Bantam Chickens- An Excellent Choice For A Backyard Flock

Bantam chickens are among the oldest known domestic chickens. The Silkie Bantam is said to have been domesticated 4,000 years ago. Marco Polo describes the breed in one his journals.

Bantam chickens typically do best in small flocks of three or four hens and one rooster, and need far less space than other breeds. This makes them the first choice of city or suburban folks who want to have fresh eggs and a little bit of the country at their home, regardless of where home actually is.

Bantams are an active and curious breed. They spend most of their time busily picking and scratching for food, and actively dusting and preening their plumage. They clean and preen their feathers in a leisurely fashion several times a day. With their beaks they put each and every feather in its right place, and then preen them by distributing oil over them. Dust-bathing is an integral part of personal chicken hygiene.

Bantams have become increasingly popular as pets as well as for show purposes because they are smaller and have more varied and exotic colors and feather patterns than other chickens. They are ideally suited for smaller backyards. Bantam hens are also used as laying hens, although Bantam eggs are only about one-half to one-third the size of a regular hen egg. The Bantam chicken eats the same foods as a other breeds, but free ranging chickens eat more insects and vegetation than grains. In commercial situations they are fed grain based foods because of the lack of foraging areas.

The Bantam rooster is famous in rural areas throughout the United Kingdom and the United States for its aggressive, “puffed-up” disposition that can be comical at times. It is often called a “Banty” in the rural United States.

Many Bantam hens are renowned for hatching and brooding purposes. Bantams clutch a variety of eggs from quail up to two goose eggs, and are known as fearsome mothers, with a high success rate in rearing any egg hatched.

An important consideration when raising Bantam chickens is the threat from predators. They are especially at risk because of their small size and their curious manner. You should surround the chicken run with a wire mesh perimeter fence that runs about a foot underground to prevent attacks from predators such as foxes and raccoons and you should consider a wire mesh on top to protect the chickens from hawks, owls and other predatory birds.

If you want to keep chickens as pets, then Bantam chickens are a good choice. However, if you want chickens for commercial purposes, meaning chickens for their meat or eggs, you should consider other breeds because of the larger eggs and more meat producing ability.

But for pure pleasure and enjoyment, you will not go wrong with Bantams. They are surely one of the most enjoyable and entertaining breeds of chickens.

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