Smaller versions of standard bred hens, bantam hens are the perfect chickens for someone who doesn't have plenty of space for a typical henhouse. Bantams also consume less feed and create less manure than standard chickens while still laying eggs for the owner's table. Their eggs are somewhat smaller than those of standard chickens, but they tend to lay with the same frequency as the corresponding standard breed. Bantams are typically about a quarter the size of a standard chicken, making them a popular choice for families with children.
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Aves
Order - Galliformes
Family - Phasianidae
Subfamily - Phasianinae
Genus - Gallus
Species & Subspecies - G. gallus domesticus
Common Names - Bantam Hen, Banty Hen
Bantam chickens are simply the miniature version of standard-sized chickens. Most standard chickens have corresponding bantams. Like all chickens, bantams have short and squat bodies covered in feathers of many colors and patterns. Bantams have combs, wattles, two small wings, and scale-covered legs. Since bantams are smaller and lighter than standard chickens, they usually can fly a bit further than a full-sized hen. However, they still can only fly short distances.
By the time a bantam hen is six months of age, she is sexually mature. She mates with a rooster when the rooster leaps on her back and presses his cloaca to the hen's. Her eggs will then be fertile. Hens will still lay eggs, even if they do not mate with a rooster. If the eggs are incubated by a "setting" broody hen, they will hatch in 21 days. Bantam hens are usually wonderful mothers, possessing great proclivity toward "broodiness."
Bantam hens behave a lot like standard chickens. They spend their days scratching the ground in search of insects and seeds to eat. They also lay eggs, explore their surroundings, and dust bathe to rid themselves of mites. They prefer living in flocks with or without roosters. At night, they sleep above the ground on roosts. Bantams are very interesting to watch, often displaying curious personalities.
The earliest origins of bantam chickens are cloaked in mystery, but most biologists believe that they came from the Orient. The Japanese played a huge role in breeding and refining these miniature fowl.
Bantams are as widely spread across the world as standard chickens. However, when they are fed high-quality feed, they often grow larger than desired in certain areas of the world. Careful breeding and selection can keep them the desired size.