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Nankin Bantams


Pros: Docile, pretty, broody, gentle, calm

Cons: Can be shrill, can fly just about from birth :)

I heard Nankins were a good breed to use to hatch out quail eggs, so I found them at Ideal Hatchery and ordered a bunch. I was surprised at how quickly they could fly! And by how lovely these little birds are. They are pretty and sweet little guys. Mine are all calm, easy-to-catch and gentle when held — that's without my spending a lot of time handling them. I also have roosters living together and there has been no squabbling, they even roost beside each other at night. They can be shrill but mostly they're quiet and keep to themselves. I have them in with a black Cochin, and they get along great. One hen is setting a clutch currently and I'm hoping for a successful hatch. Big thumbs up.


Pros: Gentle, excellent broodies, the cocks will help take care of the chicks, and males tend to get along well.

Cons: Hard to breed true for plumage color and shank color; tend to lay eggs as clutches of 8-11 and can't adequately cover all of the eggs due to hen size.

I have raised Nankins since 2002 and they quickly became my favorite bantam breed. They tame very well and get along very well with each other, the hens are great broodies, and a pleasant trait of the cocks is that they have retained the ancestral jungle fowl trait of helping the hen with the chicks! That is, when a brood of chicks is about four weeks old, the hen will go back into lay again and produce another clutch of eggs and set on them. Meanwhile, the cock will take over the care of the older chicks. I have seen this again and again in my flock, with the roo' taking on the role of mama hen, taking the chicks foraging and even letting them hide under his wings while resting. This is a trait worth keeping and breeding for, and I have encouraged it in my flock.


One small issue with Nankins is that the hens tend to lay pretty good sized eggs compared to their body size, and they can lay as many as 11 or 12 eggs per clutch (plus, other hens may "contribute" their own eggs to another hen's clutch), so sometimes the hen can't cover all the eggs. You'll want to divide big clutches up among broodies so they only have 6 or so per hen; otherwise, use an incubator for the extra eggs and return the chicks to their brood hen and the chicks she hatched, as soon as they dry off after hatching. The hen can handle all of the chicks once they are hatched.


The coloration of Nankins is, IMO, the hardest thing to keep true, especially with the hens. Dark penciling of the hen saddle-area feathers and white shanks instead of slate (although white is an accepted standard in the British Nankin set of standards, and also was accepted when an American standard first was drafted, if I recall right), are typical problems to come up in breeding, especially if you're line breeding.


Otherwise, these little guys are just a joy to raise and keep!


Pros: Docile, friendly, social, alert, clever, stay close to coop

Cons: hard to find

I was lucky enough to come across a person in the same province as me who lives about an hour and a half away. So, I decided that I want to try to breed these guys eventually. Considering they are rare...especially in North America and being that they are a breed from the 1500's England.


This breed is really good as pets, they are friendly ( I bought mine as adults and I was surprised that I could even handle them so well on the first day.), docile and they are very alert and clever.


I live behind a wooded forest reserve and of course there are going to be birds of prey in the area. The other day, I went out to open the door for the girls and I was feeding them inside the caged run. I notice they were all very still and alert. I looked up and saw a hawk in the trees. Then another time it was colder out I opened the door of the coop to feed them ( moved the food indoors now) but as I was feeding them they panicked and the three of them ran into a nest box. I figured I made a weird noise or something but I turned around I saw two hawks circling around. So, I closed the door immediately and comforted them a bit so they relaxed. But they came out in the run still watching carefully but not panicking like the did a second ago. I figured that they understand they can't be gotten when they are in the run. But if its in the open, like when I opened the door and there is nothing to stop the hawks from getting them they really panic.


Pros: sweet sweet sweet. calm sooo cute!!!!

Cons: none

LOVE LOVE LOVE these little guys. almost makes you want to cry they are just that cute. and the eggs are wonderful! small but ooooOOOOooo so good! 

went to take an egg out of the nest and a little hen came in and started her grrrrp grrrp grrrp jumped in the nest and  instead of pecking me,she sat on my hand in protest.

If I had to chose only one breed, this would be it.

did I say I LOVE this breed?


Pros: Good at foraging, Alert for danger

Cons: Difficult to catch

I have Nankin hens and roosters. They stay close to the coop and don't seem to want to range far away. Even though they can fly over the fence, they tend to stay inside the fence since it is a large fenced area.


I get about 3 tiny white eggs a week from our one hen that has started to lay (she is older than the others). I am going to let them breed and brood their own young. 


The reason I love them SO much is that the roosters are very nice to me. No aggression noted at all, and they get along with each other fairly well, too, even though there is the usual rivalry over mating. I want to keep all the boys and not send them away because of their gender. This seems to be a breed that I will be able to do this with (although I may need a rooster pen someday).


They are very flighty and do panic when I catch them to dust them at first. But I have noticed that the older Nankins are much calmer, and the hen who is laying will simply hold still when I grab her with the fishnet in the coop. She is perfectly calm as I dust her with Poultry Dust. The roosters and pullets are very flighty when I hold them for procedures.


They are brave and at the top of the pecking order over my d'Uccles. When confronted with a large fowl, they do try to be brave but after a Nankin pullet almost got squashed by a Buff Orpington hen (I heard horrible cries although she wasn't apparently injured) I decided to keep them in the bantam pen.


This is the second time that I have had Nankins. I missed them so much after selling them the first time around that I went to the breeder and bought more. 


Having the Nankins and d'Uccles together in the same pen works well, as they are both good fliers, good personalities, and about the same size! jumpy.gif


Edited to add: I ended up giving away the roosters as their crowing at 4 am wasn't to my liking. I did keep the hens and may buy more roosters in the future if I downsize on the other roosters that I have. I think the crowing was due to 5 other roosters being in the coop with them (crowing contests). I still love this breed and am seriously considering trying again with more roos. They were the most docile roos that I have ever had. Even more docile than the d'Uccles.


Pros: Smart, Loving, Social, and Beautiful

Cons: VERY good fliers, small eggs, slow growers.

I absolutely love this breed. My little Nankin, Ruby, loves to perch on my arm and paces her cage when I leave her alone. 


She flies very well too.


I would recommend this breed to ANYONE! (Although they are critically endangered, you would probably have to order some from big time breeders)


Pros: Wild, curious, very broody, adorable, street smart, good foragers, good flyers, charming roosters

Cons: Clutches too big to cover well

I love these adorable bantams! For me, the gamier the breed the better, and Nankins combine a bit of calm domesticity with behaviors true to their ancestors, making them perfect for someone who wants a game breed that at times can be a good lap chicken. They forage very, very well, they do not take up much space, they are wary of predators, they fly very well, they go broody at the sight of a clutch, and they are very skilled mothers. They are wary of humans, but their natural curiosity makes them easier to tame if you desire a friendly chicken. The roosters are good fathers, and get along well with other roosters and chicks. I can keep this breed at a 1:1 ratio with no issues. They will be protective, but not to any length that one could call aggressive. I like that the hens are seasonal layers and that they do not lay often because I feel that is how a chicken was meant to lay. I also love their dull coloring that lets them blend in better to many surroundings, and their bug-eyes are adorable! They only thing I can say I do not like about them is their tendency to lay an egg that is large in proportion to their body size, making it hard for them to cover an average sized clutch, especially when their feathers are hard and do not fluff up very well.

Overall, they are a very cute chicken that can take care of itself, and I love that trait about them.


Pros: small size, very friendly, good forager, alert, broody--will sit on anything

Cons: tend to be picked on, can fly high and far, does not like to be separated from flock

We love our Nankin hen. She's very sweet and good natured, excellent bird for beginners or kids. She comes when called, she's an excellent bug hunter, likes to sit on your lap (or head, or shoulder), and alerts the other birds to dangers. She's very broody which is either a good or bad thing, will sit on any egg or egg-shaped object (golf balls, walnuts, etc.). She does not like to be separated from the flock. Because of her small size and sweet nature, she is at the bottom of the pecking order, but she gets special human attention so she seems to be happy. Our hen can and does fly. She has no problem clearing a 10ft high fence, and we've found her on the garage roof a few times. Bite-sized eggs are small, a few a week, but quite tasty.


Pros: Great Show Birds! They are sweet and easy to handle.

Cons: Not great egg layers

I love these birds. They are great show birds. They have beautiful colorings. I love their expressions and personalities. They do not lay eggs. my nankin has had a problem with eggs. Overall these birds are amazing! love.gif


Pros: Very gorgeous, awesome coloring, unique, sweet

Cons: hard to find

I have a mix OE/Nankin she is the sweetest thing in the world, then i have 2 of her lil sisters & 1 brother of hers that are also pretty cool

Nankin Bantams

Nankins originated in England in the early 1500's and are one of the oldest breeds of bantam chickens. They are listed as critically endangered by the American Livestock Conservancy. They are calm, friendly, and personable chickens and their small size makes them ideal as pets. They are good foragers and handle many types of weather well. They are reliable layers and good setters. Nankins have blue legs and are found in both rose and single comber varieties.

Breed PurposeDual Purpose
Climate ToleranceAll Climates
Egg ProductivityMedium
Egg SizeSmall
Egg ColorCream to Light Brown
Breed TemperamentCalm and Personable
Breed Colors/Varieties
Breed SizeBantam
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

Chicken Breed Info:

Breed Purpose:Ornamental

Comb: Rose/Single Comb


Climate Tolerance: Moderate


General Egg Info:

Egg Productivity: 

Egg Size:Small, rounder than most eggs.

Egg Color:Creamy White


Breed Temperament:

Sweet, quirky, curious, loving, and social


Breed Colors / Varieties:





Breed Details: 






Chicken Breed Photos:


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