Black chicken breeds are making a resurgence in backyard coops and homesteads around the world—and for good reason. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, they also have a certain resilience about them that sets them apart from most breeds.
While they might all appear black-feathered, not all black chickens are the same. From hybrids to rare heritage birds, each breed has unique and attractive characteristics that make them stand out from the flock. For some breeds, the “blackness” goes beyond the plumage and runs bone deep.
In this article, I’ll share ten of the most peculiar large black chicken breeds I’ve found. Keep reading to find out!
Table of Contents
1. Black Australorp
Black Australorps are a large black chicken breed popular for their egg-laying abilities and meat production. The breed was developed in Australia in the early 1900s by crossing Black Orpingtons with Minorca, White Leghorn, and Langshan chicken breeds. Today, Black Australorps are found all over the world and are used extensively in commercial poultry operations.
They have black plumage with some greenish iridescence and white skin. Black Australorps are quite hardy and adaptable, able to withstand hot summers and cold winters.
The average adult rooster weighs about 9 lbs, and hens weigh about 7 lbs. They lay medium to large brown eggs, with each hen producing around 250 annually. In terms of meat production, Black Australorps dress out at 5-7 pounds apiece.
Black Australorp chicks cost between $2.80 – $3.48.
2. Black Plymouth Rock
The Plymouth Rock is a large native American breed of domestic chicken that dates back to the 1800s. The Black Plymouth Rock, also called the Black Rock, is a cross between the Rhode Island (parent stock) and the Barred Rock (parent stock) breeds. It has a characteristic black plumage with brown/gold feathers that extend from around its head to the crop.
The Black Plymouth Rock is a dual-purpose bird raised for its meat and eggs. It is also quite hardy and tolerant of cold weather and heat.
The Black Plymouth Rock hen lays about 280-310 large brown eggs annually. Roosters can reach a weight of 8 pounds (3.6 kg), and hens up to 6 pounds (2.7 kg).
The average cost of Black Plymouth Rock chicks is often less than $5.
3. Black Jersey Giant
As the name suggests, the Black Jersey Giant is a large (giant) chicken breed. It has a regal stance, coupled with an all-black plumage, which makes it stand out in a flock. This breed’s friendliness and docile disposition make them ideal for backyard coops and homesteads.
Black Jersey Giants are raised for both meat and eggs. Each year, the hens lay about 200 eggs.
The average mature Black Jersey Giant weighs 12 pounds or more, making it one of the largest chicken breeds known.
Black Jersey Giant chicks cost an average of $3.50.
4. Black Brahma
The Black Brahma is one of the oldest and largest chicken breeds. While the origin of these birds isn’t entirely certain, they have been around since the mid-19th century. Black Brahma hens produce up to 200 large brown eggs annually.
Black Brahmas can grow up to 30 inches tall and are almost as big as the Jersey Giants. Mature Black Brahma birds have an average weight of 11 lbs.
They can thrive in hot climates and are good at foraging, requiring only supplemental feed. Black Brahmas make great backyard chickens because they are docile and friendly.
Black Brahma chicks cost anywhere between $3 – $7.
5. Croad Langshan
The Croad Langshan is one of the heritage breeds that originated from China and has been around for about 8000 years. Croad Langshans are reared more for their meat than their eggs.
Roosters grow to 9.5 lbs, standing about 35 inches tall, while hens weigh 7.5 lbs. The hens lay up to 150 eggs yearly, even in cold climates, and are dedicated mothers. Croad Langshan eggs are usually large and can be buff, brown, or even plum-colored!
The average cost of Croad Langshan chicks is $16.
6. Black Dorking
Dorkings are one of the oldest English chicken breeds. They are, however, rarely found these days and considered endangered. The black Dorking is a large bird, with roosters weighing up to 9 pounds and hens up to 7 pounds.
This breed has five toes which is a rarity among chickens. Dorkings are reared for their meat and eggs. The black Dorking hen produces up to 200-250 eggs annually.
The black Dorking has jet-black feathers with a green sheen and white skin. They are friendly and tame, which makes them ideal for backyard coops and homesteads. Black Dorkings also do well in free-range systems and are known to do well even in cold climates.
The average cost for a Dorking day-old chick is $6.
7. Black Copper Marans
Black Copper Marans have their origin in South-Western France. Poule de Marans, as they are called in French, are well known for their dark chocolate brown eggs.
The Black Copper Marans is a tall, stately bird with a long body and tail. They have black plumage with iridescent green and brown highlights. The skin under their feathers is white.
Black Marans roosters typically weigh 8 lbs, and the hens 6.5 lbs. The hens lay about 200 dark-brown eggs annually. They are known to be good brooders and are also faithful to their young.
Black Copper Marans chicks cost $9.99.
8. Black Orpington
The Black Orpington dates back to the early 1800s and is one of the all-time favorite breeds of chicken. This large chicken breed sports black plumage with an evident beetle-green sheen. Their feathers are fluffy and extend to the shank of their feet, making them appear even bigger.
The Black Orpington is an excellent layer of brown eggs, laying up to 200 eggs annually, and is also a good source of meat. Hens often weigh 8 lbs and roosters 10 lbs. This breed is docile and makes good pets.
Prices for Black Orpington chicks start from $3.61.
9. Black Sex Link
The Black Sex Link breed was developed by crossing a barred hen with a purebred non-barred rooster. The result is an all-black breed of chickens with golden breast feathers and hackle feathers.
The Black Sex Link breed is one of the most productive breeds, with hens producing up to 300 eggs yearly. They can also be reared for meat. Roosters can grow to a weight of 9 lbs, and hens, 7 lbs.
While some roosters may be aggressive and noisy, they are mostly friendly and can be raised as backyard flocks or in intensive poultry farms.
You can get a Black Sex Link chick from $2.30 – $4.30.
10. Black Cochin
The Black Cochin is a large feather-footed chicken breed known to be especially docile and friendly. The Cochin breed was introduced to the United States from China in the late 1800s during the “hen fever” era and is one of the popular chicken breeds.
Black Cochins are covered from head to toe in fluffy coal-black feathers, making these already large birds appear even bigger. Roosters can grow up to 11 lbs and hens up to 8.5 lbs, making them good meat producers. The hens are also fair egg producers, laying 150 – 180 eggs yearly.
They are a hardy breed that does well in hot and cold climates. Black Cochins are known to get along well with other chickens, making them a great addition to any flock.
Black Cochin chicks are available at prices starting from $6.35.
This list highlights ten (10) unique large black chicken breeds that are appropriate for backyard coops, homesteads, and even intensive systems.
So, whether you’re a farmer looking for the best large black chicken breed or just looking to find a unique breed to add to your backyard flock, you’re sure to find one that is just right.
If you’re undecided about which breed to raise, consider raising more than one to find out which one becomes your favorite!