crossing the Black Java, Black Langshan, and the Dark Brahma and was recognized by the ‘American Poultry Association’ in 1922.

Credits: @thetayloracres (IG)

Jersey Giants are docile and friendly birds and do not tend to be aggressive. Even the roosters are pretty calm and kind, especially to humans. They are hardy birds that keep on laying during the winter. Giants are excellent egg layers and lay up to 200 large brown eggs annually.

2. Dong Tao

The Dong Tao chicken, also called Dragon Chicken, is a Vietnamese chicken breed and was once bred only to be served as a table bird to the Vietnamese royal family.

Weight henWeight rooster
10 lb (4.5 kg)13 lb (6 kg)
Bantam: /Bantam: /

Due to social media, Dong Tao chickens got very popular recently. They look extraordinary, with enormous feet, legs, and a large head. Their feet can be as thick as a human wrist.

The price of a Dong Tao chicken can go up to $2000; that’s how rare and popular they are. A Dong Tao is one of the most expensive chicken breeds in the world, after a pure-bred Ayam Cemani, which can cost up to $2500.

Dong Tao chickens are meat birds and a true delicacy in Vietnam. Prices go up to $20 for 2.5 pounds of Dong Tao chicken meat. They are ready for slaughtering after 8 to 12 months of age once they reach their total grown weight.

3. Orpington

Orpingtons are large, docile chickens with friendly personalities and are easy to care for. They’re most popular in the ‘Buff’ variety, but the Lavender Orpington is gaining popularity each day!

Weight henWeight rooster
7 lb (3.2 kg)9 lb (4 kg)
Bantam: 3 lb (1.4 kg)Bantam: 4.5 lb (2 kg)

Orpingtons are known to be gentle giants. They are huge but have kind and pleasant personalities. They are excellent egg layers and lay approximately three to four large light brown eggs per week. That’s up to 200 eggs yearly.

a lavender orpington rooster
Credits: @redbirdranch (IG)

Because of their dense feathering, Orpingtons are extremely cold-hardy birds. Orpingtons thrive in cold environments and are less prone to frostbite than other breeds.

Their fluffiness also makes them not care about rain, even heavy showers. However, always watch your birds when extreme weather is on the way and provide shelter.

Because they are cold-hardy, most Orpington hens will keep laying during the winter, although their egg production can temporarily decrease. Orpingtons are a dual-purpose breed and can be kept for both meat and eggs.

4. Brahma

Brahma chickens are large, impressive, and robust, with feathers on their feet, and are known for their striking beauty. They might look scary because of their size, but Brahmas are friendly and docile birds.

Weight henWeight rooster
10 lb (4.5 kg)12 lb (5.5 kg)
Bantam: 2.2 lb (1 kg)Bantam: 2.6 lb (1.2 kg)
two brahma chickens

Brahmas come in light, dark, and buff variations. However, many other (non-standard) variations exist with astonishing color patterns.

Brahmas are calm and docile chickens that are happy to live in confinement. They are usually the tallest flock members but won’t usually get into fights and are rarely aggressive.

Brahmas are popular because they lay during the winter period. The amount of eggs depends on the strain you keep. Some lines are proficient egg layers and will get you up to 300 large brown eggs yearly. Other lines, bred for beauty, will only provide 150.

5. Coucou de Malines

The ‘Malines‘ or ‘Mechelse Koekoek’ in Dutch is a Belgian breed of domestic chickens and was bred in the 19th century by cross-breeding local cuckoo-patterned farm chickens with oriental breeds.

Weight henWeight rooster
9 lb (4 kg)11 lb (5 kg)
Bantam: 3.5 lb (1.6 kg)Bantam: 4 lb (1.9 kg)

A Malines is a heavy chicken breed, along with the Jersey Giant, one of the largest chicken breeds. It’s mainly kept for its meat but is also a good egg layer. A Malines lays around 160 tinted eggs yearly.

Malines are friendly birds that are easily trained to be pet chickens. They aren’t aggressive towards humans or other chickens, but as they are the biggest, they are most likely to be on top of the pecking order.

In Belgium, eight color varieties of the Malines are recognized. In Germany, there are nine.

6. Malay

The Malay chicken is a gamefowl breed and, therefore, is mainly kept to participate in poultry shows rather than as a backyard chicken.

Weight henWeight rooster
9 lb (4 kg)11 lb (5 kg)
Bantam: 2.2 lb (1 kg)Bantam: 2.5 lb (1.2 kg)

The Malay is one of the tallest chicken breeds and can reach up to three feet tall. It was also the first breed that was bantamised.

malay chicken with spread wings

It has an upright stand, a large skull, and visible muscles. Because the Malay was bred as a game bird, they’re not known for their egg-laying skills. Malay chickens lay approximately 70-120 medium-sized brown eggs per year.

In 2019, the American Livestock Conservancy considered the Malay chicken critically endangered. A breed very similar to the Malay, and therefore, should also be mentioned in this list, is the Indio Gigante.

7. Plymouth Rock

The Plymouth Rock chicken is a very popular American chicken breed. The most popular version of this breed is the Barred Plymouth Rock.

Weight henWeight rooster
7.5 lb (3.4 kg)9.5 lb (4.3 kg)
Bantam: 1.9 lb (0.9 kg)Bantam: 3 lb (1.3 kg)

The birds are popular because they’re a dual-purpose breed that can be kept for eggs and meat. The Plymouth Rock is also beginner friendly, cold-hardy, and suitable for kids.

Plymouth Rocks are calm, tame, easy, and docile. They can be kept as lap chickens and enjoy getting stroked, but they can be heavy for children to pick up.

The Plymouth Rock is a dual-purpose breed that lays around 200 large brown eggs annually. They start laying after four to six months. Plymouth Rocks are a popular breed for the dinner table, and the meat is described as tender and flavorful.

Plymouth Rock chickens are cold-hardy chickens that do well in the winter. They have always been popular with small flock keepers since they were hardy foragers.

8. Australorp

The Australorp chicken is an Australian breed with excellent egg-laying skills.

Weight henWeight rooster
6.6 lb (3 kg)9 lb (4 kg)
Bantam: 1.9 lb (0.9 kg)Bantam: 2.4 lb (1.1 kg)

The Australorp has three colors recognized by the Australian Poultry Standard: Black, Blue, and White, whereas black is the most popular color. The name ‘Australorp’ comes from Australian Black Orpington, due to its development in the 1920s from Black Orpingtons from the UK.

black australorp hen

Australorps are known as fantastic egg layers and can lay up to 300 brown eggs annually. Hens don’t go broody quickly, but it happens occasionally. They’ll keep laying all year, even during winter. It’s a dual-purpose breed, meaning they can be kept for meat and eggs.

Aurstralorps are docile and friendly chickens, suitable for chicken keepers with small children. However, because of their size are not suited as lap chickens for children. Therefore, the bantam version can be a more appropriate choice.

9. German Langshan

The German Langshan is a large and robust chicken breed, originating from the Croad Langshan, the Plymouth Rock, and Minorca in the 1970s.

Weight henWeight rooster
7.7 lb (3.5 kg)10 lb (4.5 kg)
Bantam: 1.9 lb (0.9 kg)Bantam: 2.3 lb (1 kg)

One of the main characteristics of this bird is its long, high, standing legs, followed by a robust body. Germans Langshans are often bred for poultry shows and exhibitions and are found in black, white, and blue.

The German Langshans can be kept for meat and eggs; they lay up to 180 cream-colored eggs per year and keep laying all year round, except during molting. These birds are also known to be tamed and domesticated quite easily. They’re a calm and friendly breed, which makes them great backyard pets.

10. Cornish

The Cornish chicken is a British game-chicken breed, known outside the US as ‘Indian Game,’ and is kept for meat or shows.

Weight henWeight rooster
6 lb (2.7 kg)8 lb (3.6 kg)
Bantam: 3.3 lb (1.5 kg)Bantam: 4.4 lb (2 kg)

It’s a muscular bird that was developed in the 1820s in, as the name suggests, Cornwall, UK. A Cornish has short legs but is broad and deep in the breast.

This bird is not known for its eggs but mainly as a table bird. A Cornish only lays up to 80 small light brown eggs per year. But it’s a good meat bird and was used for cross-breeding with other larger chickens such as Orpingtons and Sussex.

Cornish chickens are not beginner-friendly. They can be more aggressive than other breeds and are highly prone to parasites, so they need extra care. Cornish are also not as cold-hardy as other chicken breeds, so they are not suitable to keep in cold climates.

11. Cochin

Cochins are a heavy and massively feathered Chinese chicken breed. Their excessive plumage covers the body, legs, and feet and was explicitly bred for shows and exhibitions.

Weight henWeight rooster
10 lb (4.5 kg)12 lb (5.5 kg)
Bantam: /Bantam: /

Cochin chickens are not the best egg layers, even though they keep laying during the winter. Hens lay up to 2-3 large-sized brown eggs per week; that’s around 150 eggs per year.

They easily go broody, which makes them excellent mothers, but it also means they’ll stop laying regularly due to broodiness.

a cochin chicken, one of the largest chicken breeds
Credits: @hensonoxney (IG)

Cochins are friendly birds, so they’ll fit just fine in any backyard flock and families with small children. Kids love their fluffy appearance and cuddly nature, but it can be challenging to pick them up due to their size.

When looking online, you’ll find a Cochin Bantam variety, also known as the Pekin Bantam, but this bantam breed is a true bantam and has nothing to do with the large fowl Cochin.

If you don’t want to free-range your chickens, Cochins are a great choice! They’re pretty lazy chickens, aren’t active during the day, and are not as fond of foraging as most birds. They’re happy in confinement.

12. Delaware

The Delaware chicken, originally called the ‘Indian River’, is an American breed originating in (of course) Delaware. It’s a dual-purpose breed, primarily bred for meat, but it is also a good egg layer.

Weight henWeight rooster
6.6 lb (3 kg)8.8 lb (4 kg)
Bantam: 1.8 lb (0.8 kg)Bantam: 1.9 lb (0.9 kg)

Delawares are not the largest breed on this list, but they are quite the big meat bird.

The breed was created in the 1940s by breeding with a white-colored (lighter coloration) chicken that was mutated (so-called sports in the breeding improvement program) after cross-breeding New Hampshires and Barred Plymouth Rocks. After that, the Delaware chicken was born to be bred as a broiler.

Credits: @emseggers (IG)

Hens lay up to 200 large brown eggs per year. Being generally not broody, they’ll keep on laying all year round except during molting. You might need an incubator if you consider breeding with the Delaware chicken.

Delaware chickens are an excellent beginner breed; they are friendly and easy to keep. They don’t need anything more than food, water, and shelter and are overall a healthy breed.

Although they once were critically endangered, the Livestock conservatory no longer has the Delaware on the ‘endangered’ list, only on the ‘watch’ list.

13. Rhode Island Red

The Rhode Island Red is an American breed of domestic chicken and is very popular among chicken keepers due to its distinguished looks and excellent egg-laying skills.

Weight henWeight rooster
6.5 lb (3 kg)8.5 lb (3.8 kg)
Bantam: 1.8 lb (0.8 kg)Bantam: 2.3 lb (1 kg)

Rhode island reds appear large but are actually medium-sized chickens. They were bred as a dual-purpose chicken to produce both meat and eggs and therefore are heavier than pure egg layers like ISA browns or white leghorns.

Rhode Island Reds are low-maintenance, beginner-friendly chickens who hardly ever get sick or need extra care. They are weather-hardy and can thrive in eighter hot temperatures or heavy winters. Reds also make extraordinary pet chickens. They are very friendly and curious and love to be around humans.

a rhode island red hen

A Rhode Island red lays approximately five eggs per week, more than 250 eggs annually! Their eggs are large and always light brown in color. Because of its cold hardy character, they won’t stop laying during winter as quickly as other breeds, although their egg production will temporarily decrease.

14. Java

Despite what the name suggests, the Java chicken originated in the US, not on Java Island, Indonesia. It’s the second oldest American breed, bred as a dual-purpose breed to be kept for meat and eggs.

Weight henWeight rooster
7.5 lb (3.4 kg)9.5 lb (4.3 kg)
Bantam: /Bantam: /
Credits: 4_oaks_ranch (IG)

You’ll find a Bantam version of the Java chicken when looking online, but these two breeds are unrelated. They don’t even look alike and are entirely different breeds. There is no bantam version available of the Java chicken.

Java chickens are a calm breed and rarely get aggressive. They’re docile and good to keep with other chickens; however, they also have excellent foraging skills. Java birds are kept for meat and eggs; they lay up to 180 large brown eggs yearly. Hens are good mothers and quickly go broody, but they keep on laying until an older age.

Javas do great in cold weather, although the roosters’ larger comb can be prone to frostbite. At this moment, the ‘Livestock conservatory’ considers the Java chicken’s condition to be ‘critical’.

15. New Hampshire Red

The New Hampshire Red is an American breed created in the early 20th century in the state of New Hampshire. By selective breeding with the Rhode Island Red, a bird was created known for its rapid growth and rapid feathering.

Weight henWeight rooster
6.5 lb (3 kg)8.5 lb (3.8 kg)
Bantam: 1.6 lb (0.7 kg)Bantam: 2.3 lb (1 kg)

New Hampshire Red birds are mainly docile and friendly; however, some strains can be aggressive and unfriendly. Especially towards other chickens inside the flock. Therefore, never place New Hampshire Reds with submissive breeds, but go for a more assertive breed such as the Rhode Island Red or the Wyandotte.

a new hampshire rooster
Credits: @clucklife (IG)

A New Hampshire Red is a dual-purpose breed that lays up to 220 large brown eggs per year. The hens tend to go broody easily, so they are good mothers, but they also stop laying due to broodiness.

16. Sussex

The name already suggests it, the Sussex chicken is a British chicken breed, finding its origin in Sussex, South-East England. It’s a dual-purpose breed, kept both for meat and eggs.

Weight henWeight rooster
8 lb (3.6 kg)9 lb (4 kg)
Bantam: 2.3 lb (1 kg)Bantam: 3.3 lb (1.5 kg)

Sussex chickens are a large breed, with wide shoulders and a broad body. As the breed quickly gains weight and fattens up, it’s a suited meat bird. But backyard chicken keepers can also have a Sussex chicken to provide eggs. An adult hen lays up to 250 eggs per year, all tinted to brown in color and large in size.

The breed is neither assertive nor aggressive, so they may not be on top of the pecking order. Keeping Sussex chickens together with other kind and friendly breeds is therefore recommended.

Sussex’ are cold hardy birds suited for colder climates. They don’t stand warm temperatures well. The most pleasant temperature for this bird is around 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24°C) or below.

17. Wyandotte

Wyandotte chickens are an American chicken breed with a wide body structure. They are a dual-purpose breed and very beginner-friendly.

Weight henWeight rooster
6.5 lb (3 kg)8 lb (3.6 kg)
Bantam: 1.5 lb (0.7 kg)Bantam: 1.9 lb (0.9 kg)
Credits: @cactus_hill_poultry (IG)

The most popular variety of the Wyandotte is the Silver Laced Wyandotte. However, the breed has gained popularity due to its amazing patterns, and there are over 30 European varieties.

Wyandottes are quite hardy chickens that thrive well in cold environments. They’ve been bred, especially for cold winters, as their small rose comb and fluffy body help them stand the cold. These birds don’t like tropical temperatures.

A Wyandotte chicken is friendly and docile, and it’s a perfect dual-purpose breed. The hens lay around four large brown eggs per week, more than 200 eggs per year. They’ll keep on laying during winter and only stop egg production when molting. Hens make excellent mothers. They tend to go broody quite easily, which is something to keep in mind when you’re not planning to hatch eggs.

18. Niederrheiner

The Niederrheiner is a German breed of meat chicken. It’s recognized as an endangered breed by the ‘Gesellschaft zur Erhaltung alter und gefährdeter Haustierrassen’, the German association for the conservation of endangered domestic animals.

Weight henWeight rooster
6.5 lb (3 kg)8.8 lb (4 kg)
Bantam: 2.3 lb (1 kg)Bantam: 2.6 lb (1.2 kg)

Niederrheiners derives from the North Holland Blue and received official recognition in the 1940s.

Credits: @brandy_l_m_ (IG)

Unlike most birds in this list, Niederrheiners are not a dual-purpose breed but were bred solely as a meat bird. It’s a fast-growing bird with white flesh and white skin. 

Because of their broad body and size, they need enough space inside the chicken run or let them free range. They won’t wander off too far and will find their way back home when dusk comes.

But Niederrheiners hens do lay eggs! They lay up to 200 light brown eggs per year. Hens don’t go broody quickly, so they are not the best bird to hatch eggs.

Niederrheiners are very hardy birds that don’t need much extra care on top of the standard care. They’re docile and friendly and love the company of people.

19. Faverolles

Faverolles is a Northern Frech village, which is precisely where this breed gets its name. It’s a cross-breed between multiple chicken breeds such as Brahma, French Rennes, and Flemish Cuckoo.

Weight henWeight rooster
9 lb (4.1 kg)11 lb (5 kg)
Bantam: 1.5 lb (0.7 kg)Bantam: 1.9 lb (0.9 kg)

Faverolles are known as a heavy breed, with five toes on each foot, like silkies. They’re fluffy and heavily feathered with plumage on shanks and toes. Their beard and muffs are pretty distinctive and give the chicken a fancy look.

Credits: @fabulous_faverolles (IG)

Nowadays, Faverolles are mainly kept as show birds but are also excellent egg-layers and good meat birds. Faverolle roosters are known to be the friendliest, quietest male birds, and both hens and roosters are very docile and family-friendly.

They’re good pet chickens and follow you around in the backyard. However, their friendly nature makes them vulnerable to being bullied, so they’re best not kept with bigger and more assertive breeds.

Hens lay up to 200 light brown to pinkish eggs per year. The eggs are medium to large in size. The breed is easy to take care of and very beginner friendly.

20. American Bresse

The American Bresse is a reasonably new breed that was imported to the US and Canada in 2011. It originated directly from the French Bresse chicken, a registered trademark meat chicken produced in the village of Bresse in Eastern France.

Due to legal reasons, this breed is called ‘American Bresse’ when bred in the US. But both are virtually identical to each other.

Weight henWeight rooster
5 lb (2.2 kg)7 lb (3.1 kg)
Bantam: /Bantam: /
an american bresse rooster

It’s not the biggest or largest breed, but the Bresse couldn’t be left out of this list as they are one of the most famous chickens known for being the best quality table chicken in the world.

The American Bresse is also a perfect egg layer, bringing up to 250-280 tinted eggs per year to the table. The breed is hardy and easy to care for and raise. It’s a family-friendly breed with excellent foraging skills and easy temperament.

Summary

Giant chicken breeds are a great option for homesteaders and farmers looking for a source of both meat and eggs. These breeds can grow to be quite large, with some roosters weighing in at around 15 pounds and hens reaching up to 10 pounds. Some of the most popular giant chicken breeds include the Brahma, the Jersey Giant, the Plymouth Rock, and the Orpington.

There are many giant chicken breeds to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics. Whether you are looking for a source of eggs, meat, or simply a friendly pet chicken, there is sure to be a large breed that will meet your needs.

If you want to read more about specific breeds, please visit our ‘Breed‘ page. Or read about miniature chickens in our ‘Beginner-friendly small chicken breeds‘ article.

There are hundreds of chicken breeds! If you want to get to know them all, rare and common, go to our ‘All Chicken Breeds & Types Worldwide: List of 500+ Breeds‘.

Credits Featured Image: @redbirdranch (IG)

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Chicken Fans Editorial Team

The editorial team consists of 3rd generation chicken owners Kat, journalist, editor-in-chief, and Nick, working with illustrators and specialists in the field.