What are Frizzle, Sizzle and Frazzle chickens

A frizzle chicken at a poultry show.

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What are Sizzles, Frizzles, and Frazzles? With FAQ.

If Frizzles, Sizzles and Frazzles all look pretty similar to you, then you're not alone, but what makes each one different from the other. I still struggle to tell them apart and unless you know for definite what each ones parentage is, it can be difficult to identify them.

Below:  A Frizzle is a breed on it's own as well as a feather type.

Over the years I have run into quite a few people who think the Frizzle is feather type and not a breed on it's its own with it's own standards of perfection. There is much speculation about where they originate from and the truth is no one knows exactly where they all came from.

Below: Frizzles are an old breed, this is from a poultry book that was published in the 1910's.

Frizzles, Sizzles and Frazzles share have only one common thing between them and that is the curly feathered gene or frizzle gene.

What is the difference between a Frizzle, a Frazzle and a Sizzle chicken?

All three types of these chickens have either one or two copies of the gene which causes curled feathers.

A Frizzle is a chicken of any breed with the curled feather gene and is often found in bantams and true bantams. Historically the frizzle was a bantam Cochin or Pekin with the curled feather gene bred in. Frizzles have 4 toes.

Frazzle: A chicken of any breed with a double dose of curly feather genes which causes the feathers to be hard, sparse & overly curled. Frizzle is a term used to describe a chicken that possesses the gene that causes their feathers to curl.

Sizzle: Is a breed that is in the process of being established. It has full Silkie characteristics except that it's feathers are hard and curly, not Silkied and fluffy. Sizzles have a crest like Silkies and 5 toes.

How can you tell the difference between Frizzle, Frazzle and Sizzle chickens?

A Sizzle will look exactly like a Silkie but with normal feathers like you would find on any chickens.

A frizzle will look like a Pekin with curly feathers and a Frazzle will look very similar but with two copies of the curly feather gene the effect is markedly more and the feathers are very brittle.

Do Frizzle, Sizzle and Frazzle chickens need extra or special care?

They do need a little extra care. It can be a difficult time during rearing when the feathers come through and again when the birds moult. The structure of the feather is different and this can cause bleeding and pain as they emerge.

Because of the structure of their feathers, Frizzles cannot trap heat against their body, so they do not thrive in cold climates. They also cannot fly at all, and may have trouble reaching high roosts.

Below: A young Frizzled chick starting to feather up.

Having two copies of the frizzle gene causes structural problems with the feather, they become brittle and break which in bad cases can leave a half naked chicken. The breeding is complicated, because frizzles with two copies of the genes are called "frazzles."

Having two copies of the frizzling gene can produce problems like an enlarged heart, in addition to poor feather quality produced by doubling those genes.

Frazzle, sometimes called curly, is when the bird has two copies of the frizzle gene, which over curls the feathers over completely looking more like a perm!

What is a sizzle chicken?

A Sizzle is sometimes called a Satin Silkie, it is essentially a smooth Silkies without Silkie feathering; a frizzled Silkie would have Silkie feathering.

A frizzled Silkie is not a sizzle! A frizzled Silkie has feathers that are both silkied AND frizzled. A sizzle has all Silkie features EXCEPT silkie feathering.

How do you breed sizzle chickens?

Sizzle are a naturalised hard feathered Silkie that breeds true. They have all the normal characteristics of a Silkies but with normal chicken feathers.

Silkie feathering is dominant so it does take some time and at least three generations to remove it completely and you will need good record keeping and leg ringed or marked birds to keep track of which chicks are from which mating.

Are Sizzles Silkies?

Sizzles started life as Silkies but have a normal or smooth feathers. So they have got the toes, the dark skin, the feather feet and the crest and muff, but normal soft straight feathering.

The goal with Sizzles is to have frizzled, non-Silkie feathers. So the attempt is to remove the Silkie gene from their gene pool.

Frizzle is a feather type & can be found in most breeds, including Silkies. SIZZLE is a developing breed.

Frizzle chickens:

A frizzle chicken looks a bit like it's been riding around with the top down on a really windy day.

Below: Frizzle feathers can be stunning in some patterns.

Non-frizzle feathered birds are useful in breeding frizzled birds as two copies of the gene is usually considered to be a not-good thing.

What are the genetics of the Frizzle feathers?

Genetic code for sizzle feathering is F/f+ H+/H+ although it could be F/f+ H+/h in this case, some of the bird's offspring could be silkied.

Genetic code for a frizzled Silkie is F/f+ h/h all offspring will receive a copy of the gene for Silkie feathering. If a bird inherits two copies of the gene for Silkie feathering, it will be silkied and have fluffy feathers.

You might have frizzled Serama (as above), frizzled Polish, frizzled Cochins, and more. Even though they're all different breeds, they can collectively be called frizzles.

Silkie feather genes are not problematic, it doesn't matter if you have one or two as either or both are express as silkied feathers so Silkies can breed true.

Below: A frizzle feathered Silkie.

There are several colours of Frizzle Bantams, but the whites, blacks, and buffs appear to be most popular; and, in my opinion, the first-named are decidedly the prettiest, and breed very true, whereas the other varieties throw a lot of badly coloured ones, especially in wing and tail.

To breed Frizzle Bantams it is advisable to have two breeding pens; this is only necessary on account of getting the curl, as one breeding pen if properly mated will produce both good cockerels and pullets.

Mo. 1 pen should consist of a hard-feathered, well- curled cockerel, short in back, full in frill and breast, with short legs of the standard colour; mate to him two small, well-curled hens and two plain feathered hens or pullets, whose appearance should be as round and as squat as possible.

No. 2 should consist of a cockerel similar to above, but plain in feather and very full feathered. The plain pullets from No. 1 pen I should use with the best curled rooster the following season.

Frizzle breed standards:

Comb: Single, bright red, medium in cockerels, and very small in hens.

Head: Small and neat.

Face: Ear lobes and wattles bright red, and of smooth texture.

Eyes: Bright red and full.

Beak: Short, strong, yellow, or horn in whites and buffs; dark willow or black for dark varieties.

Neck: Rather short, well arched, and in cock abundantly frilled.

Back: Short and broad.

Wings: Long and drooping.

Breast: Very full and round.

Legs: Very short, and quite free from feathers; yellow in buffs and whites ; dark willow in dark varieties.

Feet: Four toes, well spread.

Tail: Rather large, very full, but loose, the cockerel having good sickles and plenty of side hangers.

Plumage: Moderately long, hard, and well curled backward towards the head, and very close.

General Shape and Carriage: Compact, erect, active, and strutting.

Weight: Cockerel - 20 to 24 oz.; hens - 14 to 17 oz.

Scale of Points:

A perfect bird is equal to 100 points. Points to be deducted for defects.

Head and comb - 5 points

Feet and legs - 5 points

Colour of plumage - 20 points

Insufficiency of curl - 20 points

Soft feather - 15 points

Lack of symmetry - 10 points

Overall condition - 10 points

Size and weigh - 10 points


Are Frizzle, Frazzle and Sizzle chickens good egg layers?

Not really, The frizzle breed was based on the Pekin bantam and they are not exactly good layers. Expect 120 to 150 eggs small eggs per year.

Are frizzles cold hardy?

No. And they need some protection from the wet. The curly feathers means they are not well insulated and may chill easily.

How long do frizzle chickens live?

Between 6 and 9 years, the same as most bantams.

What colour egg does a frizzle chicken lay?

Anything from white to cream and maybe even a light brown egg.

Are frizzle chickens rare?

Comparatively rare, yes. At the last major poultry show I went to there were only about 12 on show making them 4 times less common that Silkies for example.

What is a frizzle Silkie?

A Frizzle Silkies Is a normal Silkie that has one copy of the frizzle feather gene bred into it. It has the standard fluffy plumage you would expect but it is curly as well.

Frizzle chicken temperament:

Most bantams are good natured and friendly, even the roosters and Frizzles, Frazzles and Sizzles are no different. 

Frazzle chickens:

A Frazzle is a Frizzle with 2 copies of the Frizzle gene. It's usually lethal, so there aren't very many of the live ones around and most people don't breed them that way since a lot of them die.

The problem with breeding a frizzle feathered bird to another frizzle feathered bird regardless of the breed is that double frizzle genes gives you what is called a Frazzle.

The feathers on these birds are very soft and have extremely tight curls and are brittle and easily broken leaving a bald bird. There are also lethal genes associated with a double copy of the gene.

Frazzle chickens often have heart problems and can drop dead without warning