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Bantam Chicken Breed Spotlight: The Serama Chicken

History of the Serama bantam chicken

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A handsome example of a Serama bantam rooster.

The Serama chicken is one of the most commonly kept bantam breeds, and since its introduction to North America in the late 1900s, the popularity of Seramas as pets has taken off.

While importation of Seramas suffered a great deal during the bird flu scare of 2004, it was quick to bounce back and resume in full swing.

Originating in Malaysia, today’s few standards for the Serama is credited to a man named Wee Yean Een.

He named this bantam chicken after the heavenly king figure “Rama” of Hindu mythology, who is the embodiment of good virtues and self-control.

The Serama’s popularity as a pet even surpasses cats and dogs within its native country, and thanks to its small size, it has even been often kept indoors!

Characteristics of the Serama chicken and breed standards

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Seramas rarely live by the same rules for specific color varieties, with many like this one possessing a colorful hodge podge of patterns all on the same bird!

Especially within its own native country, the Serama is a bantam chicken with unusually loose breed standards. There are a wide variety of colors being bred, and unlike most breeds, many color varieties of Seramas are not at all specific and even lack any name attributed to them.

Though there are only a few standards, there are still mandatory traits that judges watch for when judging the Serama chicken.

The most important feature is the distinctive posture of the bird. For the ideal Serama, the posture should resemble that of a proud soldier standing at attention; tail held high and nearly vertical to the bird, chest puffed, and wings held downward and tightly to the sides.

In addition to the general shape and conformation of the bird, they look for a bird that tolerates handling well, and possesses a calm, confident composure.

Seramas should march and strut proudly, holding their head back and lifting their legs as they walk. During showing, owners are even instructed to help their bird strike a pose!

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Their tolerance for handling makes these bantam chickens a great family pet, and paired with their few breed standards, they also make a popular option as a beginner’s introduction to showing chickens.

Size is not at all what defines the breed, but it’s ideal for a Serama to be at least 500 grams or less. Within Malaysia, especially tiny Seramas are more common, with many of them as small as under 250 grams.

Serama chickens as pets and in the barnyard

Visually, it’s easy to see what makes the Serama chicken so attractive – but even better yet, the Serama makes a fantastic option as a pet bird thanks to its typically friendly and social temperament.

Talkative, interactive, and bold, these birds are entertaining to watch and great with children. They are generally peaceful among other breeds in the coop, holding their place well around larger breeds as well as being gentle enough to keep with delicate bantam breeds such as the Sebright.

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Being an unusually heat hardy breed, the Serama is great for warm climates with particularly unforgiving summers.

These chickens are seldom kept with any other intention than as pets, so their poor potential as a utility breed is often ignored.

They lay eggs with a decent regularity, but due to their light weight and overall tiny size, their eggs are extremely small.

These bantam chickens are particularly heat tolerant, and a great option for those starting a flock in a warmer climate.

However, they are not at all cold hardy. It is not uncommon for Serama owners to bring them indoors when faced with brutal winter weather.

With their stunning beauty, spunky personality and limitless color possibilities, their few shortcomings are easily overlooked. It’s just as easy to see why so many chicken lovers have started keeping Serama chickens – and why you should, too!

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