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Mini Chickens for Small Backyards

If you’re looking to homestead on a tiny piece of property, you’ll need the right chickens to join your venture. Mini chickens are the perfect choice for many reasons, but most of all because they are in essence, pint sized chickens. Bantam chickens are often half or even one third the size of a standard chicken.

Don’t be fooled by their small stature though! These little chickens come with big personality, and there are plenty of great reasons to add bantams to your urban or suburban homestead.

A group of bantam chicken breeds together.

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Bantam Chicken Breed Characteristics:

A wide variety of chicken breeds are available in bantam size. Some come about their small stature naturally, the true bantams, and some were bred to grow to smaller sizes, the developed bantams. Here are a few characteristics of these curious breeds.

Size:

Bantam chickens are roughly half the size of a standard chicken. They’re so tiny and precious you’ll squeal in delight every time you lay eyes on them!

Brooding

Bantams are well known for their tendency to brood, or hatch eggs and raise chicks. We’ve found that they make absolutely wonderful mothers, but their constant need to sit on the nest can be quite annoying, as they don’t lay eggs during this time. They can get pretty feisty when you try to remove the eggs they’re sitting on!

For this reason, bantams may not be the best egg layers around, but read on, because there’s a lot of reasons you may want to keep some in your urban flock.

A sebright chicken, a type of mini chicken breed.

Eggs

Bantam hens lay eggs that are about half the size of a standard chicken egg, they’re tiny and adorable, and oh-so-delicious! Be careful when choosing bantams as laying hens, because it will take more of these teeny eggs to fulfill recipes than their standard counterparts.

Personality

Mini chickens are quite well known for being more docile and friendly than their standard counterparts. In contrast, bantam roosters tend to have a big case of “little man syndrome.”

They’re extra feisty and chock full of personality. You’ll be shocked at how much attitude can fit into a tiny bird!

A miniature rooster

Why should I get mini chickens?

Small Stature

Bantam breeds are excellent for raising in the suburbs or the city. They don’t take up nearly as much space as standard chickens, and can be comfortably kept in smaller coops. Bantam breeds need approximately one third of the space that standard breeds need to thrive.

Save on Feed

Not only will you save space if you go with bantam breeds, you’ll save money on chicken feed as well! These small birds consume about half the feed that their larger counterparts do.

Pets with Benefits

Bantam hens are known for having a calmer disposition and more friendly personalities. They’re easy to handle and ideal for those wishing to keep chickens as pets with benefits.

Great for Beginners or Kids

The small size of bantam chickens makes them very easy to handle for both beginner chicken keepers and young children. If you’ve never had chickens before, this is a great way to ease your way into it.

A group of silkie chickens on a roost

Can I keep a mixed flock?

Many people ask us if you can keep bantam chickens with standard chickens.

The answer to this question varies widely. We’ve seen people successfully keep bantams and standards together, and we’ve seen bantams get picked on relentlessly.

It all depends on your situation and your birds.

We do keep a mixed flock of mini chickens and standards. The bantams were brought in as chicks along with standard chicks, so they were all raised together and get along famously.

If we had brought in a few new bantams and introduced them to an established flock, things might not have gone so well.

If you do decide to keep a mixed flock, make sure there’s plenty of space in your coop and run. Crowding makes pecking issues and stress much worse.

In addition, if you have a rooster in your flock, keep an eye on how the bantams are treated, their small stature can be problematic with mating.

A mini chicken breed called a Silkie

Types of Bantam Chicken Breeds

The following chicken breeds either naturally come in mini size, or have been bred to have a bantam variety. You can buy many of these bantam breeds at online hatcheries, or buy hatching eggs and incubate them at home.

  • Brahma
  • Cochin
  • Cornish
  • Dominique
  • Easter Egger
  • Japanese Bantam
  • Mille Fleur D’Uccle
  • Old English Game
  • Orpington
  • Silkie
  • Plymouth Rock / Barred Rock
  • Polish
  • Rhode Island Red
  • Sebright
  • Silver Duckwing
  • Wyandotte

When it comes down to it, mini chicken breeds are an ideal choice for any homesteader, but they’re especially good for those with limited space.

Bantam chicken breeds are friendly, great for beginners, and a great choice for kids. Their small stature makes them easy to care for, and just plain adorable!

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