With their being so many types and sizes of chickens to choose from, it can be tricky for chickens keepers to decide which breed of chicken they want to keep.
Below: One of my dutch bantams. These birds have lovely personalities.
Over the years I have had my breeds and some have been easier to keep than others. I started with large fowl but 20 odd years later I have kept 22 different breeds of bantams.
While bantams are much the same as bigger hens to keep, I have noticed you are likely to have a different set of issues with the smaller chickens.
They are much better flyers for the most part and for me breeding them was a challenge as the roosters and hens were both indulging in a little cross species mating while I was trying to breed them pure.
I had one spangled Hamburg that was a real Houdini and took it upon himself to try an fertilise every hen I had.
Bantams can also squeeze out of very small holes and are also more likely to fall victim to birds of prey. While a hawk might not touch a large fowl, it will quite happily take bantams and the same is true of cats.
Are bantams good for beginners?
Bantam chickens are an excellent choice for novice chicken keepers. They take up much less room are easy to handle and cheaper to feed as well as making good pets.
There are a couple of bantam breeds like the Polish chicken which should be avoided by novice keepers.
Newbie chicken keepers can keep bantams chickens as easily as full size poultry.
In some ways the bantam chicken is easier for the novice to handle as they are smaller and tend to be more friendly.
I would normally suggest to beginners to avoid keeping certain breeds of chickens with known behavioural issues or those types with crests or feathery feet.
Beginners are advised to avoid hard to keep types of chickens like Polish or feathered footed chickens
Are bantams easy to keep?
Bantam chickens are as easy to keep as large fowl chickens and can be kept in the same type of chicken coop and fed the same foods.
Most bantam chickens are just as cold hardy as their larger cousins and a few breeds are productive when it comes to egg laying.
Some breeds require more care and you can get away with keeping bantam chickens in a slightly smaller space. You can mix large fowl and bantam chickens.
Bantams are easier to keep because:
- Bantams tend to be more friendly, curious by nature and easily tamed.
- They will make less mess in a small garden.
- Bantams are one third to one half the size of normal chickens.
- Bantams require less feed.
- Small chickens are easier to handle.
Bantam chicken breeds for the beginner:
I always recommend placid, good natured bantams for the beginner like the Wyandotte or the Barnevelder. Both are stunning to look at, easy to find and a dream to look after.
Below: Bantam Wyandottes like these are good for beginners.
Long and feather legged types come with their own set of problems and are not always a good choice for the novice.
How do you keep bantam chickens?
While with large chickens, you will need at least four square feet of coop space per bird and eight square feet in the run, bantams only require one to two square feet in the coop and four in the run.
You can set up your coop exactly the same for a bantam chicken as you would for a standard breed.