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15 Small Chicken Breeds and How to Recognize Them

Chickens are amongst the most useful and beloved birds anyone can own. They are so versatile and easy to keep around that most of us can own chickens regardless of where they live, even in urban environments. 

Considering just how many chicken breeds are out there, it shouldn’t come off as a surprise that you can easily find the right breed to match your needs perfectly. But how do you find the perfect breed for you and what are the requirements that you should list off before you make your purchase?

Honestly this all depends on you as a person and specifically on what you are looking for, but as soon as you have your list down you should be able to pinpoint the best chicks for you to choose from.

In this article we will discuss about a certain niche of chickens that has actually grown exponentially in popularity over the past couple of years: small chicken breeds. Which are the best small chickens out there and why should you even get them in the first place? That is what we’re here to find out together:

Why Would You Want Small Chickens?

Why Would You Want Small Chickens
Yanukit / stock.adobe.com

There are actually quite a lot of reasons as to why you would want to buy a small chicken breed for yourself or your farm, such as:

Less Food Consumption

It really is as simple as this, the smaller the chicken, the less food they will actually need to grow. Food costs can get very hard to manage especially if you want to get a very large coop for commercial usage, so if you want to keep those costs down, you’ll want to opt for a smaller chicken breed instead.

On top of that, the smaller the chickens, the less dangerous they are to their surroundings. If they are larger breeds, they will be able to ravage through your garden with ease, which is one thing that smaller breeds would definitely find harder to do.

Last but not least, although they are smaller in size per usual, their eggs are just as delicious and they also gain that cuteness factor to them which makes them better for business in some cases.

Less Space Needed

Free Range chicken
Ayden / stock.adobe.com

Following the same concept of “smaller equals less which equals more”, you can easily discern the fact that the smaller the chicken is, the less space it will need to run around in which in turn helps your resources by quite a lot.

You won’t have to produce anywhere near as much water as you would need for a large chicken breed and getting the actual materials for the coop will be easier since you won’t have to invest in a fortress to be able to contain them.

Jersey Giants for example would need a lot larger coop to be kept in than Bantam chickens and this can really save you a lot of money on the long run.

Great Personalities

Small chicken breeds personality
Pramot48 / stock.adobe.com

This is an aspect that many people forget or downright dismiss altogether but believe it or not, smaller chicken breeds are usually a lot more docile than large ones because they were never bred for their fighting prowess to begin with.

As sad as it may be, larger breeds were definitely bred specifically for fighting which is why they can be a bit of a handful regardless of how you treat them, which is quite the opposite for smaller chicken breeds.

Not only are they great to take care of but they also make for great pets altogether and if that wasn’t enough, they’re great with children and very easy to train.

The Best Small Chicken Breeds

Those are just some of the advantages that we could think of right of right now, and if those sounded good to you then you may want to keep reading because now, we’re going to bring you our very own top 15 of the best small chicken breeds that you could get, starting off with:

15. Cubalaya Chickens

Cubalaya Chickens
Cubalaya Chickens / Kruppert / wikipedia.org

The Cubalaya chicken breed is mostly known for its “lobster tail” and more specifically for being very glamorous all around. You are looking at a mixture between Cuba, European and Filipino chicken breeds and the result is just downright beautiful to say the least.

On top of that, this breed is very popular despite being so rare for being a triple-purpose option. This means that they are great egg layers, their meat sells like hot bread and do we even need to mention that they are great for shows as well?

This is an overall very well-rounded chicken breed, which is made all the better considering the fact that the typical Cubalaya chicken weighs less than one a half pounds each.

14. Old English Game

Old English Game Chickens
Old English Game Chickens / wikipedia.org

This chicken breed was once considered to be one of the best fighting cocks around, and despite the fact that many of you may not believe this, they were very popular way back in the day for how agile and fearless they were.

For the most part though these days they’re considered to be ornamental chickens, and while they can still be very aggressive chickens they can also be trained very easily.

13. Appenzeller Spitzhauben

Appenzeller Spitzhauben
Appenzeller Spitzhauben / breedsavers.blogspot.com

Originating from Switzerland, the typical Appenzeller Spitzhauben chickens will weigh as little as one and a half pounds and despite being a very small chicken breed, they are most often times referred to as the rockstar chickens thanks to their spiky “haircuts” and cool look.

They do make for decent egg layers but just remember to give them lots of space to run around in since they are very energetic chickens and they can easily get hurt if they don’t have the room to act accordingly in.

12. Serama Bantams

Serama Bantams
Serama Bantams / iamcountryside.com

If you’re on the market trying to get your hands on the smallest breed around this may very well be the perfect choice for you since they typically only weigh as much as 19 ounces in total.

On top of that Serama chickens also make as many as 160 eggs every year and although their meat is not exactly the best around, let’s just say that it is serviceable enough considering how good they are at laying eggs.

For the most part these chickens are also very docile, which makes them the perfect candidates for pets and since they are very calm and friendly, they also make for great companions for children.

If you live in the city, you’ll be happy to hear that they are not that loud and they are also not very hard to keep around since they’re generally healthy chicken.

11. Rosecomb Bantams

Rosecomb Bantams
Rosecomb Bantam / rosecombs.com

The typical Rosecomb Bantams will also weigh around less than two pounds, with the occasional one slightly surpassing that but they’ll almost never get any heavier than three pounds.

They may not be the best egg layers either as they can only lay as many as 50 eggs every year, but what they do have going for them is the fact that they are above average foragers and they can pretty much handle themselves without actually needing you to intervene in the slightest.

They are more on the aggressive side but this is mostly due to the fact that they spook very easily so never try to sneak up on them unless you want to have a crazed rooster aiming for your head.

10. Buff Brahma Bantams

Buff Brahma Bantams
Buff Brahma Bantams / stock.adobe.com

Brahma chickens are already known as some of the absolute best chicken breeds out there, so you already know right off the bat that the smaller version of those would be just as incredible to say the least.

They usually weigh less than three pounds and despite not being particularly good egg layers, their meat is absolutely delicious and it fetches a very good price on the market which is always a plus to keep in mind.

They are also very beautiful which is why many families have opted for them as pets, and since they are very docile, they also make for a great choice for children.

The only real issue we can think of with them is the fact that they are not exactly the most productive chickens around, but since they can pretty much handle any type of climate out there, they are still a top choice in our book.

9. Dutch Bantams

Dutch Bantams
Dutch Bantams / stock.adobe.com

Dutch Bantam chickens are known for weighing less than 20 ounces each but despite this they are relatively great egg layers since they can produce as many as 100 of them every year.

They are very shy and easy to scare chickens though, so they may not be the best pets or companions for children. Their saving grace however is the fact that they are relatively easy to train. Just remember that since they are easily scared, they are also very quick to attack so never leave them alone with babies or young children. 

They do make for great mothers though since they are very protective, so if you have eggs that you want a good mother for, the Dutch Bantam will immediately “adopt” them.

8. Japanese Bantam Chickens

Japanese Bantam Chickens
Japanese Bantam Chickens / cacklehatchery.com

This chicken breed originates from Japan, but despite that it has actually garnered a lot of attention from the rest of the world as well thanks to its incredibly small size and colorfulness.

For the most part, the Japanese Bantam chicken won’t weigh any more than two pounds and despite what you may have heard about them, they are way below average egg layers. As far as their temperament goes, they’re a bit on the angrier side so you probably won’t want them around your children.

They have very short and stubby legs and since they have no feathers on them, they tend to look a bit naked compared to most other breeds.

As mentioned previously they are known for just how beautifully colored they are, and on top of that their eggs are also quite colorful which is always nice to see. They can lay as many as one egg per week and while they may not be the best pets around, they are great for showing off or advertising your farm.

7. Sultan Bantam Chickens

Sultan Chickens
Sultan Chickens / Natural*Eye / flickr.com

These are some of the best ornamental chickens you could get your hands on and that’s a fact. At most, the adult Sultan Bantam chicken will weigh around 1.5 pounds and they’ll be able to lay around 60 eggs every year while in your care.

Their meat is not exactly the best but let’s be honest here, that’s not what they are known for. They are purely ornamental chickens that will occasionally lay an egg or two.

We can trace their origin as far back as the Ottoman empire, and for the most part when it comes to their behavior, they are very easy to take care of chickens and they are also very good with children.

6. Belgian Bearded d’Uccle

Belgian Bearded d’Uccle
Belgian Bearded d’Uccle / cs-tf.com

Belgian Bearded d’Uccle chickens usually weigh less than two pounds each and surprisingly enough they make for above average egg layers since they can produce as many as 100 eggs every year.

Their meat is not exactly the best out there, and as such it won’t fetch you a decent price on the market, but this breed does more than make up for that by being one of the best when it comes to foraging out there.

Their eggs will get you a very good deal though since they’re very protein-rich which is always good to see. So, while they are not the best when it comes to laying eggs, they are more than perfect enough if you’re looking for quality over quantity.

5. Cochin Bantam Chickens

Cochin Bantam Chickens
Pekin Chickens / happychooksco.com

This small chicken breed (also called Pekin in the UK) will work its way around your heart in no time considering the fact that not only do they typically weigh less than two pounds each, but they can also lay as many as 160 eggs in total every year and their meat is very delicious as well.

They are also very colorful so they’re great for ornamental reasons, so if you’re on the lookout for a chicken breed that will make your coop stand out a bit then this may very well be the perfect choice for you.

Technically you could also get a slightly larger version of this breed which gets as heavy as nine pounds each, but we would personally prefer this breed for their cuteness alone.

4. Belgian d’Anvers Chickens

Belgian d’Anvers Chickens
Belgian d’Anvers Chickens / ravensviewfarms.com

For the most part, the Belgian d’Anvers chicken will not get any heavier than two pounds, which is very nice to see considering how adorable they are when all grown up.

Besides their small stature, this breed is also known for being very good egg layers, being capable of producing as many as 160 eggs every year.

With all of that being said, you may not believe us when we tell you this but they are mostly used for ornamental purposes.

This is because despite being very productive as a breed, the Belgian d’Anvers chicken is also a very low-maintenance type of a chicken that just instantly stands out because of how beautiful their feathers are.

3. Sebright Chickens

Sebright Chickens
Sebright Chickens / Latropox / wikipedia.org

This is one of our personal favorites right here, as the Sebright chicken is just an absolutely stunning chicken breed unlike anything we’ve ever seen out there.

Their feathers are just downright hypnotic to look at, and despite being very small, weighing less than two pounds each, they are very good at laying eggs being able to produce as many as 160 of them every year.

They make for great pets and since they are very docile and friendly, they are great with children also. They are ornamental for the most part but if you love the idea of always having small eggs in your basket this may be the perfect breed for you.

2. Sablepoot Chickens

Sablepoot Chickens
Sablepoot Chickens / JvL / wikipedia.org

Also called Booted Bantam or Dutch Booted Bantam, this is actually one of the oldest chicken breeds in the world. But despite that, they are also fairly hard to come by which makes them also very expensive.

For the most part they won’t weigh any more than two pounds and they’ll lay as many as 180 eggs every year.

Their eggs are very small and although they are generally healthy chickens, we recommend that you keep them away from bad weathers since they are quite susceptible to diseases.

1. Silkie Chickens

Silkie Chickens
Silkie Chickens / Hansdenis / stock.adobe.com

The Silkie chicken will not weigh any more than three pounds, and because of its very unique look this breed is considered to be one of the most stunning ones you could get your hands on. They are absolutely jaw dropping to say the least and on top of that, Silkie chickens are also very good at laying eggs, being able to produce as many as 120 of them every year.

You can find them in the United States quite easily, but they are mostly shipped off to Asia where they are considered to be a delicacy by most of the natives there.

Look wise we can only describe them as puffballs, and since they come in all different color schemes, even black, let’s just say that they are perfect for anyone that’s looking to “spice up” their chicken coop.

Conclusion

Small Chicken Breeds
Irina / stock.adobe.com

At the end of the day is there any chicken breed that we should label as “the best”? Honestly no, it’s all about what you prefer, some are better egg layers, others have very tasty and easy to sell meat and on the other side of the spectrum you have a bunch of them that are just purely ornamental.

Regardless of which one you choose, remember to take care of them and treat them with the amount of respect that they deserve. Thank you for reading and good luck with your coop!

About Leah Shelton

Involved in the "green" arena for over 10 years, Leah has worn many hats due to her diverse experience and knowledge in the field. In addition to writing for Agronomag, she's also a sustainability consultant with a unique perspective on eco-friendly farming practices. Topics she loves to geek out about: regenerative food systems, chickens and cattle breeds, homesteading and green cities.

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