Monday, July 15, 2013

What the Heck is a "Bantam"? And Why You Might Want One!

Hello Chicken Raising Chicks!

"What the heck is a 'bantam'?"

"Is that some kind of musical instrument?"

"A breed of snake?"


A bantam is a smaller variety of a standard sized chicken.

Well actually I just discovered there are many different bantams, (view that odd list here) but we're here to talk about chickens so we'll just stick with what people mainly mean when they use the word bantam.

According to Wikipedia:

"Most large chicken breeds have a bantam counterpart, sometimes referred to as a miniature. Miniatures are usually one-fifth to one-quarter the size of the standard breed, but they are expected to exhibit all of the standard breed's characteristics."

Think about dog breeds for example. There are a lot of dogs who have miniature counterparts. They both have basically the same characteristics, they are simply different in size.

Here is a picture courtesy of Wikipedia that shows the difference between a Japanese Bantam (left) and an Orpington (right). The Bantam is about half the size of the Orpington.

Many people with smaller space to house chickens prefer bantams because they take up less room.

They have a pretty good egg ratio, but you need to remember that their eggs are about half the size of a regular egg. Except for size their eggs should be just the same as your other chickens eggs.

We have chosen to own bantams as well as regular sized chickens.

What we have noticed is:

° Whereas we have problems with our other chickens when it comes to attempting to fly over the fence our bantams have never tried it. They are quite content with staying in the yard.

° The bantams require less food and water than the other chickens. Their bodies aren't as big, therefore they need less.

° Our bantams were a little finicky to raise from chicks, but they are now very hardy. 

° Our bantams (this could just be due to their breed which is Silkie) are very broody, which means they have the tendency to lay eggs and sit on them until they've hatched. Even our rooster will go broody and has done so quite a few times.

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