With the spring season approaching, it is almost time to start thinking about raising chicks! Choosing the right breed is an important step in beginning your journey of raising chickens. There are a wide variety of breeds to choose from depending on your needs, preferences, and climate. Choosing a breed that is suitable to your lifestyle can make all the difference in maximizing your enjoyment of raising chickens. While there is no single best chicken, this guide will serve as a tool for evaluating which breeds are the best option for keeping a friendly flock! 

 

Friendly Breeds to Keep For Pets

  1. Silkies are our number one pick for those who are looking for friendly, pet chickens! Eggs-eptionally sweet, docile, and calm. Silkies are easy to handle, love attention, and will feel right at home with lots of human interaction. They are known to hop on your lap, snuggle with you, and enjoy being pet. All of which are hard to resist once you feel how soft their feathers are! 

  • Temperament: Sweet and friendly; enjoys snuggling and being held!
  • Size: Weigh around 2 pounds
  • Egg-laying capacity: About 120 eggs per year
  • Colors: White, Blue, Black, Partridge
  • Hardiness: Will need protection from rain and cold climates due to the lack of hard feathers
  • Lifespan: 7-9 years

  

  1. Rhode Island Reds are a very popular choice for those looking for a docile, friendly, and hardy flock. They can be very gentle and friendly towards people and children. However, they require ample attention or they can become quite detached. They are a dual purpose breed, useful for both their eggs and meat. The Rhode Island Red has a high egg productivity, producing upwards of 250 medium sized brown eggs per year. They are also tolerant to most climates, performing well in both warm and cold regions. 

  • Temperament: Friendly and enjoy human company
  • Size: Around 7 pounds
  • Egg Laying Capacity: 250 eggs per year
  • Colors: Red
  • Hardiness: Tolerates both the cold and heat
  • Lifespan: 5 years

  1. Buff Orpingtons are a great breed for beginners due to their sociable and friendly nature. Buff Orpington chickens are a dual purpose breed, and although they have a slightly lower egg productivity at around 180 medium sized eggs per year, they are easy to care for and remain one of the most popular breeds of chicken for those who value both egg production and pet compatibility. 

  • Temperament: Friendly and sociable
  • Size: Around 7 pounds
  • Egg-laying capacity: 180 eggs per year
  • Colors: Buff
  • Hardiness: Tolerates the cold and the heat 
  • Lifespan: 8 years 

  

  1. Plymouth Rock chickens are known to be extremely friendly in nature, easy to raise and trainable, making them a great choice for a backyard and pet chicken. They are very productive layers, laying up to 200 eggs per year. Their tolerance to the cold and ability to actively produce eggs in the winter months also makes them a suitable breed for colder climates.

  • Temperament: Friendly, eccentric, and a little sassy!
  • Size: Around 6 pounds
  • Egg-laying capacity: 200 eggs per year
  • Color: Black and White
  • Hardiness: Cold and heat tolerant
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years

 

  1. Black Australorps are a friendly and happy-go-lucky breed. They do well in cold climates and are excellent layers, laying over 300 eggs per year. They are a great breed for beginners due to their sweet temperament and ability to get along with other hens, animals, and people. 

Fun Fact: Australorps currently hold the world record for the most egg output in one year at 364 eggs! 

  • Temperament: Friendly and easy going, enjoys being held and pet
  • Size: Around 6 pounds
  • Egg-laying capacity: About 300 eggs per year
  • Color: Black 
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy, not heat tolerant 
  • Lifespan: 6-10 years 

 

  1. Brahma are large, calm, and hardy dual purpose chickens that produce around 150 eggs per year. They are well suited for colder weather, making them a popular breed in northern climates. Brahma are considered superior winter layers, producing the majority of their eggs from October to May. They also make excellent pets due to their friendly nature and enjoyment of human company. They love to sit on their handlers lap, get pet, and cuddle!

  • Temperament: Docile and snuggly!
  • Sizes: Around 10 pounds
  • Egg-laying capacity: 150 eggs per year
  • Colors: Dark, light, and buff
  • Hardiness: Tolerant to cold climates, but do not do as well in heat
  • Lifespan: 5-8 years

Breed Comparison:

Breed

Photo 

Egg Productivity 

Friendly Pets

Cold Tolerant

Heat Tolerant 

Silkie  Silkie Chicken 120/yr

Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Red Chicken

250/yr

Buff Orpington

Buff Orpington Chicken

180/yr

Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rock Chicken

200/yr

Black Australorp

Black Australorp Chicken

300/yr

Brahma

Brahma

150/yr

 

Congratulations! You are one step closer to raising your first flock of chicks. Be sure to stop by our online store to get all the supplies you need for raising your chicks and beyond.