Bantam Chickens

Bantam chickens are small chickens that are about ¼ th or a ⅕ th of a large chicken breed but are similar to their bigger counterparts in most other ways. The name ‘Bantam’ comes from the city of Bantam, a seaport town in western Java, Indonesia. Bantams are great for beginners, as they do not need much space and can be kept in a backyard. However, it is essential to note that after starting to lay eggs at about 20-24 weeks, the hens can produce eggs for about 2 years.

While almost every large fowl breed has a bantam counterpart, they don’t necessarily always have the exact origins. Some naturally developed differently from their larger counterparts, while others have been bred explicitly as bantams.

Bantam Chickens

Different Types of Bantam Chicken Breeds

Bantams are widely split into three categories based on their origins. However, there is some overlap between the breeds. For instance, the Japanese Bantam has no standard counterpart and is classified as a true bantam. On the other hand, its origins come from years of selective breeding, so it could also be classified as a developed bantam.

True Bantams

True bantams are naturally small and have no large fowl counterpart.

BreedAdult Weight (in ounces)Eggs per Year (on average)PersonalityColors
Barbu d’AnversMale: 24.7 
Female: 21.2 
250FriendlyBlack, Mottled, Porcelain, Blue, Quail, etc.
Barbu d’EverbergMale: 24.7-28.2 
Female: 19.4-23 
100FriendlyBlack, White, Blue, Quail, etc.
Barbu d’UccleMale: 26.5 
Female: 23 
100Chatty, Docile, and FriendlyWhite, Black, Red, Blue, etc.
Barbu de BoitsfortMale: 21.2-24.7 
Female: 15.9-17.6 
100Docile and Even-temperedBlack, White, Buff Columbia, Cuckoo, Quail, etc.
Barbu de GrubbeMale: 24.7 
Female: 21.2 
100AggressiveQuail, Lavender, Black, Mille Fleur, Mottled, White, etc.
Barbu de WatermaelMale: 21.2–24.7 
Female: 15.9-19.4 
100AggressiveBlack, Brown Red, Buff Columbia, Cuckoo, Quail And White, etc.
Bassette LiégeoiseMale: 35.2 
Female: 31.7 
125-180FriendlyQuail, Silver Quail, etc.
Belgian BantamMale: 23 
Female: 19.4 
200-250Friendly and DocileChocolate, Black, etc.
Bleue de Lasnes
Booted BantamMale: 30 
Female: 22.92 
150-200Calm and FriendlyWhite, Black, Blue, Porcelain, Mille Fleur, etc.
BurmeseMale: 201 
Female: 15.9 
120-180Quiet and FriendlyWhite
Dutch BantamMale: 17.6-19.4 
Female: 14.1-15.9 
160FriendlyBlack, Blue, Lavender, White, Wheaten, etc.
Japanese BantamMale: 18-21.9
Female: 14.1-18
75Calm, Friendly, and TrustingBlack, White, Cuckoo, Blue Red, Buff Colombian, etc.
Mericanel della BrianzaMale: 24.7–28.2 
Female: 21.2–24.7
White, Black, Silver, Gold, Pyle, etc.
MugelleseMale: 28.2
Female: 24.7
Less than a 100Active and PersonableBrown, White, etc.
Naine du TournaisisMaroon, Black, White, etc.
Nankin BantamMale: 24-26.1
Female: 20.1-21.9
80-100Calm and FriendlyChestnut
Nankin ShamoBlack, Brown, Red, White, etc.
Pekin BantamMale: 24
Female: 20.1
50-150DocileBlack, Blue, Buff, Cuckoo, Mottled, Barred, Birchen, etc.
PépoiMale: 48-56
PictaveMale: 28.2
Female: 21.2
PyncheonMale: 24
Female: 22
Mille Fleur
RosecombMale: 21.9
Female: 18
FriendlyBlue, Black, Ginger Red, Porcelain, Quail, Pyle, etc.
SebrightMale: 21.9
Female: 18
52Active and FriendlyGold, Silver
Serama8.8-18200-250CalmChocolate, Wheaten, Gray, White, Brown, Blue-red, Brown-red, Black, etc.
Waasse kriel
YakidoMale: 74-91.7
Female: 60-74

Miniature Bantams

These bantams have a large fowl counterpart and are generally smaller but have off proportions. This means that certain parts of their bodies are more prominent, like their heads and tails. Some examples of these chickens include the Brahma and the Polish Bantam

Developed Bantams

These chickens have been selectively bred for specific reasons, such as physical characteristics or traits. Some examples of these chickens include the Cochin and Silkie Bantam.

Classification by the American Poultry Association 

The American Poultry Association (APA) classifies bantam chickens based on their physical appearance. These chickens are divided into six categories depending on a set of criteria put forward by the APA.

  • Modern Game (Modern Game Chickens)
  • Game (American Game and Old English Game Chickens)
  • Single Comb Clean-legged (Serama, Orpington, etc.)
  • Rose-comb Clean-legged (Rhode Island Red, Sebright, etc.)
  • Feather-legged (Brahma, Silkie, etc.)
  • All Other Comb Clean Legged (Ameraucana, Malay, etc)

How to Care for Bantams

Caring for bantams is the same as caring for standard chickens, albeit on a smaller scale. On average, a bantam needs about a pound of feed.

One of the benefits of keeping bantams is that they require less space compared to standard chickens. Generally, the space requirements for bantams are:

Coop Space2 square feet per bird
Running Room5 square feet per bird
Nesting Box10 inches x 12 inches x 10 inches
Roosting Area7 inches per bird


1. How long do bantam chickens live?

On average, bantams live for 4-8 years, but some live for over a decade if properly cared for.

2. Can bantam chickens live with larger chickens?

While bantam chickens can live with large fowl, if issues with pecking order occur within the flock, the smaller size of the bantams can be used against them. Female bantams shouldn’t be kept with larger roosters as they can get hurt if the males attempt to mate.

3. How hardy are bantam chickens?

Bantams are generally less hardy than standard breeds, but some developed bantams acquire a bit of hardiness as a byproduct of selective breeding.

4. Which bantam chicken breed is the rarest?

 The Burmese bantam is the rarest and is on the brink of extinction. It was believed to have gone extinct at the time of the First World War, but a few individuals were discovered later on.

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