Most chicken have four toes on every foot. Of the chicken breeds found in the united States, five breeds frequently have five toes on each foot. The problem is technically known as polydactylism — indigenous the Greek indigenous poly an interpretation many, and daktylos meaning a finger or toe. The properties of having 5 toes represents a mutation the has occurred periodically throughout history. Our five chicken breeds the have 5 toes room Dorking, Faverolle, Houdan, Silkie, and also Sultan.

You are watching: How many toes does a chicken have


The Dorking was arisen in the area around Dorking, England, from chicken originally presented by roman legions in the first century. The is a docile chicken with brief legs and also can it is in either huge size or bantam.

Dorkings come in two comb ranges — huge single comb (suitable for warmth climates) and also rose comb (more an ideal for northern areas). They additionally come in a couple of color varieties, of which silver gray is the most common. The hen lay eggs with slightly tinted shells and also brood easily.


The Faverolle was emerged in France as a dual-purpose farmstead chicken and also named after ~ the French village of Faverolle. It to be bred from so numerous other breeds that no one have the right to agree top top its exact heritage.

Favorolles have a single comb, a beard and also muffs, and slight foot feathering. They might be huge or bantam and come in a couple of color varieties, of i beg your pardon the initial color, salmon, remains the most common. The hen are an excellent layers the eggs v light-brown shells and also tend towards broodiness.


The Houdan is an old French breed, named after the city of Houdan, i beg your pardon traditionally has actually been a source of poultry for the Paris market. This chicken is a dual-purpose breed that is additionally ornamental. The crest, V-comb, and also beard likely were bestowed by Crevecoeur and Polish ancestors, while its 5 toes were contributed by the Dorking.

The Houdan may be either huge or bantam in one of two color varieties — mottled is the original; white was developed in the joined States. The hen lay white-shell eggs and tend toward broodiness yet are not an especially adept at it.


The silkie is an old breed most likely originating in China. The breed name originates from its soft, furlike plumage, resulting from the i can not qualify of the feather barbs to lock. All that fluff renders these bird look bigger than they yes, really are. Silkies can mature to a load of 4 pounds or more, but in phibìc America they room bred come be small and thus are no true bantams.

A Silkie has actually a crest, walnut comb, turquoise earlobes, and also feathered legs. The skin and also shanks room black, and also the face, comb, and also wattles are almost so. Silkies may be one of two people bearded or non-bearded and come in a few color varieties, of i beg your pardon white and also black space the two most common.

These room friendly, docile chicken that can’t fly, and their fluffy plumage offers tiny protection native rain and temperature extremes. The hens space decent great of tinted eggs and are such fantastic setters lock are regularly kept specifically for the incubation of the egg of rarely or non-brooding fowl.


The Sultan is one old ornamental breed originating in Turkey. In that native country it’s dubbed Serai Tavuk, definition Sultan’s palace fowl, since for decades it to be kept solely in palace gardens.

This breed is smallish with a large crest, a V-comb, a beard and also muffs, drooping wings, feathered legs, and vulture hocks. It may be big or bantam and also originally had solid white plumage. Various other colors have actually been derived by crossing Sultans with Polish.

Sultans space docile and friendly, qualified fliers, and also less inclined to scrape than various other breeds. The hen are negative layers that white-shell eggs and also seldom brood.

How five Toes Happen

Genetic characteristics are controlled by pairs of genes, one from each parent. As soon as the 2 genes in a pair are not the same, they are referred to as alleles. One allele is simply a sport of a gene. Words is short for allelomorph, literally an interpretation “other form.”

Since the allele for 5 toes has higher influence 보다 the allele for four toes, once both alleles are present the five-toed properties dominates. A polydactyl mixed-breed chicken contends least one parental with five toes.

As in many things related to genetics, polydactylism is also controlled through other, unrelated genes. A chicken inheriting the leading trait the polydactylism because of this may have, not 5 toes on every foot, but five toes top top one foot and also four on the other. Just as likely, it may have actually six toe on each foot, six on one and also five ~ above the other, or 6 on one and four ~ above the other.

And that’s today’s news indigenous the Cackle Coop.

See more: How Many Laps On Track Is A Mile, Running Track Lane Distances

Gail Damerow has written many books around poultry, including The Chicken Encyclopedia.