Ancona chickens are distinct birds with prominent features. Once called the Black Leghorn, these birds have black plumage mottled with white spots and feather tips. This beautiful chicken breed gets their name from the seaport city of Ancona in Italy. Let’s find out more about this Mediterranean chicken.

chicken divider

Quick Facts About the Ancona Chicken

Breed Name:Ancona
Place of Origin:Ancona, Italy
Rooster Size:6 pounds
Hen Size:4.5 pounds
Color:Black, mottled white
Lifespan:8+ years
Climate Tolerance:All climates
Care Level:Easy
Production:220–300 eggs per year
Temperament:Active, friendly, flighty

Ancona Chicken Origins

The Ancona chicken originated in Ancona, a town in Italy. Modern Ancona chickens today still look similar to their original ancestors. The first Ancona chickens were imported to England in 1851. By the 1900s, the chickens had been introduced to the United States from England and were making appearances on farms around the country.

Ancona Chicken
Image Credit: Christian Buch, Shutterstock

Ancona Chicken Characteristics

Ancona chickens are hardy birds. They can tolerate heat and cold, although their combs are susceptible to frostbite. These chickens should be monitored in frigid weather and kept indoors where the climate is controlled.

This chicken is alert and can be flighty. Their speed and flying ability give them a chance to escape predators, but they also mean these birds can escape confinement. You’ll need to build a proper enclosure to keep these birds safe.

Anconas like space to forage and roam. They enjoy foraging for their food during the day and don’t like feeling cooped up. They can also be noisy, so if you have close neighbors, consider the noise level before adding these chickens to your flock.

These chickens are friendly and get along well with other chickens in a flock, but they don’t like to be handled much. They’re not aggressive and don’t encounter many health problems. They can live to be over 8 years old if given the proper care.


Ancona chickens are primarily used for egg production because they are excellent layers. These chickens will lay eggs over the winter, making them extremely useful birds to keep. They also start laying eggs earlier than many other breeds of chickens, often at around 5 months old. But since they have been bred to be egg layers, they aren’t the best mothers.

Ancona rooster walking on dry grass
Image Credit: Natalie Board, Shutterstock


Ancona chickens have distinct plumage. They have black feathers that are mottled white with white tips. They have yellow legs and beaks, reddish-orange eye coloring, and white ear lobes. These chickens have two comb varieties: single comb and rose comb. The single comb Anconas tolerate heat well, while the rose comb Anconas tolerate cold well. The Ancona chicken can also come in a bantam variety.


The Ancona chicken is difficult to obtain and has a global population of fewer than 10,000 individuals. While they have been distributed around the world, they are most popular in the Marche region of Italy. In 2000, efforts were made to re-establish this chicken in their native area to preserve the biodiversity of the breed.chicken divider

Are Ancona Chickens Good for Small-Scale Farming?

Ancona chickens are a good option for small-scale farming. They are economical and exceptional egg producers, and they can cost you less in feed because they forage for much of their food. They’re friendly, chatty birds that get along well with other flock members. They’re also gorgeous birds that are lovely to look at. These reasons, combined with their ease of care, make them excellent birds for a small-scale farm.

Ancona chickens are interesting, unique birds with beautiful plumage and fun personalities. They will make great additions to your homestead and will produce eggs well into the winter. If you’re looking to add a little variety to your flock, the Ancona chicken is a winning choice.

Featured Image Credit: Jenn Garcia, Shutterstock