Are you planning on getting baby chicks for the first time this year? Or do you want to add a few more chickens to your existing flock? Learn what the friendliest chicken breeds are so you can choose the best chickens for your backyard flock. These also tend to be the best breeds for beginners.
Why Would You Want to Choose Friendly Chicken Breeds?
There are many reasons you might want to choose a friendly breed. First and foremost, if you have kids, you probably don’t want to keep mean chickens. Especially if the children will be involved in the care and feeding of your flock.
Another reason is your safety. You don’t want to be scared to feed and manage your flock properly.
Finally, friendly chickens are just more fun. Every chicken has her own personality but its just more fun to interact with the friendliest chickens. They will have you laughing at the funny things they do.
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Friendliest Chicken Breeds
This is a list of some of the friendliest chicken breeds. Naturally, these breeds also tend to make the best pets if you are raising a few hens in your backyard.
However, there can always be exceptions to this rule. Even with the friendliest chicken breeds, you may get a mean hen occasionally.
People have told me that Barred Rocks are friendly, but my experience with this breed was a totally different story. They were the two meanest chickens we’ve ever had. (That’s why you may see them on other’s lists, but not on mine!)
And roosters are a whole other story. Even roosters of friendly chicken breeds can be aggressive. Their job is to defend their flock and attack any perceived threat. And roosters often see humans as a threat.
In no certain order, here is a list of the friendliest breeds of chickens based on my research and 10 years raising chickens.
Buff Orpingtons are a light brown “buff-colored” chicken that makes a great addition to your flock. They are a mid to large-sized chicken that lays well, even through the winter. Orpingtons are considered a dual-purpose breed meaning they lay well, but they are also meaty enough to butcher if you so choose.
Buffs are generally a quiet breed so they work well in a neighborhood. They lay light brown eggs and some have said they are the “golden retriever” of the chicken world. We’ve had buff orpingtons for years and I can attest that they do indeed lay well and are friendly.
Jersey Giants are a very large, friendly chicken breed that is a decent layer but also a fine meat bird. The eggs range from a cream color to a medium brown. Even the roosters of Jersey Giants tend to be docile and friendly.
The hens don’t often go broody, which is a great quality if you are raising chickens solely for egg production. However, due to their large size, these chickens will eat more feed than smaller varieties. They also need lots of space to grow and roam so they may not be the best breed for a small backyard chicken coop.
Cochins come in both regular and bantam chickens. The full-size breed is a large bird with lots of downy feathers. Cochins are ideal for cold climates since they can easily stay warm with all their feathers. This breed handles confinement well, making them an excellent choice if you don’t allow your flock to free-range in the colder months or your area receives lots of snow.
Cochins don’t tend to wander too far away from their coop and don’t scratch in the ground as much as other breeds. They are easily tamed and even the roosters of Cochins are often friendly. Cochins lays brown eggs and are also good mothers.
Wyandottes are beautiful chickens that are great egg layers. There are quite a few varieties with different feather patterns, but the most recognizable pattern is the brownish-orange feathers outlined or “laced” with black. This breed actually originated in America.
A great show bird, Wyandottes also make good mothers. They are fairly large birds who forage well, but can also tolerate being confined to a coop and run.
We’ve had Australorps since we started keeping chickens. Australorp hens are friendly and make great pets. Australorps have black feathers that look almost green in the sunlight. They are a large, quiet breed perfect for a small coop in a neighborhood.
However, I do want to warn you that the roosters of this breed can be quite mean. We had a Australorp rooster that attacked my son, totally unprovoked. Consider this your warning.
But if you are only keeping hens, Australorps will provide you with a steady supply of brown eggs all year long. It is said that an Australorp holds the record for laying the most eggs in a single year!
Brahmas are a large breed that can grow close to 10 pounds at maturity. They have lots of downy feathers on their body and feathers on their feet and legs. This is a quiet breed suitable for a neighborhood.
Brahmas are an excellent chicken for colder climates due to all their feathers, but they aren’t a good choice for warm climates. They have very docile personalities and don’t tend to stray far from their home. Due to their size they aren’t likely to fly over all but the lowest of fences.
The Speckled Sussex is a beautiful breed of chicken with dark, mahogany feathers that have a black bar and a white tip on the end. This breed makes an excellent show bird, but their friendly nature makes them a natural choice for the backyard flock too.
Sussex are good foragers so if allowed to free range regularly, you can reduce your feed bill. They have a mild disposition so they are a good breed for families that have children. The birds are quite docile and usually don’t mind being held.
Faverolles are a medium size breed with feathers on their legs and feet. As you might have suspected from the name, they originated in France. They are a super friendly breed that will usually come running when they see humans. Faverolles lay brown eggs and tolerate confinement fairly well. However, they adapt well to free-ranging too.
The one downside to Faverolles is that they can be quite loud in their excitement to see you. They make a great chicken for a small homestead, but might not be best suited for raising in a quiet neighborhood.
Rhode Island Reds
Rhode Island Reds are an outstanding breed for the backyard chicken keeper. They are a dual purpose breed that is hardy in cold climates but they are actually a good choice for warm climates too. Rhode Island Reds have beautiful dark, rusty brown feathers and they lay lots of brown eggs. We’ve had quite a few “Reds” in our flock.
Silkies are an unusual breed of chicken but they tend to be very friendly. This small breed generally only weighs about 2 pounds. They have soft, silky feathers (hence the name) and are often raised as show chickens. They make excellent mothers, tending to go broody frequently. But they will hatch and raise other chick eggs and even duck eggs.
However, Silkies do have a downside. They are often picked on by larger members of the flock since their feathers can make it difficult for them to see well. And if you are raising chickens for lots of eggs, silkies won’t be your best breed. Since they go broody often, they don’t lay near as many eggs as other breeds and the ones they do lay are small.
However, if you want to hatch some eggs, Silkies will readily adopt other hen’s eggs and hatch and raise the young as their own.
Amberlinks are a sex-linked chicken. (A sex-linked chicken means that you can tell when the chick is born whether it is a rooster or a hen by the color of their feathers or some other identifying trait.) There are other sex-link varieties such as Red & Black Star or Red & Black sex-link however we have only had Amberlinks.
Amberlinks are a small to medium breed with medium brown-colored feathers. They are good layers and lay quite a few brown eggs each week.
I purchased our 2 Amberlinks on a whim one year. (Feed stores are dangerous place in the spring. 😂) I wanted Leghorns but the feed store didn’t have them. I decided to grab 2 Amberlinks instead of having to come back later. These two have turned out to be the best chickens we’ve ever had. They are great layers and super friendly.
My 11 year old has turned one of them into a true pet. I really think she even knows her name. He carries her around the yard, let’s her out of the run on the regular, and has no trouble putting her up when he’s done.
I’ve never seen Amberlinks on any list of friendliest chicken breeds but if you ever see them, I would grab a couple in a heartbeat.
One final reason to choose sex-link breeds is that when you purchase your chicks, you can be pretty sure you are getting all hens. This is an added bonus if you keep chickens in your backyard. Then you don’t have to worry about what to do with a rooster should you accidentally get one.
Easter Eggers are not really a true chicken breed. They are actually a cross between Araucanas and Ameraucanas. While some consider them the “mutts” of the chicken world, they are great chickens for a backyard flock.
You never know exactly what the Easter Eggers will look like. Some have muffs, some don’t. They come in a variety of colors ranging from gray to brown to pure white. All 3 of the chickens in the picture above are Easter Eggers from our flock. Look at the wide variation in coloring.
Easter Eggers are one of the types of chickens that lay blue or green eggs, though occasionally you may get one that lays pink or light brown eggs. They are a smaller chicken breed (which can save you money on feed) and are generally very friendly.
We have had Easter Eggers since the very beginning and I wouldn’t want to be without them. I almost always get a few new ones every year. This would have to be my very favorite “breed” of chicken!
Other Ways to Ensure Friendly Chickens
There are a few things you can do to help your chickens get used to people and be a bit more friendly, no matter the breed. First, when you bring the chicks home, pick them up regularly. Of course, be gentle with them, but allow them to get used to being handled.
As they grow, continue to pick them up and pet them often. Once you move your flock to the coop, teach them to come to you with a handful of scratch. The more you interact with your flock, the friendlier they will be.
Keep in mind, just like people, every chicken has it’s own personality and you can get a mean chicken of any breed. And if you have roosters, they are more likely to be aggressive, no matter the breed.
Also, when choosing your chickens, remember that you can have a mixed flock. (I sure do!) You don’t have to choose all the same breed. I actually recommend a mixed flock so you can choose some for various traits like friendliness, egg-laying ability, and just because a mixed flock is pretty.
For more information and lots of background history on various breeds, I recommend checking out the Livestock Conservancy website.