Small, lovable, and with tons of personality, bantam chickens are a popular breed for backyard chicken raisers. Their diminutive size makes them perfect for backyards where space is wanting, and their upbeat demeanor turns them into excellent pets. If you’re just getting started with raising backyard chickens, bantams are a great place to start. Nevertheless, you’ll want to know more about the breed before you commit to one. Read on to learn more:
Bantam chickens are just like many other breeds of chicken, except they’re about half to two-thirds the size. Indeed, this miniature size is the main characteristic of bantams. It is also what makes them so appealing to backyard chicken raisers. After all, you do not have the luxury of a pasture as others do, especially if you live in a suburb or city.
The name “bantam” is an anglicized version of the name Banten—a city in Indonesia. It is from this city where the bantam chicken originates. Sailors who stopped at this local port city were impressed by the small chickens and would often bring some back home with them.
Types of bantam chickens
The term “bantam chickens” may refer to one breed, but there are actually over 400 varieties of bantam chickens in the world. From White Silkie Bantams to Golden Sebright Bantams, you will find plenty of bantam varieties to choose from. Such a selection can be overwhelming, but many of these varieties can be sorted into three broader categories:
- “True” Bantams: These bantams were not deliberately bred by humans and have no large fowl counterparts. They are considered the “truest” form of bantam.
- Miniaturized Bantams: These were deliberately bred from larger breeds such as Rhode Island Reds or Cochins.
- Developed Bantams: Developed bantams are much like miniaturized bantams except these are created from crossing two bantam varieties with the help of humans. However, many people do not distinguish between miniaturized and developed.
Caring for bantams
Generally speaking, caring for bantam chickens is no different than caring for other types of chickens. They all require food, water, shelter, and love in order to flourish. Nevertheless, they are smaller than most chickens. This means that some adjustments will be needed in order to keep them happy and healthy.
Keep them warm
Smaller chickens have higher metabolisms. As a result, they’re more sensitive to a winter’s chill than most chickens. If you live in a colder climate, take care to insulate and board up your coop. This will keep your chickens warm and prevent drafts from leaking into the coop.
They require less space than most
Needless to say, small chickens take up less space. If your backyard isn’t as big as you’d like, this makes bantam chickens an excellent choice of breed. While most breeds require 4 square feet per bird, bantam chickens can live comfortably with just 2 square feet per bird.
And less food
All birds need a healthy diet, but some can get by with less food than others. Bantams will eat about one pound of feed per month. That sounds like a lot, but compared to other chickens, it will drastically reduce your feed bill.
Give them some perches
Bantam chickens are great flyers, and they love nothing more than flying up to a high perch to relax for a few hours. Building some chicken roosts for your bantams, then, will make them even happier than they are already!
If you’re looking to add some bantam chickens to your backyard flock, Chickens for Backyards has you covered. We offer many varieties of bantam chickens for you to choose from, and if you have any questions, feel free to call us at 888-412-6715