The ‘World’s Smallest Chicken’ Is Taking the Chinese Pet Scene by Storm

Rutin chicken, a domestic hybrid dubbed ‘the world’s smallest chicken’ has become incredibly popular in China lately, fueling a veritable pet craze.

Technically, the rutin in chicken is not a chicken. It is a cross between a quail and a partridge, but people have dubbed it the “world’s smallest chicken” and the nickname stuck. To be fair, it fits too, as the birds are about the size of an average human fist and weigh only about 50 grams. They are super cute as well, and their size makes them suitable for relatively small enclosures that come with lights, plants, stairs, and even dollhouse-like sleeping quarters.

Photo: imedia

Rutin chickens get their name from rutin, or vitamin P, a flavonoid found in citrus fruits and several other plants, but also in the eggs of this adorable bird. And speaking of eggs, the birds are apparently very productive egg layers, which only adds to their popularity. However, rutin eggs are even smaller than quail ones and comparable to the size of a five-cent coin. Luckily, the birds lay eggs for about 300 days out of a year.

Although much more suitable to apartment conditions than actual chickens, thanks to their small size, rutin chickens do require more maintenance than cats and dogs. For one, the temperature is really important, with recommended temperatures ranging from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius for adult chickens, and from 35 to 38 degrees for chicks.

Photo: imedia

Smell is also an issue with chickens, and rutins are no exception. Luckily, there are solutions available in the form of herbal litter – rice husk, wood chips, tea stalks, sawn wood, soy flour – combined with biological ferment to form a fermentation bed that can automatically decompose the rutin chicken poop.

The popularity of rutin chicken in China has skyrocketed in recent years, with a simple search on Douyin (TikTok) turning up thousands of videos from enthusiasts. Many of them feature lavish terrariums complete with heat lamps and all sorts of amenities for the birds, while others focus on the animals or the daily ritual of collecting their eggs.


Mini-chickens are widely available on online shopping platforms like Taobao, with many snatching them up simply because they are the trendiest pets money can buy.

As for the real world’s smallest chicken, that title goes to the pompous-looking Serama breed.