Nankin Bantams

Average User Rating:
  • Breed Purpose:
    Dual Purpose
    Climate Tolerance:
    All Climates
    Egg Productivity:
    Egg Size:
    Egg Color:
    Cream to Light Brown
    Breed Temperament:
    Calm and Personable
    Breed Size:
    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.
  • 7a7e8644_nankin_bantams-1.jpeg 612c2e90_nankin_bantams-2.jpeg e6853f81_Fantailgirl.jpeg b845dcd0_Lilbratangelbabies.jpeg 92febec9_20151020_1336250.jpeg bf064710_20160129_223352.jpeg b2e69783_20160202_111522.jpeg dc013e7d_20151118_115622.jpeg

  • 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:

    Primary Image






Recent User Reviews

  1. Free Feather
    "Beautiful, and much like true chickens"
    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.
  2. sara213
    "Very good breed!"
    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.
    Purchase Date:
  3. GardenerGal
    "Nankins are the "Hidden Gem" of the bantam..."
    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!

User Comments

To post comments, simply sign up and become a member!
  1. wild rescuer
  2. mymilliefleur
    Did you mean to give this breed a 1/2 star?

    You may want to head over to the BUY SELL TRADE section.

    I hope you find some.
  3. rapunzel162
  4. stoneflowr
    these remind me of the serama , are these related?
  5. prophet
    nankins are nice little bantams .im seeking anyone who has a few to sell.
  6. ChickensAreSweet
    I bought mine from Doug. I PM'ed you coffeekittie.
  7. franciscreek
    There are several breeders in northern california with nice birds, just depends on what area you are in. I am surprised chickensaresweet posted that they are hard to catch. We have to watch where we step because they are always underfoot looking for attention. Several of them will jump up to your arm or shoulder to get closer and see if they can get a little more attention
  8. Sparky2133
    I know a breeder down here in California. PM me if you want her email or cell.
  9. franciscreek
    there are a few good breeders in the pacific north west, if you look at the nankin thread most of them are on this site
  10. coffeekittie
    Interesting - I have one lone little Nankin who hatched from some shipped eggs, sex unknown as yet. I didn't know there was a local breeder here in the PacNW. As you aren't interested in selling any of your little birds, would you mind sharing the name/contact information about your source? I've read some very interesting things about the history of this breed, nice to know they get along wit d'Uccles, my main love.
      Freisian likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by