The largest chicken breeds command attention with their notable size and stature. Many of these sizeable birds are dual-purpose, prized for both their meat and egg-laying abilities. The Jersey Giant, true to its name, tips the scale at a substantial 15 pounds for the males. Compare that to a medium-sized chicken that weighs 6 – 7 pounds.
The title for the tallest chicken breed is held by the mighty Malay chicken. It stands tall at 26 – 36 inches. The Malay’s upright stance and height give it a regal, almost statuesque appearance. Despite its towering presence, the Malay is known for its calm temperament.
Raising a backyard flock of large chickens comes with its own set of considerations. Providing adequate space for these big chickens is essential. Their size requires larger coops and nesting boxes. They require more feed as well.
As for their egg-laying capabilities, you might be wondering if large chickens lay large eggs. Yes, many large breeds lay larger eggs than their smaller counterparts. The eggs may be considered large, extra large, or jumbo. However, it varies by breed. For example, the substantial Brahma, known as the ‘King of Chickens’, lays medium-sized eggs despite its grand stature.
From the towering Malay and the hefty Jersey Giant to fluffy Cochins, each of these impressive breeds brings something unique to your flock. Keep reading to learn about the largest chicken breeds along with their traits; what they were bred for; and considerations when raising larger chickens. I also discuss typical weights for bantams, and small and medium breeds for reference.
Largest Chicken Breeds
1. Jersey Giant Chickens
The world’s largest chicken breed is the Jersey Giant. They’re true titans of the chicken world. Jersey Giant roosters weigh a whopping 13 – 15 pounds and the hens 10 – 12 pounds. They are slow-growing, taking up to 10 months to reach their full size.
These huge chickens also outsize most other breeds (except for Malays) in terms of height. The tallest roosters can reach 26 inches tall. Jersey Giants are friendly and at the top of the pecking order because of their size but they aren’t typically aggressive.
Jersey Giants are dual purpose, providing eggs and meat. According to The Livestock Conservatory, Jersey Giant chickens start laying when they are 8 – 12 months old; however, this varies by hen and their upbringing. Once mature, hens can consistently lay 2 – 4 light brown or cream colored eggs each week. Their eggs are extra large.
Hens can lay in winter months. Their large combs can be susceptible to frostbite.
|Jersey Giant Facts|
|Weight||10 – 15 pounds|
|Height||16 – 20 inches hens; up to 26 inches for roosters|
|Notable traits||Dual purpose; lay extra large eggs; cold hardy|
|Consideration||Slow growth rate; require ample feed and time to reach full size|
2. Dong Tao Chickens
The Dragon Chicken, also referred to as the Dong Tao breed, truly stands apart with its distinct characteristics. They’ve earned their nickname from their incredibly thick, scale-covered legs. Beyond their legs, their overall size is equally impressive. The roosters can reach a robust weight of 13 pounds, with the hens closely trailing at an impressive 10 pounds.
Their roots trace back to Vietnam, where they were once the cherished breed of the ancient royalty. Their royal lineage is mirrored in their value today. They are considered to be the most expensive chicken in the world.
|Dong Tao Facts|
|Weight||10 – 13 pounds|
|Notable trait||Thick, scaly legs; expensive|
|Purpose||Meat is a delicacy|
3. Malay Chickens
Malays have the distinction of being the tallest chicken breed globally. Known for their unique upright body, long legs, and extended neck, some individuals can reach 3 feet tall, earning them the title of the Towering Chicken. Roosters can weigh up to 11 pounds. Their great height can pose certain challenges when caring for them. Hens can lay around 120 eggs per year.
|Malay Chicken Facts|
|Weight||9 – 11 pounds|
|Height||26 – 36 inches|
|Notable trait||Tallest chicken breed; unique upright posture|
4. Brahma Chickens
The Brahma breed can weigh up to 10 pounds and stand 30 inches tall. Brahmas today are smaller than their ancestors from a century ago. With farmers’ attention shifting to faster-growing meat breeds such as the Cornish Cross, the Brahma’s gene pool wasn’t prioritized, leading to a gradual reduction in size. Nevertheless, today’s Brahmas are still a sight to behold – powerful, majestic, and of considerable size.
Brahmas are friendly, cold tolerant with proper care, and lay approximately 200 brown eggs per year. They are also dual purpose so you can cull males and unproductive hens for meat, or raise some of your flock for eggs and the others for meat. Learn more about the Brahma chicken.
|Brahma Chicken Facts|
|Weight||8 – 12 pounds|
|Height||up to 30 inches|
|Notable trait||Known as the gentle giants; smaller now than a century ago|
|Nickname||King of Chickens|
5. Maline Chickens
From Belgium, the Maline breed is a result of crossbreeding the local Flemish Cuckoo with all the large chicken breeds available in Belgium during the late 19th century. This mix included Langshans, Cochins, and Brahmas. The outcome was a new breed that exceeded the size of all the contributing breeds.
The largest tip the scale at 11 – 12 pounds. Malines are dual purpose. Hens lay extra large tan eggs. The males and females are also culled for meat. They have a calm and easygoing disposition, making them an excellent choice for beginners.
|Belgian Maline Facts|
|Weight||8 – 12 pounds|
|Notable trait||Created by crossbreeding large chicken breeds; calm|
|Purpose||Large, tan-colored eggs; meat|
6. German Langshan Chickens
Among all the Langshan variations, the German Langshan towers above the rest, marking its presence as the tallest. They are renowned for their extraordinary height, with roosters growing up to around 32 inches, placing them as the second tallest chicken on our list. The bulkiest German Langshan roosters can hit the scale at around 9.5 pounds, with hens weighing slightly less.
These friendly chickens are active foragers and calm. They are rarely aggressive. They are considered dual purpose and lay large eggs.
|German Langshan Facts|
|Weight||7.5 – 9.5 pounds|
|Height||24 – 32 inches|
|Notable trait||Tallest among Langshan varieties|
|Eggs||Large eggs with consistent laying|
7. Cochin Chickens
The Cochin breed is a favorite among chicken enthusiasts for good reason. These fluffy giants are renowned for their extreme fluffiness that would make anyone want to keep their own cuddly chicken.
While their fluffy exterior might add to their perceived size (like with Silkie chickens) Cochins are genuinely large, reaching up to 11 pounds in weight and standing tall at 22 inches. Their grand size means a greater space requirement and a greater appetite, both of which can strain resources.
They are considered dual purpose though their egg production isn’t reliable. They are decent for meat in small backyard flocks. Many people raise them for exhibition. Learn more about raising a cochin chicken.
|Weight||7 – 12 pounds|
|Height||15 – 22 inches|
|Notable traits||Fluffy feathers; good sitters and mothers|
|Consideration||Not usually raised for eggs|
8. Cornish Chickens
Bred for meat production, Cornish chickens are a muscular and sturdy breed, characterized by a short neck and a robust, compact body. A Cornish chicken takes about 7 months to achieve its full size, which can be up to 11 pounds. Despite their sizeable bodies, they are built quite compactly with short legs, contributing to their overall stout appearance.
According to the Ohio State University, Cornish chickens were developed to be the ultimate meat chicken. These chickens effectively transform their feed intake into meat. Using male Cornish cross chickens is a good use for them if you don’t want to raise roosters. Learn more in can you eat roosters.
|Cornish Chicken Facts|
|Weight||8 – 11 pounds|
|Notable trait||Bred for meat; muscular and compact build|
|Growth time||7 months to reach full size|
Though they are on the smaller side among the largest chicken breeds, Orpington hens can weigh up to 8 pounds, while Orpington roosters can reach a hefty 10 pounds and stand 16 inches tall. Their large bodies, adorned with fluffy feathers, give them a deceptively grander size, turning them into endearing, oversized pets that everyone adores. However, their fondness for food warrants careful monitoring. They can easily gain excessive weight.
Orpingtons are gentle and easy-going. The roosters will protect their flock but aren’t aggressive. When keeping Orpington chickens in a mixed flock, be sure they are friendly and of similar temperament. These dual-purpose hens can lay 200+ eggs per year, approximately 3 – 5 large eggs weekly.
|Orpington Chicken Facts|
|Weight||7 – 10 pounds|
|Notable trait||Fluffy feathers and large bodies|
|Watch-out||Excessive weight gain can lead to health issues and stop egg-laying|
Size Guide to Chicken Breeds
Everything is relative. If you haven’t raised chickens, it may be helpful to have some comparisons with small and medium chickens so you can see just how large the largest chickens are.
How Much Bantam Chickens Weigh
Bantam chicken breeds, also known as miniatures, are typically a fraction of the size of regular chicken breeds. Bantams can be 1/5 – 1/3 the size of standard-sized hens and roosters. Examples include Sebright, Dutch, and Japanese Bantams. Average weights:
- Bantam hens: 1 – 1.5 pounds
- Bantam roosters: 1.25 – 1.75 pounds
How Much Small Chickens Weigh
Small chicken breeds, while larger than Bantams, are still on the smaller end of the spectrum. Breeds like the White Leghorn, Ancona, and Hamburg fall into this category. Average weights:
- Small size hens: 4 – 5 pounds
- Small size roosters: 5 – 6 pounds
How Much Medium Chickens Weigh
Medium chicken breeds are probably what most people think of when they picture a typical chicken. Plymouth Rock, Sussex, and Wyandotte are examples of medium-sized breeds. Average weights:
- Medium breed hens: 6 – 7 pounds
- Medium breed roosters: 7 – 8 pounds
How Much Large Chickens Weigh
Large chicken breeds, as their name suggests, are sizable! These breeds, including the Rhode Island Red, Australorp, and Orpington, offer a significant amount of meat.
- Weight for large breed hens: 7 – 9 pounds on average
- Weight for large breed roosters: 8 – 10 pounds on average
How Much the Largest Chickens Weigh
The largest chicken breeds, like the Jersey Giant, Malay, and Brahma, can reach some impressive weights. These are the true mammoths of the poultry world! Average weights:
- Largest breed hens: 10 – 12 pounds
- Largest breed roosters: 12 – 15 pounds
Tallest Chicken Breeds
Within a breed, roosters are typically taller than hens. Here are some of the tallest chicken breeds along with their typical heights:
Standing tall at around 26 – 36 inches, Malays hold the title for the tallest chicken breed in the world. Their unique upright stance gives them an even taller appearance.
An imposing Japanese breed that can reach heights up to 30 inches. They are bred for strength and endurance (cockfighting) and have a proud and fearless demeanor. Learn more about Shamo chicken and how you can use them for meat.
Originating from China, these chickens can reach a height of around 24 – 32 inches. They’re known for their elongated bodies and tall, strong legs.
As the name suggests, these are one of the largest and tallest breeds in the United States. They can reach a height of 22 – 26 inches.
Known as the “King of Chickens,” the Brahma can reach a height of up to 30 inches. These gentle giants were once the largest chicken breed before the introduction of the Jersey Giant.
These are large, fluffy birds that can reach heights of 15 – 22 inches. Their feathers often make them appear even larger than they are.
What’s Different About Caring for Larger Chicken Breeds
While these are large chicken breeds, it doesn’t mean they are ideal for your goals. Consider the best laying chickens and best chickens for meat to raise. Some are also better suited to hot or cold climates.
Larger chickens require more resources. Here’s what to keep in mind:
The largest chicken breeds have more significant dietary needs compared to smaller chickens. They require a higher quantity of food to maintain their size and health. Foraging can help supplement their diets; however, they also require more chicken feed. Keep this in mind for laying hens. After their peak laying years, you will need to decide if you are able to keep them as unproductive pets.
Larger breeds need more space, both in terms of coop size, chicken run, and outdoor foraging areas. Overcrowding can lead to stress and health issues. The nesting boxes for larger chicken breeds must be bigger to accommodate their size comfortably. Also account for more chicken bedding and more to clean up.
Regular sized chickens typically require 4 square feet per chicken. Large chickens can require 8 square feet per chicken. Learn more: How much space do chickens need
Weight problems and leg injuries can be more prevalent in the largest chicken breeds due to their size. Regular health checks are essential. Frostbite can also be a concern. If you keep a rooster among your hens, be sure to keep a minimum of 8 – 10 hens to minimize stress (no matter their size).
Longer Maturity Time
Some of the largest chicken breeds take longer to reach maturity. Owners need to plan for a more extended period of growth before they start laying eggs or cull them for meat.
Reasons to Raise Large Chickens
Here are some reasons backyard flock owners may want to raise large chickens. Large chicken breeds can have numerous benefits, making them beneficial to raise.
Larger chicken breeds often provide a substantial amount of meat. They are perfect for homesteaders or those looking to become more self-sustainable.
Many large breeds are robust and adaptable to various climates, including cold weather. Their larger size and feather density can provide a natural insulation during winter months. Note, if you live in a hot climate, find a heat tolerant breed.
Although smaller breeds can be prolific egg layers, several large breeds are renowned for their considerable egg production. Many also lay large eggs.
Many large chickens were bred to be dual purpose. This means they are good for eggs and meat. For homesteaders, this can be advantageous, especially as a meat source (older hens and male chickens).
Larger chickens can sometimes deter predators better than their smaller counterparts due to their size and more assertive disposition. They can also be more difficult for some predators to snatch and carry off.
Many of the largest chicken breeds are known for their calm, friendly, and docile behavior. Non-aggressive but still “in charge”, this can contribute to flock harmony.
Do Large Chickens Live as Long as Small Chickens?
The lifespan of a chicken depends on several factors, including diet, healthcare, and breed, rather than size alone. Both large and small chicken breeds typically live between 5 to 8 or 10 years, assuming they are kept in good conditions and receive adequate care. However, some individual chickens may live longer.
For example, heritage breeds, which often include larger chicken varieties, are known to live longer than commercial breeds, sometimes up to 12 years. These are average ranges; individual lifespan can vary based on their care and stress. Learn more about how long do chickens live.
Keep this in mind when raising larger hens as a source of eggs. Once their egg production declines, you will have to decide if you will want to take on the cost of feeding them when they won’t provide the utility of eggs. Choosing a dual purpose breed that you can also use for meat may be a practical option.
Weights of the Largest Chicken Breeds
- Hens: 10 – 12 pounds
- Roosters: 13 – 15 pounds
Dong Tao (Dragon chicken):
- Hens: 9 – 11 pounds
- Roosters: 10 – 13 pounds
- Hens: 8 – 9.5 pounds
- Roosters: 10 – 12 pounds
- Hens: 9 pounds
- Roosters: 10 – 11+ pounds
Plymouth Rock (also known as Barred Rock):
- Hens: 7.5 – 9.5 pounds
- Roosters: 9.5 – 12 pounds
- Hens: around 7.5 pounds
- Roosters: up to 9.5 pounds
- Hens: 7 – 9 pounds
- Roosters: 11 – 12 pounds
- Hens: around 8 pounds
- Roosters: 10.5 – 11 pounds
- Hens: 8 pounds
- Roosters: 10 pounds
- Hens: around 7 pounds
- Roosters: around 9 pounds
- Hens: 6.5 – 7 pounds
- Roosters: 8.5 – 9 pounds
Rhode Island Red:
- Hens: approx 6.5 pounds
- Roosters: approx 8.5 pounds
- Hens: approx 6.5 pounds
- Roosters: approx 8.5 pounds
What is the largest chicken breed?
Jersey Giant chickens are the largest chickens. They are literally giant chickens. The hens weigh around 10 – 11 pounds and the males between 13 – 15 pounds.
What is the tallest chicken breed?
The tallest chicken is the Malay chicken. It can be three feet tall. However, at around 9 pounds, they are lean and not the heaviest chickens.
Are meat chickens larger than chickens for eggs?
Yes, meat chickens, often referred to as broilers, are generally larger than egg-laying breeds. They are usually specifically bred and raised for their meat. Many meat breeds, like the Cornish, put on weight quickly. Egg-laying breeds are usually smaller; they are optimized for egg production rather than size.
What are some large, dual purpose chicken breeds?
Some large, dual-purpose breeds are Jersey Giants, Brahmas, Orpingtons, Plymouth Rock aka Barred Rocks, Sussex, Rhode Island Reds, and Australops. These are breeds you can use for eggs and meat.
What is the largest chicken breed in the world?
The largest chicken breed in the world is the Malay chicken. On average, a male Malay chicken can stand up to 3 feet tall.
What is the largest chicken breed in the United States?
The largest chicken breed in the United States is the Jersey Giant. With roosters typically weighing between 13 to 15 pounds and hens around 10 to 12 pounds, this breed holds the title for the heaviest chicken breed in the U.S.
What’s the largest chicken breed people raise in the United States in their backyard?
The Jersey Giant is the largest chicken breed commonly raised in backyards in the United States. They are known for their size and friendly disposition, making them a favorite among backyard chicken owners. They are popular for eggs and meat.
What chicken lays the largest eggs?
Are larger chickens more aggressive and at the top of the pecking order?
Size doesn’t necessarily determine aggression or pecking order in chickens. While some larger breeds can be more dominant, others are known for their docile nature. Aggression and pecking order are influenced more by individual personality and breed. Many large chickens are at the top of the pecking order without being aggressive. It depends on the flock.
Do large chickens have more health problems than smaller breeds?
Large chicken breeds can have a higher risk of certain health issues, particularly in breeds grown for their meat which gain weight quickly. However, the overall health of a chicken depends largely on its genetics, care, diet, and environment. Size isn’t the determining factor.
Do larger chickens need a larger chicken coop door?
Do large chickens lay large eggs?
Yes, typically, large chicken breeds do lay larger eggs. The egg size generally corresponds to the size of the chicken but not always.
Can a bantam rooster mate with a large hen?
Yes, a bantam rooster can mate with a large hen. Learn how do chickens mate.
Do large chickens need more room?
Yes, larger chickens do require more space than smaller breeds. They need ample space to roam around comfortably without feeling crowded, which can lead to stress and aggression. A good rule of thumb is to provide at least 8 square feet per large bird in the coop and 8- 10 square feet in the run for them.
Do large chickens need larger nesting boxes?
Yes, larger chickens need larger nesting boxes. The standard nesting box size is 12×12 inches, but for larger breeds, a size of 14×14 inches or even 16×16 inches is more comfortable and encourages successful laying behavior.
Largest Chicken Breeds Considerations
Large chickens can provide eggs and meat for a homestead. Many of them, with their friendly dispositions, make great pets as well. However, they require more feed and more space. Consider your homesteading goals, space, and budget before adding them to your flock. Also have a plan for what you will do with large hens once they are no longer consistently laying.
Their care demands extra attention too. Larger chickens can be more prone to foot issues like pressure sores and bumblefoot due to their increased weight. Regular inspection of their feet and walking style can help identify and address these problems early. Also, monitoring your chicken’s weight to ensure they maintain a healthy balance is crucial,. Many large chicken breeds tend to gain weight easily.
Many large chicken owners believe that the additional responsibilities are worth the joy and pride these hefty chickens bring.
Featured image of largest chicken breeds credit: My own photo