There are benefits to both types of bantam types and they are great alternative for people who would love to own chickens but don't have very much space.
Bantams are great for limited space, they are easier and lighter to handle and often do less damage to the garden.
Bantam chickens are far smaller than a standard sized chicken they also lay much smaller eggs. The eggs sizes can vary a little amongst the bantam breeds so you will need to adjust your recipes accordingly. They taste exactly the same as a regular egg and come come in lots of different egg shell colours according to breed.
Breeds include: Pekins, Belgian d'Uccle, Japanese Bantams, Rosecomb Bantams, Serama and Sebrights.
- A True Bantam has no full sized version in their breed. So they are all guaranteed to be small.
- They make excellent pets due to their size and temperament.
- Their egg lay ability to very low, so expect 2 eggs per week on average for most of these breeds.
- They only start laying around 9 months of age, which is quite late.
- Both the Pekins and Belgium d'Uccles have feathered feet so do not do well in muddy yards.Trimming may be necessary at times to help keep their legs and feet clean and tidy.
- True Bantams are far kinder to the garden as well. They are not great at tackling the bigger jobs that standard hens like, but at least your plants are more likely to stay planted.
- They make fantastic mothers which makes them prone to broodiness.
- Because their eggs are so much smaller, their chicks (babies) are far smaller than a regular chick too, which is so enchanting!
- They are not for egg laying but ideal as pets with benefits.
A regular bantam is a small variety of a larger breed. In fact, they can be of almost any breed.
A common breed is the Australorp which can come in three (3) different sizes.
- Purebred - full size up to 4kg, can become broody
- Utility/Commercial - standard middle sized layer, similar in size to ISA Browns - lacking broodiness
- Bantam - weighing up to 1kg but with broodiness of a purebred
- Their eggs are small but they are much more regular layers throughout the week.
- Depending on the breed, they can be just as friendly or as flighty as a standard sized breed.
Silkies are in a category all of their own in the bantam world.
Yes, there are standard and bantam versions of the Silkie breed too, but they vary in just a few hundred grams.
- The reason they are called Silkie is because of the silky feel of their plumage. Their feathers are not the same as other breeds, more like fluffy than a standard feather. For this reason, they do not do so well in wet conditions and can look very sodden in a downpour of rain. Their feathers do not have effective waterproofing.
- The white varieties are the hardest to keep clean looking.
- There are a few different colour to chose from.
- The Silkie breed also has extra toes and black skin underneath all their plumage.
- They are excellent mothers too, which makes them prone to broodiness.
- They are difficult to sex until they are around 18 weeks of age when the rooster will develop a very noticeable comb just above the beak.
- Even though many books extol their friendly nature, often they can be quite difficult to catch.
- They are light weights and are very popular amongst city chicken owners.
- Great around the garden, mild on the plants while foraging.