Mini-chickens are by far the most adorable in the chicken world, but there are several other great reasons to add bantam chickens to your backyard flock!
Bantam chickens are in essence, pint-sized chickens. They 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 backyard flock.
What are Bantam Chickens?
There are two types of bantam chickens, true bantams and developed bantams. True Bantam chickens are chickens that are naturally small in stature and have no look-a-likes in the standard breeds. Developed bantam chickens are miniaturized versions of standard breeds, such as the bantam Wyandotte, or bantam Orpington.
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 examples of the types of breeds that fall into these categories.
- Belgian Bantams
- Easter Egger
- Rhode Island Red
Bantam Chicken Size
Bantam chickens fall in at about 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 Bantam Chicks
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, and get pretty feisty when you try to remove the eggs they’re sitting on!
For this reason, bantams don’t make the best egg layers around, but read on, because there’s a lot of reasons you may want to keep some around!
Bantam Chicken Eggs
Bantam eggs 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 fullfill recipes than their standard counterparts.
Bantam hens 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!
Why Get a Bantam Chicken Breed?
Bantam breeds are excellent for smaller hobby farms, or even 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 standards need to thrive.
Save on Feed
Not only will you save space if you go with bantam breeds, you’ll save on feed as well! These small birds consume about half the feed that their larger counterparts do.
Bantam Chickens Make Great Pets
Bantam chickens 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. They’re also a great option for children to raise!
Common Questions about Bantam Chickens
Can I Keep a Mixed Flock?
Will bantams get along 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 bantams 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.
Are Bantam Chickens More Susceptible to Predator Attacks?
Even though bantams are less than half the size of standard chickens, they maintain their scrappiness. Bantams are very sweet and loving, but can truly hold their own in a fight. We haven’t found these birds to have more problems with predators than standard sized chickens, but as always take every measure to protect your flock from predators.
Can You Keep Bantam Chickens in Cold Climates?
We live in a very cold climate, the temperatures dip to -10 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter with wind chills as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit. Our bantams have survived every winter with absolutely no issues, and we don’t heat our coop in the winter. Even though bantam chickens have less mass to protect them in the winter, they do just fine in our climate.
The following articles will help to prepare your coop for winter:
- 6 Tips for Keeping Chickens Warm in Winter
- Winter Chicken Care: Common Questions and Answers
- 4 Steps to Winterize the Chicken Coop
- Ultimate Guide to Raising Chickens in the Winter
If you’re still not sure bantams are right for your cold climate, the good news is many chicken breeds are cold hardy.
Chicken Breed Guides
- Chicken Breeds for Colorful Eggs
- Kid-Friendly Chicken Breeds
- Bantam Chicken Breeds