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.
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.
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.
 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.
 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.
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.
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.
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.