12+ Little Chickens for Your Backyard Flock

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There are many reasons why someone might choose to raise chickens, from providing fresh eggs to enjoying the company of these friendly and curious birds. For those with limited space or looking for a more manageable flock, little breeds of chickens can be an excellent choice. Here are 12 small breeds of chicken that are popular among backyard chicken keepers.

Bantam chickens are a popular choice for those looking for a little chicken. They come in many varieties, including the Silkie, which has fluffy feathers that resemble fur, and the Sebright, which has distinctive laced feathers. Seramas are another small breed that is known for its tiny size and friendly personalities. They are sometimes kept as indoor pets because of their small size and docile nature.

Other popular small breeds include the Dutch Bantam, which has a distinctive upright posture, and the Polish, which has a distinctive crest of feathers on its head. The Frizzle Cochin is another breed that is known for its unique appearance, with feathers that curl outward instead of lying flat. No matter which breed you choose, raising little chickens can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

Understanding Little Chicken Breeds

By choosing the right breed for your needs and environment, you can ensure a successful and enjoyable experience. Each breed has its own unique characteristics, including egg-laying ability, temperament, and size. Some breeds are better suited for cold climates, while others thrive in warmer environments.

There are many factors to consider when choosing a chicken breed, including:

  • Purpose: None of these little chickens produce a lot of meat or eggs, so most are raised as pets or for exhibition.
  • Climate: What is the climate like where you live?
  • Space: How much space do you have for your chickens to roam?
  • Temperament: Do you want a breed that is calm and docile, or one that is more active and energetic?


Serama Chicken


Serama is a tiny chicken that originated in Malaysia. It is believed to have been developed by crossing Japanese bantams with local Malaysian bantams in the 1970s. The breed was named after the Thai king, Rama, who was known for his love of small animals.


Serama chickens are the smallest breed of chicken in the world, weighing only 8-16 ounces when fully grown. They have a proud and upright posture, with a short and broad body and a small head. Their feathers are smooth and shiny, with a wide range of colors and patterns.

Serama chickens are known for their friendly and curious personalities. They are very active and love to fly and perch on high objects. They are also good foragers and can be kept in small spaces, making them a popular choice for backyard chicken keepers. Due to their very small size, however, they are not as hardy in cold weather as other breeds.

In terms of egg production, Serama chickens are not really productive. They lay small eggs, about the size of a quail egg, and only lay about 3-4 eggs per week during peak laying season. However, their eggs are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world due to their small size and high yolk-to-white ratio.

Dutch Bantam

Dutch Bantam


The Dutch Bantam is a small breed of domestic chicken that originated in the Netherlands. They were first developed in the 17th century and were bred to be ornamental birds. Dutch Bantams were brought to the United States in the early 1900s and quickly gained popularity among chicken enthusiasts.


Dutch Bantams are known for their small size and distinctive upright tail, which gives them a regal appearance. They typically weigh about a pound (500 grams) and stand only 6-7 inches tall. They have a round body with a short neck and a small head. Their feathers are soft and fluffy, and they come in a variety of colors.

Dutch Bantams are friendly and docile birds that make great pets. They are easy to handle and are known for their calm temperament. They are decent egg layers, producing small white eggs.

Japanese Bantam

Japanese Bantam


The Japanese Bantam is a small breed of chicken that originated in Japan in the 17th century. They were developed as a decorative breed and were highly prized by Japanese nobility. The breed was introduced to Europe in the mid-19th century and later to the United States.


The Japanese Bantam weighs only one to two pounds and stands 7-8 inches tall. They have a round body, short legs, and a large head with a small comb and wattles. They come in a variety of colors, including black, white, red, and gray, and they can also be found with two-color patterns, such as black-tailed white and black-tailed buff.

Japanese Bantams are friendly, making them great pets for families with children. They are also popular in the show circuit for their unique appearance. However, they are not known for their egg-laying abilities and are primarily kept for ornamental purposes.


Sebright bantam chickens
It’s quite easy to tell the difference between roosters and hens based upon the size of the combs and wattles.


The Sebright is an ornamental chicken breed that originated in England in the early 19th century. It was named after Sir John Saunders Sebright, who was a well-known poultry breeder and member of the British Parliament. The Sebright was developed by crossing various bantam breeds, including the Nankin and the Polish, to create a breed that was unique in its appearance and characteristics. It is a true bantam with no standard-sized counterpart.


The Sebright weighs only about 22-26 ounces. It has a round, compact body with short legs and a short tail. A unique feature of the Sebright is that roosters are hen-feathered, meaning that they don’t have dangly hackle feathers around their neck or longer tail feathers than hens.

The Sebright comes in two varieties: golden and silver. The golden variety has gold feathers that are outlined in black, while the silver variety has white feathers that are edged in black.

The Sebright is known for its friendly and docile nature, making it a popular choice for backyard flocks. Unlike most bantams, Sebrights almost never go broody. It is also not known for its egg-laying abilities, with hens laying only about 80 small, white eggs per year.

Belgian D’Uccle

Belgian Bearded d'Uccle Male


Belgian D’Uccle, also known as Barbu d’Uccle, is a little chicken that originated in Belgium in the early 20th century. It is a true bantam breed with no standard-sized counterpart.

It was created by crossing a variety of breeds, including the Barbu d’Anvers, Barbu de Watermael, and Barbu de Grubbe. The breed was first exhibited in Paris in 1905 and was quickly recognized for its unique appearance.


Belgian D’Uccle is a small and round chicken breed that weighs around 1 to 1.5 pounds. It has a single comb, feathered feet, beard, and muff. The breed comes in 28 colors in its native country, but the most popular in the US are the Mille Fleur, which has a speckled pattern of black, white, and reddish-brown feathers, and the Porcelain, which has blue and peach-colored feathers.

Belgian D’Uccle is a friendly and docile breed that makes a great pet. It is also a good egg layer, producing around 150 eggs per year. The breed is known for its broodiness and makes a great mother hen for raising chicks.


Silkie Chicken


The Silkie is a little chicken believed to have originated in China. This bantam breed was first introduced to the Western world in the 1800s and quickly became popular due to its unique appearance and friendly nature.


The Silkie is known for its fluffy, fur-like feathers that feel soft to the touch. They have a distinctive appearance due to their black skin and bones, blue earlobes, and five toes on each foot. The breed comes in a variety of colors, including white, black, blue, and buff.

Silkies weigh between 2-3 pounds and are known for their docile and friendly nature. They are often kept as pets due to their gentle temperament and ability to bond with their owners.

In terms of egg production, Silkies are not the most productive breed, laying only 2-3 eggs per week. However, they are known for their broodiness and make excellent mothers, sometimes hatching more than one clutch annually.

Bantam Cochin


The Cochin chicken originated in China. It was first introduced to the Western world in the mid-1800s. The Bantam Cochin is a miniaturized version of the standard-sized bird.


The Bantam Cochin is a small, fluffy breed of chicken that is known for its docile and friendly temperament. It is a popular breed for backyard chicken keeping due to its easy-going nature and ability to adapt to a variety of environments.

Here are some key characteristics of the Bantam Cochin:

  • Size: The Bantam Cochin weighs close to 2 pounds.
  • Appearance: The Cochin has feathered feet, a round, fluffy body, and comes in a variety of colors, including white, black, buff, partridge, red, blue, calico, and more.

If you want a really unique little chicken, the Bantam Cochin also comes in a frizzle variety, which means the feathers curl outward instead of laying flat against the body.

Bantam Cochins are known to go broody, and they are excellent mothers, which are two traits that homesteaders often value as it means you can raise your own replacement layers and meat birds.

Rosecomb Bantam


The Rosecomb is a little chicken that originated in England during the 1800s. It is believed to have descended from the Malay chicken breed, which was known for its fighting abilities. The Rosecomb was initially bred for its ornamental qualities and was popular among poultry enthusiasts.


The Rosecomb is a small chicken breed, with males weighing around 26 ounces and females around 22 ounces. They have a distinctive rose-shaped comb, which is small and compact, and a red face. Their feathers are fine and silky, and they come in a long list of colors, including black, white, barred, birchen, golden duckwing, lemon blue, mottled, porcelain, splash, and more! All have white ear lobes.

Rosecombs are known for their friendly and docile nature, which makes them great pets. They are also good layers, producing around 150-200 eggs per year.

Polish Bantam

White Crested Black Polish Bantam Chicken on backyard farm


The Polish Bantam is a small breed of chicken that originated in the Netherlands. It is believed that they were bred from a mix of Dutch chickens and the Polish chickens that were brought to the Netherlands by traders.


The Polish Bantam is known for its distinctive crest of feathers on its head, which can be either a V-shape or a bouffant style. Because their crest can interfere with their vision, they should be kept in a run, safe from predators. They weigh around 1-2 pounds and have a friendly and curious temperament.

Here are some key characteristics of the Polish Bantam:

  • Feather colors: white, black, blue, buff, silver, gold, and more
  • Egg production: around 2-3 eggs per week
  • Lifespan: 5-8 years
  • Cold hardy: yes
  • Heat tolerant: no



The Nankin chicken is believed to have originated from China during the Ming Dynasty. It was named after the Nanking region, which is now known as Nanjing. This breed was first introduced to Europe in the early 1800s.


The Nankin chicken weighs about 1.5 to 2 pounds. They can have a large single comb or a rose comb. Because the single comb is more prone to frostbite, those who live in colder climates might want to consider the rose comb variety.

The Nankin comes in a single color with a deep red body, black tail feathers, and blue feet. They have a gentle and friendly personality, making them great pets for families with children.

Nankin chickens lay about 80 to 100 small, white eggs per year. They are also good foragers, making them ideal for free-range environments.

Old English Game Bantams

Old English Game Bantam


The Old English Game chicken was used for cock fighting for centuries, but when it was outlawed in England in the mid-1800s, the bantam version was created as an exhibition bird.


The Old English Game bantam comes in many beautiful colors and patterns, including some that are unique to the breed. Because it still maintains its aggressive nature, it is unsuitable for families with small children or beginning poultry keepers. Females go broody and make aggressively protective mothers. If you have more than one rooster in the flock, they are likely to fight.

This breed is not recommended for anyone other than the most seasoned poultry keepers. It is mentioned here because many people are drawn to them due to their beautiful plumage, not being aware of their aggressive nature.

Other Little Chickens

Most of the chickens in this article are true bantams, meaning they are not miniaturized versions of a standard-sized breed. However, throughout the ages, many poultry fanciers have created little chickens from their favorite breeds.

So, if you had your heart set on a specific breed but didn’t really want a standard-size chicken, you might be able to find a bantam version. Many of the personality traits transferred to the smaller versions, but egg-laying productivity is usually lessened.

The following chickens have both a standard-size and a miniature version:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the smallest breed of chicken?

The smallest breed of chicken is the Serama, which weighs only 8-16 ounces when fully grown. These chickens are often kept as pets due to their small size and friendly personalities.

Which small chicken breeds are best for backyard egg production?

The best small chicken breeds for backyard egg production are the Leghorn, Australorp, and Sussex.

Some popular bantam chicken breeds include the Silkie, Cochin, and Sebright.

What are some small chicken breeds that make good pets?

Some small chicken breeds that make good pets include the Serama, Silkie, and Bantam Cochin.

Where can I buy mini chickens?

Mini chickens can be purchased from farm supply stores and hatcheries, both local and online.

What is the difference between a small chicken and a poussin?

A small chicken is simply a breed of chicken that is smaller in size than standard breeds. A poussin, on the other hand, is the meat of a young chicken that is less than 28 days old and weighs less than 16 ounces.

Want to learn more about raising chickens? This Beginner’s Guide to Raising Chickens (+Pro Tips) will help you ask yourself all the right questions, and it will also give you a realistic idea of what to expect as a chicken owner.

Curious about the other chicken breeds? Delve into a wealth of information on various chicken varieties by exploring our comprehensive list on “Encyclopedia of Chicken Breeds”.

Click here to visit our Amazon store, which includes lists of things chickens need, as well as our favorite chicken books!

12+ Little Chicken Breeds

2 thoughts on “12+ Little Chickens for Your Backyard Flock”

  1. Thanks for this article! We have a small flock of Old English Game bantams (in the “ginger red” coloring). We hatched them from eggs purchased on ebay (we got one hen and 2 roosters that survived from this batch) and then hatched our own last year from eggs from the little hen. Out of a clutch of 8 eggs last spring, we hatched 6 roosters and 2 hens. I have to mention that of all these roosters, only one is aggressive to my 7 year old son (one from the first batch). All 6 roosters from the ones we hatched in 2023 are not aggressive at all to us or my son, but this may partly be because we handled them so much and tamed them. One of them flies on our head every time we go into the coop! They wander around our veggie gardens and greenhouse all day and are such a source of joy. They don’t scratch up the garden nearly as much as big chickens would, so they are great to free roam around. I just wanted to mention that not all Old English Game bantam roosters are aggressive, in case anyone was considering this breed.


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