If you want to keep chickens as pets, then bantam chickens are the best option. The word bantam implies a miniature chicken. Hence, these chickens are way different from standard breeds and need proper care. This post will help you learn how to raise and care for these unique species of fowl.
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. You can keep 2 to 3 bantams in the space required for 1 standard chicken. Keeping these chickens for commercial purposes does not sound a very good idea because the size of these chickens is too small to make a profit out of their meat and eggs.
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 this specific type of chickens.
Although bantam chickens can survive on human food, they cannot survive on it for long. They need food that is specific to their diet, which includes:
- Whole grains
As part of a regular diet, whole grains are the best sources of nutrition for bantams; sufficient supply of it should be available in the coop all the time.
Feed only whole grains; avoid feeding cracked ones as the former is way healthier. 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 feeding timings of the pet. But do check on their food from time to time.
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 essential 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 the water bowl every day and fill it with fresh water to prevent diseases.
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, to provide sufficient warmth to the chicks if they are not with the brooding hen. The placement of the lamp is extremely important for proper heating. Notice how the bantam chicks behave in the coop, to understand whether the coop’s temperature is correct or not.
If your chicks huddle up beneath the lamp, the coop is too cold for them. On the other hand, if they are spread out in different corners of the coop, the coop is hot and the temperature should be reduced. The standard temperature of the coop must be between 90-95° F for the first week and a gradual decrease of 5° F for the following weeks. The chicks need to stay indoors at least for the first four weeks.
Every living thing is always at risk of experiencing a threat from its predators and so are bantam chickens. It is the responsibility of the owner to keep his pet protected from such dangers and provide a safe and healthy atmosphere for survival. Animals that prey on bantams are snakes and raccoons, which may attack them on land. Hawks, owls and other flying predators can attack from above. Hence, you should fence the bantam shelter properly, securing all the possible access points.
Although personally raising bantam chicks is a fun task , 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 how to find and eat food, and show them what to do when they sense danger. She will try hard to save her young ones from any predator even risking her own life.
Bantam chickens can fly better than standard chickens, hence, if you want to prevent them from fleeing the coop, 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 up a tree or onto a fence to save themselves.
Keep trays of hardwood ash in the coop to allow the chicks to have a dust bath. This helps them get rid of parasites. You can also spray roost paint on the chickens to prevent lice or any other disease.
All in all, raising chickens can bring you a bundle of joy, provided, you take good care of them and offer them a comfortable atmosphere to live in. Make sure that you look after your bantam chicks well when they fall sick and arrange for proper medical treatment immediately.