So you want to find small chicken breeds, well my friend you are in the right place. In this post, we will show you 30 perfect small chicken breeds you can pick from to add to your flock.
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Chickens these days have gotten great exposure, more people are wanting chickens. You don’t have to have a bunch of land or space to have chicken really all you need is a backyard.
Small chickens are great for any backyard flock because they are just easy to handle and most of them are quite friendly.
Table of Contents: Small Chicken Breeds
When you have your own chickens it can get pretty addicting. Finding resources like this one that show all types of breeds that can work well for your location, climate, and overall situation is pretty helpful.
It’s good to have diversity when it comes to chickens, from chickens that lay different colored eggs, to big chickens and small chickens.
Before we jump into all the small chickens the world has to offer, ask yourself…
Why would you want a small chicken?
For one thing, small chicken breeds are just so darn cute. Usually, small chickens are easier to handle, work well with children, and for the most part, they are low maintenance.
There are so many other reasons why you would want to have small chicken so later in this post we will take all the benefits of having one.
What is a Bantam Chicken?
Bantam chicken breeds are defined as small or miniature chicken versions of an average size chicken breed. They are bred to be small and have a purpose to either be good show birds, pets, or just calm friendly chickens to add to any backyard flock.
Bantams usually have great temperaments and in total there are about three different types of bantams: True, Miniature, Developed, and booted
True Bantams: This means the specific breed of chicken only has bantam types and no standard-size chicken exists.
Miniature Bantams– These are breeds that have an average size bird in their breed but was bred by human to make a smaller version of a specific breed.
Developed Bantam– When people use different types of breeds of chicken to create a specific chicken.
American Game Bantam
This is an American breed that was created in New Jersey and is recognized by the American Game Bantam in ten different colors. It was bred for cockfighting but they do make great mothers and are very hardy birds.
They have red earlobes, comb, red colored wattles, and they love to free-range. Roosters can be a little tough and will show some aggression, but overall they are protective over young chickens.
Appenzeller Bantam is the miniature chicken of the Appenzeller bread that is originally from Switzerland. They are calm birds and are great flock birds who can take care of themselves in the crowd.
This chicken is one beautiful breed that loves to free-range, and are very good foragers as well as good egg layers.
Australorp chickens originated from Australia and are known to be a well-rounded breed. They produce brown eggs and can be considered dual-purpose birds because they are good meat chickens as well as egg layers.
This breed makes a great mother and is good for any homestead or backyard.
Barbu de Watermael
Originally from Belgium, the Barbu de Watermael has more than 30 color varieties and is primarily used as an ornamental fowl. They have beards, a beautiful mix of colored feathers throughout their body, spun rose comb, and can weigh between 45 g-700 grams.
They make great pets and can be friendly birds that will be great for any family with kids. Even though they are small they are hardy birds and over to free-range, stay active, and can easily get settled in any environment.
Originally from Belgium, the Belgian d’Anvers is a true breed because there is a now larger version of this breed. They have no feathers on their legs, and feathers underneath their chin.
They are known to be an ornamental breed that is great for 4-H programs, or a great pet because of their calming temperament.
Belgian Bearded d’Uccle
The Belgian Bearded d’Uccle is a true bantam breed with no other large version of itself. This bird came from Germany and can come in 17 different colors.
They have beards and are feather-footed birds. You can count on this breed to be good mothers, egg layers, and pets.
They originated in South East Asia and found their way to Britain where they almost became extinct. They come in whites, have bright yellow legs that are short, have a single comb, and feather down their legs to their feet.
This breed is hard to get as there aren’t many of them around but overall they are very calm, friendly, charming, and make pets of children.
Buff Orpington Bantam
A man named William Cook developed the breed and today it can come in golden color or buff color. They are dual-purpose birds that are well-feathered, have white flesh, and red earlobes, and a larger version of this breed does exsit.
Their temperament is friendly and calm which makes them great family birds, mothers, and overall great backyard chickens. They can be cold hardy, as well as tolerate warm climates, and rarely forage.
The large size Brahma is known as the “King of chickens” because they are the 2nd largest chicken in the world. There Bantam is a small version that is fluffy feathers and a sweet as well as calm temperament making it a great addition to any flock.
They come in 3 different color varieties, have small heads, and are overall laid-back chickens.
Buff Brahma Bantams
Black and gold spotted chicken is a beautiful type of Brahma breed. They are friendly and very active miniature chickens and according to happy chicken coop.com, “tend to have a relatively long life expectancy – especially when compared to full-sized birds.”
This small chicken is a great addition to a backyard and a family with children.
Cochin is originally from China and later came to Spain. Cochin does have a larger version of its breed. This chicken is friendly and makes a great pet or show bird because of its gentle demeanor.
They gave yellow bottom feet and feathers on the legs. Unfortunately, they have no meat value and don’t lay that many eggs.
The Cubalaya bantam is a Cuban breed that does well in hot climates. They have red ear lobes, short legs, and a unique “lobster tail feather”. The American Bantam Association (ABA) accepted the black, black/red-breasted, and white color varieties.
This breed is very active, and friendly, and is less aggressive than other breeds.
Dutch Bantams have large wings for a small bird so they fly very well and they also come in many different colors about 29 different color variations of this true bantam breed.
Am the smallest of all chew bantam breeds. This true phantom breed is a very friendly and active chicken which makes a very good backyard chicken to have especially around children.
Even though they can be quite flighty at times they are excellent mothers and very good egg layers producing at least 160 small eggs a year.
Salmon Faverolles Bantam
These types of chickens are originally from Northern France and are known for their fluffy salmon-colored feathers. They can come in either a salmon color or black/white color. You will also see them with feathers on their feet and fluffy feathers on their face.
Bantam Salmon Faverolles make excellent mothers and have friendly and docile temperaments. Families with children would love having this breed added to their flock.
This is a Dutch breed that is a miniature version of the larger fowl Hamburg and is known to be high flyers that have good egg-laying abilities. They Have a large rose comb, big white earlobes, and blue legs
These petite birds have a polka-dotted design on their feathers with a black spangle on the end. Overall, this is a great homestead bird that needs space to free range as they do not do well in confinement.
The Japanese Bantam is a “true bantam” since there is no large version of this breed. They are very beautiful birds and have well-spread tails that go straight up.
You will also notice they are short-legged, their tails should be well-spread and pointing almost straight up.
This miniature chicken breed is a great show bird, is easy to take care of, and is very family-friendly.
The oldest British breed and was known for its meat. They have a rectangular build body, orange eyes and a single comb, black tails, and white bodies.
This is an active breed it is friendly and a great addition to a homestead.
Maran Bantam is rare and is recognized by the European Common Standard Committee. This breed is mostly known to exist in Holland. They are not as friendly to handle but some are so it depends on their personality.
In general, these birds are active and busy around their environment. These breeds are great foragers and love to free-range.
Nankin Bantam is originally from Southeast Asia and later became popular in Europe. They can grow to 1.5 pounds and are one of the “true bantam” breeds.
It is a small size overall, has red combs, earlobes and you can notice they gave light blue legs that can look white. They have a calm temperament and a group of them will try to stay together.
Old English Game Bantam
The Old English Game Bantam is a domestic breed with a confident personality. They stand upright and come in various colors.
Fully grown they can be about 1.5 pounds and you can distinguish them by their long tail feathers. They prefer cooler climates, can be good show birds and they love to free-range.
History states the Pekin Batman was taken from the emperor of China around 1860 and then exported to Europe. This breed is considered a “true bantam,” and is known for its fluffy feathers, and round body type.
They are curious birds that are friendly and is a great starter birds for beginners who want a small flock for their home. Coming in a whole wide range of colors the Pekin Bantam chickens are gentle and love company.
The Pyncheon is a legitimate Bantam breed that can grow up to 1.25-1.5 pounds. This breed is from Belgium or Holland, and it is known to be one of the rarest bantam breeds.
It has bright red earlobes, yellow toes, and a small single comb, and bright red earlobes. Pyncheon that are broody can be good moms and for the small size, they can also be good egg layers.
Rhode Island Red Bantam
Rhode Island red bantam comes in large fowl or bantam breeds and is originally from the east coast. This breed comes in dark red and has black tails, and a green shine on the tail.
They can be considered dual-purpose chickens, make great farms, and will be a great addition to a backyard flock. Rhode island red bantams have amazing personalities with a calm temperament which is great for kids and being a show bird.
Rosecomb Bantam is a true bantam breed that originated in Great Britain and was used as ornamental chicken. They have a bright red head comb, and white earlobes, and can come in a variety of colors as the American Bantam Association recognizes 26 Rosecomb colors.
According to the Rosecomb Bantam Federation, their “appearance is sprightly, graceful, and alert.” They work well with humans because they are friendly and calm temperament.
Originally from Europe, the Sablepoots are true bantam chickens. They have feathers on their feet, have 4 toes, and a fanned tail, and come in 20 color varieties. The Dutch call Sablepoot the Booted Bantam chicken or vulture hocks.
You can count on this breed to have a great temperament because they are known to be calm, friendly and will make a great pet or backyard chicken to add to your flock.
The Serama Bantam is a true bantam breed that is one of the rarest breeds of chickens to get. They come in a wide range of about 2500 colors!
They are great birds to use for Exhibitions, used as a pet, or as backyard chickens since they like human interaction. Originally from Malaysia, the Serama do not tolerate cold temperatures and are considered good egg layers.
Originating from Turkey, the Sultan Bantam have dramatic feathering on their legs and feet, a v-shaped body, a v-shaped cone, have five toes, and you can distinguish them by all the fluffy feathers on top of their head.
Not cold hardy, these birds can tolerate heat well and are mainly used for ornamental purposes. Trying to find this breed might be hard as they are extremely rare.
The Sebright chicken is a true bantam breed that was in the making for about 30 years and was finally developed in the early 1800s by Sir John Saunders Sebright. They come in a golden color, silver-white and both colors have a black color laced in between their feathers.
This breed is a popular show bird and is not used for eggs or meat. The Sebright rooster can grow about to be 22oz and hens can be about 20 oz.
Chest pops out more than other chickens, their heads have pom-pom-like feathers on top of their head, bears, charcoal black eye color, and light blue earlobes.
They have fur-like fluffy feathers and are considered one of the friendliest chickens ever. They can weigh about 2-3 pounds and can vary between silkies. Silkies come in various colors but can only show 8 different colors. They love to free-range, are the most docile chicken breeds, and are great birds that make good pets. Any silkie is a great choice for small backyards or any backyard flock.
The Welsummer Bantam was created in the 1930s in Germany and England. The original average-size Welsummer originally got its name from a village in Welsum, Holland. Fun fact, this breed had its rooster featured on cornflakes boxes!
They have a partridge feather pattern and come in dark to light brown feathers, have a single comb, medium wattle, and almond-shaped earlobes. This breed loves to free-range, and forage and is a great addition to any backyard flock.
How to Care for Small Chicken Breeds
- Caring for a small chicken is more or less the same as caring for an average size chicken but with some things to keep in mind.
- Provide food and water that is reachable for a smaller chicken. If the food is hanging or propped up be sure it is also within reach for the smaller size chickens.
- A chicken coop is key for protecting chickens and giving them a home that fits their size. You might not need that much space for smaller chickens, so downsizing can be an option.
- You might need a light shade cloth or cover to protect your small chicken from hawks and bigger birds that prey on all smaller animals.
- For smaller chickens be sure to make chicken boxes and the roost are not so high. Their legs and wing spans aren’t as big as other chickens so they might have some trouble if things are too high or big for them.
- Providing enough shade or warmth depending on your climate is important for chickens.
- Smaller chickens can get colder faster. It’s also helpful to get hardy-specific birds for your location but always ensure you have good ventilation, dust bath areas, and bedding.
The Benefits of a Smaller Chicken
Easy to pick up or transport
You might need to transport your chicken from one location to another and that’s easy to do with smaller breeds. Especially if you have kids, picking up and holding a smaller chicken is way easier than the average size one.
Needs less space
Your surface area doesn’t have to be big to hold smaller chickens depending on how many you have. Since they are smaller in stature, you can fit them in an average size backyard and the cleanup or waste will be minimal.
Larger chickens need at least 8-10 sq ft of outdoor space a smaller chicken will only need half of that.
Smaller chicken coop
When you sizing down or just want smaller chickens to start with, getting a smaller coop is doable. Since you’re dealing with smaller chickens the space needed for them can be downsized as well.
Smaller breeds of chicken may only need about 2-5 sq ft of indoor space in a coop. Chicken coops can be expensive if you don’t build them yourself so it will be less expensive to get a coop for smaller chickens.
Reduced chicken cost
Smaller means less and when it comes to chicken cost all your expenses can be reduced. It also depends on the amount of chicken you have too, but if you have smaller chickens your feed cost won’t be as high compared to having average size chickens.
A small chicken can eat between 2-8 pounds of food a month compared to an average to large size chicken that can eat between 6-16 pounds of food a month.
From coop, medications, or other materials needed to care for chickens, smaller chicken breeds require less of it all.
It’s fair to say most chickens that are Bantam chickens are quite friendly. Especially Silkie chickens can be considered the friendliest chicken on earth.
Smaller chicken breeds are easily managed, as they are not as intimidating as larger chickens. Children and adults can manage these types of breeds together well and usually don’t have issues. Overall, smaller breeds are way more manageable.
Small Chicken Breeds FAQs
How Small Are Bantam Chickens?
Bantam chickens can grow to about 1-3 pounds and can vary in height to be as small as 8 inches to 22 inches in height. Their size depends on the type of Bantam chicken as there are four types, true, miniature, and developed.
What is the Smallest Chicken?
The smallest chicken in the world is the Malaysian Serama bantam. This breed of chicken can weigh less than 1.102 pounds. Roosters and hens can both weigh between 0.55 – 1.1 pounds.
What Breeds of Chickens Lay Small Eggs?
Chickens that lay smaller eggs are not all smaller in their overall size. Below are chicken breeds that lay small eggs but are also average size chickens.
- Polish Chickens
- B.B red old English Game Bantam
- Black Tail Buff Japanese
- Silver Phoenix
- White Silkie Bantam
You can read more about these chickens in our post What breed of chicken lays white eggs? ( Here are 20 Amazing Breeds that Do!)
What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Bantam Chicken?
Bantam chickens can live for over 10 plus years if they are not affected by sickness or disease. Generally, their life expectancy can range between 4-8 years.
Can A Small Chicken Breed Live With Regular Chickens?
Small chicken breeds can most certainly live amongst regular size chickens. Most small breeds are pretty friendly so they can get along with most chicken breeds no matter what size they are.
As long as you slowly introduce a small chicken to an existing flock you will have no issues. Regardless of the chicken breed, you should always try to slowly introduce a chicken to its new home.
Must-Have Chicken Keeper Books
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