We made the decision to raise chickens for the production of food. We did all our research and choose some amazing breeds that were suitable for our needs. What we didn't prepare for was how much the kids (and us too) would enjoy playing with the birds! All was well until I took in a little austrolorp that had been injured in another flock. I was pretty sure that the little roo had some genetic issues, he was MUCH smaller than his hatch-mates and held his tail crooked! Well we nursed him to health and he held a special place for us, so we decided to keep him just strictly for a sweet pet! Pip, became my 5 year old's buddy in no time. One day my Son went out to get his Pip and found him dead His neck was broken so we think that a hawk had grabbed him but got fought off by our brahma roo. We were all upset, but none so much as my Son. So now my Little Dude wants every bird we have to be a "new Pip". None of our flock quite fits the bill as a fluffy play toy! So I decided to ask the experts!!! What breed would tolerate being carried, loved, and carted about by a rambunctious little boy? I would also need it to be a breed that can hold it's own against my large flock (27 soon to be +) of standard size laying hens and not be too susceptible to predators!