The Pekin Bantam chicken is somewhat of an odd chicken. While many people will have heard of the name Pekin chicken, a lot of people do not realize that, in most countries, it is actually not a recognized chicken. In fact, the only country that officially recognizes the Pekin chicken is the United Kingdom, but more on that in a short while.
Pekin Bantam Facts at a Glance
|Eggs||100 per year|
|Egg Color||White or Cream|
|Use||Show / Ornamental|
|Weight||Male Bantam: 24 oz (680 g)|
Female Bantam: 23 oz (600 g)
|Country of origin||United Kingdom/China|
The Origins of the Pekin Chicken
With the name, you would think that this is a Chinese chicken. It probably isn’t. While there is a chance that the breed did originate in China, it is generally regarded as a British breed, as that is where most of the development of the bird has taken place.
What we do know is what the history books write. This is that the Pekin Bantam was a prize from war. In Pekin, the bird was being raised by the Emperor of China. When China fell to the British military, the Cochin Bantam was taken as one of the prizes and then shipped on over to the United Kingdom.
Once in the United Kingdom, the bird continued to be developed and names Pekin Bantam, and because the UK was now in control of China, it was able to continue to import more and more of the birds, allowing it to develop even further.
However it is worth noting that they had no relationship to large Cochins.
The Look of the Chicken
This bird is what is known as a ‘true Bantam’. This means that it is simply a miniature chicken. There is not a larger version of the Pekin. It exists in small form only. In fact, this is a very small bird.
It is one of the smallest chicken breeds in the world. You will struggle to find a Pekin bantam chicken that weighs more than 25 oz.
One of the reasons why there is no real breed standard for this chicken is down to the fact that it is available in a plethora of different colors. This is part of the reason why people love this breed so much. We feel that it would make a good ornamental chicken.
The Pekin chicken has beautiful feathers too. Stunning ones, in fact. Again, another reason why this is a breed that is much loved as an ornamental chicken.
Finally; if you look at the Pekin, you will notice that it does look slightly different to other breeds that you may have encountered. This is because the head is closer to the ground than the tail feathers. This is very, very rare for chicken breeds!
The Pekin Bantam Chicken as a Show Bird
If you are in the United Kingdom, then you will be pleased to know that there isn’t really any shortage of Pekin Bantam chicken shows. After all, this is the only country where the breed is officially recognized.
Outside of the United Kingdom, it can be a bit more difficult to find shows. The number of places that have competitions are quite limited, mostly due to the less-defined breed standard. It certainly is possible, but you will likely need to travel a decent distance to find a chicken show to enter.
In either case, because this is a type of bird that is mostly raised for looks as opposed to anything else, the competition is going to be exceedingly tough.
You can’t just waltz into a competition and expect to win, and if you want to get your hands on a competition quality bird, you will be paying a lot of money. Many of the people that compete in these shows will have been spending many years trying to perfect their birds.
The Pekin Chicken Eggs and Egg Laying
Do not raise a Pekin chicken purely for eggs. You will be disappointed. When it comes to egg-laying, this is one of the most unpredictable chickens there is.
You never know when the egg is next going to pop out. In fact, the egg-laying of this chicken is so sporadic that some may lay a couple of dozen eggs per year, at the most. The eggs are white or cream and they will, of course, be quite small when they are produced.
That being said, the Pekin Bantam chicken is a very broody chicken. So, while it may not be laying that many eggs of its own, it should be easy to get it to raise the eggs of less-broody chickens out there. Some people keep the Pekin chicken in their flock for this reason alone.
The Meat of the Pekin Bantam
Obviously, this is a chicken on the smaller side of things. However, this hasn’t really stopped it from being used for meat.
Obviously, if you eat a Pekin chicken, you can’t expect to receive a lot of meat. In fact, this chicken is really designed to be eaten by one person.
However, it is a perfectly edible chicken. In fact, you may be surprised to know that many people that eat Pekin chicken exclusively eat this bird. This is because the bird meat is extremely delicate, and it tastes unlike any other chicken you have tasted before.
There is a reason why this bird is often the recommended chicken for several dishes.
The Personality of this Breed
A lot of people recommend the Pekin chicken as a decent pet chicken. This is because it is pretty easy to raise. Obviously, due to their small size, they do not need that much in the way of space. You will also find that their overall care requirements are much, much lower than other chicken breeds.
The main reason as to why we would recommend these as a good chicken as a pet is due to them being some of the calmest chickens you can own.
While you will get the odd territorial Pekin chicken, for the most part, this is a breed that should be dreadfully simple to look after. Maybe it is not one of the friendliest chicken breeds, but it is never violent, and it enjoys being held and will often eat right out of your hands.
As a result, if you are a family that is looking to raise chickens for the first time, then the Pekin chicken should be a good option. Although, once again, we do need to point out that this is a breed that will not produce that many eggs, so make sure that you are fine with this!