What chicken breeds are best for holding/tame?

centrarchid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Sep 19, 2009
23,880
13,353
696
Holts Summit, Missouri
I use chickens representing multiple breeds for educational purposes. I have tried with several of those breeds to have individual birds that tolerant of handling by strangers without having to restrain the bird. The American Games have proven to be the most consistent when it comes to degree of taming and train-ability. At any given time I have ten adult game chickens that can be used. Juveniles and females of that group are kept free-range most of the time. They readily switch from being free-range to people oriented when called which is important to me when I do not want chickens being a distraction. The games used are always less than 6 lbs with hens less than 5 lbs making it easy for even a five year old kid to hold one.

The games lack feathers on feet and have feathering that is easy to keep clean which is important with some people we encounter.

Game hen below typical where she allows close contact between her chicks and total strangers.


Thread below shows more of what the games do as educational tools.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/ambassadors-for-the-farm.407880/

I do not have to pick the nicest bird for the job, rather a bird is selected, sometimes at random and then subjected to taming and training process to get what I want every time. American Dominiques have been worked with the second most yet I can not get them to be consistent or work as well as the games.
 

8CityChicks

Chirping
Dec 14, 2015
19
30
76
What chicken breeds are best for holding/ human interaction? I have been curious and been wanting to know based off of your experience. Thank you and happy holidays!
My experience has been that it varies among breeds that like human attention. My first 2 were a BO who had to be held daily, & a white brahma who liked attention but later ones of the same breed did not. Now I have a RIR & Columbian Wyandotte who can't get enough attention & want to share everything in my hands. Both like being held for a short time and are curious of everything I do. Both look forward being put on the roost when they could easily get on themselves - its another attention-getter for them. I've really come to appreciate how unique each bird's personality is from the unrealized expectations of new birds of the same breed being like their predecessors. In 6 years of BYCs I now see how people over-generalize that chickens are not real smart and treat them like commodities when they're smarter than we humans give credit for & do have feelings & sensitivities.
 

ChickenCanoe

Crossing the Road
9 Years
Nov 23, 2010
29,287
18,897
867
St. Louis, MO
I second that silkies and games may be the best candidates for people friendly handling. Perhaps seramas as well.
I don't handle my birds unless necessary and that requires plucking off the roost at dusk.
I also only raise large fowl. Out of the 30 breeds I've raised, only Jersey Giants (I had black, white and blue) allowed me to walk up and pick them up in the field without a fuss. Orpingtons were probably a close second in friendliness.
I'm not fond of people friendly breeds as I think they tend to be vulnerable to predation.
 

varidgerunner

Songster
6 Years
Aug 16, 2013
1,048
1,180
246
The only breeds really selected a long time for ease of intensive human handling are the gamefowl. I have taken semi-feral hen raised oriental games off the roost and taken them to events where they perched on my leg being petted by children all day.
 

Kluk-Kluk

Songster
5 Years
Apr 11, 2014
240
788
186
upstate New York
My silkies have been the sweetest, most "handleable" chickens I've had. All the silkies were like that. Brahmas are also quiet and quite good at being held as are cream legbars, but my silkies would let me carry them around until they fell asleep in my arms. I've raised over 15 breeds of chickens, and though I've had a sweet favorite cochin, not all my cochins were as friendly. The silkies all were. :love
 

Ashland Oregon

Chirping
Dec 25, 2016
13
17
70
Ashland, Oregon
What chicken breeds are best for holding/ human interaction? I have been curious and been wanting to know based off of your experience. Thank you and happy holidays!
I agree: The Orpington. I have three: The Nina, The Pinta and The Santa Maria. Named for size and grace. Not only do they seek cuddles -esp The Nina, but they’re sweet w the rest of the flock, often defending girls that are being picked upon. They lay great eggs and are just plain gorgeous to look at. My Rhode Island Reds -esp the two remaining from my first flock are also friendly. On the other hand, my Plymouth Rocks (PR girls) never let me pick them up and when I do they scream like I’m amputating a leg. I spent a ton of time w the PR Girls when they were chicks to acclimate them to the human touch but that’s time I’ll never get back. The PR Girls also tend to stick close to each other rather than pal around w whoever is free.
 

Momplus1

Songster
Premium member
May 31, 2019
644
1,845
227
Moore County, NC
My lap chicken preference is Barred Plymouth Rock hens. Mine don't need to be bribed, to jump up on my lap. Very sweet hens.View attachment 1986594
Agreed 100%! My Barred Rock pullets are the sweetest girls! They are very generous with cuddles and crave attention from my daughter and I. They're also wonderful layers!
 

dirkandlorie

Songster
6 Years
Jan 15, 2014
54
371
140
Bowling Green, Ky
No one has said it so I will.

Chickens are prey animals.
Being restrained is frightening for them.

They are not puppies or kitties. It is rare to find one that WANTS to be picked up or petted.

I appreciate them just wanting to forage NEAR me while I work in the yard.
I have only 12 chickens of various breeds, 1 barred rock, flys onto my shoulder whenever I enter the coop and stays there even when feeding worms to the other gals. Whenever I sit down to visit with the girls, bella, an Americana crawls into my lap. And precious, a marans circles my feet til I finally pick her up and pet her. She loves it and won't stop til she gets her lovin. I think it all depends on how they were raised, and how much time you spend with them.
 

21hens-incharge

Addict
Premium member
5 Years
Mar 9, 2014
16,751
66,837
1,412
Northern Colorado
I have only 12 chickens of various breeds, 1 barred rock, flys onto my shoulder whenever I enter the coop and stays there even when feeding worms to the other gals. Whenever I sit down to visit with the girls, bella, an Americana crawls into my lap. And precious, a marans circles my feet til I finally pick her up and pet her. She loves it and won't stop til she gets her lovin. I think it all depends on how they were raised, and how much time you spend with them.
Perhaps people are missing my point.

My point is that not every bird will WANT to be held and petted.
It can be very frightening/stressful for them.
For many birds it is best to appreciate the times when they choose to be near and not force holding onto them.
 
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