How Many Toes Does a Chicken Have

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Most people know that chickens have four toes on each foot. But did you also know that they have a fifth toe hidden near the ankle? How many toes does a chicken have?

Depending on the breed of chicken, they can have anywhere from eight to ten toes. So which is it? For the most part, chickens have four toes – two in the front and two in the back.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at chicken toes and learn a little more about this interesting subject. So, how many toes does a chicken have? let’s get to it.

How Many Toes Does a Chicken Have

Chickens are interesting creatures, and they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. However, one thing that all chickens have in common is their toes.

Brown chicken

The vast majority of chickens have four toes on each foot, with three toes pointing forward and one toe pointing backward.

However, a select few breeds have a fifth toe, and these chickens are known to be polydactyl. Polydactyl chickens are relatively uncommon, but they can be found in certain parts of the world.

For example, the breed known as the “Sebastopol goose” is native to parts of Russia and has five toes on each foot. While five-toed chickens are not the norm, they are certainly an interesting curiosity.

BreedNumber of toes
silkie5 on each foot
brahma4 on each foot
cochin4 on each foot
polish4 on each foot
pekin4 on each foot
frizzle4 on each foot

What Chickens Have 5 Toes

Chickens are digitigrade animals, meaning they walk on their toes instead of the flats of their feet. This anatomical feature is found in other birds and many mammals, such as cats, dogs, and bears.

Chickens have four main toes on each foot, plus a small toe known as a “dew claw.” The dew claw is located above the main toes and is not used for walking.

While most chicken breeds have five toes, some genetic mutations result in chickens with fewer or more than five toes.

However, these abnormalities are relatively rare, and most chickens fall within the “normal” range of four to five toes per foot.

Below are the breeds of chickens with five toes.

The Dorking

The Dorking chicken is a British breed of chicken that is easily recognized by its five toes. The breed was first developed in the town of Dorking in Surrey, England, and it quickly became one of the most popular breeds in the country.

Dorking chicken

The Dorking was introduced to America in the 1800s, and it soon became one of the most popular breeds in the United States as well.

Today, the Dorking is still considered a very good egg-laying chicken and is also known for its docile and friendly personality.

If you are looking for a chicken that is easy to take care of and that will provide you with plenty of eggs, then the Dorking chicken may be the right breed for you.

The Faverolles

A French breed, the Faverolles also come in five-toed and six-toed varieties. The Faverolles chicken is a French breed that was developed in the 19th century.

The breed gets its name from the village of Faverolles, which is located in the northern part of France.

Faverolles chickens are known for their distinctive appearance, which includes a large number of feathers on their legs and feet.

The breed was developed by crossing several other breeds, including the Dorking, the Cochin, and the Main Pochard.

Faverolles chickens are generally calm and good-natured, making them a popular choice for backyard chicken keepers.

The breed is also known for being a good egg producer, with hens laying an average of 200 eggs per year.

In recent years, the Faverolles chicken has become increasingly popular in the United States and Europe.

The Houdan

The Houdan chicken is a rare breed of chicken that is native to the Houdan region of France. The breed gets its name from the town of Houdan, where it was first developed. Houdan chickens are known for their docile nature and their ability to lay large, brown eggs.

Their five toes also distinguish them, a trait they share with only a handful of other chicken breeds.

Houdans are relatively uncommon in North America, but they are gaining popularity among backyard chicken enthusiasts.

If you’re looking for a unique chicken breed that lays plenty of eggs, the Houdan chicken might be a perfect choice.

The Sultan

The Sultan Chicken is a five-toed chicken breed that originates from Malaysia. The Sultan Chicken is known for its beautiful plumage, which is often used in ornamental bird shows.

The breed gets its name from the Malaysian state of Selangor, where the breed was developed.

The Sultan Chicken is classified as a light breed, and hens typically weigh between three and four pounds.

The breed is also known for being relatively quiet and docile, making them a good choice for backyard flocks.

In terms of egg production, Sultan Chickens are average laying hens, typically producing around three eggs per week.

However, the eggs are small in size, so if you’re looking for large chicken eggs, this may not be the breed for you.

But if you’re looking for a beautiful bird that’s relatively low-maintenance, the Sultan Chicken might be the perfect fit.

The Silkie Bantam

The Silkie Bantam Chicken is a unique breed of chicken that is characterized by its five toes. Unlike most chickens with four toes, the Silkie Bantam has an extra toe on each foot. This unusual trait is thought to be the result of a genetic mutation.

Silkie Bantams are also known for their silky feathers, which are said to feel like satin. In addition to their five toes and silky feathers, Silkie Bantams are also known for their gentle dispositions. They make great pets and are well-suited for families with small children.

Why Do Some Chickens Have Extra Toes

The extra toes are a result of a genetic mutation called polydactyly, which is a relatively common occurrence in chickens.

In fact, it’s estimated that about 1 in every 500 chickens has this condition. While polydactyly doesn’t seem to cause any problems for the chickens themselves, it can make their eggs difficult to hatch.

This is because the extra toes can get in the way of the egg’s development, preventing it from properly forming.

Polydactyly can also cause difficulty in walking and balance. In addition, polydactyl chickens are more likely to suffer from foot problems, such as bumblefoot.

However, not all polydactyl chickens have health problems. Some chicken owners believe that polydactyl chickens are lucky and often fetch higher prices at poultry shows.

Fortunately, there are several methods that chicken breeders can use to overcome this problem. One common method is simply removing the extra toes before the eggs are incubated.

This ensures that the eggs will be able to develop properly, and it also helps to improve the hatch rate.

Another method that’s sometimes used is to crossbreed chickens with different toe mutations. This can help to create a more uniform appearance, and it also helps to reduce the chances of health problems.


Though it may seem like a silly question, how many toes does a chicken have is actually an important one?

This is because most chickens have four toes on each foot, with three toes pointing forward and one toe pointing backward.

However, there are a select few breeds that have a fifth toe. This can cause major problems for poultry farmers, as the extra toe can make it difficult for chickens to walk and lead to other health issues.

So next time you’re cooking up some fried chicken, remember to give thanks to those lucky few chickens who get to strut around with five perfect toes!

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