As a continuation of my listicle series on the 53 standard-sized chicken breeds, A List Of Chicken Breeds – Cochin to Domonique lists six more breeds whose origins are global. This writing will take you from China to the U.K. and from Cuba to The U.S.A. I hope you enjoy the trip! If you want to follow the series, here are the links in chronological order:
Cochin: The Feathered Showstopper
The Cochin, a breed that traces its roots back to China, is an absolute spectacle within the chicken world. Renowned for its massive round size and profuse feathering extending down to its feet, the Cochin certainly knows how to command attention. They are available in a variety of colors, providing a delightful variety to choose from.
The Cochin breed was first exported from China to Britain and America in the mid-19th century during the era known as “hen fever,” where there was high interest in exotic chicken breeds.
They are known for their calm and friendly demeanor, making them excellent choices for pets, particularly for families with children.
Cochin hens are moderate egg layers, contributing around 150-180 brown eggs each year. However, they are often kept more for their ornamental value and gentle nature than for their egg-laying abilities.
They are, however, broody enough to make excellent mothers.
Cornish: The Meat Producer Extraordinaire
Hailing from the Cornwall region in England, the Cornish breed, with its deep and broad body, is a prime choice for meat production. Its dense musculature and rapid growth rate have made the Cornish an integral part of the commercial poultry industry, often crossbred to create the popular Cornish Cross broiler.
Cornish chickens grow quickly and have a higher feed conversion ratio compared to many other breeds. Feed conversion ratio (FCR) is the amount of feed it takes for a chicken to gain weight over a certain time period.
Despite being primarily a meat breed, Cornish hens can produce a fair number of medium to large brown eggs annually, averaging around 160-180. Their robust physique and utility value have assured their importance in the poultry landscape.
I raised a few Cornish Rocks by accident (it’s a long story) and found them to be extremely docile and friendly. Unfortunately, they grow faster than they should and only moved a few feet at a time before plunking themselves down again. I’m sure you’ve heard the stories.
After raising them for a couple of months, I gave them to a friend to butcher. He said my organically raised birds were far better than any store-bought chicken he’d ever had.
Crevecoeur: The French Charmer
Originating in the Normandy region of France, the Crevecoeur chicken is an enchanting breed, boasting an all-black plumage and a unique “V”-shaped comb. Perhaps the most distinctive feature is its crest of feathering, giving it a somewhat whimsical appearance.
Crevecoeur chickens are quite rare, especially outside of France. They are listed as “critical” by the Livestock Conservancy, meaning there are fewer than 500 breeding birds in the United States, with five or fewer primary breeding flocks.
Crevecoeur hens are known to produce around 150-200 medium-sized white eggs per year. Their decent laying rate, their striking appearance, and calm demeanor make them a captivating addition to any backyard flock.
The smallish comb is a good indicator that they are a solid cold-weather bird, and in fact, they are.
They are often kept for ornamental purposes, but they are decent dual-purpose chickens.
Cubalaya: The Cuban Performer
The Cubalaya breed, developed in Cuba, is an absolute performer. Showcasing a unique horizontal carriage and stylish sickle feathers in the roosters, Cubalayas are a sight to behold. They come in a variety of color patterns, adding to their visual charm.
They have a unique horizontal body carriage and stylish plumage making them stand out in any flock. Roosters in particular have a large, well-spread tail that is held just slightly above the horizontal position.
On the egg front, Cubalaya hens produce approximately 150-200 small to medium-tinted eggs per year, so, Cubalayas are not known for their laying capabilities, laying infrequently. Therefore, they are mainly kept for ornamental or show purposes, or for their meat.
Another notable attribute of Cubalayas is their voice. They are known for their loud crowing, which is more musical and pleasing to the ear than that of many other chicken breeds.
Their showy looks and active nature, coupled with their ability to forage well, make them an intriguing choice for those seeking a more exotic breed.
Delaware: The American All-Rounder
The Delaware breed, born in the United States, was developed by a poultry keeper named George Ellis in the 1940s. It is truly a versatile bird. With their striking black-and-white feather pattern, sturdy build, and quick growth, they are excellent as both egg layers and meat providers.
Despite their historical significance and excellent qualities as a meat and egg breed, Delaware chickens are considered a threatened breed by The Livestock Conservancy. This is due to their numbers declining significantly with the rise of industrial chicken farming.
Delawares have a calm and friendly disposition, making them a great choice for a backyard flock. They also tend to get along well with other breeds. And they occasionally go broody and make good mothers, often taking care of other hens’ chicks as well.
The Delaware chicken’s mature weight is around 6-8 pounds for hens and 7-8.5 pounds for roosters.
Delaware hens are proficient layers, offering around 200-250 large brown eggs annually. Unlike many other breeds, Delawares are known to maintain egg production during the winter months.
Their balanced qualities as a dual-purpose breed, along with their calm disposition, make them a valuable addition to many farms and backyard coops.
Dominique: The Pioneer Breed
As one of the oldest American chicken breeds, the Dominique carries a rich history. Their characteristic “cuckoo” or barred feather pattern and rose comb set them apart. Often mistaken for Barred Rocks, Dominiques are in fact a distinct breed with a long heritage.
Dominique chickens were very popular in America during the 19th century, primarily for their dual-purpose attributes, providing both eggs and meat. The breed’s weight averages between 6-7 pounds for hens and 7-8 pounds for roosters. This, combined with their productive laying habits, made them an ideal dual-purpose breed. They are particularly good at foraging, making them a great choice for free-range systems.
The breed almost became extinct during the mid-20th century due to the rise of commercial farming and other breeds taking the spotlight. Fortunately, through preservation efforts, the breed has been kept alive, though it’s still not as common as it once was. They were a staple breed for many small farms.
Dominique hens are reliable layers, contributing around 230-270 medium-sized brown eggs each year. Their adaptability to various climates, robust nature, and historic significance have made them a beloved breed among poultry enthusiasts.
From the visually captivating Cochin to the robust Cornish, the charming Crevecoeur to the exotic Cubalaya, and versatile Delaware to the historic Dominique—each of these six breeds offers a unique set of attributes and history, embodying the vast diversity of the poultry world. Whether for meat or eggs, for show, or as pets, there is a chicken breed for every purpose and preference.
Thanks for reading. Please leave a comment if you would like to. If you would like to take a look at my next 6-breeds article, take a look HERE.