White Chickens With Feathers On Their Feet [4 Breeds]

Have you just been watching some old episodes of Looney Tunes and been laughing at Foghorn Leghorn- the legendary white rooster? 

Has this got you thinking about adding some white chickens to your pack, perhaps some with feathers on their legs?

Even though there is a popular breed of chicken called Leghorn, Foghorn Leghorn is different to them in one crucial way.

Whilst he clearly has feathered legs, Leghorn chickens don’t- although they are a beautiful vibrant white. 

But there are plenty of real life chicken breeds that are white and have feathered legs. 

Before I start discussing some of the breeds of chickens that you might be interested in taking a look at, I first want to think about feathered legs.

Why do chickens have feathered legs? 

No one is quite sure why some breeds of chickens have feathered legs and other breeds don’t. 

Of the 53 large breeds of chickens that are recognised by the American Poultry Association, only eight are breeds with feathered legs. 

But it is easy to see how feathered legs would help a chicken in certain geographic locations. 

Feathered legs would provide a bird with an extra layer of insulation. 

It is obvious to see how this would be of help in very cold weather..

and it’s easy to forget how this would also help a bird in very hot weather. 

But before you rush out to the shops to buy some socks for all of your chickens that have bare legs, there are some downsides to having feathers on their legs.. 

Problems with having feathered legs and feet

There are two main issues with having too many feathers. 

The first issue is mites. Chickens with feathers on their legs are more susceptible to getting scaly leg mites. 

This is because the feathers make a chicken leg an even more attractive place to live or infest. 

On top of that, the feathers make treatment much harder because the feathers get in the way. 

And the second issue is water or more specifically rain and the knock on effects that it has for chicken with feathered legs. 

Wet feathers mean that a bird’s legs will take longer to dry out and when the climate is cold and wet this puts the chickens at risk of something like frostbite. 

Wet feathers also act like a mud sponge. 

Feather leg chickens will spread more mud around which makes for a dirtier coop. 

So having given a bit of an introduction to the reasons for feathered legs and some of the practicalities of owning these sorts of chickens, next I want to think about whether there are any pros or cons of keeping white chickens over other colours of chickens.

What are the disadvantages of keeping white chickens?

There are two downsides to keeping white chickens.

One of these I wouldn’t class as being very serious, whilst the other is.

Let’s deal with the most serious one first.

White chickens seem to be more vulnerable to predators than chickens of other colours.

This is because they don’t blend into their background as well.

Unless they are being kept in a place that has snow for most of the year then white chickens, in most environments, stick out like a sore thumb.

And it is this brilliant white which is part of their attraction but it seems can also be part of their downfall. 

The second disadvantage in keeping white chickens is that they show the dirt more easily.

Now, how serious a problem this is depends on your own individual circumstances but if you like to keep your chickens clean, then a white breed of chicken might send you into a tailspin. 

Coming up next, I will provide details of five breeds of white chickens with feathered legs.

[1] Croad Langshan

Croad Langshans like many breeds of chickens have their origins in China.

These birds were originally imported into the UK from Langshan Mountain which is in the city of Nantung in Eastern China. 

They were imported by a man named Major Croad- sounds like an eccentric character, doesn’t he?! 

And they made their way to America soon after. 

These are large birds. 

Fortunately for us, they have feathered feet and they are available in white-although that is not a very common colour for them. 

Most of these birds come in a beautiful black. 

Apart from having feathered feet another quirky feature about their feet is that the soles should be pink! 

[2] Pekin/ Conchin Bantams

The next breed of chicken that I would like to take a look at is the Pekin or Conchin Batam.

Known as the Pekin in the UK and the Conchin in the US, these birds are only available as Bantams.

Apart from having feathers on their feet, other beautiful aspects to this breed include:

  • how friendly they are
  • what great brooders/ mothers that they make

You can get a pure white Pekin which will come with a red comb but this is only one of a number of colour options. 

Conchins are a very popular breed and so the colour combinations are increasing. 

Other popular colours apart from white, include:

  • Buff
  • Mille Fleur
  • Partridge 
  • Mottled

[3] Silkie

If you want a chicken to pet and bring down your blood pressure then you could do a lot worse than a Silkie.

These birds are named after the way that they feel.

With feathers as soft as silk, cradling and stroking one of these will be a very soothing activity.

And they are an incredibly docile breed who will tolerate being stroked more than other breeds of chicken.

But I have gone off on a tangent.

Although it is useful information to bear in mind, it is not the focus of this article.

The good news is that Silkie’s come in a snow white colour and they have feathers on their feet. 

And the only part of them that isn’t white are their eyes and beak- which are jet black.

It is a shame that their beak isn’t orange because then they would look like a snowman!

[4] Sultans

My last example of a white chicken with feathered legs is a bit of an oddity in this list because it doesn’t originate from China.

Instead it was first bred in the Ottoman Empire, which is now called Turkey.

And they were bred to be kept in the gardens of the royal palaces hence the name.

The rulers of the Ottoman empire were called Sultans. 

Size wise, sultan chickens are like Silkies and the similarity continues with the crest of feathers on their head.

However, Sultans have more “feather-like” feathers than Silkies and instead of having black eyes and beaks they have red.

But also these two breeds are very gentle and docile.

Photo credits

¹ Photo by Conall on Flickr


Black Chickens With Feathers On Their Feet [6 Breeds]

So you are looking to add a little something fancy to your flock?

Perhaps, everything is just a little to “run of the mill”.

Or like me you have a grandchild who loves chickens and would be ecstatic if some were to appear in your run wearing socks!

I don’t know about you, but every time I look at a chicken that has feathered feet I can’t help but think of all those dancers in their long socks from the “Hall of Fame” days!

But if it’s dancing feet that you want, it is dancing feet that you shall have.

And in this article, I list 6 breeds of black chicken with feathered feet. 

Why do chickens have feathered legs?

But before I dive in with a list of specific breeds, I want to give you some background on why it is that some chickens have feathered feet.

And after a little research, although it sounds crazy, no one is quite sure. 

The most logical answer is the most outlandish as well. 

That breeds of chickens that have feathered feet are a throwback to the dinosaurs. 

I kid you not

It seems that chicken feathers are very similar to dinosaur scales… 

But none of this explains why chickens would need feathers on their legs. 

And that must be because the feathers act as a sort of protection to the legs and to keep them warm. 

So having looked at the possible function and role that feathered legs give to a chicken, let’s dig a little deeper and find out if on the whole feathered feet are a thing of beauty or just a pain in the bum. 

Pros of feathered feet

The way that I see it there are a few advantages for a breed of chickens to have feather socks.

  • Feathers make a chicken look more beautiful or stylish
  • They make a chicken more interesting to watch as they move around. 
  • They can provide extra protection to a chicken in hot and cold weather

Cons of furry feet

  • Chickens with feathered feet may have more problems with mites
  • Feathered feet attract more dirt and mud which might lead to more disease.
  • They might get caught in things

Should I cut a chicken’s feathered feet?

Having kind of established that the pros and cons of feathered feet kind of cancel each other out, you might wonder if you should try and cut these feathers off.

And I believe that in most situations you shouldn’t try and trim these feathers.

If they aren’t causing your chicken any real harm, then they are best left alone.

After all, once cut, they will grow back and then you will have to subject the chicken to another haircut which will probably be very stressful. 

Having spent the last few sections discussing feathers, legs and feet, I want to spend the rest of this article matching you up with some black varieties of chickens that have feathered feet. 

[1] Silkie

I want to start by talking about Silkie chickens. 

Named after their fluffy coat of feathers which feels as smooth as silk, these small chickens hail from ancient China. Marco Polo wrote about a furry chicken in the 13th century… 

Their feathered feet complement their wonderful coat. 

And you can even get bearded Silkies. 

That’s right, they come with feathers on their chin as well as their legs. 

And they come in any number of colours-jet black is only one option. 

The most common colour variations are blue, buff, white, grey and partridge.

In terms of size and weight you would be looking at about 1 kilogram for a male and 900 g for a female. 

[2] Belgian D’uccle

From China we now travel to Belgium and to another small variety of chicken. 

Originally from the Belgian town of d’Uccle (don’t you love it when names are used so sensibly) these birds are a true bantam variety.

They don’t come in standard sizes unlike many Battam varieties.

But the Belgian d’Uccle was only created in the early twentieth century instead of having its origins in ancient China. 

In terms of looks, the d’Uccle has a coat of feathers-much like you would see on any other type of chicken. 

And their legs have lots of feathers. 

These birds come in jet black and mottled black varieties but the breed has an enormous colour range including blue, white and millefleur. 

Weight wise d’Uccles are considerably lighter than Silkies with an ideal male specimen weighing between 700 and 800 grams. 

[3] Booted Bantam

If you like the look of a Belgian d’Uccle but are struggling to find any to buy then you won’t go too far wrong with a Booted Batam.

Which is a d’Uccle doppelganger, if you like.

And if you think that they might be identical twins then you might be right.

Because booted bantams were one of the breeds used to create d’Uccles. 

[4] Cochin

Moving onto something a bit different.

The Cochin is another variety of black chicken with feathers on its feet.

Although its origins are in China, new variants were created when it was exported to Europe and to the US in the mid 19th century. 

These birds look regal. 

They have an abundance of feathers that are so thick around their legs that you can be hard pressed to sometimes see their feet. 

A vibrant red comb and wattle finish off the very sophisticated look.

Cochins are available as large fowl and bantam varieties- well in the US at least.

A standard size (male)  bird can weigh over 5 kg, whereas a bantams tips the scales at somewhere around 900 g. 

Cochin Bantams aren’t a recognised breed in the UK. 

Other colours that you can opt for when it comes to Cochins are buf, cuckoo and grouse. 

[5] Faverolles

Named after the small French village in Northern France where the breed was created in the mid 19th century, Faverolles are another fine looking bird.

Although they are available in black, they aren’t common in that colour.

Their most common colour is salmon.

Like the Cochin, they come in standard and bantam sizes. 

A standard size male should weigh around 8 lbs or 4 kgs whereas a male Faverolles bantam should weigh around 1.2 kgs. 

And what about their legs?

Well, their legs don’t tend to be covered in as many feathers as Cocins but their leg plumage is still impressive. 

[6] Sultans

Sultan chickens originate from Turkey- a part of the world that we are yet to travel to in this article.

Little is known about their true origins as more accurate details were only kept when they were first exported to England in the mid nineteenth century. 

However, their name is derived from the fact that these birds were kept in the gardens of the Turkish royalty (Sultans.)

Like the Silkie, Sultans have a crested head or a wonderful crop of tiny feathers on top of their head instead of a comb.

They have a fine set of feathers which extend all the way down their legs and curl over their feet. 

Once again, Sultans can be bought as standard sized chickens or bantams.

To give you an indication of sizes, a standard sized male will be lucky to weigh 3 kilos or 6 pounds.

Which makes Sultan chickens one of the smallest large breed chickens.

The most common colouring for Sultans is pure white.

They do come in black but you may need to hunt a little harder for them. 

And their other claim to fame?

They are one of few breeds of chickens that have five toes.

Photo credits

¹ Photo by normanack on Flickr