Black and White Chicken Breeds have quite striking, beautiful feather patterns, which make them popular show birds and sought-after pets. They also tend to be prolific egg-layers, particularly the highly-recognizable ‘Plymouth Rock’ breed, and can often be counted on for high-quality meat.
The following black and white chicken breeds each have unique looks, personalities and can have vastly different egg-laying abilities, making some of them better suited to beginner chicken keepers. Take a look at our breakdown of each breed to see if they might suit your needs, whether you’re looking for an impressive show bird, a pet, or a dual-purpose breed for meat and eggs etc.
- California Grey
- Egyptian Fayoumi
- Pita Pinta Asturiana
- Plymouth Rock
- Scots Dumpy
The rare Braekel chicken originates from Belgium and is a dual-purpose breed, meaning they can be reared both for eggs and meat. The Silver variety of Braekel has a solid white neck color with grey, black and white stripes along their body and tail and a tall comb (the red crown atop its head).
Braekels are hardy and very active chickens, with a love of foraging for insects and seeds. They weigh roughly 4-5 lbs and produce around 180 to 200 white-colored eggs a year. Pure breed Silver Braekel chicks can cost around $10-11 each.
The California Grey chicken is an attractive dual-purpose breed with striking black and white stripes running from its neck all the way to its tail. This breed lays large white eggs throughout the year (roughly up to 300) and is an excellent layer, even in the winter.
Californian Greys have a quiet and friendly nature and bear up well in confinement, making them a very easy breed to handle and care for. Hens weigh around 4.4 lbs and chicks cost between $3-5 on average.
Dampierre chickens are a re-creation of the long-extinct French breed of Normande chickens that were popular in the 1800s. The new Dampierre breed is dual-purpose, producing high-quality white meat and large white eggs (around 280 per year), and little is known about this rare bird’s temperament, other than being a willing brooder.
Dampierres have a beautiful black and white mottled breast and contrasting solid black back and weigh 7-9 lbs. As they are highly sought-after, half a dozen Dampierre hatchlings can start at $40. Dampierres are not ideal for beginners as culling is necessary to improve the breeding stock.
The name may sound perilous, but this remarkable breed is actually known as Deathlayer due to its incredibly high egg production – laying roughly one medium-sized white egg every day until its death! Deathlayers are a highly active breed that prefers roosting in trees to being confined to a coop and weigh roughly 3.5 lbs.
This breed has a tight comb, making it less prone to frostbite in colder climates, and has a contrasting white neck and beautiful black and white banding on its body and tail. Deathlayer chicks cost around $35 for 6 hatchlings.
The Fayoumi chicken originates from Ancient Egypt and is a hardy, active breed that is naturally highly resistant to diseases. They can be flighty and dislike being handled, but can be tamed with treats.
Egyptian Fayoumi hens have silvery white necks and a pretty black and white mottling that fades to black near the tail. They weigh 3.5 lbs and produce roughly 150 small off-white eggs per year. Day-old Fayoumi chicks cost around $4-5.
Gournay chickens are another ancient breed, dating back to the Viking Age, and have evenly-mottled black and white feathers covering their round body. They are a dual-purpose breed, and their well-developed breast makes for high-quality, flavorful meat.
Gournay hens weigh around 4-5 lbs and typically lay around 3 extra-large white eggs per week (roughly 156 a year). Though rare, this breed is a great pick for beginners, since they are easily tamed and handle confinement well. Gournay adult hens can cost roughly $18-20.
Holland chickens are often hard to tell apart from Plymouth Rock as both breeds have closely striped black and white plumage covering their bodies. The main tell-tale sign of a Holland chicken is its bright yellow feet and brighter red comb.
Holland hens weigh about 7 lbs and lay large white eggs (about 200 per year on average). This breed has a calm and cheerful personality and hens will happily raise their own offspring, making them an ideal beginner backyard chicken. Prices can vary but a day-old Holland chick can cost between $11-20.
The Houdan breed has a very distinctive appearance – they have mostly black plumage mottled with white specks, a large mottled crest, and beard (fluffier feathers around its cheeks). Their show-stopping ornamental looks make Houdan’s great show birds, but they are equally renowned for their high-quality meat and egg production, laying roughly 150 large white eggs each year.
Houdan’s weigh 5.5 lbs and are incredibly gentle, placid birds, making them safe pets to have, even around children. Adult Houdan hens cost around $20-25.
Pita Pinta Asturiana
The Pita Pinta breed originated from north-western Spain and its name translates as ‘painted hen’, owing to its attractive black mottled plumage and beautiful black and white dipped tail feathers. Pita Pinta’s are tough, inquisitive birds that make good foragers and respond well to their environment.
They are an extremely rare breed, however, as they are the only chicken indigenous to the Asturiana area of Spain. Hens weigh roughly 6 lbs and lay around 220 large cream-colored eggs each year. 6 Pita Pinta hatchlings can start from $35 but costs may vary due to their rarity.
Plymouth Rock chickens are one of the oldest breeds in the US and were named after the famous landing place of the first pilgrims to America. This breed is instantly recognizable from its close black and white banded plumage and its starkly contrasting deep-red comb and wattle.
Plymouth Rocks are hardy, docile birds and excellent producers of large brown eggs, laying up to 280 per year. Hens weigh around 8 lbs on average and a day-old hen hatchling can cost around $4-5.
This rare, pretty chicken breed has a delicate appearance of belted black and white plumage with proud, show-stopping tail feathers. Orust chickens originate from the west coast of Sweden and having free range along the desolate rocky shores, they developed a tough, survivor streak they still have today.
Orust hens weigh about 3.5 lbs and produce 150 small to medium-sized eggs that can be light tan in color. Due to their rare status, a single Orust chick can cost around $30 or more.
Originally known as the Silver-laced Wyandotte, this chicken was named after a North American Indian tribe and is a quiet and docile breed, though some can be more aggressive than others. They have long yellow legs, a deep rose comb, and come in 17 black and white varieties of pretty laced feathers.
Adult female Wyandottes are medium-sized (around 6 lbs) and are known to lay between 180-260 brown eggs year-round, including during the winter. A day-old female chick can cost around $4-5.
The Scots Dumpy breed is named so for its Ancient Scottish heritage and the ‘Dumpy’ refers to the Dwarfism gene that causes them to have very short legs, which combined with their heavy-set bodies makes them waddle.
Scots Dumpies have beautiful barred black and white plumage that fades light to dark towards their tail, and they are excellent egg producers, laying 180 large white eggs per year. They are a docile but quite vocal breed (especially the roosters at dawn!) and the hens weigh 6 lbs and the cost of adult Scots Dumpy hens can vary between $20-30.
Named after the English innovator Sir John Sebright, this chicken is a small but stunning breed, considered more for ornamental purposes as they don’t produce many eggs (only around 50-60 small white/cream eggs per year!).
Their delicate laced plumage of black and white looks akin to a stained-glass window effect, and luckily their personality is as sweet and cheerful as their looks, making them great pets. Sebright hens weigh just over 1 lb and can cost around $20 for hatchlings or around $60-80 for adult hens.
Factors That Increase Egg Production
Even though many of the above breeds have a good track record for egg-laying, it doesn’t hurt to look into ways to keep the numbers high. These include:
- A high-protein diet
- Fresh water
- 14 hours of daylight (where possible)
- Open areas for roaming and foraging
- Clean nest boxes
- Parasite control
Hopefully, these considerations and our overview of popular black and white chicken breeds can help you choose the right type for your backyard chicken coop.