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Anyone here breeding bantam chickens?

                                              


Joined: Mar 30, 2011
Posts: 500

    Im curious if anyone here is breeding bantam chickens. It is only recently I got mine, and they are not laying yet. I am reading about a lot of varieties, and there doesnt seem to be a good consistent laying breed like you have with larger chickens. for some reason everyone is much more interested in breeding for color then practicality.

    so if anyone here has been selecting them for production of eggs, Id be interested in eggs down the line. also if you have an unusually docile male.

    since im going to continually have them from this point i figure I can do some breeding with them, see if I cant get birds that lay as well as larger chickens.

    On a chicken forum i was reading once, someone had a male that didnt crow. I also read of breeding projects that made birds crow more. Its likely futile, but Im going to try to select for less and less noisy roosters. it would be cool to have that option for urban homesteaders. im not concerned about the males needing to protect anything, because if i had them open to wildlife here, a rooster couldnt protect them anyway.
T. Pierce


Joined: Mar 13, 2011
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia
i have old english game bantams.  i was going to raise them for show but changed my mind couple yrs back when i decided on living a practical life.  so i only have a few of them now. i like them.  only reason keep them is b/c they are a cool lil bird and eat next to nothing.  no good at laying.  their only interest is to lay enuff to go broody with.  and if you keep taking their eggs. they will go broody on just one egg.  they are too small to set on more than a couple of standard eggs.  but their own eggs, they can cover 1/2 doz. or so.  the roosters are very tame and docile.  not really aggressive to each other either.  their crow is small and not near as defined as other bantams or standard breeds.  not a bad breed to have if you just want pets and only have limited space.
                                              


Joined: Mar 30, 2011
Posts: 500
  In my newest batch of eggs there are a few of the old english ones, that sounds like a good one for what Im doing, or half of it anyway... thanks for the input.
T. Pierce


Joined: Mar 13, 2011
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia


blue splash coloration.  cocks are about 1.5 lbs  hens slightly smaller.  hard solid bodies on them.  they would make a good eating breed i believe.  ive never butchered one of mine
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
I'm not really raising bantams, but have been considering getting some if I could be sure they'd lay well enough to justify keeping them.  In doing some research, I found books on bantams with the following information:

Ancona                          180-200 eggs/year,  1 oz. per egg
Araucana (EE)              150-180/yr.,              1 oz. per egg
Brahma                        190/yr.,                      1.2 oz. per egg
La Fleche (hard to find) 200/yr.,                      1.6 oz. per egg
New Hampshire            180/yr.,                      1.4 oz. per egg
Orpington                      160-180/yr.,              1.2 oz. per egg
Rhode Island                180/yr.,                      1.4 oz. per egg
Sussex                          150-180/yr.,              1.4 oz. per egg
Welsummer                  180/yr.,                      1.6 oz. per egg
Wyandotte                    100-180/yr.,              1.4 oz. per egg
Polish (from a different book) just rated as excellent layers

I don't know if the strains of these breeds that we have in this country will be the same as the British strains.  I found a few of these breeds in American hatcheries (Brahma, which I don't want because we have heavy clay and they have feathered feet; New Hampshires and RIRs, and Wyandottes); if I do get any it will probably be the New Hampshires or RIRs.  Polish are cute but I'm not sure they are worth the extra trouble their crests cause.

Kathleen
T. Pierce


Joined: Mar 13, 2011
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia
interesting. i never realized most these breeds are bantams.  i thought most all these are standard sized.
                                              


Joined: Mar 30, 2011
Posts: 500
Thanks kathleen. I have some brahmas, but not most of those others. I havent really found such info when i looked so that helps. a general ball park is all i need.

organic chicken is real expensive here, so Im just going to keep adding chicks and eggs as I can, and eating the louder or meaner ones, or the poorer layers.

I will probably keep adding new ones even when I can hatch my own. especially if I find someone with unusually calm birds or great layers.

If anyones interested we could get a mutual breeding project going eventually? I wont be ready for that for awhile obviously, but if anyone is doing something similar it would help us both to trade eggs...
T. Pierce


Joined: Mar 13, 2011
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia
ive got some cornish on order.  not the bantams but standard size ones.  from what i can tell they should make good meat birds.  not good layers and much slower growth than the cornish X's that are world reknown.  but they will be my lil experiement.  id say the bantam version of them would be a nice meat bird too. but ive never had any of them either.

.  i have comet X RIR hens that have more body on them than pure comets.  im thinking a cornish cock over these hens will give me a pretty decent layer with a potential for meat chicken too. but its all on paper. not in the real world as of yet.

i dont see why the bantams of these would do the same thing.  all guess work though.
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
Dead Rabbit wrote:
interesting. i never realized most these breeds are bantams.   i thought most all these are standard sized.


There are both standard and bantam of these breeds -- the statistics quoted are for the bantam versions.  The books I got the information from were both printed in England, so I don't know if the figures apply to American birds, but probably aren't too far off.

Kathleen
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
Silverseeds, where are you located?  I'm contemplating a breeding project with my chickens, though it may not involve bantams, at least not right now.  I have a Mille Fleur Leghorn rooster and am supposed to be getting some more chicks to go with him; several Silkie X Easter Egger hens and a rooster (all very pretty, good layers and broodies); a couple of Buckeye hens; some Golden-laced Wyandottes (and three more coming with the Mille Fleur chicks), and a Buff Wyandotte.  My goal is pea-combed or rose-combed birds that are good layers year-round but with some broodiness left in them, and I want them to be colorful (hence the Mille Fleur and Golden-laced birds). 

If I do get some bantams next year, and they do well, I may switch over to those entirely, but I like most of the birds that I have right now and hope to do something with them.

Kathleen
                                              


Joined: Mar 30, 2011
Posts: 500
  im in new mexico.

  Im going to have to stick to bantams. really though its okay, because it seems to me from some rough stats Ive seen that bantams are much more efficient eaters then the adults. So If I bred a good laying one, it could be rather useful Id guess....

 
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
I don't know for sure if they are more efficient, but it WOULD be nice to have bantams that were as good layers as the best of the standard breeds!  The main reason I was thinking of bantams is because with a small piece of land (we only have slightly over one acre right now), it would be easier to keep enough birds for a breeding flock if they were smaller. 

Kathleen
                                              


Joined: Mar 30, 2011
Posts: 500
Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
I don't know for sure if they are more efficient, but it WOULD be nice to have bantams that were as good layers as the best of the standard breeds!  The main reason I was thinking of bantams is because with a small piece of land (we only have slightly over one acre right now), it would be easier to keep enough birds for a breeding flock if they were smaller. 

Kathleen


I havent seen solid stats on them being more efficient growers, but it seems so, based on feed amounts and weight of the birds.

either way though, its worth working on as bantams ARE my only option since i do want to feed a breeding population. Might as well try to get a nice production egg layer while im doing it..... It should be easy enough actually, because most breeding with them, simply doesnt focus on that. People want them to look certain ways, and thats fine and dandy, but Im more interested in them for my eggs. although I want to have them super friendly to, so as to be more personable to a wider range of folks who might not like the attitudes of some chickens. Lots of back yards think of their chickens as friends.

I also came across old posts on a few forums with folks who did exactly this, and had great results!!! I tried contacting them, but they likely have new email or dont go to that site, as I got no response. but its a worthwhile project for sure.
T. Pierce


Joined: Mar 13, 2011
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia
any thoughts to having english or american game hens.  decent layers during the summer.  and if given art. light they lay yr round.  some are better than others but you will get outa most 4 eggs per wk or more outa them.  they are broody.  some extremely.  not the tamest but if hand raised and you get the right strains,  they will become pets.  much better mothers than most any breed and extremely durable. not prone to disease or sickness.  hens are generally 3-4 lbs.  not bantam but smaller than standard breeds.  and very pleasing to the eye.
                                              


Joined: Mar 30, 2011
Posts: 500
sounds like a good one to me. I want to keep my selections broody to. i dont want  to NEED a incubator.
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 977
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
I've been doing a little browsing of the online catalogs, and it looks like Cackle Hatchery has a good selection and the best prices (that I've found so far).  Of what they have to offer, I'd choose a few Easter Eggers, a few Buff Orpingtons, a good number of RIR's, and a few Old English Game birds.  Personally, I like Crele, Ginger Red, and Wheaten, but you pick your own favorite colors, LOL!  Cross these breeds for a while, raise a lot of chicks each year keeping all the females, cull out the poor layers and keep only the best layers for the breeding pens, and in a few years you should have a really nice breed of bantams for backyard layers.  I suspect they would lay olive-colored eggs.  (Olive drab)

Kathleen
                  


Joined: Apr 19, 2011
Posts: 114
Location: South Carolina Zone 8
Okay I started my second time in my life keeping chickens with bantams. My first was growing up and those were a mixed lot of full sized hens and a rooster much like my grandmother's, aunt;s grand uncle's, etc flock (more on this later). I got a mixed selection of 25 hatchery choice chicks. I had a couple easter eggers (which I hesitate to call bantam due to size) 4 cochin 1 being my roo, 3 silkies and 1-2 each of a lot of others. After I raised them up and started thining out the roosters (I had about 8 I gave away) the hens started laying. I was soon overwhelmed to the point I had friends ducking me because they were afraid I had eggs to give away. Anyone who says bantams do not lay well tends to forget a bantam is just a smaller chicken. Now just like some full sized breeds lay better than others the same can be said for bantams but they do lay well and being smaller eat less and require less room. Of course as my hens got older I hatched out chicks from my cochin rooster and whatever hen laid the eggs and those mixed birds layed better than the originals. Over time I mixed up my flock even more adding in another easter egger hen and a couple Rhode Island Reds and a few other hens I just liked the look of.

What bothers me in any talk of chickens and breeds involving eggs is most people look at say Rhode Island Reds and say they are good egg layers so I want them and stick with one "breed" of chicken simply because they believe everything they have read and heard without doing a little research into what exactly was a traditional old school "homested" chicken flock. It just so happens that old timers were as intrested in production as they were survivability and self reliance in chickens. A typical flock consisted of a good sized rooster or in some cases two (for flock defence and breeding) which were for the most part chosen for size and how purdy (intentional mispelling) they were. Next hens were selected based on what chicks your friends and family had to give or trade with you. Now some people kept pure flocks but they were a hobby anyone who wanted eggs and ocasionaly some meat had yard birds which were a mixed breed mutt of a chicken. Now these mixed up birds do not lay as good as pure breeds but they do lay well and for a longer part of thier lifespan. If you think about it a bird bred for egg production can lay an egg a day every day for a fixed number of eggs and they will lay till those run out and then they are done. A mixed up bird for the sake of example will lay the same number of eggs in it's lifetime. The key is it may lay 3-4 days in a row and then take a break for a day or two and lay more but however by not laying for say 2 days a week it's lays for a much longer length of time before they are done. If you figure on say 12 birds on any given day you may get 12 from each flock however you may also get 6 from the mixed flock and 10-12 from the pure. After a couple years you will see only 2-3 from the pure and still get 6-10 from the mixed. All things considered mixed breed chickens are usually the better choice and they also tend to be more self suficient and smarter like they had a bit more common sense bred back into them for lack of a better description..
Rachell Koenig


Joined: Jan 08, 2012
Posts: 69
I just got bantam chicks and I don't really know what to expect out of them. I would love for anyone who has raise them to give me their input. How different is it going to be raising them than chickens? what about predators? Do they reproduce fast enough that predators might not be an issue? pickle eggs? how many roosters should i keep per chicken? will my cats try to eat them? they don't try to eat the chickens.. but bantams being smaller... i'm worried. are they smarter than chickens in any way? is there a good website? I've heard of keeping pigeons for the hawks to eat so your chickens will survive, is it feasible to do the same with bantams? what works best for their boxes?
 
 
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