Our chickens came to us by accident, so we didn't choose bantams. They have, however, inspired many others around us to delve into chicken keeping, as our little flock appears to be such fun! Why do these bantams work so well here? Lots of people around here are trying chickens, BUT they seem to have less fun. I wondered why? So here's some of my experiences about how lucky I've been to be blessed with these little, lightweight, small and goofy chickens:
This is a comparison photo with my banty egg on the left with rich orange yolk and Egglands' Best standard white egg on the right, cooked in same pan of spinach. Our banty's egg white stays firm while the purchased egg white is runny and thin, but the comparable weight in grams is similar (though the nutrition of our banty's egg is likely to be higher):
The bantam egg is a perfect size to make "Egg-In-Toast" which we call "Moon-over-Miami" :
2. The scratching and digging in the suburban lawn is actually helpful with banty chickens' smaller feet. The standard chickens of my neighbors have caused large areas of desertification due to the chickens' healthy work ethic.
Chickens will forage and landscape like they're being paid bonuses to do it, seeking grubs and beetles and ants and bees, and new growth tips of grasses. In my yard full of banties, the grass is actually greener and more lush. In the yards of standard chickens the grass is gone wherever the chickens have been kept for more than a few days.
Here's a pic of my little birds "working the lawn". Behind my banties in this photo is a pile of leaves they've spread out (...again...):
3. Pet behavior is easier on my sore shoulder with lightweight chickens. If my big EasterEgger lands on my outstretched arm, it hurts! One standard hen in my lap usually means I should have a sturdy apron on or a towel, because her diggin' talons will poke through my jeans just from the sheer weight of her. But I can easily sit in my porch swing with 4 bantams and no marks at all on my clothes.
Of course I love them all, but the banties are just lighter weight and easier on my clothes and sore limbs. Here's a link to my 9 second video of a banty being called to come up to my hand for a gentle landing:
Here's my 8 month old cockerel Eddie Vedder, a Silkie/Rosecomb mix:
4. You can FIT MORE banties in the coop! So, you can have more fun colors and styles of fowl for the effort you put into it.
5. If you and your neighbors look forward to crowing, the bantams have many fancy crowing styles to choose from. Our rosecomb's grandpa was the state fair's grand champion crower. They are no bigger than pigeons, but the musicality of the rosecomb crow is shocking. So if you like the loud and clear crowing, the little ones tend to have it. For the most musical, deep crow, one rooster who charmed my ears is an Icelandic. He was beautiful to look at, too.
6. Bantams are not as likely to be regarded as "real chickens" by suburban folks who might resist the idea of chickens in their neighborhood, LOL! Since the bantams are tiny, fancy, little birds, they're kinda cute. I overheard one of my neighbors saying, "...but they're cute little things, they're special and fancy, not like a REAL CHICKEN". I'm not going to correct that. It works for me.
To regular city/suburban folk who've never considered the reality of where their food comes from, real live chickens are somewhat frightening. But a funny little colorful bantam chicken really takes the edge off their fear.
7. Anyone who cooks with their backyard chickens' eggs may notice the "lift" is far greater, resulting in overpoofed baking unless eggs are measured and reduced. The Bantams' eggs are just the right size for baking. One egg per recipe = ONE BANTAM EGG. So easy!
These corn muffins were accidentally baked with donated standard backyard chicken eggs. The bantam eggs would have resulted in muffins, not popovers! These are novel. But try slicing a loaf of too tall bread, with nearly half the loaf mushroomed uuuuup and over the pan edges...........and angelfood cake which is mostly air and also mostly outside the pan..........
8. My reason #8 is great. I buy 2 whole bags of feed per year for my flock of 13 bantams. I was shocked when a neighbor reported "this feed bill is killing us!". Their standard hens gobbled a bag of feed every few weeks. They couldn't let their birds out to forage much because their large fowl "ruined" the garden. My little hens forage most of their food, declining proper feed when the weathers' good enough to turn over a leaf. Luckily, my lot size combined with my hen size is a perfect match.
One of my neighbors recently got a barred rock hen, and claims she's softer than my silkie mixed birds to pet. I heard the Barred Rocks come in bantam, too. I bet that would make a great little backyard bird!
I got to thinking of this subject in another BYC thread, and hope to share this experience more. Maybe it will help others to have a GOOD backyard chicken experience, too!