Bantam chickens are one of the earliest and oldest known domestic birds. Like I had mentioned earlier, bantam means small hence, raising these bantams in a small place is possible which would otherwise be a little difficult in case of a standard size chicken. If you have a small area and yet you want to raise chickens, bantam chickens will be your best choice because you can keep 2 to 3 bantams in the space required for 1 standard chicken. Keeping bantam chickens for a commercial outcome does not sound like a very good idea because the size of these chickens is too small to make a profit out of their meat. Also, their eggs are smaller in size than the standard eggs available. Instead, you can keep bantams either as a food source for yourself (consuming both their meat and eggs), or as pets.
Tips for Raising Bantam Chickens
Bantam chickens are extremely curious and energetic birds by nature, hence you will have to be very careful with their food, water, and other needs to keep them composed. Take a look at the following points that will tell you exactly how to raise bantam chickens.
Food for Bantams
Although bantam chickens can survive on the same food as their keepers, they cannot survive on it for long. They need nutrition that is specific to their diet, which includes:
- Whole grains
As a regular diet, whole grains are the best sources of nutrition for bantams; an enough supply of it should be available in the coop all the time. You can also find chicken feeds available at various farm feed shops where you can choose the one according to your budget and requirement. Make it a point to feed only whole grains against cracked ones as the former is way healthier than the latter. One good thing about bantam chickens is that they can search for food on their own unlike other chicken breeds. This will help you when you are out and cannot feed your pet. It will save a lot of time for other activities as well as you don’t have to keep monitoring the food timings of the pet, a frequent check is important though. Let them roam around in a fenced area filled with grass, weeds, and fresh green vegetable leftovers to feed themselves. As far as protein is concerned, bantams can obtain protein from insects, worms, and bugs in the summer, however, in winter their diet should include soy, milk, fish, etc., to fulfill the protein amount. Water is the most essential thing for the survival of chickens as it is for all living things. They need lots of water, especially when laying. A bowl of water should always be kept near the door of their coop where they can get it easily whenever they want. Make sure that you clean up the bowl every day and fill it with freshwater to prevent any disease.
Shelter for Bantams
Bantam chickens stay in a chicken coop. The most important thing to be considered while setting the coop is the temperature of the area. A heat lamp has to be placed above the coop so as to provide a sufficient amount of warmth to the chicks if they are not with the brooding hen. The placement of the lamp is extremely important for proper heating. If you notice that the chicks are huddled up beneath the lamp, you must understand that they are feeling very cold and if dispersed, then they are feeling hot. The standard temperature of the coop must be 90-95° F for the first week and a gradual decrease of 5° F for the following weeks. The chicks need to stay indoors for at least the first four weeks.
Protection from Predators
Every living thing is always at a risk of experiencing a threat from its predators and so are bantam chickens. It is the utmost responsibility of the owner to keep its pet animal protected from such dangers and provide a safe and healthy atmosphere for survival. Animals that prey on bantams are snakes and raccoons that might attack them on land whereas hawks, owls and others can attack from above. Hence, you should fence the bantam shelter properly, securing all the possible access points.
- Although raising bantam chicks is a fun task altogether, if you have a broody bantam hen to do the job, it will be good for the chicks. She can provide warmth to the little ones, teach them to find and eat food, and show them what to do when they sense some danger. She will try hard to save her young ones from any predator by even risking her own life.
- Bantam chickens can fly better than standard chickens, hence, if you want to keep them under control, a covered run is essential. Some keepers even trim their chicks’ feathers to keep them from flying. However, it is wrong because if they’re in danger, far away from their coop, they won’t be able to fly into a tree or onto a fence to save themselves.
- Keep trays of hardwood ashes in the coop to allow the chicks to have a dust bath. This helps them get rid of the parasites. You can also spray roost paint on the chickens to prevent lice or any other disease.
All in all, raising bantam chickens can bring you a bundle of joy, provided, you take good care of them and offer them a comfortable atmosphere to live in. Also make sure that you attend your chicks well when they fall sick and arrange for proper medical treatment immediately.