The world of chickens has expanded as people have bred more specialized chickens. Some chicken breeds have been bred for their unusual appearance, and some have been selected for better functionality. You may have heard of Wheaten chickens and be unsure what they look like and their characteristics.
Wheaten refers to a color in chickens. The chicken’s feathers are usually a creamy white to yellow or pale tan and are said to resemble the color of wheat. Wheaten chickens are often referred to as French Wheaten Marans. Ameraucana, Aseel, and Dong Tao chickens can also come in wheaten colors.
Chicken color genetics is quite complex because they come with so many different patterns that overlay colors that may be diluted or not.
Is A Wheaten Chicken A Breed Of Chicken?
A wheaten chicken is not a breed of chicken. Instead, Wheaten refers to the coloring and markings on a chicken. These chickens vary in color and can be creamy white, yellowish-white, salmon, or pale tan. The colors are called Wheaten because they are in the same palette range as ripe wheat heads.
The chickens may have darker feather speckling around the neck with lighter colors on the body. Hens usually have actual wheaten feathers as they have diluted colors compared to the roosters.
Roosters may have some black markings with red and gold which overlays the wheaten colors.
What Breeds Of Chicken Come In Wheaten Colours?
Several breeds have wheaten phenotypes. These include:
- French Wheaten Marans
- Wheaten Ameraucanas
- Wheaten Astels
- Dong Tao
What Are French Wheaten Maran Chickens?
French Wheaten Marans are heritage chickens bred for both eggs and slaughter. Their breast and body feathers are a delicate off-white, with darker salmon colors on the wings and richer red-brown plumage on the neck.
These attractive chickens have feathers that are excellently color-coded!
Their legs are pinkish white and lightly feathered. The beak is cream, and the comb, ear lobes, and wattles are red. The eyes are always orange.
They are docile, friendly chickens that originated from the town of Marans in France. Their cooperative nature makes them popular as backyard chickens. In addition, they are perfect for children who wish to keep chickens as pets.
French Wheaten Marans are known to be chickens that produce some of the darkest colored eggs. The eggs are dark brown, and some people describe them as chocolate.
Some eggs may even look dark red. This is because the eggs are darkest when the hen first begins laying eggs. After that, they become lighter as the hen ages.
French Wheaten Marans provide good quality meat. However, they are substantially sized birds requiring larger coops than regular chickens. These chickens do well as free-range birds.
What Do Wheaten Ameraucana Chickens Look Like?
Wheaten Ameraucana’s are beautiful chickens. They come in both standard sizes and bantam.
Wheaten Ameraucanas have small wattles, a pea comb, and a beard. They have an upright stance and slate-colored legs.
Ameraucanas are available in various colors – one of them is Wheaten. The hen’s body feathers are a softly shaded cream, with salmon feathers on the back, wings, and neck. They have a distinctive white ruff and beard, making them very attractive.
The roosters have black edging on their tail and wing feathers. The wing primaries are usually a striking red-gold.
Ameraucanas also come in blue wheaten colors. The tail and wing edging is blue as opposed to black. There may be minimal blue markings on the tail feathers in blue wheaten hens, or the whole tale may be a delicate blue-grey shade.
Ameraucanas are kept mostly as a novelty or specialty chickens. They lay blue eggs and are relatively consistent layers. The birds are cold, hardy, calm, docile birds that make good pets.
They are dual purpose chickens, but most Ameraucana owners would be outraged at the thought of slaughtering their beloved chicken.
Wheaten chickens can also come with silver edging, which is known as silver wheaten birds. However, this color variation is quite rare.
What Are Wheaten Aseel Chickens?
Wheaten Aseel (or Asil) chickens are an ancient Indian breed bred as a game or sporting bird. They have an upright stance and an attitude that says they are ready for anything.
The roosters are aggressive and must be kept separate from other chickens. Hens show an unusual amount of aggression and are not compatible with other poultry. Even chicks show marked aggression when young.
The hens have wheaten feathers, while the male’s body feathers are predominantly black with a purple and green sheen. The neck, head, saddle, and back feathers are golden red or chestnut.
Wheaten Aseel hens are not good layers, usually laying only in the summer months. They are slow-growing chickens that develop a fair amount of meat. The hens are excellent mothers and diligent in caring for and protecting their chicks.
What Are Wheaten Dong Tao Chickens?
Dong tao (dragon) chickens are rare birds originating from a small Vietnam region. They are large birds, with males weighing twelve pounds and females weighing nine pounds. Their thick legs can reach the diameter of an adult human wrist.
The males are black-breasted with red body feathers. The females are Wheaten. They do well in the warm climate in Vietnam and do not thrive in cool temperatures. They are primarily meat chickens.
These chickens are costly, with a pair costing around $2000. The high price tag is due to their scarcity and the specific climate needed to rear them successfully. In addition, hens only lay about sixty eggs yearly, which adds to their rarity.
They are known as friendly chickens despite their size.
Wheaten chickens refer to a feather color in chickens, resembling the ripe wheat color. When people refer to wheaten chickens without specifying a breed, they often refer to French Wheaten Marans.
There are, however, other breeds that also have wheaten coloring. In addition, hens are easier to identify as they clearly show the wheaten coloring due to their subdued feather tones.