Various Types of Bantams
Bantams are a great choice if your garden space is restricted as their small size means they can live in a smaller area than most chickens. Some bantams have been bred as miniture versions of standard breeds, but 'true bantams' have no large equivalent, they are naturally small in size. They are often about the size of a pigeon. Because of their light weight they can fly well so be careful of anything that they could fly up onto and over a fence. A lot of breeds make very good mothers but if your not breeding with them then they can be quite a nuisance if they go broody and might not lay for weeks.
These bantams are very popular as a pet because of their size, looks and character. Pekins have been bred in a variaty of colours including black, gold, partridge, dark grey, lavender, white, cuckoo (stripy) and buff. They have long, soft feathers and they go all the way down their legs giving them an appearance as though they have trousers. They don't lay many eggs though, about 60 a year and they usually stop laying in the winter. They are particularly suitable for very small gardens.
These bantams are thought to have originated in Italy where they are prized for their amazing puffy hairdo, but they were perfected in Holland. There are eight variaties of them and some have a beard under their beak aswell as the crest of feathers on their head. They are good as pets because they are good egg layers and very easy to pick up and tame because they can't really see you coming! They are harder to keep clean and you need to watch out for lice and mites which can live in the crest.
These bantams have a very striking feature on them which is the tail and is large and upright. Pronounced in the female, it is really spectacular in the male. They have very short legs and so prefer dry, short grass but otherwise are easy to look after. This is a true bantam with no standard version.
These bantams originate from France and the eggs are prized for their colour, a lovely dark mahogany brown. The bantam version of the breed lays extremely well, even better than the standard size (which is on 'Pure Breeds') which is prone to overeating and laziness. The Maran bantam is not a true bantam, but a miniature version of the standard breed. They are very pretty and hardy, they are active, bright chickens.