Pet Chicken Craze
Raising chickens and ducks is becoming an increasingly popular hobby in the United States. However, many people who want to start having their own pet chicken or flock have no idea where to start in choosing their breed.
Breeding chickens has been a pursuit of lots of devoted farmers and bird enthusiasts for centuries, yielding a wide variety of chickens with different characteristics and traits. Some chickens produce more eggs than others, some are excellent birds for their meat. Which chickens make the best pets? Meaning which birds are well behaved, the most adaptable, the friendliest, and the most aesthetically pleasing.
Top Pet Chicken Breeds
Here is a run down of the four most popular chicken breeds, along with their basic Pros and Cons –
You’ll always see Silkies at the top of everyone’s list when talking about friendliness. These fuzzy balls of feathers is a quirky, friendly and docile chicken. Even roosters are friendly!
Their unique feathers cover their feet and makes everyone go “can I hug them?” and the answer is almost always “well of course you can!”. It’s also a breed with a lot of history, being featured even in Marco Polo’s travels.
However, although they make excellent pets, this breed isn’t the best for eggs. When the hens are laying they produce around three medium eggs per week. They also tend to go broody a lot. This however makes them amazing mothers, willing to sit on eggs that aren’t even theirs!
- Silkie Pros – calm, friendly, hardy, unique but easy to find, quiet.
- Silkie Cons – poor layer of smaller eggs
2. Buff Orpingtons
No list of best pet chicken breeds would be complete without the Golden Retriever of chickens! The Buff Orpingtons are incredible pets. They’re docile, loyal, friendly and quiet. Their plumage is soft and makes them winter hardy.
Unlike the Silkies, they’re good egg producers too! You can expect around five large eggs a week when they’re laying and they don’t go broody a lot. They’re also great mothers and not overly protective of their chicks, making them perfect to show your kids their reproduction process.
These large birds will make a great pet for kids. They’re very curious and will follow your kid around in their backyard adventures.
- Orpington Pros – easy to find, incredibly docile, good egg layer
- Orpington Cons – can get picked on by other birds, take long to start laying eggs
3. Brahma Chickens
A true gentle giant, the impressive Brahma chicken makes an incredible pet. They have gentle, patient and loving personalities.
If you aren’t familiar with this bird, you may have still seen a viral video of a kid with a giant chicken. That chicken was also a Brahma.
They are built for winter climates and are good egg layers. You can expect up to six large eggs a week! If you are looking for a smaller size, their bantam version may make a perfect pet for you
- Brahma Pros – unique size, fair egg layer, docile, winter-hardy
- Brahma Cons – feathered feet may need special care, noisy, big eater
These quirky looking birds are perfect for anyone looking for a unique-looking pet chicken. They Polish Chickens are docile birds that enjoy cuddles and being on your lap.
Although they aren’t great egg layers (around 200 per year), people mostly look for the Polish chickens for their unique hairdo and friendly personalities!
Their head feathers may require maintenance since they can interfere with their vision, making them nervous. They also tolerate confinement quite well so they’re perfect if you don’t have a lot of space for them to run around.
- Polish Pros – beautiful plumage, unique look, docile personalities
- Polish Cons – feathers require maintenance, not good egg layer
Runner Up Chicken Breeds
This fluffy chicken also makes a great pet! They’re quite adaptable and tolerate confinement quite well. The Cochins are a patient, docile and very friendly breed that will run up to you to be cuddled.
They’re incredibly beautiful and have a unique appearance that will wow anyone that sees them in your backyard. Their fluffy plumage covers their feet and makes them look even larger than it really is. Definitely not your regular-looking chicken!
Although they go broody frequently, they’re good for eggs when they’re laying. You can expect up to five weekly eggs from them!
- Cochin Pros – great mom, docile, friendly, mellow, adaptable, winter-hardy
- Cochin Cons – quite broody, not great egg layer, not great for hot weathers
The Plymouth Rock is perfect if you’re looking for a beautiful and active pet chicken. They’re very friendly, not only towards humans but towards other pets too!
They’re also good egg layers, laying around five pink eggs a week. They’re incredibly hardy and adaptable. You’ll probably never see a Plymouth Rock that’s lazy. This breed is very active and curious.
Their unique plumage won’t go unnoticed. They’re amazing looking birds and, although they’re not a large breed, they do tend to lay large eggs.
Where do I find Pet Chickens?
If you’re looking for pet chickens, it shouldn’t be too tough to find some of these more common and popular breeds at your local farm supply or feed store. Some of the more uncommon breeds can also found online. Cackle Hatchery will ship directly to you!
If you’re interested on any of these chickens, simply click on their names to check prices and availability!