Heard of Bantam Chickens (also known as Banty chickens) and aren’t quite sure what they are? Well, don’t worry. We are going to tell you everything that you need to know about the Bantam Chicken on this page!
What are Bantam Chickens?
A bantam chicken is, essentially, a small chicken. Many bantam chickens are going to be about half of the size of their larger variants.
This means that bantams are great for those places where space may be at an absolute premium. In fact, due to the smaller size of the bantam, they are often used as backyard chickens.
Type of Bantam Chickens
There are over 400 different breeds of Bantam Chickens in the world (breeds that can come under the bantam banner), so it is going to be impossible for us to talk about them here.
So lets see what types of bantam chickens are out there and then we will provide you a least of reconfigured bantam breeds by the American Bantam Association.
In general bantams can be split under roughly three categories (types of bantams):
- True Bantams
- Developed Bantams
- Miniaturized Bantams
We begin with the ‘true’ bantams. These are the chicken breeds that are naturally small. They were not bred this way. They are just like this. Perhaps the most common ones you will find as backyard chickens will be the Sebright and the Nankin.
There are some smaller chickens that have been ‘shrunk’ down to bantam size. These are known as ‘Developed Bantams‘. The Pekin Bantam chicken is probably the big breed here. Incidentally, developed bantams are nowhere near as popular as the other forms of bantam chicken.
Many chicken breeds, particularly the more popular ones, will have bantam versions of them. These are, basically, going to be ‘shrunk down‘ versions of the larger breeds, called miniatures.
Orpingtons are incredibly popular miniaturized bantams, as is the Rhode Island Red. You will find a lot of breeds have bantam versions, so if there is a breed that tickles your fancy, then see if there is a smaller version. Check our chicken breeds section, many of them have their bantam variant!
Bantam Chicken Breeds List
The following bantam chicken breeds are recognized by the American Bantam Association:
We will advise you to check our chicken breeds section so you can learn more in-depth about each chicken breed.
Benefits of Bantam Chickens
The main benefit of having Bantams is that they do not take up anywhere near as much space as their far larger counterparts.
Many would estimate that bantams take up about 50% of the space, although there are some backyard chicken owners who claim that bantams only need about a third of the space that an average chicken needs.
Although, we find that the 50% is a good mark to be aiming for.
You should also remember that because the chickens are smaller, the amount of food that they are consuming is going to be a lot less than what an average size chicken would produce.
Obviously, the smaller size of the bantam does have a couple of issues, and there will be a trade-off for having a smaller chicken, but this is something that we are going to discuss in a bit more depth in a short while.
When choosing a chicken for some other reason than meat or eggs, then the Bantams would be on the top of your list. As said earlier, the benefit would be one of space. However, they produce small eggs and the meat is one quarter less than the average meat type bird.
The Personality of the Bantam Chicken
Obviously, a lot of this is going to be focused on the breed of the bantam that you get. However, a lot of backyard chicken owners have noted that bantam chickens tend to be fairly docile.
They can get noisy at times, but they are certainly not going to be unfriendly towards you. As a result, you may find that a flock of bantams is going to be great as a family pet. They get on with children well.
Raising Bantam Chickens
There are not really any special requirements for raising bantam chickens. They tend to have the same requirements as normal chickens.
The only thing that you will notice is that they require a lot less in the way of space. That being said, we wouldn’t own bantams if we lived in a colder region.
Because they are smaller, they do have less in the way of protection from the elements. So, if they are out in the cold, then you want to find some way that you can protect them. You may even want to keep them locked up on the colder days.
Bantam breeds tend to be good at flying, though. Not as good as other birds, but certainly far better than your typical chicken. So, you will either want to have a chicken run with high chicken wire or, better yet, a roof to it. If you don’t, then you may find that a few of the more adventurous bantams start to escape.
Banty Egg Production
Bantam chickens do lay eggs, and they tend to do it at the same frequency as other chicken breeds.
Although, do bear in mind that some people claim that bantam chickens are a bit slower. Although, this may mean one or two eggs fewer per week. Nothing too crazy.
Some people report that bantam eggs do taste a little bit different, although this is likely going to be more dependent on the breed than the size of the chicken.
What we can tell you, however, is that bantam eggs will be smaller. Maybe not 50% of the size of a standard chicken egg, but at least a third of the size smaller. Some people do enjoy this!
Banty Meat Production
Bantam chickens are, of course, fairly small. This means that they are not well-known for their meat production capabilities.
Most commercial farming operations wouldn’t touch bantams as a result. However, there are some parts of the world where bantam chickens are seen as a delicacy.
Of course, they still have meat on them. It just isn’t as much as other chickens. The meat that does appear on your typical bantam will often be a little bit more delicate than their larger counterparts.
People do love the taste of a bantam chicken. Although, do bear in mind that a bantam is often not going to serve more than one person!
So, there you have it. Absolutely everything that you really need to know about bantam chickens. It is now up to you to decide whether your backyard chicken coop is going to be better served by some bantams or some normal-sized chickens.
In some cases, you may even want to have a mix of the two. Just make sure that you do your research to ensure that you end up with the chicken breed that is right for you.