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If you are looking for a unique type of chicken to add to your flock, or perhaps you’re a little low on coop space then you should consider one of the bantam chicken breeds. Bantam chickens are a group of chicken breeds that are significantly smaller than regular or large breed chickens. Some might call them miniature chickens.
Bantam chickens are not a single breed of chicken, but rather a group of chicken breeds where they are usually about ½ to ⅓ the size of regular, large breed chickens. They come in two variations: True bantams and Made Bantams.
So, let’s dive in to all things bantams including breeds, care and why you should get some for your flock.
What Are Bantam Chickens?
Bantam chickens can be either true bantams or bred to be bantams.
A true bantam is a chicken breed that is only a bantam breed. They have no standard sized counterpart.
The other variation is where a normally large chicken breed has been purposely bred smaller over time to create a miniature version. This version will keep all of the characteristics that their large breed version have, just in a smaller package.
There is an official American Bantam Association which lists about 70 breeds (with additional color variations under each breed) which are recognized by their organization. The ABA sets forth breeds standards and organizes shows for bantams.
Why Bantam Chickens/What are they good for?
Besides that fact that miniature chickens are just plain ‘ol adorable, bantams can be a good choice for flocks for a multitude of different reasons.
First, since they are smaller, they take up less room. Therefore, if you have a situation where space is an issue, you may want to consider bantams chickens. Since they are generally ½ – ⅓ the size of standard breeds you can house at least two bantams in the same space that you would need for one standard breed.
Bantams, being smaller, also will consume less feed. This means that you can have the same number of chickens in a smaller space and feed them less. If you ferment their feed, they will consume even less!
As mentioned above, there is an entire club dedicated to shows for bantam chickens. They are great to breed and use for chicken shows. And being smaller, they are easier to transport to and from shows also.
Bantam chickens are small and cute and can make great pets. Of course, different breeds and individuals will have different personalities. But many of the breeds tend to be friendly and make good pets.
Additionally, their small size makes them easy to handle which also lends themselves to being good pets.
Eggs and Other Thoughts
They do lay smaller eggs than large breed chickens, but can still be good layers. They will usually lay an egg that is the same percentage smaller in size as they are.
Really, bantam chickens are good for all the same things that all backyard chickens are. They just do it on a smaller scale.
Bantam Chicken Care
They will need a few different considerations due to their size.
First, since they are small, if you have standard breeds, you will want to be cautious while introducing them to the flock. This is due to the fact that the larger chickens can injure them more easily and they may not be able to defend themselves as well.
Additionally, since they are smaller, they may need some adjustments to things in the coop. The roosts are a good example. If your roosts are a bit of a high jump, they may not be willing or able to jump up on them and you may want to provide a shorter roost for your bantams. In our experience, some bantam breeds prefer to sleep in a pile together on the coop floor.
They will be easier prey for predators. Being small, some predators will look at them as an easier snack that larger breed chickens. And smaller predators will be more easily able to take them since they are also smaller. Due to this, you will want to ensure that you have a predator proof chicken run, a secure coop and/or possibly a livestock guard dog (like a Karakachan) to help protect them.
Lastly, due to their size, you want to be sure they are able to stay warm in the winter. This will entail making sure they have buddies to snuggle with and a good, draft free coop.
What are some Bantam Chicken Breeds?
There are so many different chicken breeds that also come in bantam size. The ABA lists about 70 breeds with multiple color variations within those breeds.
The following list is by no means all encompassing, but here are a few bantam chickens.
|Breed Name||Type of Bantam|
|Rhode Island Red||Made|
Silkie chickens are one of the most popular bantam chicken breeds, and our personal favorite. Unlike most bantam chickens, instead of your typical chicken feathers, Silkie feathers are more like fluff. Frizzle Silkie chickens look even crazier!
We may be a bit biased since we specialize in raising them. However, Silkies come in many different colors and patterns. They also have very domesticated personalities.
Our Silkies get excited to see us just like our dogs!
2. Bantam Easter Eggers
Bantam chicken Easter Eggers, just like their larger counterparts, lay multicolored eggs!
Seramas are the smallest of all bantam chicken breeds. They stand out due to their upright stance, often compared to toy soldiers.
4. Bantam Orpingtons
Orpingtons come in a variety of different colors and are typically known as a large bodied bird. However, they are also bred down to bantam chicken sizes.
Sebrights were bred to be ornamental bantam chickens and are characterized by their black wing lacing.
Just like the larger Cochin chicken breed. Bantam Cochins are known for having plumage along their legs and feet.
Are bantam chickens good layers?
Yes, bantam chickens can be great layers. Of course, the amount of eggs will vary based on the specific breed. The eggs will be smaller than standard size breed eggs.
Can bantam chickens fly?
Yes, bantam chickens due to their small size can fly pretty decently. You’re not going to see them flying around the sky like a cardinal or anything, but they can fly a little at a time.
Are bantam chickens good to eat?
Bantam chickens are as good to eat as standard breed chickens. The main difference is that they are smaller and therefore will produce less meat than a larger breed chicken.
What is the smallest bantam?
The Serama or Malaysian Serama is the smallest bantam. They typically weigh under one pound.
As you can see, there are so many chicken breeds that are available in a much smaller size.
What bantam chicken breeds are your favorites?