While the Nankin Bantam chicken may seem like it has an exotic name, it doesn’t come from some far-off land. Instead, this is a British chicken.
It does descend from Asian chickens, though. On this page, we are going to tell you absolutely everything that you need to know about the Nankin Bantam chicken breed.
The Origins of the Nankin Bantam Chicken
We do not know exactly where the Nankin Bantam Chicken comes from, or even when it was developed. In fact, nobody does.
This is an incredibly old chicken and, as you know with older chicken breeds, nobody ever really kept any records about how they were developed.
The best evidence seems to suggest that the original bird originated in Southeast Asia. However, the bulk of the breed’s development took place in the United Kingdom (hence why it is a British bird).
It appeared in the UK sometime between the 16th and 18th Centuries. We do not know exactly when as, once again, there is very little evidence available.
This bird is actually a true Bantam breed. There is no larger version of the Nankin Bantam available.
Since this was one of the very first bantam breeds, it is likely that the bulk of the bantam breeds that we have now will have a bit of the Nankin Bantam in them.
This breed of chicken is at risk of dying out, which is a shame since it has been around for so long. However, it is only really bred in the United Kingdom.
There is no way that you are going to be able to easily get this breed in the United States, even though it is an officially recognized breed of chicken by the American Bantam Association.
The Look of the Nankin Bantam Chicken
As this is a Bantam chicken breed, it is quite small. There will be a black tail and the rest of the body will be red-feathered.
However, interestingly, there are two types of comb available for this breed, although they will both be regarded as the Nankin Bantam:
- A rose comb. There will be a single point on the comb.
- A single comb, of which there will be five points.
The feathers on their face will be a bit redder than the rest of their body (which have more of an orange hue to them), and the earlobes will be red.
It isn’t really a stunningly beautiful breed like many other bantam chickens, but this is probably because it is an original.
The majority of other bantam breeds were able to develop, whereas this was no doubt created when nobody really focused on making chickens look as stunning as possible.
We can’t imagine that there were many chicken shows happening back in the 16th Century, after all!
The Nankin Chicken as a Show Chicken
This is an ornamental breed of chicken. About the only purpose that it actually has is through chicken shows.
However, sadly, because this is not a popular breed of chicken nowadays, you will not find that many chicken shows that feature it.
The bulk of them seem to be focused in the United Kingdom.
While there is a Nankin Bantam breeder’s group located in the United States, they aren’t really spread about all that much.
This means that their work tends to be confined to a very small area, which can leave out plenty of owners of this breed.
However, let’s be honest. The bulk of people that raise ornamental chickens are never going to be taking them to chicken shows.
They just want a chicken that looks good, and the Nankin Bantam does look good running around the garden.
As we said, it isn’t the most beautiful bantam breed ever, but it certainly does look decent and will catch the attention of people. Plus, this is a unique breed in many countries, which really does help to add to the appeal.
The Nankin Bantam Chicken for Eggs
Obviously, this is a chicken. It is going to lay eggs. However, it is still a bantam breed. This means that the eggs are going to be tiny.
We can’t imagine that there will be many people raising this chicken for the eggs. You will get a few per year, but we encourage you to breed this chicken (if you have the ability to do so) rather than raise it for the eggs.
This is because you could help save this breed if you manage to get a decent breeding flock of the chickens going.
The Nankin Chickens for Meat
Again, this is a bantam breed. You aren’t really going to be raising this chicken for the meat. It is too small.
Males can whigh up to 26 oz (740 g), while the hens a little bit smaller, weighing 22 oz when fully grown.
While we have no doubt that some people will eat their chickens, it is quite costly to do.
This isn’t a cheap breed to buy by any stretch of the imagination, and any excess chickens you have would probably be best sold on rather than eaten.
The Personality of the Nankin
This is an incredibly friendly chicken breed and they tend to bond with their owners quite well. Some people claim that their chickens have been a bit territorial at times.
However, this is something which does happen with a few Bantam breeds. It is never going to be a major issue. They aren’t going to fight over space.
They just get a little bit angry if another breed steps into their space.
There are no health issues associated with this breed, outside of the things that would normally impact chickens. This isn’t surprising, really. A breed of chicken certainly wouldn’t last centuries if it wasn’t hardy!
One final point to note is that this is a breed of chicken that does fly, but it doesn’t do it all that much. We aren’t sure why. It is a good flyer, but they tend to run about on the floor a whole lot more.
Although, we would still encourage any owner of this chicken to have a decent fence around them to ensure that they do not escape (this includes a roof to their run!).