This little chicken is certainly a perky and charming bird that can easily capture your heart with their wild spirits. Old English Game Bantams are primarily an ornamental bird and not exactly a chicken for the practical farmer.
These petite chickens are well-loved for their excellent showing qualities. Younger chicken keepers enjoy Old English Game Bantams for their small size.
About Old English Game Bantams
The original purpose of the Old English Game Bantam was cockfighting.
When cockfighting was banned in the 1840s, the primary purpose of Old English Game Bantams became exhibition.
This small bird comes with huge variety, with 28 color varieties recognized by the American Poultry Association.
Old English Game Bantam Characteristics
1. Size and Weight
Bantams are pocket-sized chickens of the poultry world and certainly don’t weigh anywhere close to a standard chicken. These petite chickens tip the scales at 24 ounces for a rooster. Hens weigh in at slightly less – 22 ounces.
Based on their fighting background, Old English Game Bantams do not have the most docile and friendly personalities. This breed has been refined since cockfighting was banned and the birds do have calmer temperaments than they used to.
Old English hens make fierce and protective mothers and roosters get along with each other fairly well. However, you may have the occasional duo that does not mesh and you will need to separate them to prevent fighting injuries.
If handled gently and on a daily basis, you will have much higher chances of raising a calm bird that does well as an exhibition chicken.
3. Egg Production
Bantams, in general, do not have very impressive egg production, and the Old English Game Bantams are no exception. You can expect about 40 small, cream-colored eggs from one hen in a year.
4. Meat Production
While the Old English Game Bantams do have proportionately large breasts, they are still too small to make good eating. If you want a small chicken to eat, Cornish Game hens make a better alternative.
Taking Care of Old English Game Bantams
1. Feeding and Nutritional Needs
There are specially formulated feeds for gamebirds that are just about as common as laying feed and can be found at any feed store. Gamebird feed has higher protein content and keeps feathers looking shiny and lustrous, which is great for show birds.
However, calcium supplements will need to be provided to laying hens on gamebird feed because it is not a complete diet for layers. Calcium can be found in oyster shells or feeding crushed up eggshells back to your hens.
2. Housing and Fencing
Bantams don’t have nearly the same space requirements that standard-sized chickens have, which makes them easier to house in smaller areas or yards that aren’t exactly designed for chickens. In the coop, 2 square feet per bantam is ideal, with 4 square feet minimum in the run.
Since they are smaller, a covered run will provide good predator protection for these mini chickens. However, bantams are flighty birds, so in a free-range environment, they can do better avoiding predators than some standard chickens who aren’t as observant.
3. Health Issues and Care
These little active birds are robust and healthy with minimal health issues. Keep a close eye on your flock to catch any health issues before they get out of hand. Internal and external parasites such as worms, mites, and lice.
If you choose to breed these dainty little birds, you will certainly have a lot of color varieties to choose from. Some Old English Game Bantam color varieties are quite rare and will fetch a pretty penny.
Other color varieties are common, but fun and easy to breed. No matter your experience level or interest, there’s a color variation for everyone!
1. Sebright Chickens
Sebrights are another small and fun breed kept mainly for exhibition. These little chickens have gorgeous lacing that can be a challenge to breed to perfection, but the colors and intricate patterns are definitely a gorgeous reward.
Sebrights are not a game breed and might be slightly more sociable than the Old English Game Bantams.
Did You Know?
Old English hens make great mothers! Even though they are bantams, sometimes they will be inclined to sit on standard-sized eggs and hatch chicks much larger than their usual offspring! Due to their size, the hens can’t sit on more than just a couple of standard-sized eggs or 6-8 of their own eggs.
If you are looking for a fun project bird or a new show breed, Old English Game Bantams might be right up your alley. These little chickens eat less food than standard chickens and take up less space. What’s not to love? You’ll probably love the tiny addition to your farm!