The Top 10 Friendliest Chicken Breeds

The Top 10 Friendliest Chicken Breeds

Who doesn’t want a flock of happy chickens that come running when you approach them? Though some people prioritize traits such as egg production, cold hardiness, outward appearances if raising for show, chicken size, or growth speed, for those of us backyard flock keepers, having friendly chickens as our pets is a big reason we own chickens in the first place. How do we guarantee the ones we put in our backyard will be friendly?  Well, as with most pets, how the owner treats their flock is just as important in determining chickens’ temperament as choosing the right breed.

This said, a good background in best practices for raising a friendly flock will certainly go a long way.

Tips for rearing a friendly chicken:

1) In the early days when you first bring the chicks home, talk to them gently using a soft voice, but resist the urge to pick them up.  Let the chicks get used to their new life and recover from the trip to your house. Sprinkling some chick feed onto your hand can help encourage them. Talk to them so they get used to your voice.

Hands-on time with your chicks should be limited to several short sessions of just a few minutes each, several times a day. Chicks are babies and spend lots of time sleeping. They get tired quickly and also get cold.

2) The best way to tame your chickens when they are a bit older, and to build up trust is again to offer your chickens their favorite treat in your hand. This is also used in taming aggressive roosters. It’s best to get them used to eating out your hand first and then start to stroke them with slow movements. After that, it’s crucial to spend time with them, talk to them, and make them your friends. If they don’t know you well or aren’t sure about your role in the flock, they’ll avoid you. It’s also important to let them know you’re the flock leader. They rely on the flock leader to keep them safe, show them where food is, and keep them comfortable.

3) People-friendly chickens require chicken friendly people. Talk nice, act calmly, and make sure your flock understands that you are their main food source. If your flock mainly forages for food, they essentially have to fend for themselves. Consequently, they don’t ‘need’ you, they don’t know what to make of you, and chances are they will avoid you.

In short, interacting with chickens from the time they are chicks, feeding them, and handling them are mandatory when looking to establish a friendly flock. 

Best Bets for Breeds

Clearly the varieties selectively bred for docile and friendly personalities are the ones to go for when choosing your flock. While it’s important to note that a breed-designated trait does not imply that every single chicken in that breed HAS that trait, general thought is that certain behavioral traits are COMMON to certain breeds. 

For example, dual purpose and “meat breeds” tend to be mellow, while leaner layer hens are inclined to be anxious. Breeds originally developed for cock fighting tend to be (surprise!) aggressive. Some breeds, such as Silkies and Cochins, are more apt to go broody, and drop everything to incubate eggs and mother their chicks, while others (most dual purpose breeds) tend to be excellent foragers. While there are of course exceptions, for the most part these stereotypes hold true. 


Following this lead, and based on well documented opinions of chicken farmers in general, here’s a list of several breeds of the most friendly chickens around:

1) Silkies

Silkies are one of the best chicken breeds to keep as pets, because of their size and temperament. Their soft, fluffy feathers feel like silk on a compact little body. Silkies are also one of the cutest chicken breeds. Actually, most wind up looking more like a stuffed animal than a chicken. This makes them very appealing to children!  Some Silkies have “beards” which almost totally obscure their faces, while others are beardless. With their bright blue earlobes, a fifth toe on each foot, a super sweet personality and an appreciation for being held and petted, you can’t help but find them adorable.

silkie friendliest chicken breeds

2) Speckled Sussex

Large chickens can be wonderfully friendly also!  The Speckled Sussex is a fairly large (roosters can weigh up to 8 pounds while hens weigh about 6 pounds) but beautiful chicken. It has a single comb, and its feet are free of feathers. Hens have reddish brown feathers with black and white “speckling” which gives the breed its name. Each feather has a white tip, and the amount of speckles varies from chicken to chicken. They’re curious, the first to check out new situations, absolutely love attention, and are intelligent, mellow pets. As mature birds, they like to be held, stroked, and talked to. They may even follow you around.  Speckled Sussex are tops on the list of backyard friendly breeds, often too large to have as ‘inside’ chickens, yet friendly enough to be outside pets!

speckled sussex friendliest chicken breeds

3) Buff Orpington 

Another larger sized chicken, the Orpington is a good all-purpose utility breed, providing both eggs and meat, and it is also frequently bred for show– meaning they are a great overall chicken. This is a friendly breed, often termed the “Golden Retriever” of chickens. They make good outdoor pets for families, schools, or clubs. In fact, it is recommended that you get Buff Orpingtons if you have children that enjoy playing with the flock. Most chicken research deems the Buff Orpington as laid back, patient and friendly, who love to receive food treats; and who don’t mind being picked up. 

Buff Orpington Chicken Breeds
Broody Buff Orpington © Elias

4) Rhode Island Red

The Rhode Island Red is one of my favorite chicken breeds. We have had a few ourselves, and they’ve always been incredibly friendly chickens. They’re one of the easiest chickens to keep, super gentle, are comfortable being held, and do well with children. In general, Rhode Island Reds are people-lovers and comfortable with human contact, as well as having the bonus of also being friendly with other members of their own flock. Finally, Reds are cold hardy, and will lay eggs for you all year round. 

Rhode Island Red

5) Cochin

Cochins are one of the largest breeds of chickens you will ever have in your chicken coop. These gentle giant hens weigh in at about 8 pounds while the roosters can often tip the scales at about 11 pounds (they can often look even more substantial than that because of their very fluffy feathers).

Despite their large size, Cochins will be also be some of the calmest and friendliest birds in your flock, making them great lap chickens. They are very child-friendly, appreciate human contact, and again despite their size, are often somewhat submissive to other birds so they are not commonly on top of the pecking order. Cochin chickens are happiest when they are close to home. They love nothing more than knowing their boundaries and sticking to them, which is why these sweet and fluffy giants make excellent backyard pets! Although not kept by owners who prioritize egg production, Cochins are among the best mothers in the chicken world, and will often foster eggs of another bird and raise the chicks as her own. 

Flock of Cochin Chickens

6) Wyandotte

Wyandottes are classified as a dual purpose breed, so they are not particularly small birds. They are generally amiable and docile birds that are also quite easily handled. A beautifully feathered breed, Wyandottes also bear confinement well and are particularly cold hardy, so they are a good choice for the backyard chicken keeper and are handled easily by children as well.

wyandotte friendliest chicken breeds


7) Australorp

Australorps are the Australian take on the western Orpington breed (“Austrail-orp”). They are a medium sized breed, mostly known for their egg-laying productivity.  They are generally calm, peaceful, dignified, and friendly, and excellent layers of light brown eggs. Smallish and friendly, bearing confinement well, Australorps are known as a great breed for people looking for pet chickens in their backyard flock.  

black australorp friendliest chicken breed

8) Easter Eggers

“Easter Eggers” are not actually a true breed. They are incredibly popular hybrids of Araucana and Ameraucana chicken heritage that are particularly prized for the unusual colors of their eggs; blue, green, olive, aqua, even pink. These chickens are great egg producers, and they don’t appear to mind being confined so they’re very easy to care for. In general, Easter eggers are very friendly, easy going, and calm, and often enjoy sitting on the laps of their caretakers. 

Easter egger friendliest chicken breeds
Image Source:

9) Faverolles 

Faverolles are often primarily described as ‘sweet’. They are a breed that is so gentle and social with people as well as other chickens, oftentimes when mixed with other breeds the Faverolles get picked on terribly.  As the only breed in a backyard chicken family, however, Faverolles are unbeaten as the ultimate chicken companion for children. Not only do they not mind being held, but they love to be kissed and cuddled and wouldn’t dream of pecking, poking or scratching anyone. Also winter hardy and good egg layers all year long, Faverolles have become a true favorite with families. 

10) Jersey Giants

Jersey Giant chickens are very friendly, calm and docile breed. Of particular note with this breed is they are also very friendly with other varieties of birds and even other pets. They are large enough as not to be frightened by other domesticated pets, and roosters of this breed are also very low on the aggression scale. Jersey Giants are robust and fairly cold hardy. They are not flighty, but require lot of space because of their size.  Other than the fact that they are not as easily handled because of their size, Giants make good pets for children because they are so extremely docile and calm. 

Again, as we end the list of these several friendly, happy, child safe chicken breeds, we need to remember that every chicken may show the behavioral characteristics typical of its breed, but within every breed there is always individual variation.  Certainly every breed has individuals with temperament variation along the spectrum, and even raising two chicks from the same breed the same way will prove that friendliness is not a guarantee. Give it a go and enjoy your new friends, whatever breed they might be. If you are just beginning to get interested in starting a flock of your own, check out these tips on raising backyard chickens.

Chicken Raising Book

  • How to choose the perfect breed of chicken for you- including our top 5 beginner picks.
  • What to feed them for optimal health and egg laying, including if you’re on a tight budget.
  • From bringing your chicks home for the first time to putting eggs on the table, we’ve got it all covered.

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  1. Of Goats and Greens says

    For me, I’ve found the Australorpes to be the most friendly. I love them. They know what they are about, and they are eager to interact.

  2. Maria says

    Golden Comets are also pretty friendly. They each have their own personality from very friendly to “don’t touch me unless absolutely necessary.

  3. drjh says

    red star small and friendly good foragers murray macmurray used to have them and their cousins, the black star, lay an egg every day no matter the weather

    • Farm mom says

      I have barbed rocks and they literally rub on us like cats wanting attention. Very friendly birds. Also we have a 8 year old black star who is from our original flock and she still lays eggs as well as gives snuggles. She even comes to her name

    • Marcia Hamilton says

      My first hen was a Red Star and i absolutely loved her. She would snuggle under my chin and loved to be held. Henrietta also laid extra large, brown eggs, that were delicious. I have another one that is 14 weeks and I’m waiting to see her ‘egg laying’ abilities.

  4. Itsa Mystic Life says

    I finally talked my husband into getting chickens, easter eggers. They had some of the funniest personalities.Had one that got lockked in the green house for almost a month during the summer, and she survived without food or water ()it gets too hot for plants in summer).
    Then we were given 2 cochins and they stole hubby’s heart when they came over, perched on his boot toe and started telling him stories. The sweetest and funniest birds ever.

  5. Lisa Veneziano says

    I have a mixed flock of chickens now, as I always have had mixed flocks all of my life. I started doing chickens in nursery school in 1969, I also did 13 years of 4-H Poultry Project, I’ve attended week long poultry conferences all over California. I LOVE CHICKENS! MY 1st pet chicken was a Rhode Island Red. She was a real doll & when she got old & stopped laying , she was the best mommy ever. She lived 13 years. ” Rhodies ” we called them, are friendly & as every article says, a good 1st breed for beginners.
    The longer I raise chickens …the more breeds I encounter & fall in love with. As a little girl, our Speckled Sussex , bantam sized hen ” Penny ” ,was a sweet girl & loved sitting in my lap. It has a lot to do with how you interact with them from the beginning. As a little girl of 8 yrs. old, my mother decided to raise, what were called back in the day, ” exotics “, which later were termed
    ” fancies “. She purchased a batch of mixed fertile eggs for our DIY home incubator, of 2 different breeds: Speckled Houdans & Crested Polish. The Polish chickens were so friendly, that they followed me EVERYWHERE!! I even named one ” Friendly “. A young Gold Lace Polish rooster, who hatched in my hand. He even would come horseback riding with me!! I had a special saddle bag designed, just especially for a horseback riding chicken! He couldn’t stand to be out of my sight for more than a minute! So I have continued to keep Polish, as physician certified companion & therapy animals. I’ve always told people that a Polish chicken, will follow you to Hell & back again, without batting an eye. They prefer the company of humans over other chickens, they love sitting in laps, riding on shoulders, standing on my head ! I’ve used them as educational animals with inner city children, teaching them that chickens do not just come in yellow styrofoam packages in shrink wrap & deserve our respect & to be treated with gentle dignity & are capable of reciprocating love & affection. Also, they were real superstars, as therapy animals, for mentally challenged, developmentally delayed & disabled, wheelchair bound children. They handled the job better than the Silkies! So here is my list of friendliest breeds, in my personal experience, over the 50 years I have raised , kept & bred chickens.
    # 8. DOMINIQUE
    # 9. SILKIE
    #”11. WELSUMMER


    • Angela says

      I just picked up some polish chicks a few days old and have found them to be so sweet! Yes they don’t want to be out of your sight and will prop their beaks on my face when I cuddle with them..

      • Tracy says

        I just got 6 hens, new owner. One who is white w/ black spots on her wings, what kind is she? I call her merry, l got her for christmas

    • Eivor Donahue says

      Really sopreciate your experience and input. Sounds like you really know your chickens! Because of your note, I am going to order a couple of golden crested Polish baby chicks for our roommate who is dealing with depression, in return for her helping with my baby chicks. She was very happy when I told her.

      • SunnyDaze says

        You have no idea how much you’ll be helping your friend. I was severely depressed and was surprised with a baby chick who made my life complete. ?

    • Steve says

      My wife and I are new to chickens. We just got our first batch, various breeds (RI-Reds, leg horns, australorpes, bantams, comets. They are around 4 weeks old now. One of the RI Reds certainly has made an impression on me. Typically he\she will walk or even run over to the coop door when its opened, and gets as close to us as possible, as if, whats up? pay attention to me! Loves to be held, such a sweet bird.

    • Veronica says

      Hi there- I was gifted two female and two male Polish, they are almost five months now. I also have six Wyandotte’s
      The two roosters are getting rowdy and messing with the girls
      Should I get rid of one ( or both)
      My first flock so I don’t know if this is normal
      Thanks, Veronica

    • Marcia Hamilton says

      I have a chicken diaper, found on Google for Peepers, my 14 week old Red Star, but she hates it and is always picking at it. Do you have any suggestions on a decent chicken diaper? She lives in the house, but goes outside with me for at least 4 hours a day then has free roam of the house as long as her diaper is on. Peepers sleeps in a crate with a litter box filled with straw during the night and feed and water. Anyone ever litter box trained a chicken?

  6. Karly says

    I find cochins to be the most friendly, I have a little frizzle Cochin bantam hen, she loves to follow me around when I’m doing chores outside and loves to be picked up and stroked. She’ll also sit on my lap. By far the nicest chicken I have.

    • Bessann says

      I had a Cochin rooster I got him at 8weeks the first day he started following me around everywhere. I kept him at night in the house in a cage during the day he free ranged in my yard . He begged for food by jumping up and down. He got in my car and went for rides ,he gave snuggles and sat on my lap at night and put himself to bed. Momo was his name . Every evening at 4 he walked up my ramp and pecked on the door to be let in. We lovingly called him a chicken dog. Greatest little feller ever hatched.

  7. Cheryl says

    My polish were very skittish and didn’t like to be picked up at all.
    My Buffs and Welsummers follow us around like puppies. So cute…

    • HappyOrca says

      A dust bath with food grade DE should help a lot. The chickens will dust bathe themselves.

      Why is this on the “10 friendliest breeds” page?

  8. Abby says

    Hi Claire,
    I’m thinking about getting more birds this spring, but I don’t have a good set up for chicks, so I am thinking about buying pullets. I want them to be easy to catch and friendly, but I am concerned that since I am not raising them they won’t be responsive to me. Is there a particular breed that is more likely to trust later on in life? Or perhaps a specific technique that can be used to bring them around? I plan on spending as much time with them as possible. 🙂 I love your articles!
    Thanks, Abby 🙂

  9. Chantal says

    I’m so glad there’s a few others that love the Polish.
    I have special needs granddaughter who has a small white Polish that adores her.
    As soon as she steps foot in the garden little storm is there dancing by her feet asking to be picked up, you’d think she was a cat the way she acts.
    This little chicken certainly gets herself into some pickles but she knows if she shouts loud enough we come running.
    Storm adores cuddles and loves the hose pipe, will paddle for ages in the water with her little mate.

    On the other hand we have Red our only Warren who will follow my grandson round the garden for hours looking for bugs with him.
    She’s happy to be snuggled and have you boop boop to her as long as none of the others are watching.

  10. Richie Chiger says

    The friendliest chicken I have ever had was a New Hampshire hen named Gladys. She would come running to me from where ever she was when called by name and just hang out with us. She was wonderful, a real pet. Unfortunately, a fox got her. I was heartbroken.

  11. Genelle A says

    Hello! We have Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks and Wyandotte. This is our first time in many years that we have been able to have chickens and we love them.
    We have had issues with them ganging up on one and ends up that we have to put them down because they are too hurt. Is it the breeds we have? They also pick each others feathers out? We have tried numerous things to help their feathers grow back but nothing has truly “cured” this. Please help if you have any suggestions.

    • Mother of Divas says

      Seems like they might need more space, there is a pecking order with chickens. Is there an age difference? Usually if there is an age difference, it’s good to keep the young ones separate until they are big enough to fend for themselves. Wynnadottes are chickens that like to roam, same with Rhode Island reds, it could also be that they need some time to free range… even just 30 minutes outside their coop can help with the pecking… hope that this is helpful in some way.

  12. andrewV says

    my favorite breed is buff orpington but my favorite hen that i have right now is named sophie but I dont know what breed she is I got her from a mixed run

  13. Bixie Chicks says

    I have raised my first batch of chicks from 1 week old, and have a mixed flock. By far, my Sapphire Gems are the most gentle of all of my babes now at 16 weeks. Both the cockerel and the pullet sit on my shoulder daily, groom me lol, and hang out while I do chicken chores. I am considering bringing in some more hens, so glad to find this list!

  14. Flock of four says

    I have a red shaver named ‘Becky’ and she is the most loyal thing I have ever seen! She comes when we call her and lets the kids give snuggles and strolls right inside our house as if she own the place! She is absolutely amazing!

  15. Chicken Lover says

    This is so true! My silky and my Speckled one were so nice! I had a Jersey Giant and yes they are sweet. However my Rhode Island Red was not neccasarrly nice, but it did fallow me around every where I went!

  16. Tracy says

    Thanks for everyone’s comments, I’m a new owner of 6 hens, got em for Christmas . One l named Merry, dont k what kind she is but she follows me around when l’m in the coop when l go out. She’s white w blk spots

  17. Head mother clucker says

    I have welsummers and wynnadottes, my welsummers are much friendlier than my diva wynnadottes, but my wynnadottes seem to have a more appealing personality to children.

  18. Jim says

    A rooster came and stayed. I have been told that he is a Brahma, He is very friendly and goes to our neighbor’s yard. Can you verify that he could ba a Brahma?

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