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Pickin’ Chicken: When Size Matters

Did you know that chickens come in many breeds and also different sizes?
  • There are Standard or Full-Sized chickens. These are what we think of when we see the traditional picture of a farm with chickens running around.
  • There are also Bantam chickens that are around one-fifth to one-quarter the size of a full -sized chicken, depending on the breed. Bantams with Standard counterparts are scaled down versions of the Standard, “Mini-Me’s”, if you will. They should have all the full sized breed’s characteristics, except their eggs will be extra small in size.
  • True Bantams have no large counterpart and are naturally small, with extra small eggs to match.
  • A breed may offer a Standard size only, a Bantam size only (True Bantam), or have both Standard and Bantam sizes available.

Black Aseel Cockerel. Aseels do not have bantam counterparts.

An Aseel (Asil) only exists in standard size and does not have a bantam sized counterpart.

Quail Belgian d'Anvers Pullet

Quail Belgian d'Anvers Pullet. A true bantam.

Belgian d’Anvers breed is a true bantam.

Many chicken breeds have both standard and bantam size options. Just shrink the standard size down and you have the bantam. Examples include many popular breeds, including Rhode Island Reds, Ameraucanas, Australorps, Orpingtons, and others.

Of course, there are always tricky cases. ¬†For instance, there are breeds of Shamo and Ko Shamo. “Ko” is Japanese for “small”, so you would think that the Ko Shamo is the small or bantam version of the Shamo. Such is not the case. Ko Shamo is a true bantam, while the Shamo breed has its own bantam sized version with the same name of Shamo.

AOC Ko Shamo Pullet

AOC Ko Shamo Pullet. A true bantam.

Shamo Hen

A standard sized Shamo hen.

See just how exciting and intricate the world of chickens can be?

Pickin' Chicken iPhone App
Learn more about chicken breeds in our iPhone App, available now in the App Store

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