Small Chicken Breeds: The 15 Smallest Chicken Breeds In The World

Keeping these little guys is not a pain in the butt, head, or pocket. And, they are not just for fancy exhibitions or for a small chicken coop – they can go head to head against standard-size chickens! 

There’s a small chicken breed that gives you 150 eggs per year, a tiny chicken that crows as loud as your normal talking voice, a small hen that adopts and fosters chicks, and a super fluffy bird that is friendly around children. 

Here are 15 small chicken breeds for your backyard.

1. Serama Bantams

sideview of a Serama bantam chicken standing on grass
The smallest chicken in the world…looking confident!

Weight:

  • Rooster: 0.75 lbs
  • Hen: 0.69 lbs

The Serama Bantam is the smallest chicken breed in the world – both roosters and hens are under a pound! However, the American Poultry Association and American Bantam Association have yet to accept this breed.

Being incredibly small has its perks. The Serama chicken is very low maintenance. They are actually THE MOST popular apartment pet in Malaysia (1). That’s because they are so quiet – roosters crow at 60 decibels at most. That’s just as loud as you talk on the phone.

It’s just really hard to get a hold of this breed of chicken in the USA because they are rare, and most breeders are in Asia.

2. Dutch Bantam

Weight:

  • Rooster: 1.21 lbs
  • Hen: 0.99 lbs

Coming in second place are the Dutch Bantams. They are not as tiny and light compared to Serama Bantams, but they make heads turn because of their distinct appearance. They have large, single red combs with five distinct points. Plus, you can’t miss their large white earlobes. 

This petite size chicken is also a true bantam breed with no big chicken counterpart. Dutch bantams were popular trade animals in Holland during the 17th century (2). But their first USA debut in the 1950s didn’t go so well. 

Chicken fanciers only took notice during the small breed’s second introduction. Since then, these little guys have been a crowd favorite. Sometimes you just gotta strut it till you make it!

3. Appenzeller Bantam

sideview of a black and white Appenzeller bantam chicken walking on grass with dried fallen leaves
Small, yet stylish. Check out that Hairstyle!

Weight:

  • Rooster: 1.5 lbs
  • Hen: 1.25 lbs

Spitzhauben Appenzellers sport a rockstar, spiky “hairdo” atop their heads. Barthühner Appenzellers don’t have a crest, but they have beards. Either way, these little chickens have feathering fit for the Swiss weather. They also lay a good amount of medium-sized white eggs per week.

This tiny size chicken breed is free-spirited. They don’t like confinement, and they love to fly. If you get these birds, show them off and let them roam freely. After all, World War II almost wiped out their population (3). And until now, breeders struggle to get this breed recognized by the APA. 

4. Old English Game

close up of an Old English Game chicken
Small but fearless. You can see the inner warrior

Weight:

  • Rooster: 1.5 lbs
  • Hen: 1.38 lbs

The Old English Game was once a fighting cock. Yes, these slick-looking little chickens are also feisty and fearless. They got “game” both in the sporting and fashion fields.

Nowadays, these birds serve an ornamental purpose. Although, the fighting instinct seems to be innate. Chicks spar at a young age, and full-grown roosters are very aggressive. They don’t like confinement, and squabbles can turn deadly. 
Luckily, hens are the complete opposite. They are gentle and docile. Some breeders even use Old English Game hens as foster moms (4).

5. Japanese Bantam

a light brown Japanese bantam chicken standing on a person's right hand
Introducing: the small bantam that lays tiny brown eggs

Weight:

  • Rooster: 1.63 lbs
  • Hen: 1.38 lbs

Japanese Bantams are one of the most popular Bantam chickens for exhibition. They have very short legs and a unique tail that stands very erect, almost touching the back of the neck.
Even though they are super popular, they are also challenging to breed. Only expert breeders get the tail right. Plus, the short legs can be deadly (5).

“If two short-legged birds are bred together, 25% of the offspring will be pure for Cp, a lethal gene combination which causes a disability making them unable to hatch.”

Breeders need detailed genetic history for successful breeding. But the good news is these birds don’t have a diva complex. They are friendly and gentle. Plus, hens lay a good number of tiny brown eggs.

6. Belgian d’Anvers

Weight: Rooster: 1.63 lbs | Hen: 1.38 lbs

The Belgian d’Anvers is an old bantam breed. Historians trace their appearance since the 17th century. And the APA recognized them as an official breed in the 1940s. Plus, this breed is one of the few true bantams around (6). 

They seem proud of that because they strut their stuff with confidence. Exhibition is their forte, and roosters are the best. They hold their heads high and keep their flowing tails up. Belgian d’Anvers also have beards and clean legs. They come in a few colors, including white, in case you like small white chicken breeds.

Hens make excellent pets because they are so gentle and friendly. But they are not the best for egg production. 

7. Belgian Bearded d’Uccle

a grey Belgian Bearded D’Uccle chicken standing on grass
Kind of looks like a chicken from another planet, right?

Weight: Rooster: 1.63 lbs | Hen: 1.38 lbs

Bearded what? It’s d’Uccle as in dew-clay. That stumps a lot of people, so don’t worry about it. These Belgian chickens have more than a fancy name. They have luxurious feathers too. 

As the name explains, they have beards. It’s something that their look-alike cousins, the Booted Bantams, don’t have. These chickens have feathered feet and are also shorter because of their d’Anver bloodline (7).

Don’t let their exhibition-worthy looks fool you. This breed, surprisingly, is an exceptional egg layer.  One hen can give you 150 small cream-colored eggs per year.  Head over to Purely Poultry to score a Mille Fleur, Porcelain, Golden Neck, and other Belgian Bearded d’Uccle varieties. 

8. Booted Bantam (Sabelpoot)

a free-range Booted bantam chicken (also known as, "Sabelpoot")

Weight: Rooster: 1.63 lbs | Hen: 1.38 lbs

Here’s another fully feathered European bantam. The Booted Bantam is also called a Sabelpoot. “Sabel” is Dutch for vulture hocks, which are the glamorous feet feathers. 

As we said, this small chicken breed is similar to the Belgian d’Uccle. Pretty much the same weight but slightly taller (8). Booted bantams also have a defined U-shaped back and huge, red wattles. d’Uccles have very small or even no wattles.

They are also good layers and quickly go broody. Not only do Booted Bantams make good moms, but they also make good friends for kids. They’re gentle little chickens with a calm personality.

9. Rosecomb

Weight: Rooster: 1.63 lbs | Hen: 1.38 lbs

Ah, here’s another true bantam. The Rosecomb is a small chicken breed that doesn’t have much practical use. Hens don’t lay many eggs, and they aren’t broody either.  But they are great ornamental chickens. 

It’s all about the namesake comb. It needs to be large, long, and slightly pointed upward. It can’t be hollow or offset from the head. The perfect comb matches the very flowy and erect tail. These show chickens also have huge, white earlobes tying the whole look together.

Perfecting the comb means keeping the breeding pool close. It causes infertility in some roosters (9). 

10. Sebright

a Sebright chicken walking on grass

Weight: Rooster: 1.63 lbs | Hen: 1.38 lbs

Sebrights are some of the prettiest tiny chicken breeds! Their plumage is a striking contrast between the black lacing and the gold or silver feathers. Sebright bantams are easy to tame even though they also like to wander. But they aren’t the most prolific egg layers. Hens only lay a few tiny white eggs.

Another true bantam, this breed is named after Sir John Sebright, an agriculturist who directly worked with Charles Darwin himself about how traits are passed on (10). 

11. Sultan

Weight: Rooster: 1.63 lbs | Hen: 1.38 lbs

Make way for a royal bird. Sultan bantams were one of those chickens kept as living lawn ornaments (11). Royals, in particular, liked having these birds in decked-out aviaries for them to admire whenever they pleased.

Sultan bantams pretty much won the plumage lottery. These birds have crests, beards, feet feathers, AND ear muffs! Yup. That’s a whole lot of feathers for such a small bird.

The Turkish had first dibs on these feathered spectacles. But it wasn’t long before these royal beauties made their way to England (12).

12. Cubalaya

a Cubalaya bantam chicken sitting on grass

Weight: Rooster: 1.63 lbs | Hen: 1.38 lbs

When you mix Cuban, European, and Filipino chicken bloodlines and shrink it, you get a Cubalaya bantam. These are rare and incredibly flashy chickens, thanks to their unique lineage. 

They stand out because of their “lobster tail.” It sounds funny, but it’s actually really glamorous. Think of a dress train flowing elegantly on the floor. It’s like they are ready for a chicken fashion runway. 

But these birds are more than looks. Breeding history shows Cubalaya is a triple-purpose small chicken breed used for egg-laying, meat birds, and game chickens (13). Too bad they are more lovers than they are fighters. Cackle Hatchery in Missouri sells Cubalaya bantams for as low as $3.99.  

13. Cochin Bantams

a flock a Cochin bantam chickens walking on a rocky surface

Weight: Rooster: 2 lbs | Hen: 1.75 lbs

Here’s another big Asiatic chicken with a small sibling. Cochin Bantams are also on the big side of the bantam scale. They are shorter than the dwarf Brahmas, but they also rock feathered legs, making them appear very poofy! That’s just one reason why they are one of the most popular bantam breeds (14). 

There is so much more to love about the bantam Cochin aside from their fluffiness. These chickens are incredibly sweet and gentle as pets. You can also use them as living incubators because they are naturally broody birds. 

People aren’t the only ones who love these birds. Hawks have a liking for these meaty birds, so keep them in a run with a rood or overhead nets. Get your mini Cochins from McMurray Hatchery for $5.92.

14. Silkie

sideview of a small fluffy white Silkie chicken walking on grass

Weight: Rooster: 2.25 lbs | Hen: 2 lbs

Silkies are one of the easiest chickens to identify. Their feathers are almost fur-like because of a unique genetic trait (15). Couple that with a crest, and you have a walking fluff ball of a chicken. Some varieties even have beards!

In any case, this fluffiness is adorable but also bothersome for the birds. They tend to bump into things! So Silkie owners usually put a ponytail or trim the crests of these small chickens. It’s totally just for practicality.

Oh, and another cool thing. Black Silkies are only a few small black chicken breeds that are black inside and out! They have black bones and everything (16).

15. Brahma Bantams

Weight: Rooster: 2.38 lbs | Hen: 2.13 lbs

Just like the Big Brahma, bantam Brahmas are cold-hardy, and also good winter layers of brown eggs. They are super popular in Germany, having nine color varieties (17). Some are the white-blue columbia and blue partridge banded. They like to mix colors and patterns on that side of the world. 

In North America, you have way fewer options. You can only get them in either dark, light, or buff colors. But of course, they still have their signature feathered legs. 

FAQs

The life expectancy of a bantam chicken ranges from four to over ten years. A lot of factors affect how long bantams live. Some are controllable, like health and living conditions. But some chicken breeds naturally live longer than others, depending on their maturity rate.

Generally, the longer it takes to mature, the longer the chicken lives. That’s also why heritage breeds live longer than hybrids. The longest living bantam chicken was an Old English Game hen named Matilda (18). She lived for 16 years!

Yes, a small chicken breed can live with regular chickens. A mixed-size backyard flock is not uncommon to chicken keepers. Just make sure you choose the breed combinations carefully. 

Small chicken breeds are more docile in general. They tend to rest at the bottom of the pecking order. To have a happy and peaceful flock, choose equally docile regular chickens.

Some small chicken breeds are flighty. But there’s a difference between flighty and fliers. If they scare easily and scatter off, they are flighty. Those that just like to fly for fun are fliers. In any case, backyard chicken owners should keep these small breed chickens in a roofed area.

Make sure they still have space to move around and free-range. Most small chickens are excellent foragers. But they are lightweight and fly high. Tall fences also work well, keeping them inside your backyard.

  1. Serama Bantams As Pets. Retrieved from: https://seramabantams.com/serama-bantams-as-pets.html
  2. Poultry Breeds- Dutch Bantam Chickens. Retrieved from: http://afs.okstate.edu/breeds/poultry/chickens/dutchbantam/index.html/
  3. Appenseller Spitzhauben. Retrieved from: https://heritagepoultry.org/blog/appenzeller-spitzhauben-chicken
  4. Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds. Retrieved from: https://heritagepoultry.org/blog/appenzeller-spitzhauben-chicken
  5. The Japanese Bantam. Retrieved from: https://www.japanesebantam.org/breed%20standards.html
  6. Belgian Bearded d’Anvers Bantam. Retrieved from: https://www.purelypoultry.com/belgian-bearded-danver-bantams-p-719.html
  7. Belgian d’Uccle Bantam. Retrieved from: http://www.belgianduccle.org/belgian-duccles.html
  8. Booted Bantam. Retrieved from: https://insteading.com/chickens/breeds/booted-bantam/
  9. Rosecomb Bantam Chickens. Retrieved from: https://www.hobbyfarms.com/rosecomb-bantam/
  10. Sebright Chicken. Retrieved from: https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/sebright
  11. Sultan Chicken. Retrieved from: https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/sultan
  12. Sultan Chicken Farming: Business Starting Plan for Beginners. Retrieved from: https://www.roysfarm.com/sultan-chicken-farming/
  13. Cubalaya Information. Retrieved from: https://www.roysfarm.com/sultan-chicken-farming/
  14. Cochin Bantams. Retrieved from: https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/cochin_bantams.html
  15. Identifying Silkie Crosses. Retrieved from: https://www.browneggblueegg.com/Article/IdentifyingSilkieCrossChicks.html
  16. This Chicken Has Black Bones, Organs and Meat. Here’s Why. Retrieved from: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/why-black-chickens-fibromelanosis
  17. Brahma Bantam. Retrieved from: https://chickenbantams.wordpress.com/brahma-bantam/
  18. Top 5 Long-lived Chickens. Retrieved from: https://chickenbreedslist.com/top-5-long-lived-chickens/
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