Getting started. Why raise chickens? 0/3
Requirements (parts list) for raising chickens 0/4
Basic breed types and their characteristics 0/2
Purebred flock vs. assortment 0/1
Incubators and hatching chicks 0/3
When things go wrong and predators too! 0/5
Processing birds 0/4
Bantams: “Great Chickens Which Come in Small Packages”
Bantams are chickens bred to be ¼ to ½ the size of their full sized counterparts. There are bantam breeds which correspond to the majority of full sized (standard) breeds.
Have you ever had opportunity to observe the strength of a dwarf, of any species? Typically dwarves are really strong for their size. I heard of a football coach who was a dwarf. One of his lunker sized players ventured to mock him, and … he took him down and pinned him! The same kind of proportionate strength and spunk is true of bantam (dwarf) chickens. They are truly amazing.
Bantams have attitude! Often, in a mixed flock, the larger birds learn to defer to the bantams, on account of their tremendous “pluck.” Bantams tend to be survivors. They apply this attitude to everything, and that includes any kind of challenge which comes their way. They are also more thrifty on feed. Oftentimes a bantam will consume less feed than it should, proportionately, for its size. Most are fantastic foragers. When mixed into a flock of large fowl and the birds are allowed freely to mix, it will usually be noted that bantams and their crosses will predominate over time. In other words, in a mixed flock, the presence of bantams will cause the average size for individual birds to shrink, over time.
The very first bantams arose out of game bird (fighting) stock. Once there were miniature game birds, these were used to cross with other full size breeds in order to produce miniatures of those breeds. It was relatively easy to do. Very soon the breeders had perfect miniature replicas of the large fowl they so loved. But almost without exception every bantam breed carries two traits which are especially noticeable in the game fowl:
- They are extremely spunky! I mean, they will fight if pushed!
- They are broody in nature, meaning that the hens will sit and hatch eggs.
Advantages of raising bantams
- They are thrifty, meaning they make excellent use of resources to produce what they produce.
- One can have more birds in less space.
- Though high pitched, the crow of the roosters tends not to carry as far as that of a large fowl (Better for avoiding problems with neighbors).
- Most bantams lay pretty well.
- There is a large array of absolutely beautiful bantam breeds from which to chose.
Disadvantages of raising bantams
- They make very small carcasses for eating.
- They lay small eggs. (So one may eat two or three eggs in place of just one!)
- Being small, bantams are more susceptible to attack by winged predators.
That about sums things up. The bantam breeds might be a very good option for the would-be urban chicken raiser, seeing that they need less space. As pets, they are unsurpassed.