This is definitely one of my favourite chicken breeds. The Dutch bantam is friendly, colourful, easy to look after one of only a handful of true bantams; that is, genuinely small birds with no large fowl counterparts. The male weighs 510-570g (18-20 oz) and the tiny female weighs 400-450g (14-16 oz). They come in a spectrum of colours such as black, buff (gold), cuckoo, lavender, millefleur, salmon, silver duckwing, wheaten, white, and many others.
We are not entirely sure of the Dutch Bantam's background. For many hundreds of years, Partridge coloured “farmers'” bantams were a common sight across farmyards in Holland, making them likely candidates for the ancestors of today's Dutch Bantam. It was first mentioned in a handbook by the managing director of a zoo in Hague in 1882, which is the first known documented reference to the breed. Originally it was only available in the Partridge variety, which has become known as the wild colour. The Dutch Bantams first came to Britain in the 1970s and in 1982, a fan club was formed which helped increase its popularity around the world.
It is an upright and active little bird with an attractive U shape due to its short back and plenty of feathering. It should also have well developed ornamental feathers, such as tail sickles, coverts, side hangers and hackles. They have small heads that sit on a short, curved neck, and a small horn coloured beak. The single, red comb usually has five small serrations. The Dutch Bantam also has small, red and rounded wattles which contrast with the white almond-shaped ear lobes. It has relatively large, well rounded wings carried backwards and low. The large tail is held upright and should be full, well spread and carried high. Finally, the birds stand on short, well spaced legs that vary slightly in colour from dark to light blue slate.
Always surprising, the Dutch Bantams are remarkably good layers and good sitters. A healthy female can produce around 165 light coloured eggs a year, although they typically small in size.
They're very easy to handle and will quickly become quite friendly if given attention. There are very few problems to worry about with this bird. They can fly, so a secure surrounding must be in place, but they tolerate confinement well. They are also a hardy breed and are happy to forage if let be, however sometimes the males can be a bit “sparky” with one another. For a garden with limited space, the Dutch Bantam is definitely an easy breed to live with and raise.