What Is a Bantam Chicken?

When sailors stopped into the port for fresh food and water supplies, they were impressed by the local chickens, which were smaller than the chickens back home.

Miniaturized bantams were made from a standard breed of Rhode Island Red, Cochin , or Orpingtons. To avoid confusion among folks, the difference between miniaturized and developed is usually ignored, with many people saying there are two types of bantam but now you know better!

Since they are small, they have a higher metabolic rate, so several of these little birds feel cold more than larger hens. If you can provide lots of perches at different heights, maybe even a small tree and some bushes, they will make excellent use of them. Supplements would include vitamin/electrolyte powder monthly, grit, and calcium, plus any suitable scraps for them.

If you decide to mix your bantams in with standard breeds, make sure they arent getting picked on because of their size. Mine mix in with the standards, and I have found them very adept at evading and maneuvering between the larger girls. When the area is dry enough, try seeding with grass, plant a couple of shrubs if you have space to.

In the early spring, I usually add two or three large buckets of mulch to the area around the doors, etc. This stuff will break down nicely, provide some scratch-worthy dirt, and keep feet a bit cleaner. The foot feathers can also get broken fairly easily and cause a good deal of bleeding.

The good news is that with some baking powder or styptic and some firm pressure on the area, the bleeding will stop. These nasty little pests can set up shop quickly and remain unnoticed for some time because of the feathering. Many folks keep one or two bantam broodies to hatch out their standard eggs because they are reliable.

Bantams mixed with standard-sized breeds must fight for their place in the pecking order from the brooder box. Adding new bantams to a coop full of established standard chickens is a recipe for disaster. You may have been able to add chickens of the same size to an established coop, and the birds work things out pretty quickly.

On the other hand, a bantam may not be able to fight back, and the larger birds may trample it, peck it, or prevent it from getting to the feeder.

What makes a chicken a bantam?

A bantam chicken is a miniature version of a regular chicken. They can vary from one-half to two-thirds the size of regular birds. In total, the American Bantam Association lists over 400 varieties of bantam birds. The origin of the word ‘bantam’ is from the seaport of Bantan, Indonesia.

What are bantams good for?

Like a full sized chicken, bantams help with insect control, their droppings can be used for fertilizer and though they may be smaller than a full sized chicken, their eggs are delicious and nutritious. Children love bantams because they’re a perfect fit for small hands.

What is the difference between a bantam and a chicken?

What is the difference between a chicken and a bantam? They are all chickens, the size is the only difference. Bantams are smaller. Bantams are normally between one third and one half of the size of the regular standard sized fowl.

Do bantam chickens lay eggs?

Bantam Egg Laying. The average bantam chicken lays around 200 eggs a year ; however, some breeds produce as little as 50 a year. These include the Japanese, Pekin, and Sebright bantam. The egg color is mostly cream-tinted, but some such as the Easter Egger bantam produces colorful pastel eggs in a variety of colors.

By Christine Heinrichs, California Bantam chickens are the introduction to chickens for a lot of people. They arent a breed, but an entire set of chicken breeds. They are just like full-size chickens but only one-fifth to one-quarter, 20 to 25 percent, the size.

Bantams are for folks who want to raise backyard chickens but dont have enough room for large fowl layers. Bantam chickens are prized for their small size, so limited weight ranges are part of the Standards.

Its annual Yearbook is chock full of breed information, photos, listings of judges and winners and advertisements for all kinds of bantam chickens. ABA President Matt Lhamon of Ohio gets requests almost daily for the full range of bantam breeds. Poultry can be a lifetime enjoyable hobby or it can lead to a satisfying profession, but having facts on the number of breeds and varieties shown helps ABA leaders know what birds are being raised.

Bantam chickens that have been on the Inactive list are occasionally shown, and the breed brought back to Active status. Their unusual erect stance, split wing, and sparse feathering mark them as distinctly different from their conventional image of a chicken. Weight isnt the sole consideration: the proportion of yolk to white is higher in bantam eggs, which may affect some delicate gourmet recipes.

Shipping is safe, although its helpful to notify the local post office to expect a shipment of live birds. Husbandry is the same as for large fowl chickens: they need a safe place to live, nutritious food and clean water. Inexperienced suburbanites who jumped into large fowl chickens as layers without adequate preparation and felt overwhelmed might do better with bantams.

Lewis Wright, writing in his 1890 Illustrated Book of Poultry about bantam chickens, reflects in language of a different time about advantages that still apply today: Many a lady, tired of having nothing to pet but a tom-cat, has wondered longingly whether she might not keep a few fowls; but looking at her garden with regretful eyes, has decided that half of it would be needed and that she could not spare that; when the happy thought has crossed her mind, Why not keep bantams? A little space just that strip which can so easily be spared will content them; and as to crowing, who in the world would mind the voice of a little fellow no bigger than a pigeon? They are usually shortened to initials only at shows, resulting in an alphabet soup of letters SCCL, RCCL, AOCCL that looks obscure to the uninitiated.

Bantam chickens are prized for their small size, so limited weight ranges are part of the Standards.

So, your dream is to own a lovely and lively flock of backyard chickens that will be a delight to watch and can provide you with your very own farm fresh eggs. However, you fear that your quite cosy urban backyard will result in cramped and unhappy chickens, and alas- no eggs!

Each of these coops make the ideal home for bantam chickens, giving them ample space to roost, nest, peck, prod and dust bath until their hearts content. So ensure that your coop is fitted with a sturdy galvanised wire mesh, and has proper lock closes, to keep your bantam chickens safe and sound from those bigger and bolder than them!

Watching your bantam chickens play and poke about in the backyard looking for tasty morsels to snack on is sure to fill you with joy! As well as a good quality poultry pellet, bantam chickens require nutrition from some human foods, in particular fresh fruit and vegetables. The most important aspect of caring for your pint sized feathered friends is giving them an abundance of love- you will find that bantam chickens will thrive off your adoration and attention.

From healthcare to raising baby chicks to feeding and behavior , get the knowledge and confidence to successfully look after your chickens like an eggspert. To keep chickens happy, healthy and laying bounties of delicious eggs, they need to be fed a varied diet rich in protein and calcium- most…

Choosing Bantam chickens for your backyard flock can be an excellent choice for urban and suburban neighborhoods. In fact, anyone who wants a hardy, small chicken with a good disposition will be pleased with the Bantam chickens good temperament.

With Bantam birds coming in close to 1/3 or 1/2 the size of full-size chickens, your backyard coop will take up a much smaller footprint. One factor to note, Bantam eggs hatch in fewer days than full size chicks.

The feathers curve outward instead of hugging the body, giving the chicken a fuzzy, ruffled appearance. Bantams, especially Silkies and Cochins, have a strong tendency to broodiness and make excellent momma hens. The Bantam flock may require a coop separate from the full-size hens if there are pecking order issues, or if you have a regular sized rooster.

Janet Garman of Timber Creek Farm is an author, fiber artist and farmers with a love for animals and sustainable living. Photos courtesy of Janet Garman of Timber Creek Farms , Kayla Nunes, Eric Edwards, Erica Westmoreland, Teddi Yaeger, Hayden Curtis, Angela Vallencourt, Indah Erdman, Bailey Abel, and Amber Filan, Klarissa Olvera.

What is a Bantam Chicken?

A bantam chicken is a miniature version of a regular chicken. They can vary from one-half to two-thirds the size of regular birds.In total, theThe origin of the word ‘bantamis from the seaport of Bantan, Indonesia.When sailors stopped into the port for fresh food and water supplies, they were impressed by the local chickens, which were smaller than the chickens back home.Bantan was corrupted into Bantam in general English, so small chickens became known as bantams.

How to Care for Bantams

Strictly speaking, there are three types of bantam chicken.The developed bantam breeds can be a bit confusing, really. For example, the Barbu D’Uccle – has no large fowl counterpart, so it is aHowever, the breed was created around 1903 by Michael Van Gelder of Uccle, Belgium, and was created by crossing two (maybe more) bantam breeds, so it is also aTo avoid confusion among folks, the difference between miniaturized and developed is usually ignored, with many people saying there are

Special Care for Bantams

Several varieties of bantam are feather-legged or ‘sablepoots.’These types of birds require their pens to be relatively mud/muck-free. Otherwise, the foot feathers get incredibly crusted and dirty.Amending the base of the run can be fairly straightforward. If it is prone to muddiness, add some pebbles or construction sand to the area.When the area is dry enough, try seeding with grass, plant a couple of shrubs if you have space to.In the early spring, I usually add two or three large buckets of mulch to the area around the doors, etc.This stuff will break down nicely, provide some ‘scratch-worthy’ dirt, and keep feet a bit cleaner.If the feet get crusted with dirt and poop, a foot bath is in order. Standing the bird in warm water and gently working at the feathers can relax the bird and you.Remember, these are small birds, so it shouldn’t become a wrestling match as it sometimes does with the standard birds!The foot feathers can also get broken fairly easily and cause a good deal of bleeding.The good news is that with some baking powder or styptic and some firm pressure on the area, the bleeding will stop.Feather-footed birds are also prone to scaly leg mites. These nasty little pests can set up shop quickly and remain unnoticed for some time because of the feathering.I check my birds nightly when they go to roost but checking them once a month should suffice.

Bantam Egg Production, Broodiness, and Disposition

Bantam eggs are, of course, smaller than standard eggs, roughly half the size of standard eggs. The ratio for using them in cooking is 3 bantam eggs for every 2 standard eggs.Bantams tend to get a bad rap for laying. Admittedly it was about eight months before mine started to lay, but they have been pretty consistent since then.This past winter, we have certainly had more bantam eggs than standard – thankfully!Bantams of standard fowl tend to lay slightly larger eggs and are more prolific than the true bantams.Some go broody, others not, but the broodies defend their eggs and chicks fiercely, and they make great mothers – not even standard hens will mess with a bantam broody!Many folks keep one or two bantam broodies to hatch out their standard eggs because they are reliable. Obviously, a bantam cannot cover as many eggs, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try!They generally have a sweet temperament and are friendly to humans and chickens alike. Roosters can be sweet, but some can also be a bit aggressive, especially during the mating season.As always, some breeds of the rooster are better than others, so research your chosen breed carefully.Bantams can be extremely bold and sometimes flighty birds, depending on the breed.Adding new bantams to a coop full of established standard chickens is a recipe for disaster. You may have been able to add chickens of the same size to an established coop, and the birds work things out pretty quickly.On the other hand, a bantam may not be able to fight back, and the larger birds may trample it, peck it, or prevent it from getting to the feeder.So if you’d like to add bantams to your flock, consider keeping a separate flock of your new little birds so they can establish their own pecking order.

Kids and Bantams

Bantam chickens are great chickens for kids and can be a good way for kids to get involved in poultry. Their small size makes them easy for small hands to manage. Most are gentler than large fowl birds. With some supervision, kids can take responsibility for care and husbandry. They are easier for children — and adults — to shampoo for a show.Poultry can be a lifetime enjoyable hobby or it can lead to a satisfying profession, but having facts on the number of breeds and varieties shown helps ABA leaders know what birds are being raised. Old English Games remain far and away the most popular bantam, and Silkies have a strong following. Polish are regaining popularity, especially the White Crested Black and White Crested Blue varieties. Lhamon raises Modern Games and is a member of that breed club.“No single breeder can save everything,” he said. “A breeder needs at least five males and 10 females to have a solid foundation. There’s a difference between multiplying them and keeping a breed going.”Bantam chickens that have been on the Inactive list are occasionally shown, and the breed brought back to Active status. Cornish bantams have declined in popularity, but the Ko-Shamo, newly recognized in 2013, has attracted a flurry of new breeders. Their unusual erect stance, split wing, and sparse feathering mark them as distinctly different from their conventional image of a chicken.Lhamon has updated the ABA books on Silkies and Cochins and is working to revise the book on Wyandottes.

Bantam Eggs

Many bantam chickens are excellent layers, although their eggs are, predictably, small. One friend prefers her bantam eggs to large fowl eggs. She finds one large fowl egg not enough, and two too many. But like Goldilocks and her porridge, two bantam eggs are “just right.”Bantam eggs weigh only 1 to 1-1/4 ounces. A large chicken egg weighs 2 ounces, the usual ingredient in recipes. A small egg weighs 1-1/2 ounces; extra-large ones weigh 2-1/4 ounces, and jumbos weigh 2-1/2 ounces. Figure accordingly for cooking and baking. Weight isn’t the sole consideration: the proportion of yolk to white is higher in bantam eggs, which may affect some delicate gourmet recipes. If in doubt, give yourself time to try using bantam eggs in the dish before preparing it for a special occasion!“My grandmother swore by those little eggs for cooking,” said Mr. Lhamon. “She would sell off or give away all the large fowl eggs we would get but hold on to every bantam egg.”

Breed Characteristics

Bantam chickens are often known for their broodiness and willingness to be good mothers. Chickens need to be instinctually driven to set for the 21 days required to hatch eggs. Not all chickens retain this natural drive. Chickens stop laying eggs when they become broody, so breeders who are focused on egg production select hens who don’t get broody for their flocks. Over time, many breeds, especially large fowl, have lost the ability to brood their own eggs. Bantam hens are often willing to hatch any eggs placed under them.This quality became part of the plot in a book,

Getting Started

The best breed is the one — or more — you love. To get started, visit a poultry show and look at the chickens being exhibited. Talk to the breeders. Join the ABA and get your own copy of theHatcheries provide professional service, shipping day-old chicks. Chicks don’t need food or water for two or three days after hatching, living off the retained yolk. Shipping is safe, although it’s helpful to notify the local post office to expect a shipment of live birds.Husbandry is the same as for large fowl chickens: they need a safe place to live, nutritious food and clean water. However, large fowl chickens require more space and feed than bantam chickens. Inexperienced suburbanites who jumped into large fowl chickens as layers without adequate preparation and felt overwhelmed might do better with bantams.“They don’t eat much,” Robinson said. “They just scratch around and enjoy life.”If you live where you can keep roosters, you may decide to breed your birds. Specialty breed clubs can connect you with expert breeders in your area. You can become part of breed conservation. Every flock develops its own identity. Each flock helps protect the breed against loss.Unusual breeds and color patterns such as Sebrights, Cochins, and Mille Fleur d’Uccles attract attention but can be high maintenance and difficult to breed well. Mr. Lhamon advises starting with practical breeds that can be bred well such as Plymouth Rocks and Wyandottes.“It’s a big transition to go from a few backyard birds to the show ring,” he said.

Enjoy Your Birds

“Right now myself, I’m raising all bantams,” Robinson said. “They are easier to handle and they lay beautifully. They don’t need as much room or protection. To me, bantams are better able to take care of themselves.”Their many colorful varieties let you choose more than one favorite. Lewis Wright, writing in his 1890“Many a lady, tired of having nothing to pet but a tom-cat, has wondered longingly whether she might not keep a few fowls; but looking at her garden with regretful eyes, has decided that half of it would be needed and that she could not spare that; when the happy thought has crossed her mind, ‘Why not keep bantams?’ A little space — just that strip which can so easily be spared — will content them; and as to crowing, who in the world would mind the voice of a little fellow no bigger than a pigeon? She is made happy; and even the tom-cat, ousted at first from his olden place, but who has provided for him a never-ending subject of interest in the perpetually intense speculation as to the possibility of some peculiarly tiny chicken coming some day through to the wrong side of the wire — even he is made happy too. Decidedly, bantams have their place in the world.”

Bantam Chicken Classifications

The American Poultry Association has a bantam division, divided into five categories for exhibition: Games, Single Comb Clean Legged Other Than Games, Rose Comb Clean Legged, All Other Combs Clean Legged, and Feather Legged. They are usually shortened to initials only at shows, resulting in an alphabet soup of letters — SCCL, RCCL, AOCCL — that looks obscure to the uninitiated. Now you know.The American Bantam Association has its own separate Standard. Although the two organizations work together cooperatively, the ABA recognizes more breeds and color varieties of breeds than the APA, 56 breeds and 392 varieties. The ABA divides Bantam chickens into six classes: Modern Games; Old English and American Games; Single Comb Clean Leg; Rose Comb Clean Leg; All Other Combs Clean Leg; and Feather Leg. The ABA has a separate class for bantam ducks. Exhibiting bantams at shows is part of the fun of owning them.