Backyard chickens and roosters can be a great addition to your homestead. Backyard chickens, sometimes called urban chickens, are fowl breeds that you can raise in a typical backyard.
Raising chickens and roosters may not seem particularly glamorous in an aesthetic sense, but if you get creative, you can find ways to make your backyard really beautiful. Have a look at some chicken fence ideas to get a taste of what you can do with simple DIY projects. Your chickens and roosters might not take much notice, but you’ll have another reason to enjoy dealing with the admin of raising them. You can even use remaining chicken wire to create arts and crafts for inside your home.
Chickens are an excellent food source. They produce eggs. Later, as the chickens mature and their egg production declines, they produce meat.
Raising Backyard Chickens and Roosters
Chickens are trending as people become more concerned where their food comes. Raising chickens in their own backyard give people more control of the quality of eggs produced. Perhaps they choose to free range the chickens or feed them with organic feeds only. This significantly increases the health factor of the eggs and also the meat from the chicken. There are also people who sell eggs and who are keeping chickens as part of a survival or prepping plan.
And what about raising a rooster? Are you considering one? We explore all there is to know about roosters so you can make the right decision.
These chickens are bursting with personality and are very curious about their environment.
We want to provide you with quality information about the Bantam breed of chicken, so we will talk more about its characteristics.
History Bantam Chicken Breed
Explaining what a Bantam breed is can be a bit confusing because, unlike most chicken breeds, the word “Bantam” refers to its small stature, and not of its origin.
These small chickens don’t have a complete known origin, but the name was originally introduced back in the late 1800’s in Indonesia.
Sailors who would stop by the port city would refer to the chickens as being “Bantam” chicken due to being unique to the port city of Bantam, Indonesia.
After this, the breed had become popular in other suburban areas of the world for their small and convenient size.
There are three types of Bantam breed: True Bantams, Miniature Bantams, and Developed Bantams.
The True Bantams are naturally occurring in nature and are just small in stature.
The Miniaturized Bantams are bred from either a standard breed of choice or a specific small breed of chicken.
The last type, the Developed Bantams, is small breeds that have been genetically enhanced through humankind’s techniques.
After much genetic breeding, the true standard of Bantam was born and spread across the world.
The chicken generally does well in most warm climates, which makes it a favorite around the world.
However, it can be mixed with other breeds of chickens to help give them dominant traits.
We understand that it’s hard to keep up with Bantam. So, we’ve done our research and have provided a full list of most Bantam breeds.
Here’s a small breakdown of the popular ones:
Old English Game
Rhode Island Red
As you can see, there are many different types of Bantam, which can be both good and bad.
Many of these allow for versatile breeding, but the genetic traits can be hard to pinpoint for the Developed and Miniature versions.
Bantam Chicken General Characteristics
With so many varieties, let us look into the characteristics that distinguish the Bantam breed in general.
Bantan Chicken Appearance
The appearance of Bantam can also be tough to explain due to their many genetic cross-breeds.
Some range from large birds with black or white specklings while others are brown and black.
Others result in crosses with warm-colored feathers such as white, cream, and red.
As you can see, they are very variable in genetics and looks.
The American Bantam Association has recently added over 400 different kinds of chickens to their Bantam Chicken Variety list.
This makes their appearance hard to describe.
That said, as mentioned earlier, what mainly distinguishes a Bantam breed is its small stature.
Many of the ones located in America are smaller than the standard size of chickens. These small Bantams weigh between 16 and 30 ounces and can be up to one half the size of a standard size six-pound chicken.
Some larger cross-breeds of Bantam, though, have started to become heavier.
The standard Bantam breed is either one third or three fourth the size smaller than the standard size breeds. This allows them to produce the same quality products without taking up much space.
With so many varieties, it should go without saying that these chickens can be used for plumage.
If you have multiple breeds of Bantam, you will essentially have plenty of different color varieties to choose from.
This can be good if you want to sell their feathers for some extra income.
Bantam Disposition and Behavior
As for the disposition of the Bantam breed, these chickens tend to be very friendly and overall have sweet temperaments.
They do well with other animals and are generally nice towards humans.
The roosters can be a bit aggressive towards each other and humans during mating seasons, but other than that, there are usually no problems.
Due to the large variety of the Bantam breed, we always recommend doing individualized research on the type you’re getting.
Genetics play a huge role when it comes to chicken temperament.
If you research the mixes accordingly, then you should have no problem in finding their individualized temperaments.
Many Bantam breeds are very agile and love to move around.
Physical activity is a must for these small, energetic chickens, so they need to be able to rustle their feathers and move around.
A majority of them enjoy flapping their wings and jumping around.
If you can provide a place for them to roam, they will gladly appreciate it.
Bantam Chicken Egg Laying Habits
Bantam eggs are smaller than the standard version of eggs.
This is, of course, due to the chicken’s smaller stature.
If we were to compare them to other breeds’ eggs, they would be around half the size.
Many Bantam breeds don’t start producing eggs until almost eight months into their lifespan.
Ones linked to standard breeds, they tend to produce larger eggs and also lay a bit sooner.
It varies from chicken to chicken, though.
On average, the Bantam hen will lay around four to five eggs every seven days.
Some of the Bantam get broody while others don’t. It’s highly dependent upon what parents the chickens had.
If they were sex-linked with two non-brooders, then you can expect non-brooding behaviors.
That being said, we recommend you to get an incubator just in case you plan on breeding them or using them as starter eggs.
Sex-linkage is very hard to pinpoint due to them having over 400 different mixes.
The True Bantams are either from Nankin, Sebright’s, or Rose Comb chicken breeds.
On the other hand, Miniaturized Bantams were genetically enhanced with one parent chicken.
The common breeds for this are the Rhode Island Red, Orpingtons, or even the Cochin breeds.
As for Developed Bantams, they range in sex-linked genetics and parents.
Pinpointing which breeds are used is nearly impossible.
Nonetheless, we’ve tracked some of the common ones which were used in other countries to create the Developed Bantams.
These breeds are either the Cochin, Japanese, or Belgian chickens.
Common Health Issues of Bantam Chickens
The lifespan of most Bantams ranges from four to five years if kept healthy.
Many of the Bantam breeds are susceptible to either mite and lice and other diseases, but many health-related issues are due to poorly kept coops rather than genetics.
To ensure that they have good health, you must have the best nutrition plan for chickens and provide a portion of decent food and water source while also keeping their coops clean.
They also need to be kept in a warm coop; otherwise, they can easily get sick.
Many Bantam pass away from unknown illnesses.
Even professional poultry management has a hard time identifying any symptoms.
This could likely be due to recessive genetics or birth defects that were undetected.
The video below also discusses differences between bantams and standard chickens.
Is It Right for Your Homestead?
If you’re looking for a small chicken that can produce a steady flow of eggs, then you will be pleasantly surprised with the Bantam breed.
But if you’re looking to have a high egg producer, you may want to skip out on this breed.
They are good for suburban areas due to their small size, but this also yields smaller eggs and less nutrition.
For a homestead, they can be good if you’re limited on land.
We believe, though, that the large variety of looks and temperament can be useful if you find a few varieties with ideal traits you’re looking for in chickens.
Their price point isn’t that bad either, which can come in handy for beginners.
The API De-icer is a submersible product that is great for birdbaths, pails, pans, and buckets alike.
With it, you’ll get a handy 6-foot cord as well as a cord chew protector and stainless steel guard.
API Pail and Birdbath De-icer with Guard Features
Like many of the water heaters on this list, this de-icer is a versatile product.
You’re not limited to using it only to warm the water of a chicken flock.
You’ll even be able to heat the water in any birdbaths you may have on your property.
It is a very sturdy product that you can expect to heat your water for many seasons to come without fail.
If you’re looking for a durable water heater for your coop, this is your guy.
This is a really easy-to-use heater.
You can plug it in and forget about it until you need to unplug it for spring.
It’s not a high-maintenance product and a great buy.
API Pail and Birdbath De-icer with Guard Pros
This product has a built-in thermostat that will de-ice your chickens’ water quite nicely.
You won’t have to worry about them not having drinking water.
You also get an adjustable clamp that you can use to attach the product to your water container.
You get a 6-foot cord included
Can de-ice up to 15 gallons
API Pail and Birdbath De-icer with Guard Cons
Users have complained that the product is not as effective as it promises to be and that the cord splits.
Several bad reviews
Chicken Water Heater Buyer’s Guide
It is imperative that you know exactly what you’re getting into when buying a chicken water heater, so you’ll end up with the best product and not be left disappointed with something that doesn’t do what you expected and hoped for.
Of course, everyone’s needs are not the same, and what you’ll end up buying depends on just what it is you want the chicken water heater to accomplish, and in what environment you expect it to do so.
Here we’ll look at a basic list of things that most chicken breeders will need to look at before investing their money in a product.
Easy to fill Chicken Water Heater
This is likely one of the biggest things for people who use water heaters for their chickens.
It may seem like a simple thing, but if a product gets it wrong, it will mess things up royally.
You’ll want to keep the chickens’ water fresh, so filling should be easy and hassle-free.
Easy to clean Chicken Water Heater
Another important factor that, if not easy, can screw things up.
It can even move people not to buy a product if they can’t find out if it is easy to clean or a complete pain in the behind.
Keeping your chickens’ water clean is important for their health.
What is a Chicken Water Heater Made From
What kind of material is the chicken water heater made from?
It’s important to know so you’ll know what to expect.
Metals will be corroded by apple cider vinegar, which many chicken feeders add to their flock’s water to reduce their pH levels, combat ingested bacteria, and many other health benefits.
Plastic is, in general, considered the best material.
Chicken Water Heater Waste
You’ll want minimum waste when it comes to your chicken water heater – this will make or break a product in many cases.
Chicken Water Heater Thermostat controls
Some chicken water heaters come with thermostats that kick in as soon as the temperatures drop below a certain level.
Make sure that the product with this feature is trusted because if it malfunctions, it won’t thaw your chickens’ water, and chickens will dehydrate.
Chicken Water Heater Electric cord
You will generally get an electrical cord included with your product but don’t expect it to be very long.
There are exceptions, but in most cases, you will not get a cord that is longer than 4 feet.
Maintenance for your Water Heater
This is yet another significant factor to keep in mind when you go out to buy a water heater (or buy one online).
If you are not prepared to keep maintenance at the top of your list of chores, you might want to consider not buying a water heater.
That will mean you’ll have to get rid of ice manually, so this really shouldn’t even be an issue.
A waterer of any kind that isn’t maintained well will cause problems.
The water will be stagnant, meaning gross slimy residue will form, and all sorts of bacteria and algae will start growing.
This will result in your chickens refusing to drink the water (good on them).
So before you buy a water heater, be sure to check how often you’ll need to change the water with the product and how easy or difficult that will be to do.
That is usually easy to guess just by looking at the design of the product.
Below is a short video that will help you keep or maintain your chicken water heaters going during the winter:
If you can solve that problem, and won’t mind spending a few bucks more than average, this could be the water heater for you.
It is straightforward to use; you won’t be wasting any water with it during use or filling; there is no way for the chickens to try and roost on it, and thanks to its removable screen, it’s easy to keep the chickens’ water nice and clean.
The best chicken water heater for you really depends on the unique needs of you and your chickens.
Once you’ve determined what exactly you need and what it is that your flock needs, you’ll be able to find the perfect product.
Just be sure to keep in mind all of the things mentioned in the buyer’s guide, so you won’t miss something and end up wanting to kick yourself.
For the most part, picking a water heater for your chicken coop isn’t rocket science.
Remember to look for a product that has a maintenance level that you’re comfortable with.
Most heaters are pretty simple when it comes to maintenance.
Then take into consideration how big your water feeder is if you’re not buying a feeder with a built-in heater.
Also remember that cleaning can be a hassle for all of us, so check out how the product is cleaned and how often it will need to be cleaned.
In the end, choose whatever will work for you and your chickens or other animals you’ll want to give running water.
Incubation for Beginners – Hatching your own chickens can be an educational and rewarding experience and with the right equipment and some best practices you can be on your way to having backyard chickens in no time.
Incubation allows backyard poultry enthusiasts to hatch chickens and ensure the eggs are developing correctly in a controlled environment.
Incubators are able to control the temperature, humidity and turn the eggs automatically making the egg hatching process stress-free.
While you can incubate eggs any time of the year, spring is considered the best time to raise chickens because of the warmer weather which is ideal for new chicks.
If you’re considering hatching your own flock of backyard chickens, here are a few tips that will make egg hatching success.
They were as excited as if the swings were for them! Our family and neighbors have enjoyed watching our chickens swing and play.
The Chicken Swing – Fowl Play Products
This is the first chicken swing we installed, and it remains everyone’s (people and chicken’s) favorite.
It’s sturdy and well-built, bright and colorful.
The Chicken Swing is made from plastic and rope, and holds up well in all types of climates.
It was easy to mount.
It’s adjustable for any coop size.
Like with all these swings, you will want to be sure there’s enough space for it to swing freely so it’s safe.
We first installed this swing when we had chicks.
This is key.
You will have much more success with chickens using this when they are adults if they start when they are young.
We made sure it was very low, about an inch off the ground.
The chicks were able to get used to it while they were young, energetic and curious.
As they grew, we raised the swing to 3 – 4″ off the ground.
They still enjoy it to this day.
A concern for all chicken swings is the risk of injury during a vigorous dismount.
The Chicken Swing comes with a fully adjustable cross-member which keeps the swing from twisting when the chickens dismount.
Depending on the area in which you hang it, when the hens have gotten used to it, you may want to put it high enough off the ground so the other chickens can be near it and under it safely, even when it’s swinging.
Two solid poly-pro ropes support the swing.
The perch is shaped like a small mailbox, with a corn-like surface the chickens can grip.
Pros of The Chicken Swing
UV and weather-resistant rope
Easy-to-install rope buckle makes it easy to adjust the height.
Safety side ties
Easy for chicks and chickens to grip and stay on.
Chickens can use it as a perch and a swing.
The perch tongues allow the swing to have more torque, so the chickens can swing easily.
It’s plastic — not wood — so it won’t warp.
It’s easy to clean.
Cons of The Chicken Swing (and all chicken swings)
Some chickens might be afraid of the swing so you may have to train them yourself
You may have better success with your chickens using the swing when you set it up when they are chicks or pullets.
Healthy Chicken Swing Perch
This is a simply chicken swing. It is very easy to install.
Like all chicken swings, its purpose is to keep chickens happy, active and entertained.