You are currently viewing 15 Superb Large Rooster Breeds for Your Backyard (With Pictures)

15 Superb Large Rooster Breeds for Your Backyard (With Pictures)

  • Post author:
  • Post last modified:December 29, 2023

Exploring large rooster breeds offers a unique and enriching experience for poultry enthusiasts. From the majestic Jersey Giant to the hardy Rhode Island Red, each breed presents its own set of fascinating characteristics and care requirements. This guide delves into the world of these impressive birds, providing insights into their traits and best practices for raising them successfully.


Top 15 Large Rooster Breeds

1. Jersey Giant

Jersey Giants, renowned for their remarkable size and gentle nature, are a standout breed in the world of large roosters. Originating in the United States, these chickens were bred not only for their impressive stature but also for their hardiness and easy-going temperament. As the name suggests, they are among the largest chicken breeds, making them a fascinating choice for poultry enthusiasts and backyard chicken keepers.

jersey giant large chicken breed

Characteristics of the Jersey Giant

Jersey Giants are most notable for their size, with roosters often weighing between 13-15 pounds, and hens slightly smaller. They have a deep, broad body structure, and a single comb, and come in various colors like black, white, and blue. Their plumage is dense and glossy, contributing to their striking appearance. Despite their large size, they are known for being calm and friendly, making them a popular choice among those who raise chickens for both their aesthetic appeal and gentle nature.

Best Practices for Raising Jersey Giants

Raising Jersey Giants requires some special considerations due to their size. They need a nutritious protein-rich diet to support their large physique and maintain overall health. Spacious living conditions are essential; they require sturdy perches and nesting boxes that can accommodate their weight. Due to their size, they benefit from larger spaces for roaming and foraging, either in a spacious coop or a free-range environment. Regular health checks are vital to prevent any leg and joint issues, common in large breeds. Their dense plumage provides them with good cold resistance, but they still need proper shelter and care to thrive.

2. Brahma

Brahmas are one of the most majestic and imposing breeds in the world of large roosters. Originating from Asia, these birds are known for their impressive size, feathered shanks, and calm demeanor. Brahmas, with their striking appearance and gentle giant persona, has become a favorite among poultry enthusiasts and backyard farmers alike. Their distinctive features and adaptability make them a notable breed in the realm of large poultry.

Brahma

Characteristics of the Brahma

Brahmas are easily recognizable by their large frame and heavy feathering, which extends down to their feet and toes. They typically come in three color varieties: light, dark, and buff. A full-grown Brahma rooster can weigh between 10 to 12 pounds, while hens are slightly smaller. They have a pea comb and a dense plumage, which is particularly suited for colder climates. Brahmas are not just known for their size but also for their calm and friendly nature, making them excellent choices for a family-friendly flock.

Best Practices for Raising Brahmas

Raising Brahmas requires attention to their specific needs, particularly due to their size and feathering. They need a well-balanced diet to maintain their health and size, with a focus on protein, especially during their growing stages. Given their heavy feathering, Brahmas need a clean and dry environment to prevent mites and lice infestations. Their living space should be spacious enough to accommodate their size, with sturdy perches and nesting areas. Brahmas are relatively hardy in colder weather due to their dense feathers, but they still require adequate shelter and protection from extreme conditions. Regular health checks are essential to monitor their well-being and address any issues related to their size and feathering.

3. Orpington

Orpingtons are a beloved breed in the large rooster breeds category, known for their fluffy appearance and friendly nature. Originating from the United Kingdom, they were first developed in the town of Orpington, Kent, by William Cook in the late 19th century. These birds are admired not only for their impressive size but also for their docile temperament and excellent egg-laying capabilities, making them a popular choice among backyard chicken enthusiasts and small-scale farmers.

orpington

Characteristics of the Orpington

Orpingtons are particularly known for their heavy, fluffy feathering, which gives them a round and full-bodied appearance. They come in a variety of colors, including buff, black, white, and blue. A typical Orpington rooster weighs between 8 to 10 pounds, with hens being slightly lighter. They have a single comb and a friendly disposition. Orpingtons are excellent layers of large, brown eggs and are also valued for their meat quality. Their calm and gentle nature makes them ideal for families and for integration into mixed flocks.

Best Practices for Raising Orpingtons

Raising Orpingtons requires consideration of their specific needs. They thrive on a balanced diet rich in nutrients to support their egg production and maintain their plush feathering. Due to their heavy feathering, it’s important to provide them with a clean, dry coop to prevent feather lice and other parasites. They need ample space to move around, as their size and feathering can make them prone to overheating, especially in warmer climates. Sturdy perches and spacious nesting boxes are essential. Regular health checks are important to monitor their well-being, focusing on issues common to heavy breeds, such as respiratory problems or obesity.

4. Cochin

Cochins are a fascinating and visually stunning breed in the realm of large roosters. Originating from China, they were introduced to Europe and America in the mid-19th century and quickly gained popularity for their distinctive appearance and friendly demeanor. Cochins are known for their massive size, profuse feathering, and gentle nature, making them a prized breed among poultry enthusiasts and backyard chicken keepers.

cochin

Characteristics of the Cochin

Cochins are distinguished by their extraordinary fluffiness, with feathers that extend down their legs and cover their feet. They come in a variety of colors, including black, blue, buff, partridge, and white. Cochins are a heavy breed, with roosters typically weighing between 11 to 12 pounds. They have a single comb and a deep, broad body. Known for their docile and friendly temperament, Cochins are often considered the gentle giants of the chicken world, making them ideal for families and for integration into diverse flocks.

Best Practices for Raising Cochins

Raising Cochins involves catering to their specific requirements, particularly due to their unique feathering and size. They need a nutritious, balanced diet to support their large body structure and feather maintenance. Their dense feathering requires a clean and dry environment to prevent issues like mites and feather rot. Cochins need a spacious coop with ample room to move comfortably, along with sturdy perches and nesting boxes. While they are hardy in colder weather, thanks to their thick plumage, they can be prone to overheating in hot climates, so providing shade and ventilation is crucial. Regular health checks are important to monitor for common large-breed issues, such as respiratory problems or obesity.

5. Langshan

Langshans are a distinguished breed in the category of large roosters, known for their elegant appearance and upright stance. Originating from China, specifically from the Langshan region, they were introduced to the Western world in the late 19th century. These birds are admired for their combination of size, graceful bearing, and useful qualities in both egg and meat production, making them a valuable addition to any flock.

langshan

Characteristics of the Langshan

Langshans are recognized by their tall, upright stature and feathered legs. They typically come in black, blue, and white varieties. The breed is characterized by its long, well-arched tail and refined build. Langshan roosters weigh between 7 to 9 pounds, while hens are slightly lighter. They have a single comb and are known for their active and intelligent nature. Langshans are good layers of large, brown eggs and have a reputation for being hardy in various climates.

Best Practices for Raising Langshans

Raising Langshans requires attention to their specific needs. They thrive on a diet that supports their active lifestyle and egg production. Due to their feathered legs, maintaining a clean and dry coop is crucial to prevent mud build-up and potential feather issues. Langshans enjoy foraging and free-ranging, so providing them with ample space is beneficial for their physical and mental well-being. Their housing should include high perches that accommodate their tall stature. Regular health checks are important, focusing on maintaining their leg health and overall well-being.

6. Faverolles

Faverolles are a charming and unique breed in the world of large roosters, originating from the village of Faverolles in France. They gained popularity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, especially in Europe, for their dual-purpose qualities in both egg and meat production. Faverolles are known for their distinctive appearance, friendly nature, and good productivity, making them a favorite among both commercial poultry farmers and backyard chicken enthusiasts.

faverolles

Characteristics of the Faverolles

Faverolles stand out with their fluffy beards, feathered feet, and muffs. They typically come in salmon and white color varieties, with the salmon Faverolles being particularly attractive due to their unique color pattern. Faverolles roosters weigh about 8-10 pounds, and hens are slightly smaller. They have a single comb and a docile, somewhat quirky personality. Faverolles are good layers of medium-sized, tinted eggs and are also appreciated for their tender and flavorful meat.

Best Practices for Raising Faverolles

Raising Faverolles requires some special considerations, particularly due to their feathering and temperament. They need a balanced diet that supports both egg production and healthy feather growth. A clean and dry coop environment is essential to prevent issues with their feathered feet and to maintain overall hygiene. Faverolles enjoy a bit of space to roam, but they are also well-suited for confinement due to their calm nature. Their sociable and gentle disposition makes them vulnerable to bullying in mixed flocks, so careful integration and monitoring are important. Regular health checks are necessary to ensure they are in good condition and free from common poultry ailments.

7. Australorp

Australorps, an Australian breed developed from the Black Orpington, are a notable presence in the large rooster category. Known for their impressive egg-laying abilities and hardy nature, they have gained global recognition and are especially prized in backyard flocks and small-scale farms. The Australorp’s combination of utility, adaptability, and friendly temperament makes it a highly sought-after breed among poultry enthusiasts.

australorp

Characteristics of the Australorp

Australorps are recognized for their sleek, black plumage that often exhibits a greenish sheen in sunlight. They have a single comb and a well-rounded, sturdy body. Australorp roosters typically weigh between 8 to 10 pounds, with hens being slightly lighter. Known for their calm and friendly demeanor, they are suitable for a family setting and are adaptable to various environments. Australorps hold a world record for egg-laying, with one hen famously laying 364 eggs in 365 days.

Best Practices for Raising Australorps

Raising Australorps requires some basic yet essential care to ensure their health and productivity. They benefit from a nutritious, well-balanced diet that supports their egg-laying capabilities. These birds prefer ample space to forage but can also adapt well to confined environments. Given their dense plumage, it is important to provide a clean, dry coop to maintain feather health. Australorps are fairly resilient in different climatic conditions, but they should be provided with adequate shelter and protection from extreme weather. Regular health checks and maintaining good flock management practices are key to keeping Australorps healthy and productive.

8. Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rock, a classic American breed, is a staple in the large rooster category, known for its distinctive barred plumage and robust nature. Originating in the United States in the mid-19th century, Plymouth Rocks have become one of the most popular and recognized breeds in American poultry. They are prized for their dual-purpose utility in both egg-laying and meat production, as well as for their adaptable and friendly temperament, making them a favorite among both hobbyists and commercial farmers.

plymouth rock

Characteristics of the Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rocks are most famous for their striking barred plumage, which is a result of alternating dark and light-colored feathers. They also come in other color varieties like white, buff, and partridge. Plymouth Rock roosters typically weigh between 7 to 8 pounds, with hens being slightly lighter. They have a single comb and are known for their calm and amiable disposition. Plymouth Rocks are reliable layers of large, brown eggs and are also valued for their meat quality.

Best Practices for Raising Plymouth Rocks

Raising Plymouth Rocks involves providing them with a balanced diet to support their egg production and maintain overall health. These birds are versatile and adapt well to both free-range and confined environments. They require a clean and spacious coop, as their active nature necessitates ample space for movement and exercise. Plymouth Rocks are hardy in various climates but should be given adequate shelter, especially in extreme weather conditions. Regular health checks are important to monitor for common poultry diseases and to maintain their well-being, especially in mixed flocks where their docile nature might make them susceptible to bullying.

9. Sussex

The Sussex breed is a distinguished member of the large rooster family, originating from the historic county of Sussex in England. With a heritage that dates back several centuries, Sussex chickens are celebrated for their robustness, excellent laying capabilities, and adaptability to various environments. It is likely that you can find these birds at chicken shows. Their friendly nature and attractive appearance make them a popular choice for both backyard poultry keepers and larger-scale farming operations.

sussex

Characteristics of the Sussex

Sussex chickens are known for their broad, sturdy bodies and come in a variety of colors, including speckled, red, and light. The light Sussex, with its striking white body and black neck and tail feathers, is particularly popular. Sussex roosters weigh about 9 to 11 pounds, while hens are slightly lighter. They have a single comb and are renowned for their calm, docile temperament. Sussex are prolific layers, producing large, tinted eggs, and are also valued for their meat quality.

Best Practices for Raising Sussex

Raising Sussex chickens requires a focus on their nutritional needs to support their egg-laying prowess and maintain their overall health. They thrive on a balanced diet rich in protein and essential nutrients. Sussex chickens are adaptable to both free-ranging and confined environments but do best with space to forage and exercise. They need a clean, spacious coop, and due to their social nature, they integrate well with other breeds. Regular health checks are important to prevent common ailments and to ensure the well-being of these birds, particularly in varying climatic conditions.

10. Wyandotte

Wyandottes are a prominent and attractive breed in the large rooster category, originating from the United States in the late 19th century. Named after the indigenous Wyandot people, they are admired for their beautiful plumage, rounded shape, and versatile utility in both egg production and meat. Wyandottes are particularly favored by backyard chicken enthusiasts and small-scale farmers due to their hardiness, productive laying capacity, and amiable nature.

wyandotte

Characteristics of the Wyandotte

Wyandottes are known for their striking, laced feather patterns, with a variety of color options including silver-laced, gold-laced, and blue. These birds have a broad, round body and a rose comb, making them well-suited for cold climates. Wyandotte roosters typically weigh between 8 to 9 pounds, and hens are slightly lighter. They are recognized for their docile and friendly temperament, making them excellent for mixed flocks and family-friendly poultry settings. Wyandottes are reliable layers of medium to large brown eggs and are also appreciated for their quality meat.

Best Practices for Raising Wyandottes

Raising Wyandottes requires providing them with a balanced and nutritious diet to support their egg-laying abilities and overall health. They are adaptable to both free-range and confined environments but benefit from having space to forage. A clean, well-ventilated coop is essential, especially since their dense plumage can predispose them to overheating in warmer climates. Their rose comb makes them less prone to frostbite, but they still need adequate shelter during harsh weather. Regular health checks are important to maintain their well-being and to monitor for common poultry diseases.

11. Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Reds are a classic and robust breed in the large rooster category, originating from the United States, specifically from Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Developed in the late 19th century, they are one of the most famous and popular breeds worldwide, known for their hardiness, exceptional egg-laying abilities, and adaptability to various environments. Their rich, red plumage and strong, active nature make them a favorite among both backyard poultry enthusiasts and commercial farmers.

In a recent post, we addressed the question, “Are Rhode Island Reds Aggressive in Backyard Coops?

rhode island red

Characteristics of the Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Reds are recognized for their deep, rich red plumage and sturdy, rectangular build. They have a single comb and are known for their vigorous and hardy nature. A typical Rhode Island Red rooster weighs about 7.5 to 8.5 pounds, with hens being slightly smaller. They are renowned for their strong and independent temperament, making them ideal for free-ranging setups. As prolific layers, they produce large brown eggs consistently and are also valued for their meat.

Best Practices for Raising Rhode Island Reds

Raising Rhode Island Reds involves providing them with a diet that caters to their active lifestyle and high egg production. They thrive in both free-range and confined environments but require ample space to exercise their natural behaviors. A clean, spacious coop is necessary, and their hardy nature allows them to adapt well to different climatic conditions. Regular health checks are essential to ensure they remain in good condition, and attention should be given to prevent common issues such as feather pecking in denser flocks.

12. New Hampshire Red

New Hampshire Reds, a breed developed in the United States and derived from the Rhode Island Red, stand out in the large rooster category for their early maturity and vigorous nature. Originating in the early 20th century in New Hampshire, they were bred for rapid growth and early feathering, making them a popular choice for both egg and meat production. Their rich, chestnut-red plumage and robust constitution make them highly valued in both backyard flocks and commercial poultry operations.

new hampshire red

Characteristics of the New Hampshire Red

New Hampshire Reds are known for their deep, reddish-brown plumage and a more muscular and broad body compared to Rhode Island Reds. They have a single comb and are recognized for their fast growth rate and early feathering. A typical New Hampshire Red rooster weighs about 8 to 9 pounds, with hens being slightly smaller. These birds are well-regarded for their calm and friendly demeanor, making them suitable for mixed flocks and family-friendly poultry environments. They are consistent layers of medium to large brown eggs and also provide good-quality meat.

Best Practices for Raising New Hampshire Reds

Raising New Hampshire Reds requires a nutritious diet to support their rapid growth and high egg production. They are adaptable to both free-range and confined environments but benefit from space for regular activity. A clean, well-ventilated coop is essential for maintaining their health, particularly as they can be prone to heat stress due to their dense plumage. Regular health checks are important to monitor for common poultry diseases and to ensure their well-being, especially in changing weather conditions.

13. Dorking

Dorkings are a heritage breed in the large rooster category, known for their history and unique physical attributes. They trace their origins back to the Roman period in Britain, specifically in the town of Dorking in Surrey. Esteemed for their excellent meat quality, docile nature, and striking appearance, Dorkings hold a special place in the hearts of poultry enthusiasts and are a prized breed in heritage and backyard flocks.

dorking

Characteristics of the Dorking

Dorkings are distinctive for their short, five-toed legs, a feature rare among chicken breeds. They possess a broad, square body, and a large comb, and come in several color varieties, including white, silver-grey, and red. Dorking roosters typically weigh between 9 to 14 pounds, making them one of the heavier breeds. Known for their calm and gentle temperament, Dorkings are well-suited for family settings and integrate well with other breeds. They are moderate layers of white or tinted eggs and are especially valued for their tender, flavorful meat.

Best Practices for Raising Dorkings

Raising Dorkings requires attention to their dietary needs to maintain their robust physique and support egg production. They need a spacious, secure environment, as their size and temperament can make them more vulnerable to predators. A clean, dry coop is important to prevent health issues, especially in their unique five-toed feet. Dorkings enjoy foraging and do well in a free-range setting but can adapt to confined spaces. Regular health checks are crucial to ensure they remain in good condition, with special attention to their leg health due to their unique structure.

14. Delaware Rooster Breed

Delawares are a relatively recent addition to the large rooster breed category, developed in the United States in the mid-20th century. Originating in the state of Delaware, they were created from a cross between New Hampshire Reds and Barred Plymouth Rocks.

Delawares quickly gained popularity for their rapid growth, efficient meat production, and excellent egg-laying capabilities. They are recognized for their striking appearance and friendly disposition, making them a favored choice for both small-scale backyard flocks and larger poultry operations.

delaware rooster

Characteristics of the Delaware

Delawares are notable for their predominantly white plumage with black barring at the ends of their feathers, particularly around the neck and tail. They have a single comb and a sturdy, well-rounded body. Delaware roosters typically weigh around 8 to 9 pounds, with hens being slightly lighter. They are known for their calm and gentle nature, making them excellent for mixed flocks and suitable for family-friendly environments. Delawares are reliable layers of large, brown eggs and are also appreciated for their high-quality meat.

Best Practices for Raising Delawares

Raising Delawares involves providing a balanced diet to support their growth and egg production. They are adaptable to various environments, thriving in both free-range and confined settings. It’s important to provide a clean, spacious coop to accommodate their active nature and to maintain their plumage. Delawares are hardy in different climatic conditions but should have access to adequate shelter and protection from extreme weather. Regular health checks are essential to monitor their well-being and to ensure they remain healthy and productive.

15. Leghorn

Leghorns, renowned for their exceptional egg-laying abilities, are a prominent breed in the world of poultry, though not typically classified among the large rooster breeds. Originating from Italy, Leghorns were widely popularized in the United States and are known for their prolific egg production, hardiness, and adaptability. Their slender build and active nature make them a standout choice for egg production in both backyard settings and commercial operations.

leghorn

Characteristics of the Leghorn

Leghorns are easily identifiable by their slim, athletic build and bright white plumage, although they also come in other color varieties like brown, black, and buff. They have a large single comb, are lightweight compared to large breed chickens, with roosters typically weighing 6 to 7.5 pounds. Known for their alert and lively demeanor, Leghorns are somewhat more independent and less docile than larger breeds. They are extraordinary layers, known for producing a high volume of large, white eggs with remarkable consistency.

Best Practices for Raising Leghorns

Raising Leghorns requires catering to their active lifestyle and dietary needs that support high egg production. They benefit from a protein-rich diet, especially during their peak laying periods. Leghorns are well-suited for free-ranging due to their foraging skills and need for movement, but they can also adapt to confined spaces if given enough room to roam. A secure, well-ventilated coop is essential, as Leghorns are adept flyers and can be prone to wandering. Regular health checks are important to ensure they maintain good condition, and extra care may be needed for their large combs in cold weather to prevent frostbite.


Caring for Large Rooster Breeds

Caring for large breeds of roosters, such as Jersey Giants, Brahmas, and Orpingtons, requires a thoughtful approach tailored to their specific needs. These breeds, known for their impressive size and unique characteristics, demand special attention in terms of nutrition, housing, and health management.

Nutritional Requirements

Large rooster breeds need a balanced diet rich in protein to support their sizable physique and, in some cases, high egg production. Their dietary needs may vary depending on their growth stage, health, and the purpose for which they are being raised (meat, eggs, or show). Providing a variety of grains, greens, and protein sources, along with clean water, is essential for their overall health and productivity.

Housing and Space Considerations

Spacious and secure housing is crucial for large rooster breeds. They require more room than smaller breeds, both in the coop and in the run, to accommodate their size and activity level. Adequate ventilation, sturdy perches, and large nesting boxes are essential elements of their housing. Protection from predators and extreme weather conditions is also important.

Health and Wellness

Regular health checks are vital to ensure large roosters are thriving. Due to their size, they can be prone to leg and joint issues, respiratory problems, and other health concerns. Monitoring their weight, feather condition, and behavior can help in the early detection and treatment of potential issues. Providing a clean environment, regular exercise, and preventive care, such as vaccinations and parasite control, are key to maintaining their well-being.


Conclusion

In conclusion, the world of large rooster breeds is diverse and rewarding, offering a range of options for poultry enthusiasts. Each breed, with its unique characteristics and specific care needs, contributes to the dynamic and enriching experience of keeping these magnificent birds. Whether you are drawn to their impressive stature, egg-laying capabilities, or simply their majestic presence, understanding and catering to their needs is key to a successful and fulfilling poultry-keeping journey. As we close this exploration of large rooster breeds, we hope you are inspired and well-equipped to embrace the joys and challenges of raising these remarkable birds.