Developed in Japan as early as the 7th Century probably from Indo-Chinese stock, the Japanese bantam or Chabo Bantam was first introduced to Europe as early as the sixteenth century. It has very short, clean yellow legs and the long tail is carried high and points well forward. This is normally described as being squirrel-tailed and is a disqualification in most breeds. The body is almost U-shaped as a result with the wings held so low that the tips actually touch the ground. They have an evenly serrated single comb which in the male tends to be rather large, and the face and ear lobes are bright red. They have a rather waddling gait due to their short legs and broad build.
The Japanese is an ideal bird for people who are fond of their lawns and gardens because they are not good diggers as their short legs stop them from damaging the ground. The hens make an excellent broodies and are also very protective mothers to the chicks which hatch after 20 days incubation. They may find being outside in foul weather difficult because of their short legs and fancy feathering but they are well suited to being kept in confinement in town gardens. They should be kept in a very clean henhouse as their wingtips touch the ground and can be easily soiled. Japanese Bantams with large combs need extra protection to these during cold frosty weather as they can become prone to frostbite. As they are such small, light birds, some can be very good fliers so boundaries need to be secure. They lay few eggs and these tend to be very tiny indeed. They are long-lived birds and therefore make excellent pets. They are ideal birds for children as they are generally friendly, calm and trusting but the cocks can be aggressive, however, the cocks don’t tend to crow very loudly.
Japanese Bantams can be found in various colours, including Black-tailed White, Black, Mottled, Black-tailed Buff, Buff Columbian, White and Grey of which there are a number of different varieties. There are also several varieties including the Frizzle feathered, silk feathered, rumpless and bearded. There is even a large combed subspecies in which the males have an enormously oversized comb.