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The Nankin chicken breed is a small-sized bird with a diverse color palette in shades of black, brown, and red. Introducing the Nankin chicken breed, a small-sized bird that boasts a captivating range of colors encompassing black, brown, and red hues.

Known for its distinct appearance, the Nankin chicken breed has caught the attention of poultry enthusiasts around the world. We will delve into the characteristics, origin, and temperament of this fascinating breed. Whether you’re an experienced chicken keeper or simply intrigued by unique chicken breeds, the Nankin breed is sure to captivate your interest.

Join us as we explore the world of this captivating bird, and unravel the mysteries behind its origins, traits, and behaviors.


The Nankin Chicken breed has a fascinating history that dates back several centuries. This breed gets its name from Nanking, the capital of Jiangsu Province in China, where it was originally developed. Here are some key points about the history of the Nankin Chicken breed:

  • Origin in Ancient China: Nankin Chickens have been around for centuries and were originally bred in ancient China.
  • Status as an Ancient Breed: These chickens are recognized as one of the oldest documented chicken breeds in history.
  • Traditional Use: Nankin Chickens were primarily kept for their attractive appearance and gentle nature, rather than for their ability to lay eggs or provide meat.
  • Cultural Significance: Throughout history, Nankin Chickens have been admired and celebrated for their aesthetic qualities, appearing in Chinese art and folklore as symbols of beauty and grace.
  • International Recognition: In the early 19th century, Nankin Chickens were introduced to Europe and America, gaining popularity among poultry enthusiasts. They were officially recognized as a breed by the American Poultry Association in 1874.

The intriguing history of the Nankin Chicken breed demonstrates its enduring appeal and cultural significance, making it a beloved breed in the world of poultry.

Nankin Chicken
Wes A from Flickr

General Characteristics

The Nankin chicken breed is known for its general characteristics such as a vibrant reddish-brown color, feathered legs, and a friendly temperament. These chickens are small in size and make great backyard pets because of their hardiness and ability to adapt to various climates.

The Nankin chicken breed is known for its unique and appealing appearance. Here are some of the general characteristics that make them stand out:

  • Compact size: Nankin chickens are small to medium-sized birds, making them a perfect choice for backyard poultry enthusiasts.
  • Attractive plumage: These chickens have a stunning appearance with their rich chestnut or mahogany-colored feathers. Their feathers often have metallic sheens, adding to their beauty.
  • Curved beak: The Nankin breed features a curved beak, which is a distinct trait that sets them apart from other chicken breeds.
  • Vibrant comb and wattles: The comb and wattles of Nankin chickens are usually a deep red color, creating a striking contrast against their plumage.
  • Friendly temperament: Nankin chickens are known for their calm and friendly nature, making them delightful companions in any backyard flock.
  • Good egg layers: Although primarily bred for exhibition purposes, Nankin hens are decent layers, producing small to medium-sized creamy white eggs.

These general characteristics make the Nankin chicken breed an appealing choice for chicken enthusiasts who appreciate beauty, companionship, and the pleasure of collecting fresh eggs.


The Nankin Chicken breed is known for its calm and docile temperament, making it an ideal choice for backyard poultry enthusiasts. With its friendly demeanor, this breed is easily handled and well-suited for families and beginners in chicken keeping.

Nankin chickens are not only known for their beautiful appearance but also for their pleasant and amiable temperament. These chickens have a gentle disposition and enjoy human company, making them a delightful addition to any flock. Their docile nature and friendly behavior make them a popular choice for backyard chicken enthusiasts.

Let’s take a closer look at the temperament of Nankin chickens:

Friendly And Sociable

  • Nankin chickens are known for their friendly and sociable nature.
  • They enjoy interacting with their owners and can become quite tame if properly handled and raised with care.
  • These chickens are not aggressive and rarely display any signs of hostility.

Docile And Calm

  • The docile temperament of Nankin chickens makes them a great choice for families with children or other pets.
  • They are not easily startled and are tolerant of being handled, making them ideal for children to learn about responsible pet ownership.

Curious And Inquisitive

  • Nankin chickens are naturally curious and inquisitive, always exploring their surroundings.
  • They enjoy foraging and scratching the ground, displaying their innate behaviors in a fascinating manner.
  • Their curiosity makes them entertaining to watch and easy to engage with.

Peaceful And Non-Confrontational

  • These chickens tend to avoid confrontation and are peaceful in their interactions with other flock members.
  • They rarely engage in aggressive behavior and prefer to resolve conflicts through avoidance or submission.
  • The calm and tranquil nature of Nankin chickens creates a harmonious environment within the flock.

Adaptability And Resilience

  • Nankin chickens are known for their adaptability to various climates and living conditions.
  • They can thrive in both warm and cold climates, making them suitable for a wide range of environments.
  • Their resilient nature enables them to withstand changes in weather and adapt to different flock dynamics.

The Nankin chicken breed possesses a remarkable temperament characterized by friendliness, docility, curiosity, peacefulness, and adaptability. Their affable nature makes them an excellent choice for backyard enthusiasts seeking a charming and sociable chicken. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced chicken keeper, Nankin chickens are sure to bring joy and delight to your flock.

Comb Types

The Nankin Chicken breed is known for its unique comb types. These combs come in various shapes and sizes, adding to the charm and diversity of this breed. Whether it’s a single comb, rose comb, or V-shaped comb, Nankin Chickens are sure to catch your eye.

The Nankin Chicken Breed is a fascinating poultry breed known for its distinctive comb types. These combs, which sit atop the chicken’s head, play a crucial role in regulating body temperature and providing protection. In this section, we will explore the different comb types found in Nankin Chickens and their significance.

So, let’s dive right in!

Single Comb

  • The most common comb type is found in Nankin Chickens.
  • A single, upright comb with a smooth surface.
  • Consists of several well-defined, evenly-spaced points.
  • Provides excellent heat dissipation, allowing the chicken to cool in hot weather.
  • Offers moderate protection against frostbite during colder months.

Rose Comb

  • Another prevalent comb type among Nankin Chickens.
  • Resembles the shape of a rose, hence the name.
  • Smoother and broader than the single comb.
  • Composed of dense, fleshy ridges that interweave.
  • Offers great insulation against cold temperatures, reducing the risk of frostbite.

Pea Comb

  • A lesser-known but still significant comb type in the breed.
  • Resembles a series of small, round peas lined up.
  • Relatively small in size with a compact structure.
  • Provides excellent cold weather resistance due to its low exposure area.
  • Less susceptible to frostbite compared to single combs.

Buttercup Comb

  • A unique and rare comb type in Nankin Chickens.
  • Resembles the shape of a buttercup flower.
  • Consists of a small central ridge surrounded by multiple points.
  • Offers adequate protection against both heat and cold.
  • Has exceptional adaptability to varying environmental conditions.

Cushion Comb

  • An unusual comb type found in some Nankin Chickens.
  • Takes the shape of a shallow cushion or pillow.
  • Flat and compact with dense flesh.
  • Provides good insulation against extreme temperatures.
  • Requires little maintenance compared to other comb types.

Nankin Chickens exhibit various comb types, each having its own unique traits and benefits. Whether it’s the single comb for heat dissipation, the rose comb for insulation, the pea comb for frostbite resistance, the buttercup comb for adaptability, or the cushion comb for low maintenance, these combs play a crucial role in the breed’s well-being.

Understanding these comb types can help poultry enthusiasts select and care for their Nankin Chickens more effectively.


Overall, the Nankin chicken breed is a remarkable addition to any backyard flock. With its beautiful plumage, friendly demeanor, and remarkable ability to forage, the Nankin chicken offers both aesthetic beauty and practicality. These chickens are not only stunning to look at, but also easy to care for, making them an ideal choice for beginners and experienced chicken keepers alike.

The Nankin chicken’s small size and adaptable nature make it perfect for those with limited space, while their ability to free-range and thrive in various climates is a testament to their hardiness. Additionally, their eggs are not only delicious but also have a rich yolk and sturdy shell.

This breed’s heritage and historical significance further add to its charm and appeal. Whether you are looking to add a touch of history to your flock or simply enjoy the pleasures of watching these beautiful chickens roam your backyard, the Nankin breed is an excellent choice.

With their unique characteristics and impressive qualities, Nankin chickens are sure to make a delightful addition to any chicken enthusiast’s flock.

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