15 Most Popular Chicken Colors

Just like many other animals, chickens come in a variety of sizes, temperaments, and even colors.

In total there are 15 unique feather colors that chickens can have.

However, not all chickens are just one color. In fact, many breeds have a variety of colors on their body in beautiful patterns and hues.

This variation makes every chicken unique and special.

Keep reading to learn about the 15 different chicken colors, and also the genetic makeup which makes this possible.

A-Z List Of Chicken Colors

Colors Breeds Rarity
Bay ISA Brown, and Golden Comet Common
Black Australorp, Orpington, Silkie, and Ayam Cemani Common
Blue Wyandotte, Silkie, Iowa Blue, and Andalusian Rare
Brown Plymouth Rocks, Orpingtons, Silkies, and Buckeyes Common
Buff Buff Orpington Common
Chestnut Rhode Island Red, Buckeye, and Easter Egger Common
Cinnamon Rhode Island Red, and Cinnamon Queen Uncommon
Fawn Silkie and Wyandotte Very Rare
Gray Silkie, Australorp, and Ameraucana Rare
Lavender Lavender Pekin and Lavender Cochin Very Rare
Red Rhode Island Red and Sussex Common
Salom Faverolle Uncommon
Silver Black Laced Silver Wyandotte, Polish, and Sebright Uncommon
Wheaten Wheaten Marans Rare
White Sussex, White Leghorn, and Yokohama Common


ISA Browns

Bay-colored chickens have feathers that are golden brown.

One of the most popular is the ISA Brown. Although these chickens have brown in their name, they are actually a light brown with a golden hue.

Some bay chickens are darker than others. However, all have a golden hue to their feathers and none are as dark as brown chickens.

  • Best For: Egg Layers
  • Common Breeds: ISA Brown, and Golden Comet



Birchen is a feather pattern and not a color.

Chickens with a birchen pattern will have a black body and tail, with a silver head.

This is a relatively common pattern seen on hens and roosters of many chicken breeds. Birchen feathers can only be passed down from parents with birchen feathers.

  • Best For: Companionship
  • Common Breeds: Marans


Black Australorp In The Garden

To be considered a true black chicken, black chickens must be solid black.

Black is a pigmented color caused by melanin. There are lots of black chicken breeds; a common example is the Australorp. Other chickens that come in many colors, like the Silkie, can also be found in black.

Sometimes chickens with black feathers have iridescence due to the structure of their feathers. This gives them a very elegant and unique appearance.

  • Best For: Show and Egg Laying
  • Common Breeds: Australorp, Orpington, Silkie, and Ayam Cemani


Blue Australorp

Blue chickens are created by the black pigment in their feathers being muted.

This creates a black-gray which looks blue when the chicken is in direct in sunlight.

Blue chickens tend to have iridescent feathers too. They are relatively common and a good example of a blue chicken breed is the Wyandotte. However, many chicken breeds that have black also come in blue, including the Silkie and Australorp.

  • Best For: Show and Companionship
  • Common Breeds: Wyandotte, Silkie, Iowa Blue, and Andalusian


Polish Chicken

Brown is a very common color.

It is a pigmented color caused by melanin and is an interaction between the red and black pigments found in the feathers of all chickens.

There are many brown chicken breeds. Chickens that are brown can be a light reddish brown, deep brown, and even tan. Some common examples of brown chickens are Orpingtons, Silkies, and Buckeye chickens.

  • Best For: Egg Laying and Companionship
  • Common Breeds: Orpingtons, Silkies, and Buckeyes


Buff Orpington

Next up on the list is buff.

Buff is a beautiful golden-orange hue.

These chickens are similar in appearance to bay chickens; however buff chickens have a more orange appearance.

One of the best examples of buff chickens is the Buff Orpington. These gentle giants are fantastic companions as well as wonderful egg layers.

Overall, buff is relatively common.

  • Best For: Egg Laying and Meat
  • Common Breeds: Buff Orpington


Rhode Island Red Chicken

Chestnut chickens are actually a type of brown chicken.

They are dark brown and have a red hue to their feathers.

Although they look very similar to bay chickens, they are darker.

This is one of the most popular colors of chicken that can be found among backyard breeds. Common examples of chestnut chickens include the Rhode Island Red and Buckeye.

  • Best For: Egg Laying
  • Common Breeds: Rhode Island Red, Buckeye, and Easter Egger


Rhode Island Reds

Cinnamon chickens have brown feathers with a reddish hue.

Like many of the other colors on this list, they fall under the category of brown chickens. They are also very similar to bay and chestnut chickens.

Just like chestnut colored chickens, cinnamon chickens are typically kept in backyard flocks because they make great companions and are also good egg layers. One of the most popular breeds is the Cinnamon Queen.

  • Best For: Egg Laying
  • Common Breeds: Rhode Island Red, and Cinnamon Queen


Sussex Chickens

Columbian is actually a feather pattern and not a color.

Chickens that have this body feather pattern have white heads, backs, and thighs. Hens have black feathers on their neck that are laced with white.

Columbian patterned feathers are relatively common and are seen in many black and white chicken breeds.

  • Best For: Egg Laying
  • Common Breeds: Columbian Wyandotte


Silkie Chicken

Next up on our list is a rare color.

Fawn chickens have feathers that are a light brown or beige. Fawn chickens also fall into the category of brown colored chickens since they are light tan.

They get their name because they are similar to the color of young deers or fawns.

  • Best For: Show and Companionship
  • Common Breeds: Silkie and Wyandotte


Sapphire Gem Chicken

Gray chicken breeds are a variety of black chickens.

Lots of gray chickens have white and light black feathers that give them a gray appearance. They can also have hues of blue and lavender.

Gray is a rather uncommon color for chicken feathers, so if you add gray chickens to your flock they will be sure to stand out. Some of the most popular gray chicken breeds include the Blue Andalusian, Silkie, and Lavender Perkin.

  • Best For: Egg Laying and Lap Chickens
  • Common Breeds: Silkie, Australorp, and Ameraucana


Lavender Orpington

Lavender chickens are very similar to gray chickens.

This color is a light gray to off white color, which can look like a very light hue of lavender plants.

Lavender chickens have a combination of white pigments mixed with very light black feathers that give them their lavender appearance.

This is a rare color and will definitely make your flock unique.

  • Best For: Companionship
  • Common Breeds: Lavender Pekin and Lavender Cochin

Mille Fleur

Mille Fleur d'Uccle Close Up

Mille fleur chickens have red, chestnut, or cinnamon feathers with a silver spangle and black trim around the edge of the feather.

The term, mille fleur, refers to a pattern on their feathers, rather than a color itself.

Mille fleur translates to thousands of flowers, since the spangled pattern on the feathers of the chickens give the impression that the birds are covered in flowers.

This is quite a beautiful pattern and is fairly uncommon.

  • Best For: Show and Aesthetics
  • Common Breeds: Mille Fleur D’Uccle and Dutch Booted Bantam



Chickens that are red have a reddish brown appearance that is very similar to chestnut, bay, and cinnamon chickens.

All of these colors of chickens have feathers that are brown with reddish hues, but with varying shades of darkness.

Red chickens are one of the most common colors that we see among backyard chicken breeds. The classic example of a red chicken is the Rhode Island Red, which is a fantastic laying bird.

  • Best For: Egg Laying
  • Common Breeds: Rhode Island Red and Sussex


Salmon Faverolle Outside

Salmon is one of the most unique colors.

These chickens often have a reddish or pink appearance.

There are not many chicken breeds that have their entire body covered in salmon feathers. Usually, salmon feathers occur in patches.

Because these chickens are light they are more susceptible to predation than darker breeds.

  • Best For: Egg Laying and Companionship
  • Common Breeds: Faverolle


A Silver Laced Wyandotte

Silver chickens have white feathers with a metallic sheen.

This sheen is due to iridescence which is caused by the structure of the feathers.

Because these chickens are very light, they are not great at free ranging because they are very obvious to potential predators. As a result, many chickens that have silver feathers are used for show and kept in a secure run.

These birds are not silver all over, but the base color of their feathers is silver.

  • Best For: Show
  • Common Breeds: Black Laced Silver Wyandotte, Polish, and Sebright



Wheaten chickens have golden yellow feathers.

This is an interesting color because it presents itself differently on hens and roosters. Hens tend to be a lighter shade, and roosters tend to be darker gold, with amber or orange hues.

Wheaten is not iridescent and is the result of pigment. It is a less commonly seen feather color in chickens.

  • Best For: Companionship
  • Common Breeds: Wheaten Marans


White Leghorn

White is one of the most popular feather colors.

These chickens do not have any pigmentation in their feathers. They are a solid white with no iridescent pattern on them like black chickens have.

Each white chicken breed can have a different purpose. There are white Silkies that are used for showing, while there are White Speckled Sussex hens that make great egg layers.

  • Best For: Egg Laying
  • Common Breeds: Sussex, White Leghorn, and Yokohama

Chicken Colors Explained

Genetics play a large role in determining the color of a chicken’s feathers, and there are two types of different colored feathers that chickens can have.

  1. Pigmented Colors
  2. Structural Colors

Pigments are colorful substances that produce colors in living things. There are three types of pigments: carotenoids, melanin, and porphyrins. The most common pigments we see in chickens are melanins, which produce red, brown, yellow and even black.

Structural colors refer to colors that are produced as a result of the structure of the chickens’ feathers themselves.

Chicken feathers are made of proteins called keratin, and these molecules of keratin can lay on each other in different ways. When sunlight bounces off of these structures, they produce different colors. This is the case for iridescent feathers on chickens, as well as blue hued feathers.

Every single color is the result of the genetic manipulation of the pigments in chicken feathers. These pigments can be diluted, mixed, or suppressed to create the color combinations.

Most of the colors that we see in chickens are the product of only two pigments that chickens have in their feathers: red and black.

For example, white feathers are a result of pigments that are masked. The genetic expression of different pigments also produces patterns that we see on feathers, such as spots, bars, or stripes.

Nearly all of the varieties and patterns that we see today are a result of selective breeding done by humans.

This is where certain chickens with desirable traits are bred to produce offspring with the same traits. These traits can be anything from size to temperament, and especially color and feather patterns.

Humans have also bred chickens for certain colors to help them camouflage better into their natural environment.

For example, many meat and egg laying breeds started off as white since they were kept in captivity and did not roam outside. However, as these breeds were then bred for companionship and to be free range, they were bred to be darker colors like buff to help them blend in with their environment.


Chickens come in a rainbow of colors.

This is one of the many reasons why people find chickens to be endearing.

Although the variety of breeds and colors on this list may be overwhelming, it will give you a good start if you are looking for a new chicken to add to your flock.

There are some colors that are more popular than others and some breeds that are better for a variety of purposes than others. It is also important to remember that each chicken is an individual and may not exactly match a certain color.

Hopefully you are now able to find the perfect chicken for your flock.

Let us know in the comments section below which color you like the most…

Chris Lesley Bio Picture
Chris Lesley has been Raising Chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth generation chicken keeper. She can remember being a young child when her grandad first taught her how to hold and care for chickens. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior and Welfare and is interested in backyard chicken health and care.

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