What are the pros and cons of bantams vs standard chickens? To answer this question correctly, we need to look at various factors that make the two types of chickens different. These factors include their sizes, feeding habits, cost of raising them, their productivity and so on.
Chickens come in various sizes, colors, and different behavior. Whether standard or bantams, I always find these birds interesting and fascinating around me. At least I can understand them better than anyone, especially when it comes to caring about them. I can assure you that each breed has its own advantages and disadvantages and that is the point of our discussion today.
There are two types of chickens that you need to know if you are venturing in chicken keeping business for the first time. These are the large fowl (standard chickens) and bantams.
For your birds to be considered standard, it has to meet certain conditions. First, it needs to weigh at least 4 pounds to make it to the category of standard chickens. Bantams, however, are miniature domestic birds that weigh between 1 and 3 pounds.
Regardless of their contrasting physical characteristics, both types of chickens are of great importance to you in a number of ways. Both of them will provide you with fresh meat and good quality eggs devoid of hormones and chemicals. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of raising bantams and standard chickens at home.
Pros and Cons of Raising Bantams
First of the pros and cons of bantams vs standard chickens. Bantams are the earliest and oldest breed of chickens still existing today. Like I said earlier, the name bantam means small or miniature in this context. This can help you draw a line between these birds and the standard chickens. Below are advantages of raising bantams:
Bantams Eat Less Food
- Eating less food for bantams is something you should expect because of their body size. Most of these chickens are smaller than the standards birds and this makes them consume less amount of food. This should tell you that you will spend less money buying food for these little birds. The rest you can save for other projects or expand your flock.
- In essence, bantams are quite economical birds when it comes to feeding them. In addition to that, they make good foragers when you let them free range. Bantams eat half the amount of food the standard chickens will consume. For that reason, you may consider raising them if your budget cannot sustain the larger type of chicken breeds.
Bantams Occupy Less Space
- Besides eating half as much as what the larger chicken breeds eat, bantams occupy half the space needed by the standard fowls. Bantams prefer staying in their coops when weather conditions outside are unfavorable.
- Therefore, you need to consider the temperature when setting the coop for these miniature birds. A heat lamp or any other source of heat will do better in keeping them warm throughout. Since bantams require small spaces, this makes them a good choice of birds for suburban and urban chicken flocks.
Bantams are Easy to Handle
- Unlike other types of chickens, bantams are easy to handle. This is attributed to their small bodies and shorter legs, making them easy to catch and lift when free-ranging. Also, they are suitable for kids to play around with them in addition to being great pets in your home.
Bantams are Less Expensive
- I h8ave mentioned that bantams require less food, less space and less treats when compared to the standard chickens. It will not cost you a fortune to provide them with these basic needs. This is a great advantage to you if you are investing in chicken keeping project for the first time.
Bantams Look Attractive to Some People
- There is no doubt that these little birds are cute and attractive. As miniature, as they look, bantams capture the attention of everyone thus becoming the right choice for pet chickens.
- Apart from that, they can make your backyard flock lively and exciting to look at. You should consider adding a few of these birds to your flock and see how attractive they look.
Bantams are Poor Egg Layers
- Despite their beauty, hardiness and friendly nature, bantams are poor egg-laying birds. This means you can not rely on them if you are raising your chickens for commercial egg production. A typical bantam hen will lay an average of 2 to 3 eggs in one week. This number is too small for commercial egg production.
Bantams Get Picked on by Other chickens
- When you raise them alongside other flocks, bantams are more likely to become targets of aggression from larger breeds. Of course, this comes as a result of their small bodies, making the standard size chickens pick on them.
- The larger birds tend to single out bantams when you keep them as mixed flocks. On the other hand, bantams defend themselves in case of any attacks and this can create chaos within your flock.
Bantams are Flighty Birds
- Inasmuch as they are small and lightweight, bantams are more flighty than other types of chickens. This calls for drastic measures to keep them well confined within their yard.
- To prevent them from getting out of their living space, you will need to construct higher fences. Such structures will prevent them from flying over and becoming an easy meal for predators.
Bantams are at Risk of Predators
- There are numerous cases of bantams being attacked and carried off by eagles and hawks. They are easier targets for predators than standard chickens due to their smaller size. These chickens are relatively slower because of their shorter legs that render them helpless in the presence of ground predators.
Pros and Cons of Raising Standard Chickens
Standard Chickens are Excellent Layers
- Compared to bantams, standard chickens are excellent layers. Standard size layers can produce up to 5 eggs (each) in a week, making them suitable for commercial egg production. In addition to that, these birds lay large nutritious eggs which are a great source of food for your family. If you are planning to keep chickens for commercial egg production, then you should consider the standard sized hens.
Standard Chickens are More Domesticated
- Unlike bantam chickens which are skittish and a little wild, standard chickens are easy to domesticate. That explains why most of the chicken breeds raised at home today are of standard size. Additionally, the large size fowls are mainly hybrids, which means they have traits that make them easy to tame.
Standard Chickens are Larger
- Compared to bantams, standard chickens are larger in body size and mature quickly. No wonder most of them are raised for commercial purposes. Some are for eggs while others are raised for their high-quality meat.
- Furthermore, some are dual-purpose breeds for both meat and eggs. Standard chickens are always the most preferred because of their productivity and adaptability to different environments.
Standard Chickens Eat Much
- Due to their large size, standards chickens need a lot of food. These birds eat too much to maintain their body size and replenish the energy used up to move around.
- With the high cost of chicken feed, you will need to budget well to provide your poultry with enough food. This will force you to spend more money in the process.
Standard Chickens Require more Space
- Since they are larger, they will likely need more space in their coops and their run. If you compare with bantams, a standard size chicken takes twice as much space, making them not suitable for small spaces.
Standard Chickens are Somehow Aggressive
- Most of the large size fowls are aggressive and territorial. When left with their smaller counterparts, they tend to pick on them. In fact, these type flocks have a reputation for establishing the pecking order.
- For a chicken keeper, this behavior can lead to massive losses in terms of eggs and injuries. To prevent such problems, you will need to provide adequate space, enough food, more roosting structures, and water.
What is the main reason for keeping chickens? There are many reasons why you would wish to raise chickens. Some of the reasons could be the need to save money or generate income from selling chickens and their products. Other reasons include the nutritional needs of your family and keeping chickens as pets. For these reasons are why this qualifies for the pros and cons of bantams vs standard chickens.
Which type of fowl (bantams and standard size) will you add to your existing flock? This depends on your preference and the purpose of keeping a particular type of chickens. While most people prefer large fowl, some go for bantams because of their low cost of keeping them. This is why this qualifies for the pros and cons of bantams vs standard chickens.
There you have the pros and cons of bantams vs standard chickens. Whether you like bantams or prefer standard chickens, both are beneficial to you. Bantams are easy to raise while larger chickens are more productive. Your choice will depend on your preference and what you want to gain from these chickens.
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