Smartest breeds? Dumbest breeds? Opinions?


Crazy for Cochins
10 Years
Apr 24, 2009
Tab, Indiana
I have become quite familiar with certain breeds, and am still becoming familiar with others, but one thing I have to say that I notice immediately is how smart, or dumb a bird is, and how smart or dumb the breed is as a whole. Bantam Cochins seems to be of average intelligence, as do BO's, SLW's, EE's, D'Anvers, OEGB's, and Brahmas. I've noticed that our Seramas seem to be extremely smart. The weather is cooling off already, and we already had plans to keep our Seramas inside this winter, so what we did was put diapers on, and let them walk around. Well, Charlie, the roo, has already figured out how to get the diaper off. I have it rigged right now so he can't, and he's mad about that. He knows the kitchen is where the food comes from (only got them 2 weeks ago, mind you), has figured out how to fly up to the garbage can to look for scraps, after observing us put things in the can, and knows to fly up to the sink for water if he gets thirsty (because he's too lazy to walk ALL the way back to the living room to his bowl, lol), and if he and Eve, his beautiful little hen, see you cooking or making a meal, they are right under foot. Tonight I made lasagna, and they tried to fly up to the table to snatch a bit or two, but I told them no and moved them to the floor. Realizing mommy didn't want him on the table he stood so close to my leg that his chest was against me, and then purred and growled until I threw him and Eve some scraps, lol. Once they had their fill, they left the room. Talk about pushy! Makes me wonder who is training who? My Marans are smart too. I've moved the last of the Marans babies out to the coop as they are now 14 weeks old, but I kid you not when I say that every evening when the sun goes down, they come up onto my porch and wait at the door for it to open so they can rush inside and to their old brooder which still is in use for a Cochin mixed chick that is feathering in too slowly, my White Orpington pullet, and 5 Silkies. The Marans had been raised with them, and they are mad that they got moved outside and no one else did, lol. So they rush inside and to the brooder every night, and we have to grab them up and take them out to the coop each night. You'd think that after weeks out in the coop they would learn that the coop is where they should retire too, but nope, these guys know the house is warm and safe, and that there is food in here, lol.

As far as the dumber breeds, I keep trying to believe that my Silkies are smart, but I think I'm fighting a losing battle, lol. They are just not that bright. Cute, yes. Friendly, yes. Smart, no. But I love them anyway.

What breeds does everyone else think are smart, or not so smart? Sometimes I think that when you want a sweet breed, you are sacrificing smarts for temperment. Can't wait to see what breeds people think are, or are not smart.


11 Years
Dec 29, 2008
Orange County, New York
I've never found my Polish to be very stupid at all, actually. They're a bit blind, but otherwise, they use their noggins just as well as my other chickens. Although I must say that I don't find my Silkies to be the brightest crayons in the box (bless them anyway-they're still great for snuggles).

However, through my readings I've seen more than once written (can't recall quite where) that Sumatrans are one of the more higher functioning chicken breeds. After having only one, I find that very true. She has a general look about her that singals that something's going on in there. Very quick (always runs when I come out with the Sevin, lol), was the very first to figure out that the wild blackberries can actually be eaten (after a few weeks, the others began to follow), on more than one ocassion challenged crows AND wild turkeys, and always picked on the weaklings. She's very 'up there' in the pecking order.

That said, my Turken has proved pretty 'smart' also. Always the first out in the morning, always knows to stick on my tail when I bring out the treats (others are so dumb, they lose focus so easily), and also just has that look about her. She's top of the pecking order, second being Ms. Sumatra herself. If two chickens were more likely to take over the world...


Crazy for Cochins
10 Years
Apr 24, 2009
Tab, Indiana
I know what you mean Princess. My Turken roo that passed away, he was a pretty smart boy. I hadn't heard that about the Sumatras, but I can believe it. If I stop to think about which birds follow on my heels, it would definitely be my Quail Antwerp roo, my Cochin roosters, my EE pullet Gina, and my Marans. Gina will stand behind me and complain and growl until I drop food for her. The ducks all follow me too, and tug on my clothes to tell me they're hungry. I have Swedish, Cayuga/Runner mixes, Mallards, and a Call duck. The Call duck is faster than any other duck, but not necessarily smarter. I'd have to say the Swedish are pretty darn bright, followed by the Cayuga/Runner mixes.

My SLW's would climb up into my mulberry tree to eat the berries on the higher branches, and so do my ASL's. My Australorp hen didn't seem too intelligent, but she was a nice girl. As for the Polish hen we have right now, yes, I'd have to say she has trouble seeing clearly (I may clip her tophat to make seeing easier for her), but I don't think she's dumb. In fact, I think she's probably one of my smarter birds.


9 Years
Apr 10, 2010
Raytown, MO (BY KCMO)
VERY much depends on each bird.

My stupidest birds were Javas. I yelled and hollered that is the reason they were going extinct just to find out that the person I bought them from had inbreed them to the point of stupidity. I have spoken to others who say their Javas are "REALLY SMART".

I haven't had really smart birds ever but I have Cochins that can escape from any pen I build. I have had white leghorns that have been clever enough to hide at night so I can't find her to put her up. Never did find her but something did eventually... so was she smart???

Delawares are really affectionate but was told by someone in another loop they are evil. I thought Rhode Islands and Barred Rocks were evil but were told by a LOT of others that they were not.

So, I think it depends on your breeder and the way you raise them.


Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
14 Years
Nov 9, 2007
SW Arkansas
I consider my brahmas to be pretty intelligent birds. I think it's more like that at 2 1/2 years old they know their world and how best to survive in it.
My turkens are brave and intelligent.


11 Years
Nov 25, 2008
My Araucanas are crafty and smart. My polish and polish cross's are stupid and flighty. My RIR are easy to handle and not stupid but not smart either, My marans are bossy and pushy. Did I mention that the polish are stupid and flighty. Maybe they are just flighty and stupid looking. LOL !!

My Araucanas definately are a thinking bird. Which never bodes well for me.



Emu Hugger
14 Years
Mar 10, 2008
a bumpy dirt road in Florida
My smartest chickens are Phoenix, I had a roo one time that knew I was trying to catch him. Every time he saw me he zipped across the pasture, over a privacy fence and up my neighbors highest tree where he sat until the next morning. Took a month to catch him. Dumbest....... well I love -love- love my Silkies, but they are not the brightest bulb in the pack. They seem to stare at imaginary objects floating in the air for long periods of time, get stuck in corners easily and sit on anything that holds still long enough..... but it also makes them endearing. My Polish are pretty smart and social if you clip or band up their topknot..... if not they can be kind of Ditsy.... but if I had that mop I would too..... always thinking feet were after you....


11 Years
Oct 1, 2008
North Carolina
Everybody says Silkies are dumb, but isn't it really just the hens that are a bit...slow? My Silkie roosters seem to be as sharp as any other chicken.

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