All About Bantams

by Manda H

Published May 30, 2023

Curious about those adorable little chickens known as bantams? You might be wondering what exactly sets them apart. Well, let me enlighten you! Bantams, often referred to as “Mini Chickens,” are actually miniature versions of standard chicken breeds. They’re not a breed of their own, but rather a variation of existing breeds. In this blog post, we’ll explore the wonderful world of bantams, from their compact size to their suitability for small spaces and even their popularity among young chicken enthusiasts. So, let’s dive right in and unravel the charm of these feathered friends!

Green Queen Bantam Hen Meyer Hatchery

Benefits of Keeping Bantam Chickens

Bantams are a wonderful option for those who have limited space in their coops, especially for those who are raising a couple chickens in the city. Size wise, they are approximately 25% of the size of their standard fowl counterparts. Average weights are around 30 ounces compared to 7-10 lbs for Standards.

Bantams are also a favored option for young children who would like to show chickens at the county fair. Their lighter weight allows them to be more manageable for small children to show. 

Bantam Varieties

Ever wonder how a bantam variety is created while maintaining the traits of the standard? Breeders will carefully select smaller sized birds from their flocks to use as their breeders.  It can take many generations of careful breeding to reduce the size to what is considered bantam. 

True Bantams

A few breeds exist that are “true bantams” meaning that a Standard variety does not currently exist.  Meyer Hatchery offers two types of true bantams. We carry two different color varieties of the D’Uccle.  Bearded Belgian and Mille Fleur.  D’uccle are known for being a little chatty and even said to be the chicken flock gossips. They are booted, meaning they have long feathers on their legs, which may make them adorable when running.

Buff Silkie Hen - Meyer Hatchery

Our other true bantam is the Silkie. Silkies are generally the absolute sweetest, most gentle of all chickens. Their feathers are unique, in that their bodies are covered in what feels more like soft down all over rather than the typical stiff feather of other types of chickens. This makes them even more favored around children as they can be picked up and their wings are not able to flap in such a way as to scare a young child nor hurt them.

Welsummer Bantam Rooster Meyer Hatchery

Bantam Varieties of Standard Breeds

We also carry multiple types of bantam varieties for standard breeds. Based on my experience, the Easter Egger Bantams have become a personal favorite because they provide me with colorful eggs while being amazing foragers. Meyer Hatchery carries Buff Brahma, Green Queen, White Crested Black Polish, Barred Rock, Welsummer,  Black Frizzle Cochin,  and Mottled Cochin bantams. We also have some Meyer Hatchery exclusive varieties, which include the Sage Gem and Steele Egger. The Steele Egger is a blue/green egg layer designed by Lisa Steele.

Considerations and Challenges

Bantams lay around 2 eggs per week. Their eggs are a lot smaller than a standard chicken, which can make them a great option for someone who does not need a lot of eggs. They make an adorable pickled egg. 

Many breeds of bantams are notorious for the desire to go broody, that is, want to sit on eggs to hatch out their own chicks. The top two being Silkies and Cochin bantams. They make wonderful mothers.

In everything there is always a downside. Bantams do require a little extra protection from predators.  While they can hide in smaller areas when predators come around, they might also have a more difficult time in seeing predators such as with Silkies, their head poof, can restrict their range of vision. They are also more likely to sleep on the ground of the coop which makes them the first target when a predator enters a coop at night.

If you haven’t tried bantams before, I recommend giving them a try! They are a great addition to your backyard flock.

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