Looking for a list of the top ten largest chicken breeds to help you select a truly Grade-A flock? Look no further. If you are a chicken breeder who wants to raise the best chickens for meat production and egg size, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with how some of the biggest breeds measure up. Otherwise, you might wind up with a flock that’s not all it’s cracked up to be. But don’t worry. We’ve compiled a helpful list of facts on the ten largest breeds to help keep you from getting scrambled.
Breaking Down in Detail the Largest Chicken Breeds
Jersey Giant. It’s right there in the name and its ranked number one in our list of the ten largest chicken breeds . If you’re looking for a mild-mannered breed to raise for both meat and egg production purposes, you might want to consider this gentle giant. The roosters of this breed can tip the scales close to fifteen pounds, making it one of the biggest breeds out there. Keep in mind that white Jersey Giants generally weigh-in a bit lighter than their black counterparts.
Not only are Jersey Giants no “featherweights,” they are also one of the taller chicken breeds. Reaching heights cresting two feet tall, they are head and cockscombs over most breeds. First bred as an option to domestic turkeys, the Jersey Giant has its origins in New Jersey as a heritage breed.
This breed is an excellent choice for small farms. The Giant’s mellow disposition makes it an easy companion for other animals and people. Hens will also produce a spectacular number of big brown eggs—close to two hundred per year.
Coming in a close second behind the Jersey Giant is the Maline chicken. You don’t see this breed quite as often, but pound-for-pound, it can weigh nearly as much as the Giant. This chicken breed can weigh up to twelve pounds.
The Maline is a very gentle chicken, first seen in Belgium in the 19th century. As such, they are a fantastic breed to raise in households with young children. They are also lovely to look at, with both sexes of the breed sporting the alternating horizontal stripes of cuckoo-patterned feathers. Cuckoo-patterned feathers are similar to barred feathers, often seen on breeds like the Barred Rock or Barred Cochin—distinct black and white stripes encircling the body of the chicken. However, the cuckoo-pattern is less distinct, muddy around the edges.
You’ll see a fair number of eggs from the laying hens of this breed as well. Most will produce around one-hundred fifty brown eggs in a year.
You won’t find the Dong Tao in many traditional flocks, as this rare, Vietnamese bird is a threatened breed, but as one of the most massive chicken breeds in the world, it warrants a mention.
The docile and trusting Dong Tao is unlikely to win any beauty pageants as its extremities are unusually swollen and engorged—its legs can sometimes be as big around as a human wrist—but its meat is tasty, and there’s quite a bit of it with each bird weighing up to twelve pounds.
It’s not a breed to consider if you’re looking for good egg production. This isn’t because the hens aren’t layers, however. Rather, their lack of grace often leads to unintended damage to the eggs as the unwieldy hens clamber from the nesting box. Talk about egg on you face, er, foot.
While the familiar Brahma doesn’t typically tip the scales at more than ten pounds, the breed does hold the potential to reach staggering sizes. Merakli, a nearly two-foot-tall Brahman from Kosovo, weighs in at almost seventeen pounds! The docile breed is a great choice for both meat and egg production. This traditionally friendly breed also lends itself to being a fantastic pet. They are also a good choice is you’re looking to add a variety of color to your flock. The Brahma comes in a host of colors ranging from light to dark.
If your primary goal is a bird with excellent annual egg production, consider the Brahma breed whose hens will lay upwards of three hundred eggs per year.
If meat production is your focus, then the Cornish chicken is likely an excellent breed choice for you. Not to be confused with the Cornish Rock chicken, which is frequently bred for commercial meat purposes, the Cornish chicken is actually the stock from which that breed was developed. While the Cornish Rock breed is larger than the Cornish, it is susceptible to health issues which do not plague the Cornish.
The Cornish originated in the United Kingdom in the 19th century. They aren’t typically raised for egg production but can provide decent meat as they weigh in at or around ten pounds. You can find them in a variety of colors, from a tawny buff to a white, lacy red. Another trait which makes this breed desirable is its tolerance for a wide range of temperatures.
A typically easy-going breed, the Cornish doesn’t necessarily make a great pet or yard-mate. Even though you won’t experience many issues with dominance, if you decide to raise this breed, ensure they have ample space.
Like the Cornish, the Orpington also originated in the United Kingdom. Also like the Cornish, the Orpington is a heritage breed, a breed recognized by the American Poultry Association as being established prior to the mid-twentieth century.
Unlike the Cornish, however, the Orpington makes an excellent choice for both meat and egg production. Most birds weigh in at about ten pounds, and the hens can lay nearly three hundred eggs per year.
While the Orpington is a recognized heritage breed, not all its variants are necessarily recognized by breed standards. You can find Orpingtons is lavender, splash, white, buff, chocolate cuckoo, and more. Even though the breed colors are widely varied, you won’t find an appreciable variance in size.
If you want to raise a larger breed of chicken, but are limited on space, the Orpington might be a good choice. These mild birds adapt well to coops if you can’t afford large yard space. The Orpington is also a fantastic choice for folks with an eye toward raising chicks.
Another large breed with more eastern roots is the Langshan, which traveled from China to the United States sometime in the 1800s. If you’re interested in show chicken, the Langshan is a great choice. It sports uniquely feathered feet which makes it a frequent prize winner.
Not quite as heavy as some of the other birds on our list at 9.5 pounds, the Langshan does tend to stand taller than many other average breeds. You’ll see decent egg production from the layers in this flock, with just under two hundred dark brown eggs per hen each year.
Adaptable to a variety of weather conditions, the Langshan fares particularly well in warmer climes as it is very heat tolerant. It is also skilled at foraging.
Rhode Island Red
When you start talking about the ten largest chicken breeds, most conversations will include the famous Rhode Island Red.
The heritage Rhode Island Red, established by early European settlers, is a fairly large breed, weighing in at about nine pounds. An attractive breed, its feathers are a silky, deep red. For those more interested in higher egg production, there is a smaller version of the Rhode Island Red, though it is more often seen in industrial production settings. Depending on which version of the Red you get, you will see anywhere from six to eight eggs per week from your laying hens.
A hardy breed, the Rhode Island Red is low maintenance. It makes a great backyard chicken, requiring little interference from its humans. All things considered, the Rhode Island Red is a fantastic starter bird.
Beautiful, tall, and feisty. These are the words that come to mind when describing the next large chicken breed on our list—the Malay. Reaching heights near thirty inches, on average it is by far the tallest breed of chicken on this list.
The Malay is a cross breed between chickens indigenous to India and those found on the Malay peninsula. First bred in Europe, their substantial height quickly gained the breed favor. These birds don’t quite have the heft of the Jersey Giant at a more modest nine pounds, they still offer a substantial amount of table meat. Egg production is equally modest, with layers only producing around a hundred eggs per year. Unlike many of the breeds listed here, Malay hens will not produce year-round.
An aggressive bird, they need ample space to move about. As such, it is not a recommended breed if you have limited space, younger children, or other breeds. They do make an excellent show bird, however.
If you’re looking for a great egg producer with a friendly disposition and more than a little meat on their bones, consider the Barred Rock. One of the oldest breeds on this list, the seven-pound Barred Rock was established in America in the 16th century.
Both the males and females are genial birds with beautiful, barred feathers. The horizontal black and white stripes encircle their bodies in crisp, bold patterns. You can expect your hens to lay close to three hundred eggs a year, making the Barred Rock a fabulous choice for those looking for a breed with above average egg production.
What is the largest type of chicken?
It all comes down to whether you’re looking at height or weight. When considering weight, the Jersey Giant wins, hands down, at a considerable fifteen pounds. While the Jersey Giant stands close to two feet tall, it’s the Malay who takes the prize for height. This chicken can grow as tall as thirty inches, surpassing the Jersey Giant.
What is the biggest meat chicken bird?
While the Cornish Cross is often prized by commercial breeders because of the speed at which they develop, the Jersey Giant again holds the title for largest meat bird. Recognized as one of the ten largest chicken breeds, they do take longer to develop. As such, they don’t lend themselves for commercial purposes, but they are a fabulous addition to any backyard or small farm flock!
Which breed of chicken lays the largest egg?
We’ll give you one guess. That’s right! The Jersey Giant! The Jersey Giant lays some of the biggest eggs of all the chicken breeds. The closest comparable breed would be the New Hampshire but, on average, you’ll see some of the biggest brown eggs come from these gentle giants.
Whether you’re looking for the best layer, the best producer of table meat, or the best ornamental show bird, armed with these facts, we hope you have learned which of ten largest chicken breeds is just right for your flock. What are you waiting for? Get cracking.