Japanese Bantam Chicken – One of the Most Unique Bantams

The Japanese Bantam Chicken is one of the most unique bantam chicken breeds in the world. While the Japanese bantams are rare chickens, partly because they are difficult breed, but we will talk more about that in a short while.

Japanese Bantam chicken
Japanese Bantam Chicken

Japanese Bantam Chicken Facts at a Glance

Eggs70 per year
Egg Color Brown
Skin ColorYellow
Comb TypeSingle
Weight Male: 18-22 oz
Female: 14-18 oz
Country of origin Japan
Japanese Bantam Chicken Facts

Where Do Japanese Bantams Come From?

We do not actually know that much about the origins of the Japanese Bantam Chicken. The first reference that we have to this breed of chicken is at some point in the 1600s when people started to paint pictures of it.

While most people regard this as an ancient Japanese breed of chicken, there is some evidence that it was imported from China.

We can, however, assume that the bulk of the development of the breed took place in Japan, particularly when it comes to the development of the ‘bantam’ part of the breed.

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The Look of the Japanese Bantam Chicken

As we said; this is an incredibly unique breed of bird. This is because it is one of only a few chicken breeds that is only available as a true bantam breed. There is no larger variant of it. The Japanese Bantam Chicken has always bred to be a smaller animal.

This is a very, very small chicken. The main trait of the Japanese Bantam that people look out for will be their incredibly short legs.

It is worth pointing out that some Japanese Bantam Chickens are born with longer legs, but breeders do not like these birds, and they are often not bred further.

However, this is something that we will talk about in a short while.

The only other standout feature of a true Japanese Bantam Chicken will be that their tail feathers go above their head. They have very large tail in proportion to their size.

As a Show Bird

This is the main purpose of this chicken breed. It is designed to be a show chicken. In fact, this is the main reason why the breed exists now. It holds little use outside of chicken shows.

Thankfully, if you have a Japanese Bantam Chicken, there are countless chicken shows that you can attend to show off your bird. Although, do bear in mind that the competition can get quite stiff!

Even if you do not enter the chicken into chicken shows, it is a great ornamental breed.

While it is not something that you should have wandering around your garden, it is a breed of chicken that can really help to spice up indoor environments.

As a Meat Chicken

Weighing at around 18 oz. this chicken is way too small to be reared properly for meat. However, a lot of breeders will eat certain bantam chickens.

This is because some of them will be born with longer legs, and this means that they are not going to be show quality specimens.

japanese bantam
Japanese Bantam Chicken (Photo by gina pina)

They will be raised for a short while (as this chicken breed doesn’t eat that much) and then slaughtered. However, do bear in mind that you will have a chicken breed that is incredibly small.

It is barely enough for one person. This is because this chicken breed hasn’t really been developed to have a huge amount of meat on him.

You might want to check our other article about what are the best meat chicken breeds.

Japanese Bantam Chciken Eggs

The Japanese Bantam Chicken will lay about 70-eggs per year.

Just like the meat part of the chicken, this is a breed that is not raised for eggs. They are going to be more of a small bonus to having this breed. It is a very small bonus indeed.

You are only going to be getting around 1-2 eggs per week. They are going to be tiny brown-shell eggs too. Although, by all accounts, these are chicken eggs that taste quite delicious.

They certainly are going to be as nutritious as other chicken eggs.

You might want to check what are the best chickens for laying eggs.

The Japanese Bantam Chicken For Breeding

Since show chickens require breeding, the Japanese Bantam chicken is heavily bred. The problem is that it is perhaps one of the hardest chickens in the world to breed.

This is because it has a faulty gene. It this gene which helps to give them their short legs, and results in the chicken having that short appearance, however, that gene can also kill them:

  • 25% of all Japanese Bantam Chickens will die in the egg
  • 50% will be born with short legs
  • 25% will be born with long legs

This means that you are only going to have a show quality Japanese Bantam Chicken 50% of the time. Since this is a chicken that doesn’t lay a lot of eggs in the first place, it is going to take a ridiculous amount of effort to breed it.

It is not really recommended unless you know what you are doing with chicken breeds, because there will be a lot of failures.

If you have long-legged chickens hatched, then you cannot breed them together. They will never produce a true bantam chicken again.

This is the main reason why breeders will eat their long-legged chickens. They hold little value when it comes to breeding.

They will only ever produce long-legged offspring, even if paired up with a short-legged Japanese bantam chicken.

Perhaps the only real saving grace of this chicken breed is that they can be quite broody, and thus you will not need to call in other chickens to hatch the eggs for you.

It does make them a little bit easier to raise there.

Care Tips

The Japanese Bantam Chicken is one of a few chicken breeds that you should only be raising indoors.

Sure, it would be great for them to have access to the outdoors to forage a little bit, they are not going to be a great chicken breed for having an outdoor chicken coop.

They are not as hardy as other breeds.

On the plus side, if you treat your chicken well, this is one of the longer-lived chicken breeds, with many of them being able to live over 13-years-old!

There isn’t that much information out there about their personality, but many people report that the Japanese Bantam Chicken is fantastic to raise as a pet. It is an incredibly friendly breed of chicken.

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