Chickens come in many different sizes and colors.
Some breeds even have unique features that help them stand out from the crowd.
One of these unique features is feathered feet.
Chickens with feathered feet are fluffy breeds that have feathers growing from their shanks and feet.
The wide variety of feather patterns, colors, temperaments, and size means there is a perfect feather footed chicken out there for everyone.
Below we share our 12 favorite breeds…
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12 Types of Chickens With Feathered Feet
1. Booted Bantam
The Booted Bantam is a true bantam with a huge personality.
Booted Bantams have some of the most prominent feathered feet. They also have vulture hocks, which cause long feathers to cover most of their legs, while their smaller leg and foot feathers peek out from underneath.
Just like the other breeds on this list, their leg and foot feathers will match their wing feathers.
Unlike many other breeds, Booted Bantams are not especially hardy and need a lot of extra care.
This breed is very susceptible to cold climates as well as Marek’s disease.
They are otherwise very friendly chickens and get along well with both people and other animals, but be wary of predators in your area – they are very small!
The Sultan is well known for their incredible fluff.
Sultans are majestic chickens with equally gorgeous feathers on their legs and feet. The majority of Sultans will have white feathered legs and feet, as this is the most common color variety.
Because of their beautiful plumage, Sultans are mainly kept as ornamental chickens. This was their original purpose, as they were bred to roam the gardens of Sultans in Turkey. Part of the legacy of their residency in such beautiful gardens is that they are known to do very little damage to them.
They are not avid foragers which means they are unlikely to tear apart your lawn or plants.
Although they may seem perfect, Sultans are not very good egg layers. They are only going to lay white eggs up to twice a week.
They are also known for being relatively quiet which makes them perfect for suburban homesteaders.
The Brahma is a gentle giant.
They are truly stunning chickens to look at. These chickens are incredibly fluffy and have beautiful plumage.
Brahmas have stunning leg and foot feathers. Their thighs are covered in a mountain of fluff that cascades down their legs. These feathers have a downy-like appearance and match the Brahma’s wing color. They are soft to the touch and beautiful to look at.
You can find them in three color varieties known as dark, light, and buff.
These chickens have a docile personality. They get along well with other chicken breeds and are not known for bullying despite their large size.
Their bulky feathers make hotter climates a struggle for them, so if you are considering a Brahma and live somewhere warm, then be prepared to give them extra attention and care. They thrive in colder climates and enjoy roaming.
The Silkie is one of the fluffiest chickens around.
Silkies come in a wide range of colors and the feathers covering their legs and feet will naturally match their beautiful body feathers.
These feathers are soft and fluffy.
When it comes to temperament, these incredible fluffy chickens are ideal for beginners. They are sweet, calm, and very gentle. They even do great with kids.
Unfortunately they are not the best egg layers and will only lay 2-3 cream or tinted eggs per week.
If you are a beginner, keep in mind that their unique feathers make them prone to getting wet and to developing frostbite. Be prepared to offer them the extra care they need and keep them dry.
5. Barbu d’Uccle
The Barbu d’Uccle is more commonly known as the Belgian d’Uccle.
These chickens have stunning leg feathers that match their exotic feathering. Their leg feathers can be a wide variety of colors including white, buff, or brown. You can take your pick from the decadent golden-necked variety to a beautiful Mille Fleur.
Barbu d’Uccles are gentle and inquisitive.
They are often called lap chickens because of their love of people and docile nature. They love to be around both adults and children. This breed is also known for being friendly with other chickens and will thrive in a mixed flock.
If you are especially interested in chickens that love people, then this breed might just be your perfect match.
6. Pekin Bantam
Pekins are lovely and fluffy chickens.
These chickens have lovely, long feathers on their legs and feet which come in white, black, buff, and blue.
Their leg feathers will depend on the color of their wings. They come in a wide variety of colors, including white, black, buff, and blue.
This breed is known as a true bantam breed.
Pekins are a very gentle breed as a whole, and make small, but very loving companions. They are good with children and other breeds. If you are interested in a small and fluffy breed to add some variety to your flock, then the Pekin is a perfect fit.
7. Croad Langshan
The Croad Langshan is a fantastic example of a hardy chicken with feathered feet.
These large chickens are known for their unique “U shaped” bodies and can be found in white, black, and blue.
They have fluffy leg and foot feathers that match their wing color.
These feathers face downward and create an elegant feather-duster-like appearance.
Croad Langshans are great for beginners as they are very easygoing and gentle. These traits also make them great with children as they are usually okay with being handled. They also lay 3-4 brown eggs per week as well. They are relatively independent chickens and are happy to forage and chatter with the rest of their flock. Just make sure to give them lots of space for free ranging.
The Frizzle is a unique chicken that is bred for their curled feathers.
Their feathers curl upward instead of lying flat against their body.
You can find most breeds in a frizzled version.
Some of these breeds also have feathered feet. Their feathered legs look almost like pinecones turned upside down, with their feathers curling upward in the classic Frizzle fashion.
Most Frizzles will range between 5-8 lbs and will lay 2-4 eggs per week.
They are kept as an ornamental breed and help add color to your flock above all else.
Although their unique feathers make them very pretty, they also cause health issues in rainy and cold climates. They do not have much insulation and their feathers struggle to repel water so they will need extra care when it rains.
This breed is full of fluff and love.
The Faverolle has earned a reputation as a lovable clown.
These chickens are exceptionally friendly and will bond with any other breeds in your flock. They also love people and enjoy being part of their owners’ lives. This breed is exceptionally curious and known for being goofy, but not destructive.
Faverolles have feathered legs and feet. These salmon colored feathers are short and look like down because of their fluffy appearance.
They also have a huge beard and muffs, which makes their faces very fluffy.
You can expect 3-4 tinted brown eggs per week from a Faverolle.
They are beginner friendly and just love to be around people.
You cannot talk about chickens with feathers on their feet without mentioning this classic and truly iconic breed.
Cochins have some of the most gorgeous feathers on their legs and feet. The color of the feathers on their legs and feet match those on their wings. Cochin leg and foot feathers are long, downward facing, and sleek. Their legs and feet are completely covered by feathers, which makes them look as soft as a teddy bear.
This breed stands out for their incredible fluffy body and strong love of people. They are amazing with children and will actively engage with people whenever they are given the opportunity. Many people even keep Cochins inside as housepets.
Cochins are a giant breed, and they come in a wide variety of colors.
They do not make the best egg layers, but they are very cold hardy.
Overall they are wonderful backyard chickens and are a great beginner breed.
Marans are beautiful chickens with great personalities.
You can find them in lots of colors, including the most popular variety, black copper.
These chickens have black feathered legs and feet. Just like the feathers covering their body, they have a fantastic sheen to them. You may notice that even the feathers on their feet will turn green, purple, or even blue if the sunlight hits them just right.
They are a great dual-purpose breed and lay 4 dark brown or chocolate colored eggs per week.
Marans are known for their friendly personality.
They enjoy spending time with people and other chickens. They are unlikely to fall to the bottom of the pecking order due to their strong personalities, but are not commonly known to be bullies either.
These beautiful chickens are very curious about humans and will love to observe you.
Marans are fantastic for beginners too.
12. Malaysian Serama
The Malaysian Serama is not as well known as some of the other breeds here, but they are a beautiful breed with some amazing qualities.
They are a variation of the Serama breed and have incredible feathered feet.
The feathers covering their legs and feet are often hidden by their long, beautiful wings. Their leg feathers will match their body, so a white Malaysian Serama hen will also have white feathers covering her legs and feet. The most common variations are white, black, and orange.
They are the smallest chicken breed in the world.
Being small does not stop them from being a good egg layer. These chickens will lay 4-5 white or dark brown eggs per week. As you would expect, these eggs are very small.
Because they are so small they are one of the best breeds to keep indoors.
They are loyal and sweet but unfortunately cannot handle cold temperatures.
Why Do Chickens Have Feathered Feet?
You may be wondering why chickens have feathers on their feet in the first place.
This all comes down to genetics.
Here are the basics of feather footed genetics.
Pitx1 is the transcription factor for the legs of the chicken.
TBx5 is the transcription factor for their wings.
Breeds that grow feathers on their feet have TBx5 to encode not only their wings, but also their legs. These genes then encode for feathers instead of scales to grow on the legs, providing us with some beautiful feather footed birds.
These changes are not just cosmetic though.
Lots of breeds with feather feet also have an altered muscular structure within their legs, causing them to have more of a wing-like build.
This can affect the strength of their legs so it is important to keep an eye out for any signs of limping, frostbite, or feather damage.
What To Know Before Getting Chickens With Feathered Feet
Chickens with feathered feet have certain health issues that you need to be aware of.
It is recommended that beginners avoid them as they do require some extra care.
One of the biggest issues is leg mites.
This nasty infestation can cause any chicken a lot of pain, but feather footed chickens are more susceptible to these bugs. This is because the feathers on their legs and feet raise up their scales. This makes them an easy target with free entry for mites. Infections can be treated with vaseline, but it can be hard to apply due to the feathering on their legs. Read our complete guide to chicken mites here.
The next health problem to be aware of is frostbite.
Although most feather footed chickens do better in colder climates, they often struggle with frostbite.
Snow and ice stick to the feathers on their legs which can cause frostbite. You should be on the lookout for this during winter and make sure to remove any ice or snow when they come back to roost.
Other issues that can occur are much smaller, such as birds picking at the feathers as well as dirt sticking to their feathers.
You will need to frequently check your chickens’ feet, the more often the better.
Make sure you are comfortable with handling any feather footed breed so you are able to check their legs and feet and apply treatments as needed.
All of the chickens on this list are truly gorgeous additions to any flock.
Whether you are interested in the lap bird Cochin or the small and flashy Booted Bantam, there is so much to love. If you are going to add one of these breeds to your flock, then consider looking into endangered breeds like the Sultan. This will make a difference in the poultry world by helping to preserve a breed of chicken for generations to come.
Just remember that each breed has their own characteristics and charm.
Feather footed chickens do require some extra care from time to time, so it is important to do lots of research before adding one of these gorgeous breeds to your homestead.
Did you find your perfect feather footed friend?
Let us know in the comments section below…