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9 Bantam Chicken Breeds (with Pictures)
Bantam chickens are simply regular miniature chickens. They are excellent chicken breeds for small backyards and spaces. Because these birds are so small and like to fly, you can fit two bantams in the space that would be suitable for only one of a different chicken breed. On top of their small size, they have unique personalities, making them fun to watch.
There are quite a few bantam chicken breeds. In fact, The American Bantam Association lists over 400 varieties in total. That’s way too many chicken breeds to look at in one article. So, we are primarily going to look at the three types of bantam chicken classifications. This includes true bantams, miniaturized bantams, and developed bantams.
Let’s get started and learn about these bantam chicken classifications, as well as nine respective breeds that fall under them.
True bantams do not have a larger fowl counterpart, and they naturally occur without human interference. They only come in one size, which is small. It is said that this breed of chicken was first found at an Indonesian Seaport. From there, they were taken all over the world and adopted for other purposes.
Some of the most popular true bantam breeds include the Belgian d’Anver, Booted Bantam, and Japanese Bantam Chicken.
1. Belgian d’Anver
The Belgian d’Anver is the most famous true bantam chicken breed because it is stunning and typically gentle in temperament. Though the roosters can be aggressive, the hens typically make great pets because of their gentle personalities. This breed is also good in part-time confinement, although they love flying and have energetic personalities.
When it comes to laying eggs, females produce about two small eggs per week. This means that you can rely on them for eggs, but their eggs are tiny with a creamy white coloration. Belgian d’Anvers are best in moderate temperatures, meaning environments that do not reach cold or hot extremes.
To date, there are nine different varieties of Belgian d’Anvers.
2. Booted Bantam
Another popular true bantam chicken breed is the Dutch Booted. These are incredibly rare birds and have feathered legs with unbearded faces. The hens are typically calm, but roosters may be temperamental. Much like the Belgian d’Anvers, Booted bantams can tolerate confinement, but they will do best in a high coop because of their love for flying.
Expect for Booted hens to produce around two eggs per week. Booted bantams are best in moderate climates, meaning environments that do not reach cold or hot extremes. There are five different recognized varieties to date.
3. Japanese Bantam (or Chabo)
The Japanese Bantam, or Chabo, is an ornamental breed that dates back to the early 7th century. It wasn’t until around the 16th century that it was brought to Europe. This breed is incredibly distinctive, with a tail that sets up straight and short legs.
The Chabo hens are docile, but the roosters are aggressive. Most of these breeds do well in confinement, but they are better in moderate to hot climates. Japanese Bantams are not very long-lasting in colder environments.
Generally, Chabos are not considered good layers. They only lay about one egg per week. The American Poultry Association recognizes nine varieties of Chabos.
Related Read: 8 Japanese Chicken Breeds (With Pictures)
Whereas true bantams naturally occur in the wild, miniature bantam chickens are not naturally found. These small chicken breeds only came about because of selective breeding. In other words, they are bred from specific small chickens or a standard breed.
The Rhode Island Red, Light Sussex, and Maran are the most popular miniaturized bantam chicken breeds.
4. The Rhode Island Red Bantam
First up for the miniaturized bantams is the Rhode Island Red Bantam, which is one of the most successful breeds in the world. It requires little extra help and the hens have extremely healthy and mild temperaments, though they are known to be a bit more curious and pushier than other breeds. They get their name from their brick color and look.
As for egg-laying purposes, the Rhode Island Red is one of the best. They produce eggs continually. Good hens can produce 200 to 300 eggs a year. A more modest production estimate would be 150 to 250 eggs a year, or five to six eggs a week.
5. Light Sussex
Light Sussex bantams are very attractive, making them a dual-purpose breed. These chickens have a much more regal appearance and remarkable personality. Though the hens are considered moderate in temperament, they are much more confident and curious than other bantam chickens.
Much like the Rhode Island Red, a Light Sussex hen can lay around 250 large eggs a year. This makes the Light Sussex one of the best breeds if you want a bantam chicken for egg-laying purposes. At the same time, they are very attractive and beautiful, complete with outgoing personalities.
Bantam Marans are considered small birds with a big personality. They tend to have very feisty temperaments, making them great for homes with flocks. Their more outgoing personality means that they aren’t the most suited for other bantam breeds, but they sure are entertaining.
Bantam Marans are pretty easy to care for and don’t need a specialized environment, making them great for beginners. They are fine in open spaces or small gardens. They can fly, meaning you need to be careful about the height of fenced enclosures. They can lay up to 150 brown eggs a year.
The last classification of bantam chickens is the developed bantam. These chickens are quite small and have undergone genetic enhancement through human technique. These chickens do not occur in the wild and rely on human intervention.
Between the three classifications, the developed bantams are the most confusing. That’s because certain breeds can be considered developed bantams and true bantams, causing many people to drop this classification entirely. Barbu D’Uccle, Sebright, and Old English Game are three examples of developed bantam chickens.
7. Barbu D’Uccle
The Barbu D’Uccle is a bantam chicken breed that classifies both as developed and true. It was bred around 1903, and it does not have a larger fowl counterpart. Some can argue that this breed is a true bantam, but it also can be considered a developed bantam breed since it came about through human selection.
These chickens are rather popular and have a mild temperament. They typically are cheerful and very talkative, and the roosters are less aggressive than other breeds. A Barbu D’Uccle can lay around 150 to 200 small eggs a year.
Like the Barbu D’Uccle, the Sebright can be considered a true bantam and a developed one. It was developed in England around the 1800s and doesn’t have a larger fowl counterpart. They tend to have really docile temperaments, so much to the point that they are considered flighty.
These chickens aren’t as great for egg laying. They typically produce around 60 to 80 eggs per year. Unfortunately, this breed can be difficult to maintain, making it even trickier to raise hens that produce many eggs.
9. Old English Game
Finally, the last bantam chicken on our list is the Old English Game. These chickens are energetic, active, and noisy. They need more space to roam and are great foragers. The roosters are protective of their flock, but hens get along with other chickens while still being protective over their young.
Old English Game hens can produce a moderate number of eggs per year. The average hen lays between 160 and 180 eggs within a given year.
Bantam chickens are simply smaller breeds that are great for captivity. These breeds can typically be classified as true, miniaturized, and developed. You will see the developed classification dropped on some lists because many developed bantams are also considered true bantams. No matter the classification, bantam chickens are small in size yet big in personality!
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.