As we look for chickens we start to realize just have many color variations there our there. And some of them have names like Mille Fleur, Black Breasted Red, Penciled, Laced, etc.
These color variants pop up on most of the chicken breeds that have different recognized color variations.
Most of which have been genetically manipulated by humans to form the perfect color or have naturally mutated.
Chicken Feather Genetics
When it comes to the chicken’s feather genetics there are only two pigments that exist, and these are the red pigment and black pigment. With the combining of these over time and selective breeding, we now have an entire bouquet of beautiful color varieties.
The colors tend to be more pronounced a lot brighter on the male chickens of each breed. This is so they can strut their beautiful plumes in order to attract their mate(s).
The females, although also have beautiful coloring, is a lot less showy and more so she can camouflage herself while she hatches her eggs.
Color Varieties that are Found in a lot of the Various Chicken Breeds
Bay Color Variety
The Bay color is a golden brown almost like a warm mahogany. An example of this color would be the ISA Brown and the Golden Comet. Their beautiful soft warm brown feathers are what would be referred to as Bay.
Barred Color Variety
The Barred Wyandotte, Barred Plymouth Rock and Dominique Chickens are great examples of the barred pattern of chicken feathers. The Feathers have light and then dark patches on them sometimes making them look like they are checkered.
Birchen Color Variety
Birchen is a mixed color where the males saddle is white/silver. The tail feathers of the chicken no matter its sex is black, and the head and hackles are white/silver. The breast of both sexes is black with a small silver trim on them. A prime example of a Chicken breed with this color variation are Marans.
Black Color Variety
This is when the feathers are completely black to a point where they generally have a blue/purple or what is referred to as a “beetle-green” sheen to them. Some examples of this are the Black Minorca, Black Aseel, Ayam Cemani and the Black Jersey Giant.
There are other black color variants such as the Black Laced, Black-tailed Buff, Black-tailed red and Black-tailed white.
Black Breasted Red Color Variety
An example of this coloring would be the Red Jungle Fowl. A lot of the gamefowls such as the Old English Game fowl, the Black Breasted Red Cubalaya and even the Aseel breed comes in Black Breasted Red. They take their coloring from their wild ancestors.
The hens in this color variety are not as showy as the males and tend to have orange/yellow color hackles that are sometimes black and laced with a golden color. They have black tail feathers, salmon-colored breast feathers and brown feathers covering their bodies.
The roosters have longer more glossy feathers with red hackles, black tail and body feathers.
Blue Color Variety
There are many different blue colors but mostly they are a more diluted black. These variations can be a Lavender Blue (mainly used by the UK) which is called a Self-blue in America. This is a pale blue that is almost grey.
Then you get Lemon Blue (blue with yellow plumage), Slate Blue (light almost grey-blue), Leaden Blue and then there is blue that is black laced.
A good example is the Cochin as it comes in many varieties of the blue including Lemon Blue and blue. The Lemon Blue Old English is also beautiful.
There are many other combinations of blue such as Blue Golden Duckwing, Blue Breasted Red, Blue Silver Duckwing, Blue Mottled, Blue Laced Red and Blue Light brown.
Buff Color Variety
Buff is a soft golden color which you would find on that of the Buff Orpington.
Buff has different variations such as Black-tailed buff, etc.
Brown Color Variety
Chestnut Color Variety
Chestnut is a very deep red-brown color that is more red than brown. Rhode Island Reds have this kind of coloring.
Cinnamon Color Variety
This is a dark reddish buff color or rather a reddish gold. Chickens who are a good example of this color are Cinnamon Queens.
Columbian Color Variety
The Columbian Plymouth Rock and Light Sussex breeds are really good examples of this color variant. In the hens they have white body feather, their tail feathers have some black ones. The hen’s neck has black feathers that are laced with white ones.
The Males have black/green white laced hackles, whilst their sickle feathers and tail feathers are black. The males have white heads and back as well as their thigh feathers.
Crele Color Variety
A breed that has a Crele variety that is readily available is the Crele Orpington.
Crele is a mix of Black-Breasted red and cuckoo barring. It gives the feathers an orange/yellow color with red tints in it.
Cuckoo can sometimes get mixed up with the Barred coloring. It to have dark and white patches but unlike the Barred coloring, the cuckoo’s light and dark checks are not even they are kind of scattered. This makes them look like they are all over the place! Cuckoo comes in quite a few color variations. Such as Cuckoo Birchen Blue for the Faverolles breed of chicken and Cuckoo Dark Red Silver Grey for the Dorking chicken breed.
Duckwing Color Variety
This color variation comes with a very distinctive color across the wings of the male. It is much like that of a ducks coloring. Gamefowl such as the Old English Game Fowl and the Malay chickens have this color variant.
Fawn Color Variety
There are different variations of the coloring much like that of the Blue. Fawn is a light brown color. You get variations such as Blue Fawn, Fawn Silver, etc. Breeds that have this color variant are Fawn Silver Duckwing Old English Game Bantams.
Golden Laced Color Variety
One of the most beautiful color patterns that come in different colors like blue laced Wyandotte, Not matter the color variant the pattern remains much the same. For the Golden Laced color, for instance, the feathers will be a gold color with laced black edges. For a good example of this, you can see the Golden Laced Cochins. As with any other breed, the male with have brighter colors set on different parts of his body and the females will be a little duller. But the lacing patterns remain much the same
Mille Fleur Color Variety
The Belgian D’Uccle is a good example of the Mille Fleur coloring. The feather color for this variation is usually a brownish red gold or mahogany. The tips of the feathers will have a black crescent shape with a white V-Shaped tip to it.
Partridge Color Variety
Once again, the Cochin chicken breed is a good example as they have the Partridge color variant. This coloring is a red/bay color that has at least three black penciled markings on each feather. It makes the bird look like it was delicately woven together with a fine stitch. Another really beautiful color variant.
Red Color Variety
For this variation, the most well-known one would be the Rhode Island Red. Their feathers are a deep rich red. The rooster’s feathers are a deep rich mahogany red with deep black tail feathers.
Red Pyle Color Variety
The Old English Game fowl especially the roosters show off this color the best. Hens are white/salmon and their head is gold. The roosters have long hackle feathers of a golden orange-red that almost looks like they are sporting a mane. This color is also on his back and a bit on his wings. The rest of his body is white even his beautiful tail feathers.
Salmon Color Variety
Salmon is like the Buff color only it is more pinkish. This color is best seen in the Salmon Faverolles chicken breed.
Silver Color Variety
The Ameraucana has a Silver variety. Which is basically a combination of white silver and black feathering.
Silver Laced Color Variety
The color of the silver white and black is much the same as above except with the laced pattern that is the same markings at the Golden Laced coloring. A prime example would be the Silver Laced Wyandotte chicken breed.
Silver Penciled Color Variety
The Silver Penciled Plymouth Rock is a breed that has this color variant. The feathers that cover their bodies are silver with three pencil markings on them. Their heads are usually silver with their hackle’s feathers silver laced. This makes a very striking pattern on the chicken.
Wheaten Color Variety
This color variation is likened to the color of yellow wheat. The Roosters once again has a more golden brighter wheaten coloring to that of the subtle wheaten coloring of the hens. Marans have a wheaten color variation.