Ancona Chicken

Ancona chicken is a Mediterranean poultry breed which originated near the city of Ancona, Italy. They were bred from a mixture of early Leghorns and other breeds. Ancona chicken has got extreme hardiness and prolificacy form it’s mixed ancestry.

Their black feathering led to them being called Black Leghorns. They are about the same size to a little heavier than Leghorns. Once this chicken breed was very popular and one of the prime egg producing breeds in Europe. They are popular in the United States and Britain, but uncommon in Italy (the native area of this breed).

An initiative was launched in the year of 2000 to re-establish Ancona chicken in it’s native area and preserve it’s biodiversity. In the 19th century they joined American farm flocks. There are two varieties of Ancona chicken available.

The single comb variety and the rose comb variety. American Poultry Association recognized the single comb bird in 1898 and the rose comb variety in 1914. There is also a bantam variety of Ancona chicken.

Physical Characteristics of Ancona Chicken

Ancona chicken is a typical Mediterranean poultry breed which is mainly raised for egg production. On an average, an Ancona hen lays about 220 eggs per year.

They are among the good layer of big sized white eggs. For the first time, the pullets may start laying at the age of 5 months.

Ancona hens have little tendency to broodiness. So incubator is a must for hatching eggs. This breed ranges widely, take flight easily, rustic, lively and very hardy.

They have black mottled with white plumage. At the tip approximately one feather in three has a v-shaped white markings. Tail, sickles and all primary feathers should have white tips.

The black feathers may have a beetle green tint. The white spots on their plumage become bigger with every moult, so the older the bird, the whiter the feathering.

Ancona chicken has orange-red eyes, yellow mottled with black legs and yellow with some back markings on the upper mandible beak. They have white ear lobes and their skin color is yellow. Their comb has five well marked points and is of medium size.

Ancona roosters have large, red, log single comb. They have a very regal appearance with their curving and elegant long tail feathers. The roosters have very large white earlobes which is somewhat almond-shaped, that can be very striking.

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Ancona hens have some similar characteristics with the white Leghorn chicken. Like the Leghorn hens, Ancona hens also have superior food to egg laying ratios.

In comparison to other egg lying breeds, Ancona hens lay a lot of large white eggs. On an average, an adult rooster can weights about 2.5 to 2.8 kg and a hen weights about 1.8 to 2.1 kg.


Ancona chickens are very hardy and active birds. They are also extremely hardy in cold weather. Hens are not prone to broodiness, so incubator is a must for hatching eggs and producing chicks.

Actually they are among the non-siter breeds which produce a large number of eggs. Chicks become very hardy and mature quickly. They are busy birds and will be very happy foraging in the open area. They are good flyers and alert, so high fencing is necessary.

But they don’t do well and will not be happy if they are kept in confined condition. They may become tame and quite trusting if handled form a young age and through kind treatment and good care.

Ancona chickens have an average lifespan of around 8 years. See full breed profile of Ancona chicken below.

Breed NameAncona
Other NameAlso Called Black Leghorns
Breed PurposeEgg
Breed TemperamentFriendly, Flighty, Very Active
Breed SizeLarge
CombSingle & Rose
Climate ToleranceAll Climates
Egg ColorWhite
Egg SizeLarge
Egg ProductivityHigh
Feathered LegsNo
VarietiesSingle Comb and Rose Comb Varieties are Available

The Good

  • Very beautiful and closely feathered
  • Very active
  • Good foragers
  • Chicks are vigorous and mature quickly
  • Very good layer
  • Start laying earlier
  • Big white eggs
  • Do very well in free range
  • Friendly
  • Good feed-to-eggs ratio
  • Require less feeds if allowed to forage (which means an economical breed)

The Bad

  • Flighty
  • Can be noisy sometimes

Is Ancona Chicken Good for You?

Ancona chicken can be good for you if you…….

  • Want to raise beautiful chickens with colorful feathers.
  • Want to start free range layer poultry farming business.
  • Want to raise some active and very hardy chickens.
  • Are looking for some chickens which are good foragers and do well in free range.
  • Are looking for such chicken breed which require less feed and has good feed-to-eggs ratio.
  • Have pasture and want to let some chickens browse there and want to earn some extra money.
  • Are looking for perfect chicken breed which mature quickly and pullets start laying eggs earlier than other breeds.

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