20 Small Chicken Breeds [Your Epic Guide With Pros and Cons!]

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Raising small chickens is one of our favorite homesteading activities. We love having fresh eggs every day. Besides the eggs, the best part about raising small chickens is that we can manage effectively with a smaller amount of space. 

Another valuable part about raising miniature chickens, also known as bantam chickens, is that they eat less. Their smaller appetite makes the whole endeavor much more affordable. Plus, they are easily trainable and (usually) have fantastic, docile personalities. What’s not to love, right?

So if you want to bring some chickens home, we recommend you consider raising small chicken breeds. 

Continue reading to learn about 20 of our favorite chicken breeds. In more detail!

Two dapper bantam chickens foraging and exploring the green meadow.

Sound good?

20 Best Small Chicken Breeds

  1. Serama Bantam
  2. Appenzeller Bantam
  3. Japanese Bantam
  4. Sultan Bantam
  5. Belgian Bearded d’Uccle
  6. Cochin Bantam
  7. Rosecomb Bantam
  8. Belgian d’Anvers
  9. Maran Bantam
  10. Rhode Island Red Bantam
  11. Old English Game Bantam
  12. Cubalaya Bantam 
  13. Nankin Bantam
  14. Buff Orpington Bantam
  15. Dutch Bantam
  16. Buff Brahma Bantam
  17. Booted Bantam
  18. Sebright Bantam
  19. Light Sussex
  20. Silkie

What Breed of Chicken is Small?

Small chicken breeds include the Serama bantam, Rosecomb bantam, Brahma bantam, Dutch bantam, Japanese bantam, Sultan bantam, and Belgian bearded. And don’t forget the Belgian d’Uccle chicken!

Tremendously small chickens are often called bantam chickens. Bantam chickens are the miniature version of typically larger chicken breeds.

Typically, bantam versions of chicken are about one-half to one-third of the full-size chicken. However, there are also true-bantam chickens.  

True-bantam chickens are chickens that do not have a larger counterpart. They are a completely separate breed of chicken and do not have a full-size version. 

There are also miniature chickens. Miniature chickens are created by mating a standard-size chicken with a bantam variety of chicken.  

Keep reading to learn more about these miniature small chicken breeds.

tiny bantam chickens foraging in rural coop
We love bantam chickens – they’re the best mini birds! They’re also tremendously popular in the USA and even have the American Bantam Association – their chicken clique. Bantams come in a large variety of colors, types, and personalities. Which is our favorite? It’s tough to say since there are over 350 bantam breeds! Usually – bantams are similar to their adult parents. They make excellent pets – and they can also provide eggs. Plus – they’re tiny and easy to raise!

Small White Chicken Breeds

Serama Bantam

three amazing serama bantam chickens
Look at these adorable Serama bantams! There’s one rooster and two hens. These chickens are some of the smallest in any flock. They’re famous for being tiny – and only weigh around one pound.
Average Size: About 19 ounces
Temperament:Outgoing, friendly, and quiet
Egg Production:Up to 160 eggs per year
Meat Quality:  Poor
Serama Bantam

Serama bantams get referred to as the tiniest chickens in the world. They are native to Malaysia but are commonly raised all over the globe. They are known for being friendly and calm. Their small gentle stature makes them easy to train and handle.

Plus, when compared to other bantam breeds? The Serama chickens don’t make that much noise. Their most common color is white. However, it is possible to find Serama bantams in other colors.  

Appenzeller Bantam

free ranging appenzeller chicken
Here’s one of our favorite exotic hens – the Appenzeller! These birds love foraging and exploring. I guess it’s easy to tell that they prefer free-ranging by their wild hairstyle!
Average Size: Between 1 and 2 pounds
Temperament:Free-spirited and exploratory
Egg Production:Between 100 and 150 eggs per year
Meat Quality:  Minimal
Appenzeller Bantam

The Appenzeller breed of bantam chicken is known for its unique, rock star-like feather on top of its head. These chickens do not have crests, but they do have beards. This breed of chicken is very free-spirited, and they like to fly.

So if you must enclose them, make sure your enclosure is high enough or has a roof. Otherwise, these bantam chickens love to roam freely. Nowadays, these chickens can be hard to find, but possible. 

Japanese Bantam

chabo chicken frizzle japanese bantam
Not all Japanese bantams are white! Here’s a rare bantam breed with stunning gold feathers that are markedly bright – and a black tail to match. If you look closely? You’ll notice that their tail feathers also point toward the sky. Their legs are also shorter than other miniature chickens. Some homesteaders call them frizzle bantams or (less common) peony fowl.
Average Size: Less than 2 pounds
Temperament:Shy and timid
Egg Production:Less than 60 per year
Meat Quality:  Minimal
Japanese Bantam

The Japanese bantam is a true bantam breed. They are notably small because of their exceptionally short legs. They come in myriad colors, but the most common is black-tailed and white.

These chickens tend to be timid. That only contributes to their ease of training. They do not lay a lot of eggs. When their eggs do hatch, they are very caring mothers.  

Sultan Bantam

Sultan chickens have a unique look and are a favorite for helping liven up any homestead or flock. But – they aren’t famous for delicious meat or productive egg-laying. However, they are showy, chic, and add personality to your coop. The easiest way to identify these birds is by looking at their feet. They have five toes!
Average Size: About 1.5 pounds
Temperament:Friendly, approachable, and loving
Egg Production:Less than 60 eggs per year
Meat Quality:  Poor
Sultan Bantam

The Sultan bantam is one of North America’s favorite ornamental chicken breeds. Sure, they don’t lay that many eggs per year, but they make fantastic pets. They even love to cuddle and are great with children.

For the same reasons, they make for excellent show birds. These chickens have white and fluffy feathers. Their beaks are also white – their beaks are neat! They also have five toes instead of the standard four. 

Belgian Bearded d’Uccle

lovely belgian duccle chicken bantam
Here’s one of our favorite tiny chickens! The Belgian Bearded d’Uccle is a teeny and adorable bantam breed with speckled feathers. They are lovely and have beautiful designs. Some homesteaders refer to them as Mille Fleur – which means 1,000 flowers (in French). Their plumage is intricate – we think 1,000 flowers is appropriate!
Average Size: Less than 2 pounds
Temperament:Curious, active, and broody
Egg Production:Up to 100 per year
Meat Quality:  Poor
Belgian Bearded d’Uccle

The Belgian d’Uccle (pronounced dew-clay) is a beautiful small chicken breed. Some homesteaders call them Mille FleurMille Fleur refers to their speckled feathers. 

But – these chickens aren’t all the same. You can also find silver quail, lavender, and white Belgian d’Uccle chickens. They also have beards, muffs, and stocky necks. If you get to know these pleasant birds, you’ll also notice their prominent tails and feathered feet.

For that reason, they are sometimes confused with Booted bantam chickens. Compared to other bantam breeds, they are not great egg layers. 

Top 10 Largest Chicken Breeds In the World [+ Some Record Holders!]

Read More – Do Chickens Drink Water at Night? Or Do They Wait Until Morning?

Cochin Bantams

white cochin bantam chicken
Cochin bantams are adorable birds that come in various colors! They’re also the boss of the bantam world. They’re the largest bantams – roosters weigh in at around 28 ounces. Hens are slightly smaller – approximately 24 ounces.
Average Size: Less than 2 pounds
Egg Production:Up to 160 per year
Meat Quality:  Decent
Cochin Bantams

The Cochin bantam chicken is originally from China and is also known as Pekin bantams. They have become a popular choice of chicken in the United States because of their productive egg-laying. The reason is that they are broody mothers.

They come in several colors, like buff, golden laced, barred, white, mottled, black, and red. 

Read More – Do Chickens Eat Maggots? Or Not?

Small Black Chicken Breeds

Rosecomb Bantams

tiny rosecomb chicken roosting in tree
Rosecombs are an original bantam chicken – and they have a reputation for being one of the earliest bantams. You can immediately identify rosecomb chickens by their impressive spikey comb! They’re stylish, elegant, and tiny.
Average Size: Less than 2 pounds
Temperament:Nervous, flighty, and shy
Egg Production:Around 50 per year
Meat Quality:  Minimal
Rosecomb Bantams

Rosecomb bantams make excellent ornamental chickens. But – they are not ideal for novice chicken keepers! The problem? Rosecomb bantams can get flighty. For that reason, we recommend that you have a super-secure enclosure for them to enjoy.

They are not great egg layers. However, they make fantastic show birds. 

Belgian d’Anvers

Average Size: Less than 2 pounds
Temperament:Gentle and curious but sometimes aggressive
Egg ProductionUp to 160 eggs per year
Meat Quality:  Minimal
Belgian d’Anvers

The Belgian d’Anvers get commonly raised as ornamental birds. They are originally from Belgium, hence their name. With humans (and children), this breed of bantam chicken is markedly friendly. However, the roosters can sometimes be dominant amongst their flock.

They come in various colors, including splash, black, porcelain, and mottled. They can be noisy, so they might not be the best option for being raised in a city. 

Maran Bantam

silver and black cuckoo maran chicken
We love Maran bantams! They come from a line of chickens with friendly personalities and an easygoing nature. Marans also have reputations as ideal farm hens known for excellent eggs and meat.
Average Size: Between 1.5 and 2 pounds
Temperament:Outgoing but sometimes feisty 
Egg Production:Up to 150 brow eggs per year
Meat Quality:  Average
Maran Bantam

These are small birds that have a big personality. Their feisty personality means that they might not be the best with other bantam breeds, but they are happy in a flock amongst themselves. They are satisfied in smaller spaces, but make sure your enclosure is tall enough or has a roof because Maran bantam chickens are known to fly!

Small Brown Chicken Breeds

Rhode Island Red Bantam

rhode island red in bird fountain
Rhode Island Reds hail from Massachusetts and other New England states. They remind us of Foghorn Leghorn! Rhode Island Red roosters have a reputation for being more aggressive than other breeds.
Average Size: Between 1.5 and 2 pounds
Temperament:Mild, curious but sometimes bossy
Egg Production:Up to 250 eggs per year
Meat Quality:  Average
Rhode Island Red Bantam

The Rhode Island Red bantam gets its name from its brick red color. They are one of the most successful bantam breeds in the world. They are excellent for laying eggs. Healthy hens can produce between 200 and 300 eggs per year! 

Old English Game Bantam

old english game bantam domestic chicken
Old English bantam chickens hail from England and have a history dating back to 1925. These birds are miniature and short in stature. However, they are hardy birds – and have an abundance of energy and spirit. Some say too much aggression – as these birds come from a hard line of brawlers.
Average Size: Between 1.5 and 2 pounds
Temperament:Energetic, active, and noisy
Egg Production:Between 160 and 180 per year
Meat Quality:  Average
Old English Game Bantam

Old English bantam chickens are great foragers. For that reason, despite their small size, they prefer a larger space to roam. Old English roosters tend to be protective of their flock. Old English hens get along with other chickens but can also be protective of their young.

Cubalaya Bantam 

Average Size: Between 1 and 2 pounds
Temperament:Friendly and loveable 
Egg Production:Between 200 and 250 eggs per year
Meat Quality:  Average
Cubalaya Bantam

The Cubalaya bantam chicken is the result of crossing Cuban, European and Filipino chicken bloodlines. Historically, the Cubalaya bantam was double-purpose chicken popularized for its egg-laying and meat.

Unfortunately, the standard version of this chicken breed was also famous for game fighting. Due to their specialized lineage, these bantam chickens tend to be hard to find. This bantam is known for its glamorous lobster tail. 

Nankin Bantam

Average Size: About 2 pounds
Temperament:Docile and easy to train 
Egg Production:About 100 eggs per year
Meat Quality:  Poor
Nankin Bantam

The Nankin bantam chicken is a good choice for novice chicken raisers. The reason being is they are very docile and easy to train. For that reason, they are also fantastic for teaching children how to act around and handle domesticated chickens.

They have a classic look, with brownish-red coloring and black tails. They are some of the oldest, most reliable bantam chicken breeds you can work with and host. 

Buff Orpington Bantam

buff orpington flock roosting
Buff Orpington bantams are another favorite mini chicken! Their Orpington parents date back to the late 1800s in Orpington, England. Orpingtons have a reputation for being tremendously friendly – and their (tiny) bantam relatives retain that sociable disposition. Don’t let your other birds bully them!
Average Size: Between 1 and 3 pounds
Temperament:Friendly and docile
Egg Production:About 150 eggs per year
Meat Quality:  Minimal
Buff Orpington Bantam

The Buff Orpington is known for its straw-colored or buff-colored feathers, white legs, and slightly pink beaks. Even though they are considered a bantam breed, the Buff Orpington chickens can grow to weigh upwards of three pounds.

These bantam chickens are perfect for egg-laying. They rarely get raised for their meat. Buff Orpington hens go broody and make good mothers if given time. They are also one of the more affordable breeds, making them economical for chicken raisers. 

Dutch Bantams

dutch bantam chickens on farm
Dutch bantams are known for their small size and gentle personas. They’re also excellent layers – however, the hens are tiny! The hens only weigh around 18 ounces – so they cannot warm that many eggs! The males are slightly larger – weighing up to 20 ounces.
Average Size: Less than 20 ounces
Temperament:Nervous and shy, but friendly
Egg Production:About 100 per year
Meat Quality:  Poor
Dutch Bantams

Despite being nervous, some Dutch bantam chickens can be very friendly. Because of their shyness, we recommend you are gentle and patient when interacting with them. Try not to startle them unnecessarily!

They are true bantams and come in ranging colors like blue-golden, golden duckwing, cuckoo, and partridge. They are decent layers but even better setters and protective mothers. Because these chickens only have a single comb, they are not the most cold-hardy. 

Buff Brahma Bantams

stout and proud brahma chicken
Brahma chickens are small birds – but they have an impressive (stout) build. Even the hens! You’ll also notice that their eggs taste delicious – though they aren’t as prolific as other chicken breeds.
Average Size: Less than 3 pounds
Temperament:Active and friendly
Egg Production:Less than 100 per year
Meat Quality:  Minimal
Buff Brahma Bantams

The Buff Brahma bantams are not the best at laying eggs. For that reason, they commonly get raised as show birds. They also make for great pets because they are friendly with children. They are hardy chickens and are good at withstanding cold and heat.

Buff Braham bantams have feathered feet, are buff-colored, and have a unique black ridge along the neck, tail, and wing-tips. 

Booted Bantam

There are a few easy ways to identify a Booted bantam chicken. First – these chickens are tiny. Next – look at their adorably-feathered feet! They look like they’re wearing a thick pair of snowshoes. These birds also have thick flowing feathers. You’ll notice that their feathers nearly reach the ground.
Average Size: Less than 2 pounds
Temperament:Calm and docile
Egg Production:Between 150 and 180 white eggs per year
Meat Quality:  Minimal
Booted Bantam

The Booted Bantam chicken, also known as the Sablepoot, is one of the oldest and rarest varieties of bantam chicken. They are a true-bantam breed, meaning that they do not have a standard size counterpart. They get their name from the long feathers covering their feet and hocks. In Dutch, these are called sabels, hence their fascinating name.

Small Gray Chicken Breeds 

Sebright Bantam

gray sebright bantam chickens
This silver bantam has a Polish fowl lineage. They also have a miniature stature – but their silver and black feathers are some of the most brilliant and eye-catching. Some Sebright bantams also have orange feathers – their golden plumage contrasts with their notably-red comb. Males weigh around 25 ounces and hens 20 ounces.
Average Size: Less than 2 pounds
Temperament:Friendly, energetic, and chatty
Egg Production:Around 160 eggs per year
Meat Quality:  Minimal
Sebright Batham

This first breed of bantam chicken got bred and named by Sir John Saunders Sebright in the 1800s. (I’m not sure if he’s related to Colonel Sanders.) It is a true bantam breed with no full-size counterpart. The Sebright bantam is known for being low maintenance.

Because of their attractive colors, they make for popular show birds. But they also are excellent for laying eggs. Sebright bantams are a popular choice for homesteaders will children due to their friendly temperament.

Light Sussex

sussex chicken foraging with friends
Sussex chickens hail from Sussex, England – where homesteaders have raised them for over 100 years. They have friendly temperaments and are excellent foragers – making them a smart choice for new chicken ranchers.
Average Size: Between 1.5 and 2 pounds
Temperament:Confident, curious and friendly 
Egg Production:About 250 large eggs per year
Meat Quality:  Average
Light Sussex

The Light Sussex bantam chicken is one of the most attractive miniature small chicken breeds. Plus, they tend to have an outgoing personality. These birds have white and gray feathering. They are one of the best breeds for their egg-laying purposes. So if you want a pretty chicken and tons of delicious eggs, the Light Sussex is the chicken for you. 


two neat looking silkie chickens
Silkies are easily one of the most adorable and memorable mini chickens! Most homesteaders aren’t 100% sure where silkies originated. Some say China, India, or Japan. Silkies also come in various colors, like brown, white, blue, and brown. But – without question, the most famous varieties are white.
Average Size: Between 2 and 3 pounds
Temperament:Easy to train and docile
Egg Production:Up to 120 eggs per year
Meat Quality:  Popular in Asia, but not typically raised for meat

The Silkie is one of the most popular small chicken breeds – and for good reasons! They are insanely cute and fluffy. Because of their great looks, they are one of the most chosen ornamental bantam breeds in the United States. They come in many colors, including gray and white. They are great for laying eggs and are fantastic mothers. They will even sit on eggs that are not theirs.

More Small Chicken Breed Information

Now that you know about some of our favorite miniature chicken breeds, we imagine you might have some additional questions. Keep reading for more small chicken breed information. 

What is the Shortest Living Chicken Breed?

A chicken’s breed plays a vital role in how long it will live. However, other factors help determine the lifespan of chickens, such as diet, access to veterinary care, and living conditions.

On average, chickens live between five and ten years. Production breeds of chicken, those getting raised for their meat or eggs, typically have the shortest life span. 

Production breeds mature the quickest to fulfill their purpose and live shorter lives. The short lives of production breeds (egg-laying chickens) are due to the stressors that come with frequent egg production.

How Small Are Bantam Chickens?

Bantam chickens come in all shapes and sizes, depending on the breed. However, bantam chickens typically range between one and three pounds.

What is the Smallest Chicken?

The Malaysian Serama bantam chicken is the smallest in the world. This breed of bantam chicken was made possible by crossing Japanese bantams with Malaysian bantams. 

Malaysian Serama chickens typically weigh less than 500 grams. When they are full-grown, they are only 15 to 25 centimeters tall.

What Breeds of Chickens Lay Small Eggs?

Typically, the size of a chicken’s eggs is relevant to the size of the chicken. A good rule of thumb is that the smaller the chicken, the smaller the eggs. 

Therefore, miniature chicken breeds and true-bantam chickens will lay the smallest eggs. The Polish and Sultan miniature chicken breeds are most notable for their smaller egg sizes.

Read More – Are You Overfeeding Your Chickens? Read Our Chicken Feeding Guide!

Best Chicken Books for Tiny Chickens – or Any Chickens!

Raising chickens is a lot of work! It’s even more stressful these days when the cost of everything keeps ticking upward.

(Even if you get a mini chicken!)

We put together the following list of the best books for new chicken parents, farmers, and ranchers.

We hope the following resources empower you to raise a breathtaking flock – no matter the stature of your birds.

We wish you luck – and may they find you well.

  1. Raising Chickens - The Common Sense Beginner's Guide

    Raising chickens is a lot of work - especially if you don't have much practice. There are too many questions that need answers! What should you do when your chickens first arrive? And - what happens if your birds have trouble laying eggs? What about chicken breeds? Which is the best for new chicken farmers?

    If these questions race through your mind whenever planning a chicken coop - then Chris Lesley's book is perfect for you. Chris helps new chicken farmers raise their flock confidently and clearly. The reviews for the book are also excellent - perfect for anyone who wants a helpful handbook for raising a happy and healthy chicken flock.

    Get More Info

    PAID LINK - We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    06/11/2024 08:37 pm GMT
  2. Raising Chickens for Beginners - The Complete Guide To Raising Backyard Chickens

    Are you dedicated to raising happy birds? Then this book is a great all-in-one resource. Author Otis Banks wants to show you how to host a hygienic, healthy, and productive chicken coop. From scratch! Imagine if you had rapport - and a good relationship with your flock. This book endeavors to teach you how. A tall task - we admit.

    You'll also discover everything beginners need to raise a chicken flock - such as preparing for your new birds, choosing the best breed, the best feed, and tons more. Otis also shares his best insights for chicken egg collecting - plus a few nuances that many chicken ranchers may overlook.

    Get More Info

    PAID LINK - We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    06/12/2024 12:26 am GMT
  3. The Beginner’s Guide to Raising Chickens - How to Raise a Happy Backyard Flock | Anne Kuo

    New to chickens? Start here! It's an excellent reference for new chicken raisers who want to learn everything about raising birds - from egg to chicken. Author Anne Kuo helps start your flock from scratch and shares valuable insights about coop construction.

    Anne also dives deep into vital details like chicken brooder setup, chicken plant toxicity, egg hatching, chicken health tips, rooster dynamics, pecking order - plus tons more. Anne also shares how to raise your baby chickens confidently (great for beginners) - while keeping them safe from wily predators.

    Get More Info

    PAID LINK - We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    06/13/2024 05:42 am GMT
  4. Raising Chickens For Dummies

    Author Kimberley Willis wrote one of the best guides for chicken raisers who want to study and learn about hosting a flock safely and without fuss. The book gently walks new chicken farmers into introductory topics that all homesteaders need to know about raising their coop - ranging from purchasing your chickens to chicken biology.

    The author also talks about advanced chicken raising topics that all homesteaders should know - like chicken feed grit, chicken diseases, chicken coop construction, and modern urban farming trends. Plus - lots more.

    Get More Info

    PAID LINK - We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    06/12/2024 11:28 am GMT
  5. Raising Backyard Chickens for Beginners

    Need a bite-size book about backyard chickens? Emily Schafer's book is about raising backyard chickens - and you can finish the read in an afternoon. It's perfect for any homesteader thinking about raising chickens - or in the beginning processes of raising them. It's not as detailed (or as long) as other chicken-raising books - and instead focuses primarily on backyard chickens.

    The book also discusses the benefits of backyard chickens - so it's also a great reference if you're on the edge of building a coop - or need the motivation to start! The author also writes about more topics such as chicken hatchery management, temperature management, chicken raising FAQs, chicken breeds, and more.

    Get More Info

    PAID LINK - We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    06/12/2024 03:12 am GMT
  6. Raising Chickens, Goats & Backyard Beekeeping For Beginners

    Want a diverse farming, gardening, and homesteading foundation? Then consider raising goats and bees in addition to your chickens! Small Footprint Press wants to show you how. Their book contains a homesteading wealth of information perfect for any rancher or gardener who wants to get the most from their land.

    Get More Info

    PAID LINK - We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    06/12/2024 07:21 am GMT
  7. Raising Backyard Chickens – A Beginner’s Guide to a Healthy Flock | Daniel A. Hart

    Is the cost of eggs going up at your local supermarket? If so - then imagine if you never had to pay for eggs. Ever again?! That's what author Daniel A. Hart wants to show you. Daniel's book contains tips perfect for setting up your coop from scratch. The book takes you on a journey - from chicken farming newbie to guru.

    You'll start by building a solid and reliable henhouse enclosure to keep your birds safe. You'll then discover how to build a cozy coop - fit with chicken bedding, nesting boxes, and watering stations. Your chickens will live a happy life! And they will eat plenty of nutritious feed. They will also reward your efforts with loads of fresh eggs. It's worth the effort!

    Get More Info

    PAID LINK - We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    06/13/2024 05:46 am GMT


The fallbacks from raising miniature chicken breeds are few and far between. When it comes to raising chickens at home, they are an excellent option for many reasons. 

Small chicken breeds require less space. So if you have limited space in the backyard, you can still effectively and humanly raise them. Small chickens eat less, so you spend less money on feed. They are docile, friendly creatures ideal for family environments with children. 

Yes, their eggs come out smaller than the eggs of full-sized chickens. However, they are equally as delicious and nutritious as heftier chicken eggs. So what are you waiting for, huh? It’s time to raise some miniature chickens! 

Also – if you have questions about miniature chickens? Feel free to ask!

We love raising animals of all types – and value your feedback, stories, and experiences.

Thanks for reading.

Have a great day!

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