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

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