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Chicken colors

Woman with her flock and their Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop

Chickens come in a rainbow of colors – and in patterns from solid to striped, and even spotted. Their feathers themselves can be patterned and vary in texture. Some of the terms to describe these are straightforward, while others take some practice to identify. But, with a keen eye, you’ll be able to identify these chicken colors, markings, and feather textures.

Colors and patterns of chickens

Some colors of chickens are solid, while others are patterned. Solid colors may look similar upon first glance, but their sheens or hues set them apart from each other. Likewise, some patterns look similar, but finer details of individual feathers will help you differentiate between them.

Solid colors

Sometimes referred to as “self” colors, solid-colored chickens are uniform in appearance and are not mixed with any other colors.


Brown, with golden undertones.


Uniform, black coloration of all feathers. Black feathers usually sport a beetle-green luster.


At first, blue chickens may appear gray, but actually have pale to deep blue hues. This color is the result of a diluted black gene.


Solid brown all over, ranging from light to dark brown.


A uniform shade of gold or tan.


Dark brown with a red hue. This color is darker than bay.


A dark, reddish-brown that resembles a cinnamon stick.


A dark, reddish-brown that resembles a cinnamon stick.


Light brown or beige.


Light gray to off-white with a subtle purple hue.


Lack of pigmentation, causing no color in the feathers.

Feather patterns

Individual feathers can have stripes, edging, or spots, resulting in a patterned chicken. Feather patterns are beautiful and intricate, to the delight of new and seasoned chicken keepers.


Horizontal, defined stripes (“bars”) of two colors along the feather.


A subtype of barred, the lines are not as defined and bleed into each other.


A pair of black lacings.


A stripe or trim around the edge of a feather in a contrasting color.


Where only some feathers have white tips. These white spots are the absence of pigment, and will be randomly interspersed throughout the plumage.


Thin lines that contour the feather, usually in multiple lines.


Like mottled, but the absence of pigment is in the middle of the feather rather than the tip. Feathers still have colored tips and bases.


Feathers with random “splashes” of a contrasting color.


Feathers that have a solid center with a contrasting color along the edge. Stripes can be found in hackle and saddle feathers.

Color patterns

Different from individual feather patterns, color patterns occur when portions of chickens are different colors. Usually, color patterns are noticed with contrasting head and tail feathers, but a few are less obvious.


Black bodies with silvery white heads and hackles. The breast feathers are black with a narrow trim of silver.


The body is white, with a black tail. Hackle feathers are black, and laced with white.

Mille Fleur

Meaning “thousand flowers” in French, the feathers are mahogany in color, with a crescent-shaped black bar followed by a v-shaped white spangle on each tip.


Reddish-bay color with 3 black pencillings on each feather. The tail is black.

Red Pyle

White bodies with red or orange hackles, saddle feathers, and wings in roosters; hens are white with golden heads. This pattern is exclusive to Modern Game and Old English Game chickens.


Patches of pale salmon colored feathers on a white base color. This color is exclusive to Faverolles.


Silvery-white base with shades of white, black, and greenish-black feathers.


Dark gold the color resembling wheat, with amber or orange hues. Hens have darker heads and tails, and roosters have more color variation.

Description of feathers

When referring to feathers, there are some terms that chicken keepers use to describe their color order, location, and sheen.


When feathers take on a yellowish discoloration, typically on the back and wings.


Yellow pigmentation that is shaded with black, resulting in a mousey-brown color.

Ground color

The base color of a chicken’s plumage.


How the light interacts with the surface of feathers, which can alter the perception of color.


Feathers that are dotted with small, irregular spots.


Uniform in color, without patterns of any kind.


Where areas of plumage have spots of a different color from the rest of the body. Also known as “stippling.”

Feather textures

In addition to being patterned, feathers can be different textures based on a chicken’s genetics.

Hard feathered

Feathers that lay flat against the body, giving the chicken a sleek, smooth appearance.


Feathers that curl outward and back toward the chicken’s head. The resulting appearance could be described as windswept, or artfully chaotic.

Soft feathered

Feathers that fluff outward, giving the chicken a full, rounded appearance.

Omlet and your flock

No matter what color, pattern, or texture of chickens you keep, they all benefit from the same chicken-keeping essentials. From secure hen houses and walk in chicken runs to automatic chicken coop doors, we have what you need to keep your flock at their finest. With products like the Freestanding Chicken Perch, your hens will be able to display their unique attributes, instantly elevating simple yard art to living art.

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Fiona, 20 November 2021

Thank you for this great post. I found it to fresh and helpful in this day and age of quick and wrong is king.

Hansell, 6 April 2020

Interesting info for new owner of chickens

Claudia, 9 July 2016

Very nice colour! Does Rosalyn Serex sale chickens? How can we contact her? Thank you!