So, your dream is to own a lovely and lively flock of backyard chickens that will be a delight to watch and can provide you with your very own farm fresh eggs. However, you fear that your quite cosy urban backyard will result in cramped and unhappy chickens, and alas- no eggs!
If this is the case, maybe you should consider keeping bantam chickens instead. Bantam chickens are basically a miniature version of certain regular chicken breeds- which is what makes them a convenient chicken solution if backyard size is not on your side. As a rule of thumb, you can keep 2 to 3 bantam chickens in the space required for one standard sized chicken.
Bantam chickens will still be a charming pet that will lay lots of lovely eggs, that are equally as nutritious and delicious as eggs from a regular sized chicken, just a little smaller- fun size, if you will.
Despite them being petite in size, they aren’t in nature, and still have the same needs of standard-sized chickens (just on a slightly smaller scale).
So if you’re thinking that a flock of bantam chickens might be a perfect fit for you and your backyard, read on to get the low down on how to keep and care for your pint sized poultry pals.
Just like all other chicken, bantam chickens will need a safe and sturdy coop to call home, that is able to provide for all their living and housing needs.
Assuming space is on the smaller side of things, either the Cluck House or Taj Mahal will be the perfect coop for your bantam chickens flock- small enough to fit in an urban backyard, but large enough to house a reasonable sized flock of smaller sized chickens. Plus they tick all the boxes when it comes to their other needs below.
Each of these coops make the ideal home for bantam chickens, giving them ample space to roost, nest, peck, prod and dust bath until their hearts content.
As bantam chickens are a smaller breed, they do feel the elements more so than regular sized chickens, so it is important that their coop is well ventilated so they can keep warm in winter and cooler in summer.
It’s important to ensure your little bantam chicken friends are safe from any predators lurking around. So ensure that your coop is fitted with a sturdy galvanised wire mesh, and has proper lock closes, to keep your bantam chickens safe and sound from those bigger and bolder than them!
While both the Taj Mahal and Cluck House will keep your bantam chickens so happy they may never want to leave their confines, they will require regular free-ranging and exercise to keep their more miniature bodies in shape. Watching your bantam chickens play and poke about in the backyard looking for tasty morsels to snack on is sure to fill you with joy!
Bantam chickens have the same nutritional requirements of regular chickens, they just require a smaller amount due to their slight size.
It is important that bantam chickens have access to fresh clean water and poultry pellets at all times- both in and out of their coop. Like regular chickens, bantam chickens will only eat if they are hungry or if something is particularly tasty, so there is no fear of them overindulging on pellets and becoming more fat than fine.
As well as a good quality poultry pellet, bantam chickens require nutrition from some human foods, in particular fresh fruit and vegetables. Bok choy, watermelon, spinach, strawberries and pumpkins all provide nutritional value for bantam chickens- plus they go down a treat!
Other food scraps you can give to your bantam chickens rather than binning them include;
While your bantam chickens are sure to go into quite a flap over these goodies, it is important to keep them as treats, and only feed them to your girls occasionally.
As bantam chickens can be furious little egg layers, they may need a calcium boost from time to time to keep their body in prime egg-laying shape. Grit will provide your bantam chickens with a welcome dose of calcium should you find their eggshells are looking a little weak. However, if your bantam chickens are given plenty of fresh grass and earth to peck and poke around in, they will receive plenty of protein and other essential nutrients to keep them happy and healthy.
The most important aspect of caring for your pint sized feathered friends is giving them an abundance of love- you will find that bantam chickens will thrive off your adoration and attention.
What bantam chickens may lack in size, they sure do make up for in personality and charm. Each will have their own sweet and quirky disposition, that make them a delightful pet to have around- not just a breakfast producer!
Like with any living creature, give your bantam chickens a little TLC, and they will remain happy and healthy for many years to come.