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A tiny, but quite confident and assertive looking bird, the serama chicken is a fun addition to any backyard flock. Although they clearly are more of a pet or ornamental bird, due to their size, they definitely come with some fun attributes.
Serama chickens are the smallest chicken in the world weighing in at a whopping .5 – 1 pounds. They are a relatively new breed and come originally from Malaysia. They make fantastic pets and are also bred extensively to be shown.
Although they are decent egg layers at around 200 eggs per year, their eggs are micro sized just like them.
Looking a bit like teeny, tiny, toy soldiers the serama certainly has a confident, commanding and even a bit of a fierce looking presence. However, they tend to be very friendly and personable birds which makes them a great candidate for being a pet. They are also used as show birds as well.
|Size||Males: 14 – 16 oz; Females: 12 – 14oz|
|Class||SCCL (single comb clean leg)|
|Color||Wide Variety (ABA accepted are: White, Black, Exchequer and hopefully more soon)|
|Eggs/Yr||200 – 260|
History & Origin
Seramas are a relatively new chicken breed. They originated in Malyasia in the 1970’s. Like a lot of breeds, their exact history and origin is not completely known or documented.
However, what is known, is that Wee Yean Een developed this breed by crossing Japanese Bantams with Ayam Kapans and Silkies. It is thought that he first crossed Ayam Kapans with Silkies, but many of the silkies characteristics (feather type and feathered legs were not shown in the offspring much – though these due still pop up occassionally in Serama lines).
Once he had crossed those breeds for several generations, he added in the Japanese Bantam to add in their characteristic erect stance. After several generations of this breeding, the now commonly known Serama characteristics were locked in.
The breed was brought to the US by Jerry Schexnayder around 2001. And he started his breeding program in Louisiana. He then started the first breed club in 2003 – the Serama council of North America. There is also a second breed club in the US – The American Serama Association – which was created in 2012.
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What Do They Look Like?
Standing tall and erect with a broad chest, the serama looks a bit like a toy soldier. They are a combination of confidence and pride almost mixed with a bit of humor due to their itty bitty size.
They are a true bantam chicken breed. This means that they only come in a small, bantam size and do not have a standard sized counterpart unlike Leghorns and Rhode Island reds which come in both standard and bantam sizes.
Not only is this breed a true bantam, but they are the smallest chicken breed in the entire world. Following the ABA and APA weight standards, females or hens should weigh 12 – 14 oz and males or roosters should weigh in at 14 – 16 oz. However, for table top showings there are a few different weight classes and some of these birds weigh in a a teeny, tiny 8 oz (which is only ½ of a pound!).
While most chicken breeds will breed true to color, Seramas do not. What exactly does this mean? This means that you can’t always predict the color of the offspring (chicks) based just on their parents colors).
Though there are only a few colors that are recognized in their breed standards (which are discussed below). The color options in this breed are practically endless, in fact more than 2000 colors have been documented to exist in this breed. This is mostly due to the fact that they were bred for their size characteristics to start rather than focusing on breeding by color which is how many breeds are partially developed.
Due to the original cross involving Silkies, non-smooth or standard feather type does pop up in this breed occasionally. This can include silkie feathering, frizzled feathering and leg feathering. These feathering types are not qualities that are bred for or desired in their originating country of Malaysia. However, some breeders in the United States do find these traits desirable and will breed for them.
According to the APA, the only accepted color at this time is white. And, according to the ABA, the only accepted colors at this time are white, black and Exchequer. Although there is work being done to try and get a wider variety of colors added to the accepted color lists.
An important note, while to show in APA or ABA qualified shows, the chicken must, of course, meet their breed standards. This bred was also originally shown (and still is) in table top shows not sanctioned by the APA or ABA. And those shows have a separate set of breed standards both in the US, Europe and Malaysia.
Though there are small differences (such as weights and some changes for general appearance), the main accepted standards are fairly similar across organizations. One of the main differences is that for table top shows any color is accepted.
The main differences between the Malaysian and American standard are that the Malaysian standard tends to lean more extreme in their upright, erect stance.
They should have a medium sized single comb and medium sized wattles. Both comb and wattles should be red in color.
Their head is small in size and carried in a held upright and back position. Their neck and back are both short.
They have a relatively wide, well rounded and broad chest with large wings carried almost in a completely vertical manner. And, their tail is also large and erect.
They should have four toes on each foot with balanced and equal spacing between each. And, their legs and feet should be clean (no feathering).
Despite their erect stance (which looks like they might be looking for a fight everywhere they go), they are a very friendly, tame and easy to handle breed. They have gentle and easy going personalities.
Though, one thing to keep in mind, is that roosters can be a bit aggressive with one another so it is best to not have two roosters housed together. If you do, it is a good idea to ensure that they have a little extra space.
They can handle being keep confined in a chicken run. However, they do enjoy free ranging and foraging also.
Hens have a reputation of being good mothers and going broody every so often.
What is Their Purpose?
They are essentially an ornamental breed. As you can probably tell, this breed is certainly no meat breed. And though they are excellent egg layers at 4 – 5 eggs per week, their eggs are miniature to match their size. So, while they certainly can be eaten, you’d have to have quite a few to make the size of one egg from a typical egg laying chicken breed like an Australorp or an Amberlink.
They are mainly used as pets since they are gentle and friendly. They tend to enjoy having human interaction and that combined with their size makes they a perfect pet candidate.
In addition to being used extensively as pets, they are also widely used as show chickens. They are used both in traditional shows and table top shows due to their small size and being easy to handle.
Care & Health
Care for Seramas is pretty on par with most other chicken breeds. Though, in order to keep them healthy, they will need a few accomodations.
They will need your typical chicken coop and run. Though they will need much less room than standard sized breeds.
They will need feeders and waterers (make sure they are at a height that they can reach easily). Due to their tiny size, they will eat less than full sized chickens.
You will want to ensure that they have enough protection from predators as their size will make them an easy target. So, a covered and/or well secured run is important. Also, you may think about a livestock guard dog such as a Karakachan to help protect them.
They are a fairly healthy and hardy breed, so they don’t really need much in the way of special care. The only other thing specific to the breed to consider is cold weather care. If you are in an area where you get fairly cold 35 – 40 or below. You may want to consider ways to help keep the coop warmer or even bring them inside if the temperature drops too far down.
How many eggs do Serama chickens lay a year?
They are fantastic egg layers at 208 – 260 eggs per year. This amounts to about 4 – 5 eggs per week. Unfortunately, their eggs are sized proportionate to their weight, so these eggs are extra, extra small.
Are Serama chickens friendly?
Yes, they are a very friendly and tame breed. They make wonderful pets.
How much are Serama chickens?
Their price can range quite a bit and is affected the same way that the cost for most chickens is. Young, unsexed chicks can be found for an average range of $10 – $25. Just like other breeds though, more refined and high quality show prospects may start to increase over that $25 range.
Also, due to their size, not all breeders will ship young chicks. And, older birds and adults tend to go for higher prices than chicks do.
What color eggs do Seramas lay?
They lay a cream to light brown colored egg.
Are Serama chickens noisy?
Though noise level and amount can definitely vary from bird to bird, Serama’s don’t have a reputation for being particularly loud. Of course, hens will still cluck and make noise and roosters do still crow. But roosters crows tend to be downsized just like their bodies are.
What are Serama chickens used for?
Due to their tiny size and friendly personalities, they are typically used as pets or ornamental birds (to be used in chicken shows – both traditional and table top).
How much space do Serama chickens need?
They need around 1 – 2 square feet per bird inside the coop or shelter and at least 4 – 5 square feet per bird outside in their run. Though, just like any other chickens, the more space you can give them the better.
How much do Serama chickens weigh?
They can range anywhere from 8 oz to 16 oz which equates to ½ – 1 pounds. Females tend to be on the smaller weight range with males on the larger weight range (if you can consider any of their weights “larger”).
If you need more help with taking care of your chickens, check out The Organized Chicken Keeper for a complete system for managing their health through keeping their supplies stocked and coop clean.