Ten Rare Poultry Breeds for Your Backyard Flock

Whether valued for their ornamental beauty, exceptional egg-laying abilities, or historical significance, each of these rare chicken breeds holds a special place in the hearts of poultry enthusiasts. Let’s explore ten rare poultry breeds and uncover the stories behind what makes them so highly prized by chicken keepers around the world.

  • The ayam cemani is a domesticated breed that was developed over centuries on the island of Java for its' completely black and magical appearance.


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Originating from Indonesia, the Ayam Cemani is one of the rarest and most exotic chicken breeds in the world. It is known for its striking and rare all black (inside and out) appearance. Ayam cemani chickens have black feathers, skin, comb, wattles, and even black meat.

Nicknamed “the Lamborghini of poultry” for good reason, the ayam cemani commands a luxury price tag with some birds selling for thousands of dollars. Due to its striking appearance and rarity, it is highly sought after by poultry enthusiasts and collectors.


The Ayam Cemani is a hearty and relatively low maintenance breed that was developed from the jungle fowl on the island of Java over centuries. The Javanese people treasure this rare chicken and the closely tied history it shares with their traditional religious ceremonies.

Conservation efforts aim to preserve the breed's genetic diversity and promote responsible breeding practices to safeguard its future. Despite its small population, Ayam Cemani captivates poultry enthusiasts worldwide for its unique aesthetics and cultural mystique.


2. Bresse Gauloise

The Bresse Gauloise is a prestigious chicken breed hailing from the Bresse region in France, celebrated for its exceptional meat quality and distinct appearance. Its hallmark features include predominantly white plumage contrasted by striking blue legs and red combs.

Raised under strict conditions in Bresse, these chickens enjoy a free-range lifestyle, foraging in open pastures, and benefiting from the region's unique terroir, contributing to the meat's exquisite flavor and texture.

Renowned for its tender and flavorful meat, Bresse Gauloise chicken holds a special place in gourmet cuisine, particularly in French culinary traditions. Its culinary prowess is recognized internationally, with Bresse chicken being the first poultry to receive the prestigious Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) status in France in 1957, ensuring adherence to strict production standards and geographical origin.

Despite its culinary acclaim, Bresse Gauloise chickens are produced in limited numbers due to their strict breeding standards and traditional farming methods. Efforts to preserve and promote the breed continue, emphasizing its cultural significance and the centuries-old traditions associated with its production in the scenic Bresse region of France.


3. Dong Tao Chicken

Dong Tao chicken, also known as "Dragon Chicken," is a rare and prized breed indigenous to Vietnam. Renowned for its distinctive appearance, particularly its large, thick, scaly legs resembling dragon claws, this breed holds cultural significance beyond its culinary value. Dong Tao chickens are revered in Vietnamese cuisine for their succulent meat, often served on special occasions due to its rich flavor and tender texture.

Despite its culinary and cultural significance, Dong Tao chickens are relatively rare, primarily found in specific regions of Vietnam, especially in the northern provinces. Breeding and raising Dong Tao chickens require specialized knowledge and resources, contributing to their limited availability. Conservation efforts aimed at preserving their genetic diversity and cultural heritage are ongoing in Vietnam, with organizations and breeders dedicated to their survival and promotion.

In Vietnamese culture, Dong Tao chickens are sometimes regarded as symbols of prosperity and good fortune, further enhancing their significance beyond their role in cuisine. Their unique physical characteristics, coupled with their culinary excellence, make Dong Tao chickens a prized and fascinating breed within Vietnam and increasingly recognized internationally.

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4. Araucana

The Araucana is a distinct chicken breed originating from Chile, celebrated for its unique characteristics. Its most notable trait is its ability to lay eggs with blue or green shells, a rarity among chicken breeds due to a genetic trait known as oocyan.

Beyond their colorful eggs, Araucanas are recognized for their rumpless appearance, lacking a tail, and tufts of feathers near their ears. These birds come in various color variations, adding to their appeal.

Historically, Araucanas have roots in indigenous chicken populations of the Araucanía region in Chile, with evidence suggesting their breeding long predates European arrival in South America. Despite their long history, purebred Araucanas are relatively rare due to breeding challenges to meet strict standards. Nonetheless, they are prized for their friendly and docile temperament, making them popular choices for backyard flocks and pets.
araucana hen

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5. Brakel

The Brakel chicken, originating from Belgium's Flemish Ardennes region, is prized for its elegance and historical importance. Characterized by a slender and upright carriage, Brakels boast striking plumage, reflecting their centuries-old heritage.

Historically valued for both their beauty and utility, Brakel chickens were renowned for their prolific egg-laying abilities, producing large, white eggs. Despite their decline in numbers over time, efforts to conserve the breed's genetic diversity and cultural significance persist.

Once common throughout Belgium, Brakel chickens have seen a decrease in population, prompting concerns for their conservation. However, their active and alert demeanor, coupled with their docility and suitability for backyard flocks, contribute to ongoing efforts aimed at preserving this elegant breed. Brakels continue to captivate enthusiasts with their regal appearance and historical legacy, ensuring their enduring appreciation for generations to come.

6. Scots Dumpy

The Scots Dumpy, a native chicken breed of Scotland, is renowned for its distinctive short-legged, squat stature. Its robust build and various color variations add to its charm and historical significance. The Scots Dumpy was domestically developed for practical reasons such as fitting into small spaces and enduring the harsh Scottish climate.

It has been a fixture in Scottish agriculture for centuries. Though primarily valued for its unique appearance and historical importance, the Scots Dumpy also serves practical purposes. It is raised for both meat and eggs, demonstrating adaptability despite its diminutive size.

7. Sultan

The Sultan chicken is a striking and ornamental breed known for its regal appearance and extravagant plumage. With a large crest of feathers atop their heads and heavily feathered legs and feet, Sultans have a unique and elegant look.

Although its’ exact origin is unclear, the Sultan is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia or the Middle East. Sultans gained popularity in Europe during the 19th century, often kept as ornamental birds in royal courts and private collections.

Their small size and delicate plumage make them less practical for egg production than other breeds. However, they are cherished as pets and exhibition birds for their gentle and docile temperament.


8. Crevecoeur

The Crevecoeur breed has a long and storied history, dating back several centuries in France. It is believed to have been developed in the Crevecoeur-en-Auge area of Normandy during the medieval period.

Originally bred for both meat and egg production, Crevecoeur chickens were once popular among French poultry keepers. Crevecoeur chickens are known for their striking and distinctive appearance. They have a bold and upright carriage, with a medium-sized body adorned with abundant, glossy black feathers. Their most notable feature is their unique V-shaped comb, which sets them apart from other chicken breeds.


9. Brahma

The Brahma chicken, originating from the United States in the mid-19th century, is renowned for its impressive size, gentle nature, and dual-purpose utility. Known as “the King of Chickens”, Brahmas massive body, heavily feathered legs, and various color varieties make this a truly unique chicken breed.

The Brahma is a domestically developed breed that was created by selective breeding of large chickens imported from China, such as the Shanghai and Cochin breeds, along with other breeds like the Malay. Brahmas quickly became popular for their meat quality, egg production, and cold-hardiness.

While not the most prolific egg layers, Brahmas are valued for their large brown eggs and flavorful, tender meat. Their calm and docile temperament makes them ideal for backyard flocks and family farms, as they are easy to handle and enjoy human interaction.

The Brahma chicken's imposing size, friendly demeanor, and historical significance continue to make it a favorite among poultry enthusiasts and small-scale farmers worldwide.


10. Redcap

The Redcap breed originated in England, particularly in the county of Lancashire, where it was developed as a utility breed valued for both its meat and egg production. Redcaps have been documented in the region since at least the 19th century, and they were once a common sight on farms throughout Lancashire.

Redcaps are easily recognizable by their vibrant red combs and wattles, which contrast sharply with their predominantly white plumage. They have a neat rose comb and bright, alert eyes, giving them a lively and engaging appearance.

Redcaps are known for their active and alert demeanor. They are energetic birds that enjoy foraging and exploring their surroundings. While they can be somewhat flighty, they are generally docile and friendly towards humans, making them suitable for backyard flocks.


These rare chicken breeds represent just a fraction of the diverse and fascinating chicken breeds found around the world, each with its own unique characteristics and history. Each of these rare poultry breeds possess unique characteristics, histories, and contributions to the world of poultry farming and enthusiasts. From the giant Brahma to the striking Ayam Cemani, these breeds represent a rich tapestry of avian diversity.

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