Miniature, or “Bantam,” chickens are a subspecies of chicken that are much smaller than regular chickens. The average chicken weighs 5 to 10 pounds, whereas bantams only weigh 1 to 2.5 pounds! Most chicken breeds have a Bantam or miniature counterpart. Bantams also lay eggs that are about ⅓ the size of traditional eggs. This means you have to crack about 7 to just make an omelet!
At Tiny Tails to You, we primarily keep the Bantam Silkie chickens. They get their name from their silky-soft feathers that almost feel like fur! Silkie chickens originally came from Asia, but now they are kept as ornamental pets all over the world. Even Tori Spelling has a silkie named “Coco Chanel.”
Silkie chickens come in a range in colors from white, black, and blue to gray and even partridge. These special chickens lack the barbs that keep their feathers zipped up and flat like most birds, so their feathers are very poofy and form many individual strands that look almost like fur! They also look like they are wearing pants because their fancy feathers go from the tops of their fluffy heads all the way to their legs and feet. Silkie chickens also have iridescent turquoise ears that can be seen by parting the feathers on each side of their heads. They also have dark blue skin and even dark blue bones!
Chickens of all sizes have wings, but they can not use their wings for flight like most birds. They are heavy birds that can get airborne enough to glide over a fence or up into a tree, but not much further than that. The world record for chicken flight time is only 13 seconds! Chickens love to roost on perches and take naps in their nesting boxes, but they also love to explore. They like to scratch in the dirt and leaves to hunt for bugs. Some chickens even love checking themselves out in mirrors or playing on xylophones!