Identifying Characteristics of a breed

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by imzadi, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. imzadi

    imzadi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2012
    Ok...I'm a medical person and I LOVE a good challenge to my identification skills...but, I have NO idea where to start when it comes to how to identify a chicken. I'm usually quite good at taking the known characteristics of something and comparing it to what I'm researching to figure out what it actually is that I have...

    I've got the stores illustrated guide to poultry breeds and have been having a lot of fun looking at all the different breeds. However, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be looking for when it comes to chickens. I always THOUGHT it was coloring, feet color, comb type, and beak coloring can't be coloring cause each breed comes in so many colors. Not sure it's comb type/color either as, I now see...different breeds have different strains with different comb types too! WHAT am I looking for to tell my chicken's breed?

    So...if I have unknown chicken A...where do I start so I can identify what he/she is? No...I don't have any pictures...this is a question so i can lean how to do it...[​IMG]

  2. RoostersCrow HensDeliver!

    RoostersCrow HensDeliver! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2011
    SE Michigan
    Okay, this the technique I use. There are certain breeds that are more common in your area usually, say Plymouth Rocks. The barred variety is the most common but they also come in black, white, buff, ect. I compare the bird in question to several of the most likely breeds possible. I kind of use the process of elimination :

    Bird in question Dominique Barred Plymouth Rock
    feather color barred barred barred
    leg/skin color yellow yellow yellow
    comb type single rose single

    okay so the mystery bird has to be a barred rock because she matches all of the breed criteria.

    For a more difficult one, you could also compare earlobe color, body type, number of toes, color beak, color of foot pads.

    A young Australorp can be hard to tell apart from a Jersey Giant but the Aussie has pinkish white foot pads while the Jersey Giant has yellow. Other than the pad color, everything else is practically the same.

    I keep Henderson's Chicken Breed Chart for referance, I can't memorize everything :)
  3. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    To make it more complicated, a lot of pet quality chickens don't live up to show breed standards that are listed in the book. I find comb type to be quite definitive for most breeds. I guess it comes down to the combination of characteristics you mentioned as well as body type that helps determine the breed.
  4. imzadi

    imzadi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2012
    good info...I've been looking for a good chart...but haven't been able to find one without buying the whole book that I didn't need or want at that time.

    Where can i find that chart?

    I love a good mystery. So...start with feather color and find the breeds that can have that coloring...then look at feet and combs...and then from there toes, earlobes, beak, foot pads...body type?

    Can you explain the "body type" more?
  5. dretd

    dretd Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2009
    Ft Collins, CO
    I feel your confusion!

    Here is a link to the Henderson's breed chart

    Another place to look is Feathersite. They have many photos and a brief synopsys of different chicken breeds plus photos of chicks whichis really helpful:

    It is very good, although many of its links are broken it gves you a place to start!

    And last is another website I have come across, not sure what its called. Its a pretty long scroll-down table and has pictures next to a table of vitals and a blurb which is handy:
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
  6. RoostersCrow HensDeliver!

    RoostersCrow HensDeliver! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2011
    SE Michigan
    Breeds are sorted into weight catagories

    Heavy - Brahma, Australorp, Orpington, Cochin
    Light- Leghorn, Campine, Lakenvelder,Minorca
    Bantam- Silkie, Dutch, Serama, Belgian D'Uccle

    Then you have the type

    Layer- Leghorn, Penedesenca, Minorca, ISA Brown (hybrid),
    Dual Purpose- Plymouth Rock, Marans, Rhode Island Red, Orpington
    Meat- Cornish, Orpington & Jersey Giant (both formerly meat)
    Game- Cornish, Malay, Modern Game, Sumatra
    Ornamental- Polish, Silkie, Sumatra

    If I made a mistake or forgot something , please correct me.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013

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