Bantam chickens, or banty chickens, are an ornamental variety of bird. They are suitable for families or young children to look after as they are smaller than normal birds. "True bantams" are breeds that have no larger related chicken species associated with them. There are several breeds of bantam worthy of note.
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The rosecomb bantam originated in the United Kingdom. It is identified by its long, sickle tail feathers and is either black, orangey brown or a mixture of the two. Rosecomb bantams have fertility problems, and chicks are slow to mature. Although the males can be aggressive, this breed is friendly and makes suitable pets.
The Belgian bantam family is large, with many types of breeds. For example, the barbu d'Anvers, barbu d'Uccles and barbu de Watermeal are all members of this breed. Belgian bantams have plump feathers, often consisting of black, brown, white and bluish and orangey tones. They are lively, inquisitive birds that learn to trust regular handlers.
The booted bantam, also known as Dutch booted bantam, is a calm and friendly breed of chicken. Booted bantams are named after their characteristic fluffy boots. They are particularly small birds, with roosters weighing less than 0.907 Kilogram, and hens 1 227gr. Special care should be taken when looking after booted bantams because they are more delicate than other breeds. They need to be kept in warm, clean bedding during cold spells.
The Japanese bantam has long tail feathers that stands erect. Its wings often touch the ground because it appears to be squatting, although this is due to its very short legs. This also gives the bird a characteristic waddling walk. Japanese bantams are not good at pecking, making it a suitable breed to choose if you have a lawn or flowerbeds. It comes in many colours, including mottled, white and grey or black.
Nankins are a simple breed of bantam that lacks the more exotic characteristics of Japanese or Belgian bantams. It is usually chestnut brown in colour with black tail feathers. This breed of chicken is friendly and calm, but prefers to stay together in groups. It is an effective breeder and chicks are resilient.
The Sebright bantam is a relatively modern chicken, first bred in the 1800s. There are two additional breeds of Sebright bantams --- golden or silver. The silver Sebright is white with black tipped feathers, while the golden Sebright is rich and dark in colour.
Silkie bantams have a distinctive look. They are a round, fluffy chicken that appear to have fur rather than feathers. Silkies are bred in black, white, gold or partridge. They have small beaks and beady black eyes.
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