Keeping bantam chickens

Lisa Mancell National Sales Co-ordinator at Farmgate Feeds gives her top tips on caring for bantams.

Back garden hen keeping has been on the rise in the UK for the past decade with a boom seen during the pandemic and chickens becoming more popular pets than hamsters in 2020! Consequently, hen keeping is no longer just a rural pursuit, with more suburban and urban households enjoying caring for their own little flocks. Typically, these first-time hen owners have smaller gardens making bantams an excellent choice, especially if you fancy your chances at showing your birds too. Here are some top tips to make sure you get the most from your bantam flock.

Smallholder Feeds
Smallholder Poultry

Nutritional requirements

If you are keeping bantams for egg production a good feeding regime is imperative, so that you are getting the correct amount of good quality protein; vitamins; minerals etc. A lack of certain nutrients can affect egg production, shell quality and even the bird's health.

Poultry feed comes in various forms; pellets, mash and crumbs that are used mainly for feeding chicks. With bantams you need to remember their size when selecting a suitable feed. Bantams will have smaller appetites than larger breeds, so it’s even more important to ensure that each mouthful gives them the right nutritional balance.

The other factor to consider is the size of the pellet itself; bantams will have palatability issues with normal sized pellets due to their small beaks and oesophagus. This makes it difficult for them to digest bigger or longer pellets that could cause them to choke. Farmgate Feeds have three fully balanced short-cut pellets as part of their range, suiting bantams at all stages; layers pellets, poultry rearer and poultry breeder.

Flock size and space

Hens are very social creatures so starting with at least three is a good number to ensure they have company. If you add any further hens to your little flock, make sure you always introduce two new hens together to prevent bullying.

A big benefit of keeping bantams especially for those with smaller gardens is they take up less space so you can have a smaller coop. Bantams typically require 2sqft per bird of floor space in the coop then around 4sqft per bird in the run. As bantams are smaller, they have a higher metabolic rate than regular-sized chickens and will tend to feel colder. Therefore, it is important that their coop is well ventilated so they can keep warm in winter and cooler in summer.

Keeping bantam chickens small

Overall condition

Certain breeds of smaller hens make the perfect show birds and if you are interested in taking part in hen shows then keeping your bantams in perfect condition will stand them in good stead.

A well-balanced nutritious diet is crucial to keep your bantam flock happy, healthy and looking their best. Negative behaviours such as feather pecking can be caused by too little protein in a bird’s diet, as feathers contain protein. At the same time, too much protein can lead to problems such as digestive upsets and grouchy behaviour. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your birds are gaining the correct nutritional balance every day for their long-term health and overall condition.

Get in touch with our Farmgate specialists

Contact our team for advice or find your local stockist.

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