When it comes to raising chickens for eggs or meat, it’s understandable to think “the bigger the better”, but this may not necessarily be true for you, depending on your circumstances. Bantam chickens are miniature versions of regular chickens, but their smaller stature can have its advantages for those starting out on a budget.
Firstly, they take up less space than your average chicken which means they can be cheaper to raise in terms of food and housing. For this reason, they’re a great option for first-time chicken keepers with a modest backyard space. Their small size also makes bantams ideal for young children on your homestead since they are lighter to handle and easier to care for.
With their varied colors and pattern varieties, bantam chickens can make a wonderful addition to your current stock or provide a gentle introduction to chicken rearing for those new to the game. Wherever you are in your chicken-raising journey, this brief guide can shed some light on the realities of keeping them – from their temperament and required space to egg-laying habits and more.
Are Bantam Chickens Good Egg Layers?
Absolutely! Though they lay smaller eggs than their regular-sized cousins, many bantam chicken breeds are very consistent and reliable egg-layers, producing equally yummy and nutritious eggs in various pretty colors (and some breeds even continue laying throughout winter).
If fresh regular eggs are a top priority on your farm, the following bantam chicken breeds are considered to have the best egg-laying ability: Plymouth Rocks, Leghorns, Easter Eggers, Sussex bantams, and Brahmas.
How Many Eggs Do Bantam Chickens Lay?
This will depend on the individual breed, but bantam chickens may lay as much as 150 to 200 eggs per year or as little as 50 eggs each year. Bantam chicken breeds with a high egg production (of at least 4 eggs per week) include Sussex bantams, Ameraucana, Plymouth Rocks, and Australorps.
Do Bantam Chickens Lay Small Eggs?
Yes, bantam chickens are smaller in stature and so produce smaller eggs. Typically, 2 bantam eggs will be equivalent to the average medium-sized egg from a regular chicken. Bantam eggs also tend to weigh between 1 and 1.75 ounces, compared to regular chicken eggs that can weigh up to 70g (2.4 ounces).
Can Bantam Chickens Live with Regular Chickens?
Yes, you can keep bantam chickens with regular-sized chickens, though they will find it easier to live together if there are more bantam chickens than larger birds, or if the regular chickens are younger than the bantams.
Even so, it can be normal for fighting to occur between both types as they try to establish the pecking order. Also despite their smaller stature, bantams are not always afraid of bigger chickens and will stand their ground if being bullied, so aggression can come from both parties!
Both chicken types can live well together if they are given enough space, separate food and water areas from each other and if both have their own set of toys, perches, and other distractions.
How Much Space Do Bantam Chickens Need?
Bantam chickens will only need around 1/3 of the normal coop space occupied by regular chickens and their run (outdoor roaming space) size will be much smaller than usual too. Bantams should have at least 5 square feet of space per chicken, whereas standard size chickens normally occupy around 8 square feet per bird.
How Big Do Bantam Chickens Get?
Depending on the individual breed and diet of each bantam chicken, they can measure between 8 and 12 inches tall and weigh between 1 and 2.5 lbs (the equivalent to around 20 to 30% of a regular chicken’s body weight).
What is the Smallest Breed of Bantam Chickens?
The smallest known bantam chicken breed is the Serama bantam from Malaysia. This pint-sized breed measures just under 6 inches tall and weighs in at less than 500g (around 1.1 lbs). It would take 5 Serama bantam eggs to equate to just one standard ‘large’ chicken egg!
When are Bantam Chickens Full Grown?
This can depend on each breed as some bantam chickens mature quite quickly at around 4 to 5 months, whilst some can take around 7 to 12 months before they reach full maturity.
It is around this time that most bantam hens will start laying their eggs, typically around the age of 22 to 28 weeks, but this will depend on when you raise them, as many bantams raised in summer or fall will not produce eggs until the next spring.
How High Can Bantam Chickens Fly?
If they have enough motivation to do so, bantam chickens can actually fly higher and for longer than standard-sized chickens due to their lighter build, reaching heights of 6 feet or more. Some bantam breeds will love to fly up high to find a good roosting spot or may fly if they feel antsy or in danger.
Depending on their docile personalities, there are some bantam chickens that do not bother to fly at all, such as Marans, Sussex bantams, and Wyandottes.
Are Bantam Chickens Aggressive?
Bantam roosters tend to be quite aggressive according to a poll run by the Community Chickens blog which found 60% of chicken keepers agreeing that male bantams had an attitude. There’s a theory that their size gives them a sort of ‘Napoleon complex’ and so they make up for it with big personalities.
Because they are quite small, aggressive bantam roosters will thankfully do little damage, although you should take care not to leave small children near a feisty rooster.
Though behavior may vary between each breed’s personality, you can usually reduce the chances of raising an aggressive rooster or hen bantam by hand-feeding them from a young age and spending a lot of time with them.
Are Bantam Chickens Loud?
Due to their smaller size, bantam chickens are not especially loud, but rooster bantams will still crow and the hens will cluck loudly just as regular-sized chickens do.
You Might Also Like:
- How Do Chickens Mate? (Explained, Facts and Answers)
- Is a Chicken a Mammal? (Explained, Birds Characteristics, etc)
- Can Chickens Eat Rice? (Cooked, Uncooked, Puffed Rice, etc)
- Can Chickens Eat Watermelon? (Rind, Seeds, Leaves & Benefits)
- Do Chickens Need a Rooster to Lay Eggs? (10 Quick Facts)
- Are Silkie Roosters Loud? (Explained and 9 Helpful Facts)