Friendly Chicken Breeds for a Backyard Flock
Finding the right breed for yourself and your family can be overwhelming. Some people look for a good egg-layer, while others want a pretty show bird. Here are a few friendly chicken breeds that make great additions to your flock. These are generally breeds that interact well with humans and children, but remember you’re always dealing with some unknowns!
There are many opinions about keeping chickens around children and it’s really your decision to make. Our flock loves children, and we have some hens from these breeds ourselves. Whether you want some chickens to spend time with your kids, or just a friendly chicken breed that will be comfortable with human interaction, here are seven breeds we recommend!
The Rhode Island Red is one of our favorite chicken breeds. We have a few ourselves, and they’re incredibly friendly chickens. They’re one of the easiest chickens to keep, are generally happy birds, and lay eggs year round. They are fairly large, super hardy, and always on the go. They’re known for being foragers, always moving around the yard looking for some good food.
Rhode Island Reds are one of the friendliest chickens out there. They’re super gentle, are comfortable being held, and do well with children. One of our Reds actually comes when she’s called every single time. She runs right over and squats down for some pets under the chin. Like any breed, there’s variation from hen to hen. In general, Rhode Island Reds are people-lovers and comfortable with human contact!
The Polish chicken is another great chicken for a friendly flock. Polish chickens are true beauties and make a great chicken for a family for several reasons. First, they’re an especially docile breed. They’re calm, comfortable being handled, and gentle. They like foraging, are active birds, and love to explore.
They’re pretty hardy, and can handle everything except being wet. In addition to their personalities, these are beautiful birds that are sure to turn some heads. Not only friendly, these birds can be exciting for children to have around!
Because of their excessive feathering around the head, they may not see you coming. It can be helpful to talk softly while near a Polish just to let her know you’re coming! Although they may seem fidgety at first, this is largely due to their lack of sight.
The Buff Orpington is an especially friendly variety of Orpington. They’re pretty mellow chickens, often just walking around slowly in the yard. The Buff Orpington actually comes toward humans in many cases, running toward you for some love and attention. They are also one of the most patient chicken breeds, tolerating all of the petting, tugging, and squeezing often handed to them by children.
These hens are not huge foragers, and are content in confinement. In addition to being super friendly, they’re also one of the best laying chicken breeds out there. At up to 280 eggs a year, they are constantly laying, which makes for a great treat for the family!
Australorps come from Australia (duh), and are really bred from Black Orpingtons. They have a similar demeanor as other Orpingtons, and are known to be super friendly with humans and children. Australorp chickens are often slightly more assertive than the Buff Orpingtons, but are not a “top of the pecking order” type. They actually enjoy human interaction, and many people with these chickens will tell you that theirs come toward them when they come near!
Like the Orpington cousins they have, these chickens also lay large brown eggs at a decent rate. They make a great addition to a backyard flock, especially if you have children! Their black feathers can also be tinted with some green or blue, making them shimmer a bit in the sunlight!
The Wyandotte is another super friendly chicken breed. There are many varieties, such as the beautiful Blue Laced Red Wyandotte. The Wyandotte is calm, friendly, and a avid forager. They get pretty large, and are one of the biggest breeds of chickens. This large size can make her a fun friend for a child or family, and a little stronger to deal with hugging and petting!
Wyandottes are dual-purpose chickens, although we honestly don’t eat ours (we are vegetarians!). They lay at a pretty good rate, and generally lay year-round. They are perhaps one of the worst flyers, which is a huge plus if you’re keeping a backyard flock. Although these chickens don’t run toward humans, they’re really just one of the most easy-going hens you can find.
Easter Eggers aren’t a true breed, so it’s a bit silly to include on this list. Easter Eggers are often Ameraucanas or Araucanas, and are breeds that lay different colored eggs. These eggs are generally tinted blue or green, which makes for a super fun find in your coop or backyard. These chickens can also lay eggs that are brown, white, pink, or a mixture of colors!
In addition to the fun of finding their eggs, Easter Eggers are generally sweet birds. They’re slightly smaller than the other birds on this list, but they actually lay pretty large eggs and a quick rate. They’re friendly birds that respond well to human interactions and birds of other breeds. Usually falling somewhere in the middle of a pecking order, they tend toward the more docile side of the spectrum.
Finally, we have the Cochin. Although they’re last on this list, they are perhaps the friendliest ones on it. A motherly hen, these chickens are big, loving fluffballs. They’re pretty large because of their feathering, but they’re true gentle giants. Cochins are one of the easiest breeds to handle, enjoy being pet, and often known their names.
Cochins are prone to obesity, and need to be carefully fed. They aren’t overly exploratory, and are not the type of chicken to wander outside of the yard. They know their boundaries, and really make one of the best backyard breeds out there!
For more information on chickens, check out our Chicken Keeping Resource Guide with FAQ’s, book recommendations, information about different breeds, and all you need to know about coops, runs, feed, and more!