A bantam is a small chicken, between a third (33%) and a fifth (20%) as big as a large fowl chickens and weighing between 1 and 3 pounds. As with their bigger cousins, the size of bantams varies considerably from the tiny Serama at 1 pound (500 g) in weight to the bantam Orpington at nearly 3 pounds (1.5 kg) in weight.
The true bantams, those without large fowl versions, are the smallest chickens.
Below: A bantam next to a big hen for size comparison.
Why are bantam chickens smaller?
The size of bantam chickens is controlled by dwarfing genes which are dominant meaning that only one copy of the gene is needed to reduce body size.
Bantam dwarfism or dwB reduces body size by 50 to 80% depending on the breed and whether the chicken has one or two copies of one or both dwarfing genes in the chickens DNA.
Man has selected these birds to remain small.
How tall is a bantam chicken?
The height of a bantam chicken is 14 inches on average but can vary from 8 inches for the little Serama to a full 22 inches for the bantam Brahma, the tallest bantam.
Below: A size comparison of bantam and large fowl chicks at one day old.
How fast do bantam chickens grow?
There are no fast growing bantam chickens, most take between 24 and 30 weeks to mature and some a little longer.
In contrast to modern egg laying hybrids that can start laying as early as 19 weeks of age, bantams have been selected for their size and for showing by fanciers, not to be fast developers.
What is the difference between Bantam and standard chickens?
The difference between standard and bantam chickens is their size and body weight. Bantams are about half the size and only a third of the weight of large fowl chickens.
How big do bantam roosters get?
Bantam roosters are an inch or 2 taller than the hens and 10% heavier.