Many people tend to think of chickens as being fairly uniform. When picturing chickens, people will imagine a particular variety of chicken, which will often represent the full category of chickens in their minds.
Breeds of chickens are often not as well known to the general public as breeds of dogs, since people are more likely to keep dogs as pets, in a wider variety of environments.
However, chickens do indeed come in a variety of breeds, shapes, and sizes. As with dogs, there are even breed standards with chickens.
Chicken breeds often vary according to geography, with different areas known for different breeds. Some people breed rare varieties of chickens as a hobby.
Chickens can be bred for all sorts of reasons. There are varieties of chickens that are even bred for chicken shows, like the ornamental Appenzeller chicken. Indeed, breeds of chickens are often easily recognizable by their plumage.
While many people picture chickens as having white or black feathers and red combs, there is a tremendous amount of variety in all of their physical indicators.
While chickens are rarely thought of in terms of beauty, at least compared to ducks and swans, many ornamental chickens have very visually appealing plumage.
The white Silkie hen, for instance, has very soft plumage that almost looks like fur from a distance. Silkie chickens even make good pets, since they have a gentleness that is unusual among other chickens. Indeed, many ideas about chickens break down quickly in a discussion of the various breeds of chickens and all of their diversity.
Chicken breeds can even vary in terms of the color of their eggs. Even something as minor as a chicken’s egg color can be very important economically, since some customers will only buy eggs of a certain color, possibly based on the idea that they will taste better than the competing variety.
Chickens that are geared towards egg production will have certain behaviors more conducive to increased egg production, such as a persistent lack of broodiness.
Some chicken breeds are far more versatile than others. Different chicken breeds will have their specialty, of sorts. Some will be famous for their fertility and egg-laying potential, for instance. Some chicken breeds have multiple common uses.
Although chickens are famous for their meat, some breeds of chickens actually have comparatively distasteful meat. Silkie chickens, for instance, have black flesh, which has made them unpopular as meat-oriented chickens in many countries.
Many of the chickens that are probably most recognizable to people with less experience in chicken farming are the chickens that are useful for both meat and laying eggs. The Plymouth Rock chickens, particularly the ones with the distinctive barred appearance, are good for both their meat and their eggs.
There are chicken breeds from all over the world, and many of them have very surprising and distinctive types of plumage, and behavior.
The popularity of chickens worldwide, for their meat, their eggs, and even for their potential as pets and ornaments, has helped lead to a tremendous diversity in terms of the overall chicken population around the world.
The trend will only continue as chicken meat remains popular globally, and more and more people are becoming interested in taking up chicken breeding as a profession and a hobby.