A comparison has been made between natural mating (NM) and artificial insemination (AI) in fast feathering Huainan partridge chickens. A total number of 360 fast feathering Huainan partridge hens and 40 roosters were randomly divided into two equal groups. For NM, 4 mating cages were maintained each with 5 roosters and 45 laying hens. The other birds were reared in 3-layer complete ladder cages for AI, for which 180 hens were maintained in 60 cages with 3 hens/cage and 20 roosters in 20 cages. Laying performances, mortality, egg quality characteristics and welfare level of birds were measured during the study period.Compared with AI birds, NM birds laid the first egg significantly earlier age, and had significantly lower laying rate, mortality and body weight of hens. NM birds however had significantly higher albumen height, Haugh units and yolk colour. No significant differences were found in other laying performances and egg quality characteristics. Except for the back region of AI females which had better feather cover, the average feather score for most body parts of AI and NM hens was not significantly different. An overall feather score of NM females was significantly lower than that of AI ones. The average feather score for each individual part of the body and an overall average score for roosters remained unchanged between two groups. Additionally, NM birds showed a higher level of fear than AI.Our overall results suggest that reproduction technique may be an important factor affecting some layer performances, egg quality characteristics and welfare in local poultry breeds. These findings are expected to provide a theoretical guide to choice of breeding methods for poultry enterprises.