18 Friendliest And Most Docile Chicken Breeds (Perfect As Pets)
Chickens are not only for eggs and meat. They also make great family pets – that is, if you have any of these 18 friendliest chicken breeds in your flock.
These most docile backyard chickens are so friendly that they willingly let you hold, pet, and even cuddle them! No scratching, no hissing (or, in this case, pecking). And, they won’t escape your loving arms, unlike your feline companion.
One sweet, cuddly, kid-friendly hen stood out from all the friendly chicken breeds because this popular pet chicken can also give the nesting boxes a colorful, pleasant surprise. Keep reading to find out if this is the next breed you’ll add to your chicken coop.
If you are looking for a friendly egg layer to add to your flock, you should check the Australorp chicken. This beautiful black breed comes from Australia (1). Both hens and roosters are docile and have sweet temperaments. They are easily handled and don’t mind if you carry them.
Just be careful if you have more aggressive breeds. Australorps are so docile they are easily bullied by other chickens.
If you like the looks of the Australorp but want something smaller than a standard chicken to cuddle, check out a Bantam Australorp. Keep in mind the eggs will be smaller as well!
2. Barbu D’Uccles
A true Bantam, the Barbu D’Uccles is a small Belgian breed known for its adorable beards, muffs, and boots (2). These tiny chickens have big personalities. They’re always happy to chatter away. Don’t be surprised if one flies up and sits on your shoulder to tell you the juiciest chicken coop gossip.
These little chickens are great with kids because they are content to hang out and be held and petted.
If you have bigger birds in your flock, you might want to keep an eye on your Bantam breeds. The bigger birds can pick on the smaller ones, especially when they are chicks.
Good personality, good egg production, and good meat- why should we have to choose? With the Brahma chicken breed, you can get everything you want- all in the same chicken!
This large dual-purpose breed can reach 11 pounds, which is big enough to feed a family. And Brahmas produce medium to large brown eggs (3).
But what you really want to know is about their temperament. Brahmas are calm birds, and despite their large size, other chickens can easily bully them.
4. Buff Orpington
Another dual-purpose breed with a shining personality is the Buff Orpington chicken. These puffy, golden beauties love the attention and are a great addition to families with children.
But Buff Orpington chickens are more than good looks and great personalities. They make good meat birds – they reach 8-10 pounds! (4)
Originally from China, Cochins were kept for both meat and eggs. Nowadays, their unique plumage and great personality are what make them stand out. There are over 20 recognized varieties of the Cochin chicken breed, and you can find standard or tiny bantam varieties (5).
These are quiet, well-mannered chickens perfect for city living. They don’t argue or squawk like some breeds. While they are docile, don’t expect them to follow you around like some breeds. Plus, cochins are lazy and prone to get fat.
6. Easter Egger
Do you dream of friendly chickens laying eggs in all colors of the rainbow? Easter egger is a docile breed known for its colorful eggs. The truth is they aren’t really a breed – they are hybrids. They are a cross between a blue egg layer and a brown egg layer. They can lay eggs that are blue or green or even pink (6).
An Easter Egger will always lay the same color egg – if it starts green, it will always be green. The color will not change from one day to the next.
Easter Eggers are exceptionally friendly. Children can pet and even train these delightful chickens.
Another family-friendly favorite is Faverolles chickens. This heavily plumed chicken has a beard and muff, which gives them a slightly comical appearance. They also have an extra toe!
This suits their personality just fine as this breed tackles everything in life with animation and vigor. Their bubbling disposition makes them a joy to watch, and their native curiosity extends to people.
They are decent egg layers, laying 150-180 eggs per year (7). Overall, Faverolles are extraordinary chickens to nourish you – body and soul.
8. Jersey Giant
Jersey Giants are big chickens with big hearts. While they are known for their exceptional size, hens can reach 10 pounds (8), these chickens are the epitome of “gentle giants.” They are friendly and can’t get enough of human contact and affection!
While they are docile enough to spend time with children, their large size can get in the way of true friendship with the little ones. There are Bantam varieties available if you want a smaller giant.
9. Plymouth Rock
No one likes to lose their animal friends, and we don’t often think of chickens as long-term companions. If you are looking for a long-term egg-laying friend, Plymouth Rock chickens can live an average of 11 years (9).
For years this heritage chicken breed was the number one choice in breeds for backyard chicken owners. They are excellent dual-purpose birds, though chances are you are looking more towards egg production than meat if you are considering a long-lived breed.
Speaking of eggs, did you know that Plymouth Rocks lay light tan to pink-colored eggs? Check out our list of chickens that lay colored eggs.
While overall, Plymouth Rocks are docile and sweet, some people do say rooster can get aggressive. So keep that in mind if you are considering this breed.
If you like outrageous pets, the Polish chicken breed is the breed for you. These friendly ornamental chickens stand out in a flock with their floppy feathered crests that often impede their vision.
Although Polish chickens are available in both standard and bantam sizes, their standard birds are still “small” compared to other breeds. A standard Polish rooster weighs in at only six pounds.
Of course, bantam Polish varieties are going to be smaller. Hens weigh about 1.6 pounds, and roosters only weigh a little more at about 1.8 pounds (10).
These adorable birds are too small for meat, but they do lay a good number of eggs. But let’s be honest here. You wouldn’t be getting this silly-looking bird for its egg-laying ability. It will be your pet chicken.
11. Black or Red Star
Sexing baby chicks often goes wrong, and sometimes our favorite pullet Samantha turns out to be Samuel. The Star chickens, both black and red, eliminate this problem. Like the Easter Eggers, Stars are not technically a breed. They are sex-linked hybrids, which means you can quickly identify the gender of the chicks at birth.
When purchasing Stars, you’d want to stick with an all-female flock. Hens are calmer and more docile than their male counterparts which are infamous for their temper. Besides being your next family chicken pet, Stars can supply you with around 300 eggs a year (11).
12. Rhode Island Red
Like the Puritans that founded Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Red is a cold hardy bird capable of handling any environment. Calm and docile, nothing really fazes these beautiful red hens. Freezing cold or sweltering heat, these ladies keep doing their chicken thing – happily hunting grubs and laying eggs.
Sweet and people-loving Rhode Island Reds are happy to hang out with you in the garden and always willing to snuggle.
Their sunny disposition combined with egg-ceptional egg production makes these hardy hens backyard chicken keeper’s favorites. You can expect these beautiful red ladies to lay up to 7 medium to large brown eggs per week (11).
Sebrights are a beautiful and playful addition to a small flock. These stylish bantam chickens appear ready to attend a ball with feathers that create lace-like patterns. They come in Silver or Golden and only weigh in at 22 ounces for a rooster and 20 ounces for a hen (12).
These tiny chickens are curious and easily trained but have an independent streak. So while they will be friendly with their owners, they may be stand-offish with visitors.
While they make good pets, they are great egg producers and are unlikely to go broody.
Silkies may be one of the fluffiest, cuddliest pet chickens out there. When it comes to the calmest and friendliest birds, these little fuzzy balls with cheek feathers rank at the top.
Silkies love people and are quite happy to treat you as part of their flock making them the friendliest chicken breed for pets. Not only do they adopt people, but they are pleased to raise other hens’ eggs. Heck, they will raise ducks, turkeys, maybe even an ostrich.
Plus, Silkies are unique from other breeds of chickens (13).
“The Silkie is considerable different from other breeds with its fur like feathers and black skin.”
They are available in standard and bantam sizes. So even if you don’t have much room, you can have one of these tiny cuddle chickens to call your own.
15. Speckled Sussex
Active and energetic, the Speckled Sussex breed is a chicken that is likely to follow you around the garden, chattering away while she forages. However, your Speckled Sussex chicken may wind up at the bottom of the pecking order. Keep an eye on them to make sure the other hens aren’t overly bullying them.
A dual-purpose bird, the Speckled Sussex is an excellent addition to your backyard flock if you are looking for either meat or eggs.
Legend has it that these ornamental chickens once roamed the grounds of the Turkish Sultan’s palace. Whether it is true or not, the appearance of the Sultan chicken breed is certainly regal enough for the court. They are pure white with feathered crests and feathered feet (14).
Sultans are an excellent chicken breed for urban chicken keepers. They are very tame and are known to do less damage to gardens than other breeds. If you don’t have a lot of space, you can find this snow-white chicken in pint-sized bantam varieties as well.
17. White Leghorn
While not the friendliest breed compared to others, White Leghorns are intelligent birds and can easily be trained. What Leghorns are really known for is their ability to lay. These birds are superior egg producers, laying about 300 white eggs a year (15)!
So if egg production is your goal, this breed is an eggcellent addition to your flock. While not the best pet for your family, you can train your Leghorn with time and patience.
But chances are you will be initiating all the advances in the relationship.
The Wyandotte chicken is a beautiful breed with lace-like feathers. This docile and friendly chicken breed is easily tamed and gets along well with people. However, they can be bullies, so you might want to keep an eye on them if you have them with more docile breeds like Brahmas.
This dual-purpose bird is suitable for meat or eggs. They will lay 200 large brown eggs a year (11).
What’s Next: Where to Buy the Friendliest Chicken Breeds?
Check out our list of the best hatcheries online (that deliver). One of them exclusively sells Silkies.
Yes, you can train a chicken to be friendlier. One of the easiest ways to make friends with your chickens is with food. Focus your attention on one or two birds at first. Sit down quietly among your chickens with some treats. Paying particular attention to the birds you have chosen, begin to give them some food. Eventually, the birds will become used to your presence. With time and patience, you will be able to approach and even pet them.
Chickens like to be petted on the back, chest, and sometimes the neck. Make sure you are holding the chicken firmly with one hand, covering its wings, so they don’t flap and escape. Begin by gently stroking the chicken’s back. If the chicken is uncomfortable, she will squawk or try and peck at you.
However, many chickens enjoy gentle strokes. If your chicken is comfortable, you can try petting her breast or even the neck and head. You will find that just like people; not all chickens enjoy receiving affection the same way.
The best way to make your chickens not scared of you is to handle them when they are young. If you start from day-old or just-hatched chicks, you can easily accustom them to you and your presence. Make sure you handle your baby chicks daily. Hold them, stroke them, and pet them. Like any other animal, if they grow up with you, they will not develop fear.
If you have older chickens, you can slowly accustom them to your presence. Spend time among them, especially with food. Slowly lure them closer with treats. Soon you will find that they are no longer scared of you.
- Poultry Breeds – Australorp Chickens. Retrieved from: http://afs.okstate.edu/breeds/poultry/chickens/australorp
- Belgian d’Uccle Bantam. Retrieved from: http://www.belgianduccle.org/belgian-duccles.html
- Brahma Chicken. Retrieved from: https://www.livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/brahma
- Orpington Breed Standards. Retrieved from: https://countrypure.net/OrpingtonStandards.html
- Standardized Cochin Varieties. Retrieved from: https://www.cochinsint.com/standardized-varieties.html
- Easter Eggers: Understanding Egg Color Genetics. Retrieved from: https://mosminifarm.wordpress.com/2018/01/19/easter-eggers-understanding-egg-color-genetics/
- Faverolles Chicken. Retrieved from: https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/faverolle
- Jersey Giant Chicken. Retrieved from: https://www.livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/jerseygiant
- Plymouth Roch Chicken. Retrieved from: https://www.beardsleyzoo.org/plymouth-rock-chicken.html
- White Crested Black Polish Bantams. Retrieved from: https://www.purelypoultry.com/white-crested-black-polish-bantams-p-674.html
- Breeds Of Chickens. Retrieved from: https://starmilling.com/poultry-chicken-breeds/
- Sebright Chicken. Retrieved from: https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/sebright
- Poultry Breeds – Silkie (Bantam) Chicken. Retrieved from: http://afs.okstate.edu/breeds/poultry/chickens/silkiebantam
- Poultry Breeds – Sultan Chickens. Retrieved from: http://afs.okstate.edu/breeds/poultry/chickens/sultan/index.html/
- White Leghorn. Retrieved from: https://www.ed.ac.uk/roslin/national-avian-research-facility/avian-resources/poultry-lines/white-leghorn
Tana grew up around island farms and pine forests. Her love for nature lead to her degree in Biology and mission to lessen her environmental impact. Now she grows food in her backyard and shares what she learns from Eco Peanut with others.