I have been asked this question many times by non poultry keepers, and people who have only ever keep a few hybrid laying hens in the garden. Bantam’s are a smaller verity of a chicken breed. Most large chicken breeds have a bantam counterpart, although not all breeds do. Bantams require less feed, and less room than their large fowl relatives, so are ideal for smaller gardens and back yard poultry keepers. They should lay eggs as productively as there large breed counterpart, only the egg will generally be smaller. Bantams are also popular with family’s who have children, as they are smaller and easier to handle usually being one quarter the size of a standard chicken.
Best laying bantam breeds
From my own personal experience and from information provided by other poultry keepers, there a a few breeds of bantam that lay very well indeed. New Hampshire Red’s are a dual purpose breed, but the hens are prolific layers of medium brown eggs. They are pretty docile birds, and the cockerels have stunning feather colour.
Leghorns are renowned for there huge laying capacity of large white eggs, and even the Leghorn bantam lays a very decent size egg. They are flighty birds and prefer to free range, although can be kept in large enclosures. They are also good flyers and like to roost in trees.
Barnevelder Bantams are another breed that lay well, although the egg colour is much lighter to the dark brown eggs laid by the standard large fowl birds. They are a placid breed if handled, and when the sun is on their backs, the feathers shine a beautiful beetle green.
For more information on poultry breeds, please visit the “Breed Section“