When you see a classification of chicken feathers, you don’t normally see green-feathered chickens listed.
Colour variations of a chicken breed usually include white, black, buff, golden, red, and combinations of those colours.
However, there are chickens with feathers that appear to be green.
This green colouring is usually visible on black chickens under certain lighting, giving the feathers a beautiful iridescent green shimmer.
This is due to the scattering and reflecting of light, called the Tyndall effect.
Overall, most black-feathered chickens have a good chance of developing a green sheen on their feathers.
There are four types of feather luster: green, purple, blue, and matte (no sheen).
You can improve this quality on your black chicken by breeding green-sheen black chickens with other green-sheen black chickens, eliminating the ones with purple sheen.
Other than genetics, you will also need to keep the chicken healthy.
Black chickens with green sheens are considered to be better, and their feathers also feel softer, indicating better quality.
A healthy bird with good nutrients will have more sheen to its feathers.
It should also be noted that green sheen is more often found in roosters, although some hens have it, too.
If you want to have a chicken that glistens green under the sun, you should consider buying one of the following breeds.
The first chicken with green feathers is the Australorp chicken. It’s a breed from Australia that has been bred from Orpington chicken, specifically with the goal of creating a mighty egg layer breed. In one year, it can lay about 250-300 eggs or even more. The eggs are medium-sized, light brown eggs. Australorps will give you eggs regardless of the weather.
This Australian breed has a big build, with tightly packed soft feathers. Most Australorps are black-feathered and they’re known to have a green sheen in their feathers. There are also other varieties of the breed such as blue and white Australorps, but they’re pretty rare to find.
Australorps have a good temperament. They make good pets and they like being near their owners. Even though they like to free-range, they will also behave well when confined. If you want a beautiful black chicken with green shimmers that will sit on your child’s lap and also lay multiple eggs a week, an Australorp is the perfect choice for you!
- Ayam Cemani
Originating from Java, an island in Indonesia, Ayam Cemani is a unique chicken breed. Unlike other black chickens, Ayam Cemani is completely black, including its feathers, comb, skin, meat, bones, legs, toes, and even organs. Due to this, they have been associated with spiritual and mystical practices by the locals.
Being the incredible phenomenon that it is, no wonder this breed is expensive. They’re usually owned by ornamental chicken enthusiasts to add to their collection. Ayam Cemani is really a sight to behold. Their fully black, sleek body is slender complete with an upright stature. Sometimes, their black feathers will have that green sheen when hit by certain lights.
Ayam Cemani breed isn’t typically bred for their eggs, since they only lay one egg a week, resulting in around 80 eggs per year. Their eggs are also relatively small to medium so it’s not worth it. And while you’ll see many click baits online about Ayam Cemani eggs being as black as their body, this is actually a lie. Ayam Cemani eggs are white. However, if you want to collect them, they’re perfectly good, friendly, and low-maintenance chickens.
- Sumatra chicken
Another breed from Indonesia, Sumatra chicken comes from the island of Sumatra. If you really want your chicken to have green feathers, this breed is a great choice. The chances of it having that gleam green are very high.
In fact, if you do a quick Google image search of the breed, you will find that most of the results have green feathers in them. This is why they are known for their looks and people breed them as ornamental chickens. Sumatra chicken also has a long tail that adds to its beauty.
However, it should be noted that Sumatra chicken is considered a rare breed. On top of that, they are also tricky to raise. They’re not domesticated, so they’re usually unfriendly towards both humans and other chickens. They also don’t like being confined and would rather be in an open area where they can forage.
Due to their aggressive nature, it is not recommended to breed them for eggs. Sumatra chickens aren’t very good layers, laying about 100 white eggs a year that are small in size.
- Jersey Giant
You can probably infer from their name, that Jersey Giant is a breed of large chickens originating in New Jersey, USA. They are the biggest chicken breed in the US, with the males capable of growing up to 26 inches tall. The roosters weigh about 13 to 15 pounds and the hens about 11 pounds.
They have yellow skin, a red single comb, and a relatively short tail. The black variety of the breed often has the iridescent green colour we’re looking for. There are also white and blue varieties of the Jersey Giant.
Interestingly, they were bred to replace turkeys. But because they take longer to reach full size and the supply of turkeys improved, Jersey Giants saw a decline in demand, causing the breed to become critically endangered at one point. The current Jersey Giants have also become smaller than when they were first bred.
Jersey Giants are known to be good pets, including for houses with children. They’re also great with other chickens and other animals. They don’t peck others and they’re not aggressive. However, they can hold their own with their imposing size and stance.
- Black Minorca
Minorca chicken is a breed originating in Menorca, a Mediterranean island that belongs to Spain. It’s said that they were bred from Menorcan birds by the British during colonialism. Minorca is one of the biggest Mediterranean chicken breeds. Other than their body, their eggs are also one of the largest out of standard breeds.
The Minorca comes in a variety of colors, including white and buff. But the majority of them have black feathers that gleam green in the sunlight. They have a slim black-feathered body and a long tail with a single comb atop their head. Minorcas also sport exceptionally large black earlobes as one of its distinguishing features.
They are an active breed and they tend to travel too far if allowed to roam free. However, they will behave well in confinement. Minorcas are a good choice for a pet for children because they’re very docile and friendly. They’re usually also bred for their eggs. Minorca chickens lay big white eggs and they can lay around 120 eggs annually.
Langshan is a chicken breed native to China, specifically to the district of Langshan. They’ve been around since the 19th century, making them one of the oldest breeds that are still living. They’ve been said to be one of the best breeds to raise as pets because they have a good temperament and are also productive. Sadly, they’re considered an endangered species.
There are 6 varieties of the Langshan: large black, large blue, large white, bantam black, bantam blue, and bantam white. Black Langshans are easier to find than the other varieties, and they sometimes have a green sheen. Langshan chickens are large, weighing up to 9.5 pounds. They have feathers on their legs, tightly-packed feathers on their body, and an upright tail.
Langshan chickens are great layers. They can lay about 200 medium-sized brown eggs per year. They’re also known amongst chick lovers to be the sweetest fowl. Some people who own this breed have said that their Langshan likes to follow them around. They’re even described to behave like dogs because they show the desire to be near their owners. They’re surely great with children, too. Langshan chicken is a good breed for beginners.
- Black Faverolles
Last but not least, Faverolles chicken is a breed of fowl from the village of Faverolles in France. They are medium in size and have five toes. They were bred by mixing a lot of breeds with the goal of creating a breed whose flesh can be eaten bountifully and who lays eggs in winter. This is why they have compact, fluffy feathers to warm them during the cold months.
The original breeders of Faverolles chicken really succeeded in their mission, as Faverolles can lay around 150-200 eggs a year, including in wintertime. They will continue on to lay eggs in cold weather when other chickens will usually have stopped.
The most common variety of the Faverolles is actually salmon, and Salmon Faverolles are very popular because no other chicken breed has a colour pattern quite like it. But Black Faverolles are really worth mentioning as one of the chickens with green feathers because they are really beautiful. Faverolles with fully black feathers appears to have a green shimmer under the sunlight.
¹ Photo by Deb Nystrom on Flickr