Breeding Pekin Bantams
Pekin Bantams are a true Bantam as they have not been bred down from a large ancestor.
The Pekin Bantam, as their name implies, originated from China as far back as 1860. The Emperor of China was a fan of these little bantams, and had an extensive private collection. For eating or egg laying, we’re not quite sure! There are different points of view on how they arrived in the UK, some say a few breeding pairs were smuggled out of China and others, that Queen Victoria was gifted some. However the current breed and confirmation is largely due to the efforts of the early Victorian Breeders and Fanciers.
Pekin Bantams are the shortest of most Bantams, as they stand proudly at just twenty to thirty centimetres tall. Their feather feet ensure their strut is as light as air, which make sure the lawn stays in pristine condition. Described as round and similar to a Powder Puff, Pekins are often used in art to portray a chicken as they can be quite comical, their feathers hang low to the ground, making them the cuddliest of the chicken variety!
Pekin Bantams are a robust little breed only succoming to the the usual chicken ailments if about, but being low to the ground they do need care because of the feathery feet. They do not like the mud and wet as their decorative toes can harbour mud, mites and insects, making for a Peg Leg Pekin that’s unsteady on its feet. A trick is to use slabs or a dry floor for their home, if you do you use hay or straw, change it frequently so it does not get wet and the same applies to their nesting boxes.
The Pekin Bantam is the most peculiar of the bunch. Ideal for children, they are easy to tame and friendly. The cockerels are great protectors and will let you know if alarmed by suprisingly loud calls from such a small chap. As Pekin Bantams are light on their feet, they are ideal for the smaller paddock and garden. Although great foragers they do not cause carnage to your borders and veggie patch like larger chickens.
Pekin mothers have wonderful maternal instincts, and although they don’t lay a lot at a time, their feathery legs ensure that all hatchlings are kept as warm as toast. They produce up to four eggs a week, smaller eggs with a more delicate flavour ideal for salads or starters. The males are wonderful fathers and will protect the young, not just their own offspring, but any vulnerable chicks in the brood.
The Pekins have the most diverse array of colours and come in displays such as:
- Lavender Pekin Bantam
- Black Mottled
- White or Black (Mottled or unmottled)
- Silver Partridge Pekin Bantam
- Gold Partridge Pekin Bantam
- Blue or Blue Mottled
- Mille fleur or Blue Mille fleur
- Cuckoo or Lemon Cuckoo
Making sure there is a Pekin bantam for every garden colour scheme!