The decision to own a rooster is one that many chicken owners consider. Roosters provide the fun and iconic experience of crowing. Roosters make it possible to raise chickens from eggs as they are needed for fertilization of the eggs.
Lastly, many people like to raise roosters because they can provide an added layer of protection against country predators. A good rooster will die defending his ladies.
But, if you have kids, it’s also important to raise a rooster that isn’t aggressive toward people. This is critical to avoid serious physical harm and damage to your children.
Are all roosters aggressive? While some rooster breeds are aggressive, that isn’t always the case. Many chicken breeds produce very mellow and tame chickens. Even the roosters of these breeds tend to be non aggressive and will usually leave people alone.
Of course, individual temperament can make a specific rooster more aggressive than his cousins from the same breed. Additionally, rough handling as a chick and aggressive behavior from their human caretakers can put a rooster on the defensive and cause him to be aggressive.
Let’s dive into the 13 calmest chicken breeds available. I’ll also cover 4 additional chicken breeds that are moderately calm/aggressive that are popular for homesteaders.
1. Polish Chickens
Polish chickens are one of the most laid back and friendly chicken breeds around. They can have a hard time seeing so as a result, they tend to be picked on by other chicken breeds.
Polish chickens are friendly to people and make amazing pets. Polish roosters are very solicitous of the ladies. It may even seem like the rooster is subordinate to the hens, he’s so nice.
Both hens and roos are super gentle and friendly to kids and adults alike. Hens like to cuddle and will often enjoy lap time.
Because of the feathers that fall inside of their eyes, they can get a little nervous. Trimming the feathers helps to assure them that they are safe and know what’s going on.
Roosters don’t do a great job of protecting the flock however because of how non-aggressive they are.
2. Sebright Chickens
Sebright chickens are a lot of fun. They have great personalities and love human interaction. Both the roosters and hens are friendly toward people and as long as you don’t threaten the hens, roos will be calm with people.
Roosters are great protectors of the hens and do best with people if they are raised gently from a young age. They can be taught to be wary of people with rough handling so gentleness is key. They will be a little skittish if not hand raised.
Hens are friendly and will chatter your ear away when you visit them. They love to follow children around begging for treats or attention.
Their plumage is striking and lovely. They lay about 160 eggs a year and are low maintenance chickens.
3. Faverolle Chickens
Faverolle chickens are mellow and generally non-aggressive. They are a great bird to have around children as even the roosters are less aggressive than most other breeds. Hens are very shy and gentle around children, which makes them a great chicken for kid’s chores.
Faverolles are often bullied by other more aggressive breeds and so should be flocked with only very calm and gentle breeds.
If you have bantam Faverolles, be aware that the bantam roosters are often more aggressive than full-sized Faverolle roosters.
Hens are good egg layers and will usually lay during the winter. They average about 3-4 eggs a week.
Because of their docile and gentle nature, they are one of the favorite chicken breeds for those with young children.
4. Brahma Chickens
Brahma chickens are large birds, but don’t let the size fool you. They are friendly even though they are gigantic. Brahma hens will generally be at the top of the pecking order because of their size, but not because of their meanness.
Their size also helps to ward off predators without the need for aggression.
They are kind to other chickens and aren’t bullies. Brahmas are also gentle with people and most of the roosters are very gentle and non-aggressive. Brahma roosters are usually considered to be child friendly.
You may occasionally have a more aggressive Brahma rooster, but will seldom have an aggressive hen. Brahmas respond especially well to kindness and friendship from when they are young.
5. Buff Orpington Chickens
These are possibly one of the most beloved and popular chicken breeds around. And, it only took me months to understand why. Orpington chickens are very friendly and gentle. They get along great with children and other chickens. I don’t think I can emphasize how kind and mellow buffs are toward people. Even my 3-yr old can carry our Buff Orpington hens and rooster around without any issue.
Orpington chickens will be in the middle of the pecking order among other calm chicken breeds but can end up at the bottom of the pecking order with more aggressive breeds.
The roosters are generally mellow and chill. They rarely produce aggressive roos. That doesn’t mean the roosters don’t get aggressive toward predators. But, at least toward human owners, they tend to be docile and friendly.
They will often even seek out their owners for a treat. Roosters do a good job of squeaking when danger is near.
Orpington chickens are good egg layers and do well in most environments and climates.
6. Langshan Chickens
Langshan chickens are mellow and friendly chickens. Both the hens and the roosters are friendly toward people. Langshan is the tallest non-game chicken breed, but doesn’t get super large.
Roosters are gentle and non-aggressive. Hens are friendly and get along very well with children. They do a great job foraging. Langshan chickens are a beautiful black with a green sheen. Although they are larger birds, they don’t bully other chickens in the flock.
They tend to get along very well with other calm chicken breeds and don’t cause flock fights.
7. Cochin Chicken
Cochin chickens are one of the gentlest and people-friendly chicken breeds around. Hens are super calm and friendly. Roosters are mellow and non-aggressive.
Cochin chickens are great for families and those with youngsters because even the roosters are seldom mean toward people or kids. Their gentle disposition makes them ideal for first-time chicken raisers.
Be aware though that the bantam variety does produce aggressive roosters. Bantam chickens are bred differently and using different lineage so the temperaments are often different than their full-sized counterparts.
Cochin chickens are usually submissive to other breeds and do best with other calm chicken breeds. They are loved for being a friendly ball of fluff.
They do well in cold weather but aren’t super great egg layers. They do make great pets though.
8. Welsumer Chickens
Welsummer chickens are gentle, but active chickens. They like to move around and love to free-range. Hens lay lovely dark brown eggs with speckles.
The roosters are generally mellow, although occasional roosters might be a little aggressive. Welsummer roos do a great job of protecting the ladies and sounding the alarm when they see danger.
When in a mixed flock Welsummer chickens will usually be below the moderately aggressive hens, but among the calmer chicken breeds, they will usually be higher in the pecking order.
Welsummer chickens are fun, active, and easy-going with their human owners. They don’t take confinement as well and do better if they have adequate space to roam around.
9. Australorp Chickens
Australorp chickens are very mellow chickens. The hens are friendly and tend to get along well with other breeds. Roosters are generally friendly, but there may be one or two in a batch of chickens that have more aggressive tendencies.
Australorp roosters are often shy of human owners. If you encounter an aggressive roo, take these steps to mellow him out. If you aren’t successful, then rehome him and replace him with another. Most Australorp roosters are more easily trained to like chickens, but there can always be an exception.
Australorp chickens are black and do a great job of accidentally scaring away hawks from your flock. Hawks usually interpret Australorp chickens as being crows and will stay away from the rest of the flock.
Hens are super friendly and one of the mellowest chickens to have around children.
10. Jersey Giant
Jersey Giant chickens are large chickens, a little larger than Brahma chickens. Like Brahmas, they are an extremely gentle and docile breed. They get along with pretty much any other chicken breed and don’t resort to bullying or meanness.
The hens and the roosters are larger so their size can be intimidating for children, but they are known for their gentleness with all people, even little people.
Roosters are rarely aggressive and are a classy bird that doesn’t resort to intimidation or meanness. Rarely is a Jersey Giant rooster aggressive.
Roos do a good job of protecting the flock because most predators don’t like their large size. The hens are moderately good egg layers and the entire breed grows at a slower pace.
Because they are larger, they usually need a little more space per bird- about 6 in a coop, instead of the standard 4 square feet. They do well in cold weather, but can struggle in very hot conditions.
11. Barbu D’Uccle Chickens
This smaller sized chicken is a fairly mellow bird. Roosters are usually friendly and like to be picked up. The one exception to this is during mating season. They can get pretty feisty during the spring and early summer when they are busy reproducing.
Roos can put up a great fight, even though they are small, to protect the ladies and make good protectors.
Otherwise, Barbu D’Uccle roosters are great to have around the family. The hens are fairly friendly and mellow.
They are a smaller chicken so they can be bullied by larger, more aggressive breeds such as the Leghorn or Rhode Island Red chickens. I would never mix Barbu D’Uccle with any breed of game chicken or they are likely to end up seriously injured.
12. Java Chickens
Java chickens are harder to find in the USA, even though they used to be very popular. They are a larger chicken with a very gentle personality. Hens and roosters are both very friendly and gentle with their owners.
Java chickens are critically endangered despite their solid egg production of about 150 eggs a year and dual-use as meat chickens. It’s the foundation breed for many of the other American chicken breeds.
Roosters are non-aggressive and are sometimes classified as cowards because of how calm and mellow they are. They are a great breed to have around kids.
13. Barred Plymouth Rock
The Plymouth Rock is an active chicken that is fairly friendly. They do well foraging and like to have plenty of space to roam around. Plymouth Rock hens lay very well all year round and are friendly toward people, including kids.
The roosters are usually non-aggressive and friendly toward people. Roosters have a reputation for being dependable and calm.
Some roosters can become more aggressive if there are a lot of roosters together. Individual roosters can have a more confrontational temperament, but as a rule, they are gentle and don’t bother their human owners.
Barred Rock chickens are popular for both egg production and as meat chickens. This makes them one of the most widely used dual-purpose chickens in the United States.
Their black and white feathering is also a striking and lovely addition to your flock.
Semi-Calm Chicken Breeds That May Produce Roosters With Some Aggression
In addition to aggressive chicken breeds, there are breeds that tend to produce aggressive roosters when compared with the super mellow chicken breeds. These mediumly-aggressive roosters aren’t nearly as aggressive as the wild and game chickens but can cause some issues with chicken raisers not used to aggressive roosters.
Most domesticated egg or meat chickens have been bred over the years to be more mellow. Super aggressive roosters are usually culled and are not used for breeding. If you have a super aggressive rooster, it’s a good idea to keep it from breeding with your hens if you are raising chicks from your eggs.
Leghorn roosters tend to be more aggressive than the tamer breeds. Even Leghorn hens are often more aggressive. This isn’t to say they are nearly as aggressive as game chickens, but they may peck at you.
They will also establish themselves at the top of the pecking order. The rooster will be the top-bird, but Leghorn hens will fall right under him above other chicken breeds.
With the right training, most Leghorn roosters can learn to respect people, but will usually still attack kids. This can cause serious harm if your child is young enough or caught unaware because Leghorn roosters still have some decent spurs.
Hens may still peck at children’s legs as they interact with the flock.
Rhode Island Red Chickens
Rhode Island Red is another moderately aggressive breed of chicken. Roosters can be fairly aggressive when compared to more docile roosters, but individual roosters can also be fairly mellow. We raised a couple of mellow roosters that were half and 3/4 Rhode Island Red. They were raised from eggs so they were very mild and even followed my kids around for a while.
However, the first time my 3 yr old dropped one (as an adult rooster), he became skittish and now he won’t allow the kids to carry him around anymore. We haven’t had any issues with aggression, but neither roost likes to socialize with the littles either.
There isn’t a set level of aggression among the breed. It really depends on the temperament of the rooster and how they were raised. A combination of those factors helps to determine aggression.
Rhode Island Red roosters can be fairly mellow roosters until puberty hits and then become aggressive cockerels.
They are aggressive enough that they have been known to kill foxes or dogs that threaten the flock. Hens are also more aggressive and more likely to peck at your pant legs or hands when feeding them.
Delaware chickens are not usually aggressive. Some people list the roosters as child-friendly. HOwever, they can easily become cranky. They like their space and don’t put up with petting, holding or other “pet-like” activities.
The roosters don’t like to be teased, harassed, or chased. It can be fairly easy to annoy a Delaware rooster and when he’s annoyed, he’s going to act aggressively.
Delaware roosters can be calm and docile or more aggressive. It’s important to choose a rooster that isn’t as aggressive as the breed produces both kinds of roosters.
ISA brown & Other Hybrids
ISA Brown is a hybrid. It’s not a recognized breed so just like Easter Eggers, ISA Brown chickens have a lot of variety in them. The name ISA Brown is sometimes used to refer to any hybrid that produces brown and white chickens.
As a result, there is some variation in the temperament of ISA Brown chickens. Generally, the hens tend to rule the roost and are at the top of the pecking order. WIth other chickens, the ISA Brown is not a kind or friendly chicken, but can often pick fights, especially with other calm and mellow breeds.
Toward humans, ISA Browns are considered friendly and mellow. They are considered a good flock to have with kids around. The roosters can have individual temperaments that are moderately aggressive. But, many roosters are also super mellow toward people.
Because of the genetic diversity, I consider ISA Browns to have moderate aggression. It really depends on the heritage and individual temperament of your individual hens and roosters.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I do with an aggressive rooster? In many instances, aggressive roosters can be trained to be less aggressive. But the key to success is to raise them from a young age and understand how to use gentleness alongside firmness to teach them they are subordinate to people.
Some rooster breeds will continue to be hostile to all new humans and only respect the people who have trained them, while others are friendly to everyone. Check out this article for how to retrain an aggressive rooster.
Why has my friendly rooster turned aggressive? Aggressive chicken breeds often produce chicks that are aggressive from day 1 of hatching. Roosters from most breeds start to become aggressive when they mature sexually. As early as 4-5 months or as late as 8-9 months, cockerels can grow into their hormones and start to become aggressive. This is normal. In the calmer chicken breeds, the roos will generally mellow out and often only be aggressive during mating season.
However, an individual temperament of a rooster can cause him to be more aggressive than other roos of his breed. It’s important to address any initial aggression early on.
Are bantam roosters friendly? Bantam rooster isn’t a specific breed. Instead, its a variety of chicken where certain breeds have been bred for their smaller size.
Because of their smaller size, many chicken owners like to have bantam roosters for the experience of a rooster without the larger size. But, some bantam roosters can be very aggressive and have a Napoleon complex. They are extra fiesty to make up for their smaller size. But, they also do less physical harm because they are smaller.
Many bantam varieties have different lineages than their full-sized counterparts. This means that even if a full-sized variety is calm, the bantam variety isn’t necessarily calm as well.
These other articles provide additional resources and tools about raising roosters in your flock.