For your average backyard chicken owner, the prestige of a breed is just not that important. You want healthy chickens that can lay a few eggs or grow up strong and plump to make a good table bird. That’s it.
But for those true aficionados or keepers who have very specific purposes and intentions for their flock, sometimes only the finest and rarest chickens will do. And that means you’ll have to pay for them.
Whether it is chickens with absolutely unique attributes, incredible egg-laying capabilities, immense size or jaw-dropping coloration, some chickens can cost you an arm and a leg, whether you want mature adults or just chicks.
Below you will find 14 of the most expensive chicken breeds in the world.
- Eggs: $5
- Chicks, unsexed: $10
- Adults: $50+
The Brahma is an American breed that was formerly imported from China, and for a long time was one of the principal meat birds raised in the United States.
The Brahma’s most noteworthy characteristic is its typically immense size, with the average weight for males being around 12 pounds but birds weighing nearly 20 pounds are far from unheard of.
Attractive, muscular and dependable winter layers, the Brahma is a good choice for both meat and egg production.
Despite their size, they typically have an even, agreeable temperament if they are raised by people and interacted with regularly.
But know that they are used to getting their way with other, smaller chickens so be cautious if including them in a mixed flock.
When it comes to eggs, every Brahma can be depended on to lay huge, smooth brown eggs for several years, meaning that the actual net production is more than the somewhat modest numbers would suggest because their eggs are so large.
But these big birds are fairly costly among the more common naturalized breeds with adults from good lines usually going for around $50, perhaps more and even eggs commanding a small premium.
Nonetheless, if you love big birds and you cannot lie, the Brahma is one of the more affordable monster chickens on the market.
- Eggs: $8 to $10
- Chicks, unsexed: $30
- Adults: $55 to $75
One of the most quintessential and beautiful of the traditional English breeds, the Sussex chicken is likewise very popular in the United States, both as a show bird, and as one of purely practical purpose since they are good dual-use chickens.
Sussex hens will lay upwards of 180 tan or off-white colored eggs every year, and most of the time they will lay reliably all winter long, meaning they’re a great egg producer if you live in a cold climate.
If you want to harvest your chickens for their meat, they are known both for their quality and also their size; the Sussex is a large breed.
And for those who simply have come down with a case of chicken fancy, the Sussex is one of the most photogenic and personable chickens out there.
The speckled Sussex in particular has been the subject of plenty of paintings and photography sessions. These good looks are backed up by a friendly temperament, and a tendency to bond with their human keepers.
As a dedicated pet or companion breed, the Sussex is difficult to beat.
But this comes at a cost: popular things tend to become expensive, and mature Sussex chickens will run you anywhere from $55 to $75 dollars from a good breeder, and even baby chicks can be a little pricey at anywhere from $25 to $35 each.
- Eggs: $11 to $15
- Chicks, unsexed: $25 to $30
- Adults: $70 to $80
A Swedish breed that is almost unknown in America and still quite rare everywhere else, these chickens are known for their vivid, geometric black and white patterns on their feathers.
The Orust is a legacy breed that was pushed to the brink of a total extinction, and even as recently as 2012 there was only a few hundred left in the world.
Today, thanks to a burst of interest in rescuing these breeds from extinction by chicken owners around the world, it is thought that there were a few thousand here and there, though the majority are still in Sweden.
Not much is known about them otherwise, but if you want the privilege of owning one of the single rarest chickens in the world it is possible as long as you can find them.
Young hens usually go for about $70 or more, and chicks retail anywhere from $25 to $30.
- Eggs: $8 to $12
- Chicks, unsexed: $15 to $20
- Adults: $50 to $100
The Silkie is a well-known and popular breed of chicken, but one that is still pretty pricey compared to most other, more common domestics.
With adults of good lineage costing anywhere from $50 to well over $100, these chickens are an investment that you shouldn’t make lightly, but they are one that most keepers are happy to make.
That is thanks to their excellent combination of docile, friendly temperament, overall good health and, of course, those amazing, fluffy feathers that are just irresistible!
Silkies are also fair layers, with an average hen producing around 100 eggs every year or a little bit more, but they are excellent mothers and highly prone to going broody.
In fact, they are so prone to broodiness that silkies will rarely produce eggs at their maximum capacity because they are intent on hatching every clutch that they lay and raising those chicks.
But, clever keepers exploit the friendliness of Silkies and their excellent parenting qualities to use them as surrogate mothers to naturally hatch and raise the eggs of other breeds.
In this way, Silkies are well worth the cost because you can depend on them to expand the size of your flock naturally – as long as you can pay, of course!
- Eggs: $8 to $12
- Chicks, unsexed: $15 to $20
- Adults: $75 to $150
Among chicken keepers there are few breeds as beloved for temperament and also good looks as the Orpington.
Once raised in England as a “superlayer” bird capable of laying more than 300 eggs per year, the amazing good looks and plump, fluffy plumage of these chickens soon led to them being selected for looks alone.
The result is an immensely beautiful, and incredibly friendly, personable chicken, but one that no longer has that incredible laying ability.
Even so, Orpingtons are still impressive layers, with most hens topping out at around 200 eggs per year.
Available in a variety of colors, and coming in an even friendlier Bantam variety, the Orpington is a true show bird, and a favorite of the dedicated chicken fancier.
Although hardly rare, Orpingtons that come from good lines, especially those that have proven successful on the show circuit, can be very spendy. Healthy, young adults start around $75 and can easily clear $150.
6. Olandsk Dwarf
- Eggs: $15+, when available
- Chicks, unsexed: $90+
- Adults: N/A
Another incredibly rare breed of chicken hailing from Sweden, the Olandsk Dwarf breed is notable for having come back from the very precipice of extinction, with at one point only a few dozen individuals still alive.
Today, though they have bounced back, they’re still in a precarious position with their total population numbers estimated to be anywhere from a few hundred to a couple thousand.
A true bantam breed that resulted from natural selection, these chickens are incredibly friendly with people because for many generations they never had to live in fear of humans.
They’re highly agreeable with people and chickens alike, making them an excellent choice for mixed flocks and first-time owners.
But their incredible rarity has resulted in a big price tag for these precious birds: Adults are, as a rule, totally unavailable and chicks easily cost upwards of $90.
It’s a privilege to own one, but you’ll have to bring your checkbook!
7. Bresse Gauloise
- Eggs: $10+
- Chicks, unsexed: $50+
- Adults: $150 to $175
The Bresse Gauloise, known as the “true” Bresse hailing from France, is another amazingly rare and expensive chicken.
Raised primarily for their delicate, delicious, succulent meat, these birds are raised in a tiny region of France under incredibly strict controls regarding their lineage, sale and exportation.
This is another breed that was long thought extinct by the turn of the 20th century, and it was only due to the constant efforts of dedicated breeders who had a few surviving individuals that the line was first stabilized and then resuscitated.
Although they are typically reared for their beautifully marbled meat, these chickens are nonetheless good layers of large eggs, and rarely if ever become broody making them good producers.
Precious few of them are exported at all, and accordingly you will rarely if ever find one that is not a domesticated, or American, Bresse variety. Expect to spend at least $150 on a verified adult, and $50 or more for a chick.
- Eggs: $15 to $20
- Chicks, unsexed: $100 to $110
- Adults: $200+
The Svarthona, also called the Swedish Black, is a unique jet-black to charcoal gray chicken that is thought to have descended from the Ayam Cemani or Kadaknath breeds we will learn about later.
Unlike those two breeds, the Swedish Black is not truly all black: they have black feathers with purple or greenish iridescent mottling, black skin and charcoal gray or ash-colored legs, beaks, combs and wattles.
This sinister appearance results from a particular genetic mutation regarding the pigmentation of the chicken’s tissues.
Aside from this striking and somewhat ominous coloration, these birds are highly cold-adaptable and are excellent winter layers.
They’re considered culturally important to the country of Sweden, and even there these birds are rare. Accordingly, eggs, chicks and adults are very expensive.
If you want one of these marvelous birds you’ll need to shell out more than $100 for a chick, and if you are fortunate enough to find an adult for sale expect to pay over $200.
- Eggs: $15 to $20
- Chicks, unsexed: $110+
- Adults: $200+
The Deathlayer is, without question, the chicken with the most metal name that has or will ever live.
But, perhaps surprisingly, the death layer does not look or behave like its name suggests, and neither does it lay eggs that are toxic, monstrous or in any way abnormal.
These birds are actually quite pretty, being speckled white and black with long and luxurious tail feathers, and possessing a sort of stately steadiness to them.
These German chickens only have their name because of a suspected corruption of their original, translated name which means day layer in the German tongue.
In any case, these chickens are indeed renowned for their laying ability, typically laying seven eggs a week year in and year out until they die. I guess in that sense, they are “death layers” because they lay until death!
They are definitely interesting birds that are largely free from the efforts of human breeding to this very day, although they are quite rare.
If you want the privilege of owning one you’ll have to spend big bucks to get it. Chicks typically go for over $100, and even fertilized eggs can sell for $20 apiece.
Adults are extremely rare to find for sale in the first place, and can routinely retail for upwards of $200.
- Eggs: $10 to $15
- Chicks, unsexed: $50 to $65
- Adults: $200 to $250
A Russian chicken once thought extinct like many others on this list, and only resuscitated as a breed thanks to the dedicated efforts of enthusiast breeders and state-sponsored conservationists, the Pavlovskaya is considered an ornamental breed in the United States, but is a dual-purpose breed in Russia and elsewhere.
Known for the striking coloration, upright crests of feathers on their heads that resemble a crown, feathered legs and super sweet personalities, owning one of these chickens is a joy and a true privilege.
But it is a privilege that comes at a cost. The breed was only properly reintroduced in the late 1990s and early 2000s after significant investment and codification of standards, and they are vanishingly rare in the West and in America in particular.
There are chickens that are sold as Pavlovskyas that are anything but- they do not share the true genetic information of the breed as officially classified by Russia – and one telltale is the cheap price.
If you find the genuine article, adults will sell for upwards of $200, and chicks will sell for $50 or more.
11. Liege Fighter
- Eggs: $15 to $20
- Chicks, unsexed: $100 to $125+
- Adults: $250+
A near-legendary game bird hailing from Belgium, the Liege Fighter is renowned for its regal stature and combativeness as the name suggests.
And aside from their historical use in cockfighting, they are ferocious defenders of their flock, and even of their human masters. These birds are the bodyguards of the chicken world!
Known for their tremendous aggression, fighting ability, and extraordinary size for a game bird, Liege Fighter roosters stand at two and a half feet tall and tip the scales at 13 lbs on average.
Despite their ferocity when it comes to dealing with predators, they are just as well-known for their tenderness and friendliness with humans – assuming, of course, that you are the ones who raised them and they see you as family!
These birds are incredibly rare to find, and chicks will almost never go for less than $100, and adult chickens sell for over $200 as a rule. Particularly impressive specimens can reach $250 or more.
- Eggs: N/A
- Chicks, unsexed: N/A
- Adults: $1,200+
Another extremely rare and borderline mythical chicken, the Kadaknath is another solid black bird, but one that is truly all black.
And I do mean black: the feathers, skin, legs, eyes, comb, wattles, beak, meat and even organs of this bird are pure black, as black as coal!
Although, if you want to get technical, the feathers can sometimes be seen with a wonderful emerald green hue mixed in among the black, giving these birds a truly magical appearance.
Exclusively raised in remote parts of India, these birds are celebrated for the purported medicinal qualities of the meat and organs.
These are another chicken breed that is virtually unknown and unseen in the West, and they are almost never found for sale. As of press time, young hens will sell for a staggering $1,200!
13. Dong Tao
- Eggs: N/A
- Chicks, unsexed: N/A
- Adults: $1,300+, typically sold as pair.
My pick for the most incredible looking chicken on this list, the Dong Tao is a Vietnamese chicken that looks truly ancient, almost primitive in appearance.
The most notable and immediately apparent feature of these birds is their immense legs.
Extremely thick and stocky, with toes to match, and oversized scales that would look more at home on an alligator than a chicken; these birds look like they mean business.
But despite their ferocious appearance, these chickens are raised for their meat alone, which is purported to be of unbelievably good quality.
Despite the extreme rarity of the breed, demand for them as meat birds is outrageous in Vietnam and elsewhere, and this has led to an extraordinarily inflated market.
Combined with the fact that these chickens only lay between 50 and 60 eggs a year, there will never be enough of them to meet demand.
As of press time, breeders outside of Vietnam are non-existent, and adult chickens typically retail for $1,300 or more. Crazy!
14. Ayam Cemani
- Eggs: $25 to $35, when available
- Chicks, unsexed: N/A
- Adults: $2,400+
Another incredibly rare chicken, and yet another one that “suffers” from a genetic mutation resulting in every single part of its body being truly black- even the bones in this case!
The Ayam Cemani hails from Java, and it’s so rare in the United States that the American Poultry Association and other governing bodies don’t even recognize it as a distinct breed.
A combination of enthusiast fervor, extreme rarity and a not-insignificant amount of marketing and prestige propaganda has resulted in truly unbelievable prices for these birds, giving them the top spot on our list.
Brace yourself: sexually mature adult birds routinely sell for more than $2,400 apiece! Only the very rich or the truly obsessed will ever be able to afford an Ayam Cemani chicken!
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.