Chickens make wonderful pets, and many chicken breeds are known for their friendly personalities, making them excellent additions to any backyard flock. These breeds are not only fun and engaging, but they are also known for their unique behaviors and ability to bond with their owners. Whether you’re a first-time chicken owner or an experienced poultry keeper, choosing a friendly chicken breed can be a great way to start your flock or expand your existing one. In this context, we will explore 10 of the friendliest chicken breeds that make great pets, highlighting their unique personalities and what makes them ideal for backyard living.
How do you get chickens to bond with you?
When you get a new chicken, it will take some time before they get used to you. After a few days, they will slowly start warming up to you. To make the chickens bond with you, there are a few things you can do.
- Giving them treats such as mealworms, wheat, sunflower seeds, etc.
- Talking to them and calling them by their names
- Hand feeding them.
- Petting them. This will be hard if they are new chickens
- Holding them. This will also be hard during the first days
- Being around them. When the chickens are new, you can just stay around them so that they get used to you.
- Be gentle and slow. For instance, don’t jump or shout.
- Give them attention
- Avoid scaring them or chasing them around
Ultimately, some chicken breeds are more friendly than others. It will be easier to bond with friendly breeds. Also, it’s easier to bond and train chicks than adult chickens.
10 Friendliest Chicken Breeds
1. Silkies Chickens as Pets
Silkies are regarded as one of the friendliest chicken breeds. While silkies are unusual-looking they are very friendly, and great mothers and people cannot stop falling in love with them.
Their most distinguishing feature is the fluffy and not waterproof feathers and five toes. Their feathers don’t have barbicels making the chickens look fluffy. However, the fluffy feathers make this breed susceptible to lice and mites.
Also, the feathers are not waterproof hence they easily get wet. This also makes silkies not good for muddy areas.
Silkies cannot fly and have five toes, while most chicken breeds have 4 toes. While they have bright-colored feathers, they have black skin and bones.
When it comes to egg production, silkies are average egg layers. They produce an average of 3 small cream eggs per week. They are also awesome mothers. Female silkies will sit on other types of bird’s eggs including turkeys and ducks.
Summary Table of Silkie Chicken
|Name||Silkies, Silky, Chinese silky chicken|
|Country of origin||China|
|Weight male||2-3 lbs|
|Weight female||1.5 – 2 lbs|
|Color||White, black, blue, partridge|
|Egg color||Small cream|
|Egg production per year||Up to 120 eggs|
When it comes to temperament, silkies are friendly, calm, and docile. They are also not noisy, making them great for people living in apartments. Since they cannot fly to escape predators, they should be kept in a safe area especially when free-ranging.
If you are buying a silkie note that it’s very hard to tell their sex before they are half a year old.
If you are looking for a fluffy and cuddly chicken breed that is calm and loves to be cuddled you will love a silkie.
Their friendly demeanor also makes them great for kids. However, this demeanor makes them a target for aggressive chicken breeds.
2. Are Speckled Sussex Chickens Friendly
The Speckled Sussex is one of the Sussex chicken breeds. It’s a heritage chicken breed since it has been around for centuries now.
This chicken breed is very friendly, calm, and sweet making it a great pet for kids. It will follow you around when they get used to you. The best thing is that it does well in both free-range and confinement. It is also very hardy and does well in both hot and cold weather conditions.
Because of the cool demeanor, this breed is also easily bullied by other bossy chicken breeds.
The Speckled Sussex is one of the best egg producers, producing up to five eggs in a week. They also make great mothers but cannot match the silkies.
Summary of Speckled Sussex Chicken Characteristics
|Country of origin||The UK|
|Weight male||Up to 9 lbs|
|Weight female||Up to 7 lbs|
|Egg color||Large light brown|
|Egg production/year||Up to 240 eggs|
|Temperament||Calm, curious, friendly|
This chicken breed is also not good at flying because of its large size. This however makes it a target for predators. Luckily, the speckled feathers help the chicken camouflage.
Getting a Speckled Sussex is also a great initiative to preserve this breed since it has been listed as an endangered breed. Luckily, people are now appreciating and noticing this breed, and it’s now a favorite breed in the US.
3. Buff Orpington Chickens Friendly
Another chicken breed that has a lovable temperament is the Buff Orpington. This breed originated in England and was bred by William Cook. Thanks to great marketing, the breed was among the most popular breeds in England at that time.
The Buff Orpington was produced by breeding Golden Spangled Hamburgs with Buff Cochins. The offspring was then crossed with Dorkings. The Buff Orpington is one of the many Orpington varieties.
Around 2016, Buff Orpington was declared endangered. Luckily, there was renewed interest in this breed thanks to its rich history and association with the Royal Family. Buff Orpington was one of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s favorite chicken breeds.
Summary of Buff Orpington Chickens Characteristics
|Country of origin||England|
|Weight male||Up to 10 lbs|
|Weight female||Up to 8 lbs|
|Egg production||up to 280 eggs in an year|
|Temperament||Docile, friendly, gentle|
When it comes to temperament, Buff Orpington is docile, friendly, and very calm. This makes it great for kids and families. They will always follow you wanting to be cuddled or held. This breed is also popular in agricultural clubs in schools since they can handle confinement, frequent handling, and are friendly.
The breed is regarded as very cold hardy thanks to the feathering. They do well in both cold and warm temperatures and mature quite fast.
If you are looking for a friendly chicken breed that is a great egg layer and a great mother, that’s the Buff Orpington. They lay up to 280 eggs in a year and are great mothers. However, they are regarded as too broody.
And just like with other friendly chicken breeds, they are usually picked on by aggressive breeds. They are also susceptible to mites and lice. Another downside is that they can be heavy feeders, which can make them obese.
4. Are Rhode Island Red Chickens Friendly
The Rhode Island Red is one of the most popular chicken breeds. This bird was developed in Rhode Island in the 1830s. It’s named after this state and it’s also the state bird, which is a huge recognition.
The Rhode Island Red is an excellent dual-purpose breed and one of the best backyard flocks. It’s also an excellent egg layer, however, they rarely go broody.
Under the right conditions, this breed produces up to 6 eggs per week or up to 300 eggs per year. The size of the egg depends on the size of the mother, but they are typically large.
|Name||Rhode Island Red|
|Country of origin||The US, Rhode Island|
|Weight male||Up to 8.5 lbs|
|Weight female||Up to 6.5 lbs|
|Egg color||Large brown|
|Egg production per year||Up to 300|
|Temperament||Docile, friendly, lovable|
|Lifespan||Up to 8 years|
While they can tolerate confinement, they do well in free-range setup. They also do great in hot and cold areas and are very good at adjusting. The Rhode Island Red also likes to keep busy. You’ll enjoy watching them roam in your backyard and when you are outside too, you will have great company.
When it comes to temperament, this breed is friendly and docile. It’s rare to hate a Rhode Island Red. However, sometimes they can be a little bit pushy, especially the cocks.
5. Are Cochin Chickens Friendly
The Cochin chicken breed turns heads. This fluffy-looking chicken is covered with feathers from head to toe. When you meet one you just want to hold and cuddle it. This breed originated in China and is mostly regarded as an ornament breed.
So, if you are looking for the most beautiful and friendly chicken breed, you cannot go wrong with Cochin. One thing to note is that they take up to two years to mature.
When it comes to personality, these birds are calm and friendly. If you have kids, this makes these birds great pets. Since they grow pretty big, they are poor flyers, which also makes it easy to contain them.
Cochin Chicken Characteristics
|Country of origin||China|
|Weight male||Up to 13 lbs|
|Weight female||Up to 11 lbs|
|Egg production per year||Up to 180 eggs|
|Temperament||Friendly, docile, lovable, calm|
They also tolerate confinement pretty well since they are naturally lazy. This, however, is a downside since it exposes them to predators. They are also easily picked on by aggressive birds.
They can easily get obese and also get leg injuries because of their weight. The fluffy feathers also provide a great habitat for lice and mites.
While they are not the best egg layers, they can produce up to 180 medium-sized eggs in a year.
6. Belgian Bearded d’Uccles Bantam Chickens
Looking for a true bantam chicken breed that makes great pets? You will love the Belgian d’Uccle or the Barbu d’Uccle .
This bird originated in Belgium and is categorized as a true bantam since it does not have a large counterpart. It’s one of the 11 true Belgium chicken bantam breeds. This chicken is found in 24 colors.
There is nothing not to love about the Barbu d’Uccle. The owl head, single red combo, orange eyes, and feathered legs. It’s a beauty to behold.
When it comes to temperament, Barbu d’Uccle is lovely. They are also very talkative and love their owners’ company. It will always fly on your lap, shoulders, or hands whenever you are around it. They love being held which makes this ornament breed great with kids and families.
Table of Characteristics of the Belgian d’Uccles Chickens
|Name||Belgian Bearded d’Uccles Millie’ Fleu Belgian d’Uccl|
|Country of origin||Belgium|
|Weight male||Up to 750 grams|
|Weight female||Up to 550 grams|
|Egg color||Cream tinted|
|Eggs production per year||Up to120 eggs|
|Temperament||Calm, docile, friendly|
The boys are quite noisy and can become aggressive during the mating season. Since they are good flyers they require a tall wall to keep them contained.
When it comes to egg laying, Barbu d’Uccles can lay up to 120 eggs in a year. Most females are not known to be very broody. Like most other heavily feathered breeds, they are susceptible to mites and lice infestation.
Since they are active birds, they do well in free range and love to forage for their food.
7. Wyandotte Chicken Temperament
The Wyandotte is among the most popular chicken breeds in the US. The breed originated in New York and is named after Wendat, a native American tribe.
This is a fairly large and dual-purpose chicken breed that matures quite fast. One of the outstanding features of this bird breed is it’s perfectly angled body shape and curves. They are available in different colors and are very cold hardy. The different varieties of Wyandottes include silver-laced, Colombian, gold-laced, buff, and partridge varieties.
Table of Wyandotte Chicken Characteristics
|Country of origin||USA|
|Weight male||Up to 9 lbs|
|Weight female||Up to 7 lbs|
|Egg production||200 per year|
|Purpose||Meat, eggs, pet, show|
The Wyandotte is loved for its eggs and meat and it’s also a great show bird. It produces about 4 eggs per week or up to 200 eggs in a year. The females sometimes get broody and make great mothers. This chicken breed can be confined or kept in free range.
Wyandottes are known to be friendly and docile. This makes them child-friendly and family-friendly. However, they are quite talkative and noisy. The Wyandotte are a common 4H bird since it can tolerate handling and confinement.
|Country of origin||Australia|
|Weight male||Up to 9 lbs.|
|Weight female||Up to 7 lbs|
|Eggs||More than 250 eggs|
|Temperament||Friendly, shy, friendly, docile|
As the name suggests, the Australorp chicken breed originated in Australia and was bred from the Orpington breed. The name Australorp comes from the Australian black Orpington.
This chicken breed was developed as a dual-purpose breed. It’s regarded as one of the best egg layers, producing more than 250 eggs per year. The eggs are light brown and medium-sized.
In 1923, 6 Australian black Orpington laid an average of 309 eggs in a year. They laid a total of 1857 eggs, which was impressive.
So, if you are looking for a friendly chicken breed that will supply you with eggs, you cannot go wrong with this breed. It’s also worth mentioning that they are not great brooders.
Australorps are quite friendly. Initially, they are quite shy but quickly become friendly and chatty when they warm up to you. This sweet disposition makes them great for families, children, and kids programs such as the 4H.
This breed matures quite fast and also makes great exhibition birds. While they are best suited for free-range they also tolerate confinement pretty well. However, confinement can make them obese if there isn’t enough space to roam.
9. Easter Eggers
|Country of origin||The US|
|Weight male||Up to 5 lbs|
|Weight female||Up to 4 lbs|
|Egg color||White, blue, green, tan|
|Eggs per year||200|
|Temperament||Friendly, lovable, docile, curious|
Unlike all the above chicken breeds, the Easter Eggers is not a recognized breed. While it is not clear the origin of this breed, it is a bred of Araucana and Ameraucana breeds, which explains the blue egg genes.
The main attraction for this chicken breed is that it lays colored eggs and it’s one of the most friendly chicken breeds. This makes it a great family pet, especially for those with kids. Kids will love taking care of the bird and collecting their colored eggs.
Easter Eggers produce up to 200 large eggs per year. It’s also worth mentioning that a female will only lay one egg color. If the hen lays green, then it will be green forever. The only way to get different colors is when you have several Easter Eggers each laying a different-colored egg.
While they are good egg-layers it’s rare for the hens to go broody.
These chickens don’t get as big as other purebred chickens. Mature males weigh up to 5 lbs, while females get up to 4 lbs.
When it comes to disposition, Easter Eggers are lovely, gentle, and curious birds. The moment they get used to you, they will follow you around for treats and will jump on you to be petted.
|Country of origin||France|
|Weight male||11 lbs|
|Weight female||9 lbs|
|Egg color||Light brown|
|Eggs production per year||Up to 200|
|Temperament||Friendly, docile, affectionate|
The Faverolles chicken breed is named after a village in Italy, where it originated. It’s a combination of different breeds such as French Rennnes, Brahma, Houdan, Dorking, Malines, and Flemish cuckoo.
The breeders were looking for a breed that would do well in confinement. These chickens produce up to 200 medium-sized eggs per year. When it comes to broodiness, they are average.
When it comes to temperament, the Faverolles are some of the most fun and comical chickens you can have in your backyard. They are gentle, friendly, and love life in general. If you have young kids, they will love the fluffy feathers and comical antics of this breed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do chickens have feelings for humans?
The question of chickens having feelings for humans is a complex one. But one thing we are sure of is that chickens become friendly and nice when they get used to a person. If you start petting a chicken, they will start coming to be held.
It’s hard to tell whether they come to a person because they love them or because they know the person is harmless. But from our perspective, chickens seem to show love and affection to people who care for them.
How do chickens show affection to humans?
There are many things that can be interpreted as chickens showing affection to their owners. However, it’s not easy to tell if a chicken is really showing affection since we can’t understand its perspective.
- Following you around
- Jumping on you to be petted or cuddled
- Squatting when they come close to you
- Standing on your feet
- Rubbing their beak against your feet
- Making specific noise
Do chickens recognize their owners?
Yes, chickens can recognize their owner. That’s why when your chicken gets used to you they will run towards you when you visit the coop or when they hear you. They are also able to associate you with a specific emotion and activity. For instance, if you always bring treats they will always run towards you looking for treats.
Why do chickens close their eyes when you pet them?
Chickens tend to close their eyes when you pet them. While chickens can’t explain why they do so, it’s possible to make a conclusion. Considering chickens will only close their eyes when they feel safe, chickens closing their eyes when being pet shows they feel safe and secure. It also means they love it and love you too.
How do you know if a chicken is happy?
You can tell when your chicken is doing all right when there is no abnormal behavior. Some signs to show your chicken is not happy include
- Not feeding
- Dropped head
- Tucking their head under the wing
- Staying still when the rest are roaming
- Not laying eggs
- Being aggressive
- Not following you or coming to you when you visit the coop
Can chickens sense your emotions?
It’s hard to tell whether a chicken can sense their owner’s emotions. However, by looking at their behavior, you can tell they can sense their owner’s emotions depending on your behavior.
Chickens have also been noted to recognize tens of faces and associate them with either a positive or negative emotion. They will remember you depending on how you treated them.
How do you cheer up a chicken?
When your chicken looks bored, there are a few things you can do to cheer them up. This includes
- Giving them some treats
- Petting them
- Letting them roam
- Bringing in some toys like a swing
- Feeding them scraps or their favorite food
- Putting a mirror in the backyard
Do chickens understand human language?
Chicken can understand a few words or sounds and associate them with a person or meaning. However, training chickens is pretty hard and takes a lot of repetition. A few things you can train your chickens include their names, the word treat, bye, hello, etc.
In conclusion, there are several chicken breeds that are known for being friendly and make great pets. These breeds have unique personalities, are easy to care for, and are great for both first-time chicken owners and experienced ones. Some of the friendliest breeds include the Buff Orpington, Rhode Island Red, Silkie, Australorp, and Wyandotte. These breeds are not only great companions, but also provide fresh eggs and are excellent for pest control in the garden. If you’re considering keeping chickens as pets, choosing a friendly breed can make a big difference in your overall experience.