The Best Chicken Breeds For Different Sized Backyards

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 18 July 2020

Different chicken breeds have varying space requirements - some breeds are perfectly happy to roam around a relatively small space with their feathered friends. Others aren’t so tolerant, and need more space to stretch their legs - where they can comfortably have their own personal bubble!

Different chicken breeds thrive in different sized backyards

Breeds that are great for small backyards

Certain chicken breeds are absolutely satisfied living in more confined conditions. Here are some chicken breeds that are happy poking around a smaller sized backyard.

Silkie Bantams

Silkie Bantams are little fluff balls of joy that don’t require much space, and bear more confined backyards well.  They don’t fly, which means you’re not in danger of losing them over the neighbours fence!

Silkies are the perfect chicken breed for urban backyards, as they are gentle creatures that won’t make a lot of noise (unless they’re laying a fresh egg, then you may hear some little squawks!). They’re great with kids and make quite a unique garden attraction, with their fluffy feathers covering the top of their head to their feet.

They aren’t the best for eggs, but will brighten up any small backyard! Want more? Have a sticky at the 5 reasons we love Silkies!


Australorps are another of the friendly chicken breeds that can thrive in a smaller backyard environment, but also loves to free range. So really, they’re great for all backyards!

Australorps are calm birds that are great with children, and the best part is they’re one of the prolific egg-laying chicken breeds - approximately 250-300 eggs p/year! So, a great family pet that also supplies your family breakfast!

Because they do like to free range, Australorps are a breed that should be housed in a coop with a run attached - so they can forage and free range in the safety of an enclosure, whilst having access to fresh grass and bugs.  That way they’ll stay calm and friendly! Need to know more? See what our 5 reasons to love Australorps are here!


Orpingtons are one of the tolerant chicken breeds that adapts especially well to smaller environments. They have a lovely coat of soft, silky feathers - in fact, they have so many feathers that they even cover their feet!

Orpingtons are good for both eggs (approximately 175-200 eggs p/year - possibly up to 340!) and as a meat bird. Furthermore, they are exceptionally good around humans, big and small! They’re one of the gorgeous docile chicken breeds that love to mother their own children, as well as hang out with yours.  They come in a variety of colours such as Red, White, Black and Blue Laced - so they’re sure to brighten up your backyard. Have a sticky beak at why we love Orpingtons here! 

Plymouth Rock

The Plymouth Rock, like the Australorp, is one of the versatile chicken breeds that can adapt to confinement or happily free range in a larger space.  Again, a great chicken to have with a coop run, giving them the best of both worlds.

Plymouth Rocks are regarded as one of the sweetest chicken breeds out there - they love to be held and petted, which makes them great for children and for those who may be new to the experience of backyard chicken keeping.  They will also lay large brown eggs all year round! We love Plymouth Rocks, have a peck here to see why!

A good solution for backyard chicken keepers who don’t have a lot of room and want to start a flock of confinement-bearing breeds, is having a coop with a run attached.  This means that the chickens still get their own little patch to graze, forage and free-range whilst being safe and protected from predators.  Our Taj Mahal and Penthouse both come with runs attached, with the Mansion having an extra run available for purchase.

Some chicken breeds need more space

Breeds that need a little more room to stretch their wings!

Some chicken breeds will lay you lots of beautiful eggs and also make great company in the backyard, but in order for their lives (and yours!) to remain stress free, they’ll need a little more room to flap their wings.

Here are some chicken breeds that are suited to larger backyard environments.

Rhode Island Red

The Rhode Island Red is a lovely, rich ‘rust’ coloured bird that is common in backyards across the globe. They are popular due to their prolific egg laying capabilities, laying up to 300 eggs per year! They are also good as a meat bird.

Some Rhode Island Red’s can get a little antsy and agitated when they’re cooped in together (particularly males) so they are one of the chicken breeds that will need a bit of egg-stra breathing and foraging space. They are such a versatile bird! Have a look at the 5 reasons we love Rhode Island Reds here! 


The Ancona is a great addition to your flock if you’ve got a bit of space, and if you live in a cold climate (they’re egg-stremely weather hardy!).  They’re alert birds, and need to free range and forage in order to live a satisfied, stress-free life.  The more stress-free they are, the more eggs they’ll lay - around 220 p/year.

They are smart and know when they are in danger - so if you have a few potential predators lurking around, Ancona’s are a good choice, as they have a decent chance of making a quick getaway compared to other more docile breeds!

Ancona’s can be a little on the noisy side - another reason why space is required.


Hamburgs are another that need to forage and free range in order to live happy, healthy lives.  They are little busy bees that scoot around their environment and love to keep active, therefore need quite a bit of space to keep them satisfied.

Because they are so active they aren’t recommended as pets for younger children, however they will supply you with more than 200 fresh eggs per year.


You can keep this breed easily in confinement - but the Wyandotte’s greatest pleasures in life is indulging its curiosity, tagging along beside you in the garden and foraging! Letting it free range in a larger space will keep this beautiful breed satisfied.

Wyandottes are good egg-layers, producing approximately 200-250 eggs p/year, and are very sweet birds that make great garden companions.

Having the right amount of space for your different chicken breeds is very important to ensure they’re getting the best quality of life.  If you can’t let your chickens free-range due to space or predator issues, a coop run is always a good solution - giving them the freedom to forage safely.

With so many amazing breeds to choose from, it can be eggstremely overwhelming to find the perfect fit for your family. From looks, to traits to egg-laying talents - where should you begin?

Cluckily, our friends over at Chickenpedia have created an amazing Chicken Breeds Course. This extensive online course shares useful advice on choosing the right chickens for you as well as size & frequency of eggs laid. You will even learn about their individual personalities, and be able to use their family-friendly compatibility scale through this well-structured program. It really is a great way to find your perfect backyard buddies which is why I highly recommend them to all of my readers!  The courses are beginner-friendly and filled with vital information to help you raise a happy, healthy flock.

As chicken keepers, we want to do an eggcellent job when caring for our feathered friends. Unfortunately, many of us struggle to handle chicken health or behaviour issues, especially in the first few years of having a flock. Chickenpedia have a full range of comprehensive online courses that cover everything you didn’t know you need to know and then some more! From healthcare to raising baby chicks to feeding and behavior, get the knowledge and confidence to successfully look after your chickens like an eggspert!

As a member, you will get access to ALL their fantastic courses. So, no need to wing it, become a confident chicken keeper. Click here to check out Chickenpedia today!

Check out our Taj Mahal, Penthouse and Mansion coops - the Penthouse and Mansion have egg-stendable runs for even more space if you've got a plentiful flock!

Sources and further reading