10 Ugliest Chicken Breeds (With Photos)

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but there are some chicken breeds with features that even a mother would find hard to love. There are chickens with everything, from giant feet and disproportionate bodies to birds that resemble walking plucked roasts. Nature has a great sense of humor and has provided an enormous diversity of chicken breeds, some of which can only be described as ugly.

If you think chickens can’t be ugly, join us on a fun whirlwind tour to discover some chicken breeds that will make you double-take. Some of these remarkable breeds turn everything you think you know about poultry upside-down.

10 Ugliest Chicken Breeds

All chicken breeds have been developed for a purpose: eggs, meat, or ornamental. While chickens of most types go through a rat-eaten, awkward phase during molting, some breeds never seem to shake off their unsightly looks.

Believe it or not, some people love the appearance of their frightful-looking chickens and enthusiastically show them off like proud parents. Let’s begin our countdown of the ten ugliest (in our opinion) chicken breeds out there:

Dong Tao Chickens

Computer0001CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you didn’t know better and spotted a Dong Tao, you may be inclined to contact your local humane society. This breed looks positively diseased with its giant swollen-looking legs that appear to be badly infected with scaly leg mites.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, because these ugly chickens cannot be cured of having naturally hideous legs, Dong Tao chickens are perfectly comfortable on their tree-stump-like legs. And as if their legs aren’t bad enough, their giant faces aren’t oil paintings either.

Since Dong Tao chickens are so ugly, you may think you could get some at a bargain. Think again! This breed, often called the ‘Dragon chickens of Vietnam,’ is among the world’s most expensive chickens. A single bird can cost more than $2000!

You may wonder why anyone would want to keep such expensive, ugly chickens. It turns out that Dong Tao chickens are renowned for their delectable meat and were once only reserved for royalty. It is a prized delicacy. Since they are slow growers, challenging to breed, and require more care than most other types of poultry, you may not see an explosion in the popularity of this breed.

Ayam Cemani

While on the topic of really expensive breeds, if you love black cats and deep voids in space, then the Ayam Cemani may be the perfect chicken for you. Although some people consider them beautiful, they certainly take a bit of getting used to.

Ayam Cemani chickens originate in Indonesia and are an extremely rare breed. The trait that makes it so unique is that, at first glance, the bird looks more like a shadow from another chicken rather than an actual living 3D chicken itself. They are black from top to toe – including their internal organs!

This breed has a condition called hyperpigmentation. Even the meat and bones are black or dark grey. The only typical color features are their blood and that the hens lay cream-colored eggs. Ayam Cemani chickens are considered the most expensive poultry breed in the world, and a single bird can set you back around $2500.

Serama Chickens

The serama or the malaysian serama are poses in the garden.

If you have never heard of the Serama chicken breed, it is because it is a relatively new breed that originates from Malaysia. One can only wonder what they were thinking to produce a bird with such peculiar and disproportionate features.

Although Serama chickens come in various colors, they all have several things in common. These strange-looking chickens seem to be made up of an assortment of different-sized bird spare parts, none of which fit.

Some features of Serama chickens include:

  • They are the smallest breed of chicken in the world.
  • They stand extremely upright, almost like they are leaning back.
  • Their chests stick out in an exaggerated way.
  • Their wings look too big for the rest of their body and point straight down – like they are too heavy.
  • The tail sticks up straight and appears to be rising from out of its back.
  • Although Serama’s legs are medium length, they look too short because of their huge wings.

Beauty most certainly is in the eye of the beholder for this breed, as they are prized as ornamental birds. Despite their topsy-turvy Frankenstein appearance, they can cost up to $100 each for good bloodlines.

Modern Game Chicken

Benny Mazur from Toledo, OHCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Modern Game is a breed with the appearance of a regular chicken that has collided with a roadrunner! It has unusually long legs connected to a small body and a long, slender neck. Overall, it gives the impression of being exceptionally scrawny and looks like it is standing on its tiptoes.

While many poultry breeds are prized for their meat or eggs, modern game birds are strictly ornamental birds. The Poultry Club of Great Britain recognizes 13 varieties, so as tall and skinny as they are, this breed does have a significant following.

Modern Game chickens were developed after the abhorrent practice of cock fight was abolished in the UK, and breeders moved their focus onto poultry shows. We must admit these birds have a certain athletic appeal, even if they don’t look too soft and cuddly!

Featherless Chickens

At first glance, you would think that featherless chickens are part of a cruel experiment. Their bodies resemble plucked birds you would find in the supermarket – except that they are perfectly alive and walking about.

Featherless chickens result from selective breeding of a genetic mutation by a team of Israeli scientists. These birds, also known as naked or bald chickens, never grow feathers.

While that may seem like an ideal scenario for anyone producing meat birds, having no feathers makes these pink, naked birds vulnerable to everything from temperature, sunburn, mosquito bites, and skin infections. The rootstock for these bizarre-looking birds was broilers; unsurprisingly, they were developed as meat birds for warmer regions.

Naked Neck Chickens

Portrait of Banat Naked Neck Chicken breed

Naked-neck chickens are almost comical in their ugliness. They appear half-plucked, and the tuft of feathers on top of their heads above their bald necks look like tiny toupees on grumpy old men.

Many people know naked neck chickens as Turkens or Churkeys since they appear to be a cross between chickens and turkeys. However, they are 100% chicken and are a breed all on their own, which was first recognized by the APA in 1965.

No one knows where naked neck chickens came from, but as unattractive as it may seem, having bare necks is an effective way for the breed to beat the heat in warm climates. These birds don’t suffer from heat stress as much as most other full-feathered breeds.

Naked neck chickens are valuable as dual-purpose meat and poultry chickens. Once you get over their unique appearance, they may grow on you, and you may find yourself knitting tiny scarves to keep their little featherless necks warm.

Polish Chickens

Polish chickens are one of those breeds that take wild hairdos to the next level. Although they aren’t quite as ugly as some of the other breeds on this list, unless their flamboyant hairstyles stay in tip-top condition, they can resemble shipwrecked scarecrows.

Interestingly, Polish chickens don’t originate in Poland at all. They were given the name by the Dutch fanciers who developed the breed as a tribute to the feathered detail on the caps worn by Polish nobles in the past, or another theory is that it may have come from the Dutch word ‘pol,’ which means large head.

No matter the origin, the skull of Polish chickens is slightly different from other breeds. It has a vaulted boney section on top of its head to support the flamboyant feather do. Their hairstyles, especially in the roosters, can become so wild that it can affect their vision.

Polish chickens were developed initially to produce eggs, but more recently, they are primarily kept as ornamental birds. Their comical appearance and gentle demeanor make them excellent pets.

Rumpless Game Chicken

If you just saw the front half of a rumpless game chicken, you would be confused about how it found its way onto this list of ugly chickens. You have to see the entire bird to realize that it looks as though its back end got caught in giant hedge shears.

The tail end of rumpless chickens is entirely non-existent. The last vertebra is missing, so instead of having fleshy little tail sections to support elegant plumes, their bodies stop abruptly at the end of their wings.

Rumpless game chickens share their lack of a tail section with a few other breeds, and in the United States, it is most commonly seen in Araucana chickens. True rumpless game chickens are more of a curiosity than having any actual purpose and are considered an ornamental breed.

Frizzle Chickens

Frizzle chickens are not an actual breed on their own but can describe any breed of chicken with the characteristic frizzle conformation in their feathers. Instead of the bird’s feathers being arranged in a neat, flat arrangement, frizzles look more like funny-looking toilet brushes.

Chickens only need one incomplete dominant gene (F) to produce the windswept feather look. The most popular frizzle breeds are Polish, Cochins, and Barred Rocks. Because the frizzle characteristic can be applied to other chicken breeds, ‘frizzle’ is not an APA-accepted breed on its own.

Frizzle chickens are on our list of ugly chickens as they appear to be in a perpetual state of bedhead, or rather, bed-body! Their feathers stick out at all angles, and despite probably not winning any beauty competitions, one must admit that these little rebels have a certain charming appeal.

La Flèche Chickens

La Flèche Chicken
Édouard HueCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To understand why La Flèche chickens are on our list of 10 ugliest chicken breeds, you need to zoom in and take a closer look. They look like perfectly standard chickens from a distance, but up close, you will notice that instead of the expected chicken comb, the roosters have two pointed red, fleshy horns that point straight up from either side of their head.

This rather sinister-looking red headgear, described as ‘arrow-like,’ combined with the white earlobes and outsized wattles, gives this French breed a somewhat other-worldly look. Their current status is listed as critical, and they are rarely found in the United States.

Although La Flèche chickens are considered an excellent dual-purpose breed, they are not recommended for anyone wanting pet chicken as they tend to avoid humans. Perhaps it’s just as well since their distinctive headgear has earned them the nickname of ‘devil bird’ and ‘Satan’s fowl.’


Beauty is only skin deep, and this is also true for ugly chicken breeds. Owning unique birds can be a fun experience, and once you get used to how they look, you may even start to appreciate the characteristics that make them stand out from other chickens!




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