- First bred in Germany in the 1800s, the Langshan is capable of laying about 200 eggs yearly and is docile in nature.
- The Australorp is recognizable by its black, green, or white plumage and is capable of outdoing the Langshan with its ability to produce 300 eggs per year.
- Easygoing and capable of growing to impressive sizes, Jersey Giants are popular among pet owners. They lay large brown eggs.
Chickens have long been a source of food-producing meat and eggs for centuries. Found worldwide, with more than 500 different breeds in existence today, there is something for everyone – from prolific layers to pets – and chickens can be kept by pretty much anyone who wants to give it a go. However, one thing to consider is size, and although some can be tiny, there are some giants too! Here are 10 of the largest chicken breeds ranked by weight.
#10: Rhode Island Red
Originating in Rhode Island in northeast America in the late nineteenth century, the Rhode Island red has long been one of the most popular breeds of chicken due to its good nature and dual purpose. Now found worldwide, they have excellent egg-laying ability and can reach weights of around 9 pounds, making them suitable as both an egg producer and a source of meat. They are easily recognizable with their distinctive red plumage that can vary in shades from a light reddish-brown to almost black, and their comb and wattles are also red while their legs and feet are yellow.
The Malay chicken is one of the tallest breeds of chicken, standing around 36 inches, but they are not the heaviest, weighing around 9 pounds. The breed originated in Devon and Cornwall in the UK and was developed by crossing birds imported from India and Asia. They can vary in appearance – from white with pale brown patches to an almost black body with dark brown patches and smooth and glossy feathers. Malays are game birds that were initially used for cockfighting, but nowadays they are often used for showing and egg-laying, with the ability to produce up to 120 eggs a year, which is many more than they were originally able to produce.
#8: German Langshan
The German Langshan is an excellent egg layer
The German Langshan is a large chicken that originated in Germany in the nineteenth century and weighs around 9.5 pounds. They have long legs with a large body and an unusually short tail and are generally only seen in a few colors – black, white, blue, and black-brown. Due to their size, they are often kept for the table, but they are also good layers – producing around 200 eggs per year – which makes them excellent as dual-purpose birds In addition, they are a docile breed which makes them ideal for anyone wanting to be self-sufficient.
Orpington Chicken is more popular as a show chicken rather than a source of food.
©Rex/Public domain – License
The Orpington is a British breed that was first developed in Orpington in the UK by crossing three other breeds – minorcas, langshans, and Plymouth rocks – to create a large dual-purpose bird. Now popular worldwide, Orpingtons can weigh up to 10 pounds and stand around 16 inches tall. They have a heavy-set body that is low to the ground, often making them look quite intimidating, but despite this, they are actually a very calm and docile breed. Orpingtons have soft feathers and their colors are usually black, white, blue, and buff (golden yellow) and nowadays they are often used for showing rather than a food source.
The Australorp can produce more than 300 eggs per year!
The Australorp is a breed of chicken that is extremely popular as it is known to be one of the most prolific egg layers in the world. Originally from Australia, they are easily able to produce more than 300 eggs in a year, making them extremely reliable layers. The Australorp is a large bird that weighs 10 pounds and stands at around 27 inches tall. Their predominant color is black, although blue and white are both acceptable. As well as being good egg layers, the hens make good mothers and are happy to sit on clutches of eggs, which makes them popular with breeders.
#5: Cornish Chicken
The Cornish chicken produces fewer eggs than other breeds
The Cornish chicken, also sometimes known as the Indian game chicken, originated in Cornwall in the UK and is now also popular in Australia and the US. Weighing around 10.5 pounds, Cornish chickens are short-legged, but stocky with large breasts and are usually black or dark brown. Their feathers are quite thin and smooth which makes them easily susceptible to the cold and can therefore affect breeding and hatching rates during colder months. Although they are ideal for producing meat for the table, they are poor layers and only produce around 80 eggs per year.
Originally known as Shanghai chickens, the cochin is a calm and friendly breed.
©Nightflyer, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons – License
Originally from China, Cochin chickens were initially known as Shanghai chickens. With a range of colors, including black, buff, brown, silver, and white, cochins have a stunning appearance as they are notable for the large amounts of feathers on their feet and legs – so much so that it’s often impossible to see their feet at all because of their plumage. Often weighing up to 11 pounds, cochins are particularly heavy birds, but despite their size, they are a calm and friendly breed and make good pets. The hens make exceptional mothers as they will sit on any type of egg and hatch them out – even duck or turkey eggs.
#3: Dong Tao
©Hoang Quoc Phuong/Shutterstock.com
The Dong Tao chicken is also known as the dragon chicken because of its exceptionally large legs and feet which can be as thick as a person’s wrist and covered in red scales. They are a rare breed of chicken from the Dong Tao region of Vietnam and can weigh as much as 12 pounds. Cockerels are usually a stunning reddish-brown while hens are usually white. Due to their large feet, the hens don’t make good mothers as they regularly stand on the eggs, so therefore their eggs are usually hatched in an incubator. Their meat was originally only served to royalty but is now a delicacy and often found in expensive restaurants.
#2: Brahma Chicken
Brahma chickens can exceed 12 pounds
The Brahma chicken usually weighs around 12 pounds and originated in America. A Brahma chicken holds the record as being the heaviest chicken known (more on this below!), but on average the breed is slightly smaller than the Jersey giant which comes in at number one. Brahmas have three known colors – white with black collar and tail, buff with black collar and tail, and dark which is grey with a mixture of black and white collar and a black tail. They are a good dual-purpose chicken as they produce plenty of eggs. Brahmas do well in cold conditions due to their thick feathers. They also have a calm nature but they don’t like being cooped up and prefer to be allowed to roam around and forage for food.
#1: Jersey Giant Chicken
Jersey Giants are on average the largest breed of chicken
The largest chicken in the world is the Jersey Giant chicken. These huge birds originated in New Jersey in northeast America and can weigh up to 13 pounds. Known for being a docile breed with an excellent temperament, Jersey giants are slow growers but make excellent pets for anyone prepared to take care of them. Their colors are usually black, white, or blue and they are known to be particularly good layers during the winter months. The hens lay large brown eggs and make excellent mothers despite their large size.
Bonus: The Largest Chicken on Earth!
Brahma roosters can reach extremely large sizes!
The largest individual chicken on record is named Merakli, and is from Kosovo. Merakli came to fame in 2017 when a Kosovo-based Facebook group posted a picture of a nearly 17-pound rooster.
While Jersey Giants are the largest chicken breed on average, Merakli is a Brahma chicken. His exact weight is said to be 16.5 pounds and he stands just a hair under 2.8 feet tall.
Honorable Mentions: Other Chickens Contending for “World’s Largest” Title
Plymouth Rock roosters have more white than black in their bars due to a sex-linked gene.
©Mshake/iStock via Getty Images
We’ve looked at 10 chickens that look down from heights above the rest and tip the scales as the tallest and weightiest chickens on Earth. But there are other contenders that bear mentioning. Read on to learn about several more very large chicken breeds.
- Belgian Maline (Gallus gallus domesticus) This Belgian chicken (also called Coucou De Malines) originated in the village of Malines in Northern Belgium. It averages from 9-11 pounds but can reach 12 pounds. These birds aren’t exceptional egg layers by volume, so are generally raised for human consumption. They do make good pets due to their calm, gentle temperaments. The most common coloring is black cuckoo out of the 8 recognized colorings in Belgium.
- Plymouth Rock (Gallus gallus domesticus) These plump chickens are a domestic American breed, first discovered in Massachusetts in the 1800s. For a time in the early 1900s they were the most popular chicken breed in the U.S. They weigh 7-9.5 pounds on average and are adaptable chickens that are not only good for consumption but for egg production. Their feathers consist of 7 varieties: barred, blue, buff, Columbian, partridge, silver-penciled and white.
- Faverolles (Gallus gallus domesticus) This chicken breed was developed near the villages of Houdan and Faverolles in France in the 1860s for egg laying and consumption, but became a stand-out species for its appearance, which includes muffs, a beard, feathered feet, and five toes instead of the customary four. They became popular as exhibition chickens as time went on, with German and British offshoots being bred. They average 9.5 to 11 pounds in weight.
Summary of the 10 Largest Chickens in the World
Let’s take a look back at the chickens that make the grade as being among the 10 largest subspecies on Earth!
|Jersey Giant Chicken
|Rhode Island Red
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Hoang Quoc Phuong/Shutterstock.com
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