If you’re looking for a stunning new addition to your flock, there’s no better choice than a black and white chicken breed. Whether they’re speckled, laced, barred, penciled, or spotted, these birds wear an incredible plumage that stands out and never ceases to be a joy to look at.
With so many gorgeous breeds to choose from, there’s a perfect white and black chicken breed for any homestead.
Raising Black and White Chickens: Which is Best For Your Flock?
Once you’ve decided to raise a black and white chicken breed, you might not be sure how to choose one. Luckily, you can consider a few factors to determine what chicken breed is right for you. You should start by deciding if you want eggs, meat, or both. There are breeds best suited to each purpose and even breeds that are considered dual-purpose.
Also think about whether you have specific requirements for their appearance or temperament. If you intend to let your chickens be pets for children or to introduce your new birds to an existing flock, you should ensure that their personality is compatible. And if you want a unique bird, there are many ornamental black and white chicken breeds you can consider with exciting patterns and feathers.
Barred Plymouth Rock
This is probably the most popular of the black and white chicken breeds. As one of several variations of the Plymouth Rock, these black and white barred birds are gorgeous.
They are a heritage breed that is considered dual purpose. They boast an incredible egg laying ability, and just one hen can offer up to 280 eggs each year. If you process roosters for meat, you can expect around 4 pounds dressed at 4 months of age.
Best of all, these birds have a wonderfully friendly temperament and adapt well to most environments. The barred feather pattern is considered to be the hardest for predators to spot, making them a great choice for a free range homestead.
Silver Laced Wyandotte
Sometimes called the Black Laced Silver Wyandotte, this chicken is a perfect choice if you’re looking for a dual-purpose chicken breed with a sweet and communicative personality.
These birds have mesmerizing black and white laced plumage complemented by yellow legs and a bright red comb.
Silver Laced Wyandotte hens can produce around 200 light to dark brown eggs yearly, and they will dress out slightly smaller than the Plymouth Rock at 4 months of age.
This variety of Wyandotte has a body that’s white with black and white lacing on its neck and tail feathers, similar to the Light Sussex and Light Brahma. This unique pattern is produced through crossbreeding the White Wyandotte with the Barred Rock. You can expect similar egg and meat production as you can from the Silver Laced Wyandotte. Since this chicken is mostly white, they are more prone to predator attacks than the Silver Laced variety.
Silver Spangled Hamburg
The Silver Spangled Hamburg chicken is a gorgeous black and white chicken breed perfect for showing off on a homestead. These birds are distinguished by their speckled black and white feathers and sleek, upright posture, with a wonderfully upright tail and flat comb that resists frostbite in cold climates.
Silver Spangled Hamburg hens can lay up to 250 medium-sized white eggs annually, and they’re economical to keep due to their talented foraging and medium size. Since they are a little smaller than most standard chicken breeds, they can be rather timid when introduced to an established flock.
The Cuckoo Maran is a gorgeous historic chicken breed originating from France. This bird resembles the Barred Plymouth Rock but is identifiable by its richly chocolate-colored eggs. Cuckoo Maran hens will lay around 200 dark brown eggs every year, and due to their large stature, they are also an excellent pick to raise for meat.
Silver Laced Polish
The Silver Laced Polish chicken breed might be perfect for you if you’re looking for an eye-catching bird. They are distinguished by their vast crest of feathers, which fan upwards and all around in a crown-like shape. Combined with their striking black and white laced feathers, the Silver Laced Polish breed defines a ‘showstopper.’ These white egg layers produce an average of 200 white eggs per year.
Keep in mind that all those feathers on their head make them extremely vulnerable to predators, so these birds are best suited to being confined in a chicken yard.
Lakenvelders are an excellent show breed, but they’re also beloved for their decent yield of 170 tinted or white eggs each year and their high-quality meat. This bird is quite intelligent, with a propensity for foraging and an above-average ability to evade predators in spite of their mostly-white body.
One of the oldest chicken breeds in the world, the Brahma has an incredible history and heritage and is an excellent backyard chicken. Both the Light Brahma and Dark Brahma are black and white with the the lighter variety having a white body and the darker variety having more black.
These birds are heavily feathered with feathered feet and do well in cold climates. You can expect around 150 eggs yearly from a Dark or Light Brahma hen with an egg color of medium brown.
California Gray chickens, first created in the 1930s, are an auto-sexed chicken breed with a unique black and white striped pattern similar to the Barred Plymouth Rock. When hatched, the males are a lighter color than the females, but they both mature to have barred plumage and a bright red comb. California Grays are known for their excellent egg production of up to 300 white eggs yearly, making them the perfect pick for laying hens.
The Dominique chicken is the oldest chicken breed originating in the United States. They were crossed with the Java chicken to create the Plymouth Rock. While their appearance resembles the Barred Plymouth Rock chicken, with black and white barred feathers, they have a rose comb whereas the Rock has a single comb. These birds are excellent egg layers, yielding around 260 eggs annually.
The Light Sussex chicken is an ancient chicken breed from Europe. While they were initially kept as meat birds, they have since shifted to become a dual-purpose breed. These birds are primarily white but sport a black tail and mottled black and white collar. The Light Sussex has a stout frame and lays around 250 large cream to light brown eggs each year.
While most bantam breeds are a smaller version of a standard breed, the Sebright chicken was created as a bantam breed in the early 1800s in England. The Silver Sebright looks like someone used a black marker to outline all of their white feathers, giving them the most stunning lacing of any of the black and white breeds.
They tend to be very mellow, which makes them great for families with small children. As a bantam breed, they are not prolific egg layers or meat producers, but they can be perfect for someone who wants a few chickens in the backyard but doesn’t need a lot of eggs. They typically lay about 70-80 small eggs per year, and their mature weight is less than a pound a half.
If you decide to breed Sebrights, extra males can be processed at about 4 months of age and prepared like a modern Cornish hen.
Other Black and White Chicken Breeds Accepted by the American Poultry Association
Aside from the 12 we’ve reviewed, there’s a surprising number of white and black chicken breeds recognized by the APA.
With so many black and white chicken breeds to choose from, there’s no doubt that you’ll find a perfect fit for your homestead. Whether you choose the historic Dominique, the prolific egg-laying California Gray, or the bantam Silver Sebright, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy the beauty of your new flock for years to come.
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