Frizzle Chicken

Gallus gallus domesticus

Last updated: July 12, 2023
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© No-Te Eksarunchai/Shutterstock.com

Frizzle chickens are known for their frizzled feathers, which result from a genetic mutation.


Advertisement


Frizzle Chicken Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Galliformes
Family
Phasianidae
Genus
Gallus
Scientific Name
Gallus gallus domesticus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Frizzle Chicken Conservation Status

Frizzle Chicken Locations

Frizzle Chicken Locations

Frizzle Chicken Facts

Prey
Insects and larvae; other invertebrates; small reptiles or amphibians; mice
Name Of Young
Chicks
Group Behavior
  • Flock
Fun Fact
Frizzle chickens are known for their frizzled feathers, which result from a genetic mutation.
Biggest Threat
Diseases such as avian flu.
Most Distinctive Feature
Frizzled feathers
Distinctive Feature
Round body; long wings; full, upright tail; naked feet and legs; small beak; single red comb; red face and wattles
Training
Easy to train
Incubation Period
21 days
Habitat
Captivity
Predators
Foxes, raccoons, weasels, snakes
Diet
Omnivore
Lifestyle
  • Flock
Origin
Most likely south or southeast Asia
Number Of Species
1
Location
Great Britain and other European countries; Australia
Average Clutch Size
-2
Group
Flock
Nesting Location
In coops

Frizzle Chicken Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Grey
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Black
  • White
  • Tan
  • Silver
  • Multi-colored
  • Golden
Skin Type
Feathers
Lifespan
6 to 8 years
Weight
5 to 8 pounds for large varieties; 20 to 28 ounces for bantam sizes
Age of Sexual Maturity
5 to 6 months
Venomous
No
Aggression
Low

This post may contain affiliate links to our partners like Chewy, Amazon, and others. Purchasing through these helps us further the A-Z Animals mission to educate about the world's species.

View all of the Frizzle Chicken images!



Frizzle chickens are known for their frizzled feathers, which result from a genetic mutation!

Frizzle chickens are known for their frizzled feathers. Whether referring to the breed recognized across Europe, the United Kingdom and Australia, or frizzled individuals of a number of other recognized breeds, these birds share uniquely formed feathers that twist and curve back toward the chicken’s head instead of lying flat, toward the tail. Researchers have worked hard in recent years to discover precisely the genetic mechanisms that cause the frizzled quality in these birds’ plumes. Breeders, meanwhile, have worked to avoid producing overly-frizzled birds sometimes called Frazzle chickens. These cute and fluffy chickens are popular among backyard breeders, and are mostly produced as show birds and pets.

Incredible Frizzle Chicken Facts

  • Frizzled feathers appear in a number of different chicken breeds, including the Frizzle chicken breed recognized in Europe, the United Kingdom and Australia.
  • When breeding two frizzled chickens, the offspring will be in a 1:2:1 ratio with 25 percent smooth, 50 percent frizzled, and 25 percent overly-frizzled.
  • Overly frizzled chickens have feathers that are brittle and prone to breakage, as well as other health problems.
  • The mutation that causes frizzled feathers in chickens most likely arose in Asia.
  • Many breeds, such as the Polish, Pekin, Cochin, Plymouth Rock, Japanese, and Orpington sometimes exhibit frizzled feathers.
  • Docile and friendly Frizzle chickens make good pets and are easy to train.

Where to Find Frizzle Chickens

Chickens with frizzled feathers live all over the world. Frizzled varieties of several breeds, such as Polish, Cochin, Pekin, Japanese, Plymouth Rock, Orpington, and more, are popular among chicken enthusiasts. The specific origin of the frizzled feathers seen in Frizzle chickens is unknown, but experts believe that the mutation began in the Far East many centuries ago.

33,335 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

In the United States, authorities only recognize frizzled chickens at types within their parent breeds. However, in Australia, the United Kingdom, and some other parts of Europe, including France, Belgium, Poland, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia, authorities recognize the Frizzle chicken as its own breed. Poultry organizations in countries where the Frizzle chicken is officially recognized do also recognize frizzled varieties within other breeds. This can be a bit confusing to novices in the chicken breeding world.

Frizzle Chicken Scientific Name

The Frizzle chicken’s scientific name is Gallus gallus domesticus. This same scientific name denotes other breeds of domestic chickens around the world. The specific epithet, domesticus, refers to the fact that these chickens have long been domesticated animals. The genus name, Gallus, refers to the Red Junglefowl, Gallus gallus. This species is thought to be the primary ancestor of modern domesticated chickens. This bird ranged across south and southeast Asia. Linnaeus described Gallus gallus in 1758. Molecular evidence suggests that people domesticated at least some of these fowl was early as 8,000 years ago.

Appearance

The Frizzle chicken is defined by its frizzled feathers. These feathers curl away from the body, toward the head of the chicken, instead of lying flat like normal chicken feathers. Consider the highly layered and heavily sprayed, flipped hairstyles women wore a few decades ago. Frizzle chickens have a similarly messy-but-stylish appearance. Breeders work specifically toward an abundance of lifted and curled feathers, avoiding pairings that will result in chickens with overly frizzled plumage. We’ll address that in a bit more detail in the next section, on genetics.

Frizzle chickens have short, rounded, full-breasted bodies that look particularly fluffy due to their frizzled feathers. They have long wings and full tails with somewhat loose feathering that they carry erect. They have a short, yellow beak and bright eyes. Their single comb is bright red, as are their wattles and their face. Most Frizzle chickens have yellow feet and legs without feathering, although some of the darker varieties tend toward black markings on their lower extremities.  

Frizzle chickens come in both large varieties and in bantam size. The larger varieties average about 7 to 8 pounds for roosters and about 5 to 6 pounds for hens. Bantam varieties average between about 20 to 28 ounces, and these are the preferred size for many breeders.

A Frizzle chicken and her chicks forage in the green grass of a fenced yard.

©HollyHarry/Shutterstock.com

Color Variations

Frizzle chickens, where recognized as a unique breed, come in a variety of colors. The Entente Européenne, an organization that oversees the breeding of poultry and other species such as rabbits and guinea pigs, recognizes Frizzle chickens throughout much of Europe. This organization officially recognizes only four colors, including black, white, blue, and cuckoo.

Within the United Kingdom, the Poultry Club of Great Britain sets standards for the breed that include 19 recognized color variations. Several accepted noted on the Breed Standard page of the Frizzle Society of Great Britain include varieties such as white, black, blue, buff, mottled, barred, and cuckoo, all of which have similar appearances for both males and females. Other varieties, including spangle, red, pile, brown-red, black-red, silver and gold duckwing, and more exhibit sexual dimorphism, with marked differences between males and females.

In Australia, authorities recognize a variety of colors. According to the Open Poultry Standards of Australia, accepted Frizzle chicken colors include black, blue, buff, and white. Judges accept other “self-coloured” birds if they exhibit pure and even shading across their plumage. Varieties including black-red, gold and silver duckwing, and others are also accepted as long as they are recognized color variants.

Genetics

If you took a high school biology class, you probably remember learning about Gregor Mendel and his famous pea plants. Mendel’s experimented with pea plants which had flowers of different colors. When he bred pea plants with red flowers to pea plants with white flowers, the resulting plants all had pink flowers. This trait, called incomplete dominance, means that neither the red gene nor the white gene was completely dominant over the other. The offspring of this first cross, therefore, all had a color somewhere in the middle.

With a second cross of pink-flowered pea plants bred to each other, the offspring appeared in a consistent 1:2:1 ratio. In Mendel’s experiments, 25 percent of the offspring had red flowers, 25 percent had white, and 50 percent had pink flowers. The same thing happens with many chickens, including the Blue Andalusian and its blue coloring which was studied by Reginald Punnett, and the Frizzle chickens and its famously frizzled feathers.

Contemporary Research

Researchers in 2012 proposed that the frizzled quality in the feathers resulted from an α-Keratin mutation that caused a defect in the formation of the rachis, or central spine, of the feathers. Like Mendel’s pea plants, Frizzle chickens pass their mutation in an autosomal incomplete dominance fashion. It results in the same 1:2:1 ratio of offspring, with 25 of the offspring having smooth feathers, 50 percent frizzled, and 25 percent over-frizzled, or frazzled. In 2018, another team of researchers found that the frizzled feathers in Qilin chickens may result from parallel genetic mechanisms.

Whatever specific mutations affect the keratin in Frizzle chickens’ feathers, the result gives them the uplifted, curled appearance common to the breed. Overly frizzled individuals, sometimes called Frazzles, inherit two copies of the frizzle mutation, leading to feathers that are brittle and sparse, along with other potential health problems such as balding. enlarged hearts and a shortened lifespan.

Behavior

Breeders describe Frizzle chickens as docile and friendly birds, fairly well suited to life as pets. Owners primarily breed them as show and exhibition birds. They are neither a preferable meat bird nor a particularly proficient egg producer. These birds actively forage and prefer to range freely. They do not fly well, despite their long wings, so high fences are not required to keep them safe. They do adjust well to confinement, though. Owners may utilize a secure coop and perhaps even a covered daytime run to prevent predation and undesired breeding.

Diet

Frizzle chickens are omnivores. Although they are not particularly fast, nor good at flying, they are especially good at foraging. These active birds love to range freely all day long and hunt for food. They prey on invertebrates such as insects, larvae, spiders, and centipedes. Worms also make easy prey. They may even catch small animals such as mice, lizards, and frogs. They also eat seeds, green plant parts, and other vegetation.

Owners should supplement their flock with a high-quality commercial feed with plenty of protein and calcium. The extra protein will help support feather growth and retention. Frizzle chickens also welcome leafy greens, other fruits and vegetables. and treats like pasta and rice.   

Reproduction

Frizzle chickens are not the best egg layers. They lay approximately 120 to 150 eggs per year. Hens do tend to become broody, and they are excellent mothers. They begin laying eggs by the time they are about 5 to 6 months of age. They produce medium sized eggs that are white or cream colored. Chicks take about 21 days to incubate. The hens spend considerable time foraging with their chicks after they hatch.

Because owners breed these chickens mainly as show birds, they must take precautions to avoid the dreaded frazzle chickens. These overly-frizzled birds hatch roughly 25 percent of the time when two frizzled birds mate. Frazzle chickens suffer from brittle, overly frizzled feathers, in addition to health problems including heart disease. The only way to avoid getting these birds is to employ careful breeding techniques, keeping undesirable roosters away from hens.

Predators

Frizzle chickens can fall prey to a number of predators. Although they are medium to large size chickens with long wings, they are not good at all at flying. Therefore, they are susceptible to common ground predators including foxes, raccoons and weasels. Large birds of prey such as owls, hawks, and eagles can easily snatch young chickens or chicks, or the tiny bantam variety Frizzle chickens if they roam outside an enclosure. Snakes may prey on eggs and chicks at the nest if the coops are not completely secure.

Lifespan

Frizzle chickens are a relatively hardy breed. They have an average lifespan of about six to eight years. Cold or damp weather can pose dangers to these birds. Their frizzled feathers do not provide as much protection from the elements as the smooth, tight feathers would. In recent years, diseases such as avian flu have threatened flocks in Europe. However, because Frizzle chickens are usually raised in small flocks, they may have a lower risk due to isolation from other poultry.

Other Frizzled Chickens

As noted before, many other recognized breeds have frizzled varieties. The genetic mechanism, or mechanisms, that cause frizzled feathers in the Frizzle breed that is recognized in the United Kingdom, Australia, and several European countries is also found in a variety of chickens all around the world. Pekin and Polish chickens are two of the most popular breeds in the United States that often exhibit frizzled feathers. Cochin chickens and Plymouth Rock chickens also come in frizzled types. Bantam varieties, such as the Japanese, Orpington, and Polish are quite popular. Some breeders even cross different breeds to create frizzled birds with unique qualities. No matter the breed, a bit of frizzle in the feathers makes the chickens extra cute and fluffy. And that’s a quality backyard breeders seem to like.

View all 91 animals that start with F

About the Author

Tavia discovered she had a gift for teaching when she was 21 years old. Having recently changed her major from engineering to wildlife biology, she was thrilled to take on an internship with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She began her work excited about going into the field and saving endangered species, but soon realized she could make the biggest difference by helping to educate young people about animals, the environment and science in general. Tavia loves all animals, especially the ones that need our help the most. Over the years, she has cared for many pets, including snakes, toads, a tarantula, tree frogs, a salamander, hissing cockroaches, mice, donkeys, calves, horses, and a number of cats and dogs, but dogs are definitely her favorite! She believes that together, we can make our world a better place.

Frizzle Chicken FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What do Frizzle chickens look like?

The Frizzle chicken is defined by its frizzled feathers. These feathers curl away from the body, toward the head of the chicken, instead of lying flat like normal chicken feathers. Frizzle chickens have short, rounded, full-breasted bodies that look particularly fluffy due to their frizzled feathers. They have long wings and full tails with somewhat loose feathering that they carry erect. They have a short, yellow beak and bright eyes. Their single comb is bright red, as are their wattles and their face. Most Frizzle chickens have yellow feet and legs without feathering, although some of the darker varieties tend toward black markings on their lower extremities.  

How big are Frizzle chickens?

Frizzle chickens are short and round, weighing between 5 and 8 pounds. Bantam varieties weigh considerably less, ranging from about 20 to 28 ounces at maturity.

How well do Frizzle chickens fly?

Frizzle chickens do not fly well. In spite of their long wings, they have a difficult time getting their round, heavy bodies off the ground. They are easy to contain without the use of high fences or covered enclosures.

How many varieties of Frizzle chickens exist?

All Frizzle chickens are part of the Gallus gallus domesticus species. As many as 19 different color variations of Frizzle chickens are recognized by the Poultry Club of Great Britain. Besides the Frizzle chicken breed, which is recognized in Australia, Great Britain, and other parts of Europe, there are many frizzled varieties of other chicken breeds throughout the world.

What makes Frizzle chickens special?

Frizzle chickens are known for their frizzled feathers, which result from a genetic mutation.

Where do Frizzle chickens live?

Chickens with frizzled feathers live all over the world. In the United States and many other countries, these birds are recognized only as variations of their parent breeds. However, in some locations Frizzle chickens are recognized as a unique breed. The Frizzle chicken is bred and recognized in Australia, the United Kingdom, and in several other parts of Europe, including France, Belgium, Poland, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

Do Frizzle chickens tolerate confinement well?

Frizzle chickens enjoy ranging freely and foraging. Thanks to their poor flight skills, they are easy to contain without confining them to covered enclosures. However, they do adapt well to confinement if necessary.

What animals prey on Frizzle chickens?

Frizzle chickens can fall prey to a number of predators, including foxes, raccoons, weasels, and large birds of prey. Snakes are common nest predators that may prey on eggs and chicks if the coops where the chickens are kept are not completely secure.

What do Frizzle chickens eat?

Frizzle chickens eat primarily commercial feed. Because they are raised mostly as show or exhibition birds, they need a feed that is high in protein to support feather growth and maintenance. They are also excellent foragers. They eat a variety of prey, such as insects, insect larvae, other invertebrates such as spiders and centipedes, and even small animals such as lizards, frogs, and mice.

How many eggs do Frizzle chickens lay?

Frizzle chickens lay an average of 120 to 150 medium size, cream to white colored eggs each year. Hens do often go broody, and they are good mothers.

How long do Frizzle chickens live?

Frizzle chickens live an average of 6 to 8 years. Individuals that receive two copies of the genetic mutation that causes the frizzled feathers, sometimes referred to as Frazzle chickens, may suffer from a variety of health problems and have a shortened lifespan.

Are Frizzle chickens rare?

Frizzle chickens are considered somewhat rare. Because they must be selectively bred to maintain the frizzled quality that is desired for the breed, their future depends on careful breeders.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Newly Added Animals

A Lipstick Albino Boa
Lipstick Albino Boa

Lipstick albino boas are a designer morph that you'll only find from breeders.

A Cow Reticulated Python
Cow Reticulated Python

Cow reticulated pythons hatch solid white, then develop spots as they mature.

A scissor tailed flycatcher
scissor tailed flycatcher

Scissor-tailed flycatchers are known for their dramatically long tails!

Most Recently Updated Animals

A Bismarck Ringed Python
Bismarck Ringed Python

When these snakes are babies, they look like Halloween snakes with their bright orange and black bands.

A Nose-Horned Viper
Nose-Horned Viper

The fangs of a nose-horned viper can be as long as half an inch!

A Eyelash Viper
Eyelash Viper

While the eyelash viper can be a pet, be cautious – they are extremely venomous!