The Japanese Bantam breed begins our series on the true bantams, which are poultry that are bantam (small sized) with no larger counterpart.
The primary focus of the breed is the tail and short legs
The true bantams are not for the backyard but excellent for those with limited space and an eye for the cute and wanting the very particular look that they have.
As the name suggests the Japanese does come from Asia but now we think that the breed may have originated in China and taken to Japan in the 1600s.
The western world was taken by the breed in the 1800s when it was first seen.
The Japanese have bred the bird to perfection and while they still lay a tiny white egg it is for the garden, aviary or pen. They are now primarily a show bird as they are hard to breed and the eggs are best left under the hen, which is unusual these days.
The primary focus of the breed is the tail and short legs which makes them a favourite with the kids.
The breed comes in a number of colours with the white or black-tailed white the most common, although birchen is gaining in popularity. Some of the dozen or so other colours are rare and you will have to search for them; probably at a specialist show or a rare breeds show nearest to you.
There are also some frizzled birds available but in limited numbers. A good specimen of the breed will go far in a show as they are very difficult to beat when in full condition.
The main points for care in the breed are keeping them warm and dry. Draughts can really damage the condition of the breed and the cages must also be vermin and rodent proof as they are so tiny.
Another beginner’s mistake is to overfeed and they do get fat! Overweight birds are not very attractive and sluggish, which leads to other health problems.
The Japanese is not for everyone but those who keep them are devoted to the breed and say they are well worth the effort. It is a fine breed and despite the small size are true champions.
Don’t forget to keep those letters and requests coming as we love to hear from you.
- Bruce Pattinson is a past president of the NSW Exhibition Poultry Association.
- Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to: Chook Feed, PO Box 25, Kogarah, 2217, with your name and daytime contact number.