Wednesday, September 21, 2016
The Tiniest of Chickens
One of my favorite breeds of chicken is the Serama. Who wouldn't love a miniature chicken? These tiny little chickens originated in Malaysia and are the smallest breed of chicken in the world. They fall into the following weight classes for competition. They compete in cage and tabletop competitions.
Class A up to 13 ounces Class A up to 12 ounces
Class B up to 16 ounces Class B up to 15 ounces
Class C up to 19 ounces Class C up to 17 ounces
There are also some Micro classed birds with the Roosters weight falling up to 13 ounces, and the hen's weight up to 8 ounces. The Micro are not viable as layers or for type normally. They are mostly a novelty. Everyone searches for Micro and Class A Serama before learning about them. I have a little Class A hen who is precious and a valued pet. However she has only laid about 4 eggs in the past year and only one hatched. The chick that hatched was a class C at least and grew into a larger rooster. I mention this to point out that class A won't always lay. When they do they won't always give you class A chicks and it's rare for their eggs to be fertile. For breeding purposes, most Serama breeders recommend a class B or C bird with B being the favorite weight class for breeding. A class B bird will give you A,B and occasionally C class chicks.
A Serama will eat approximately a pound of feed per month making them very affordable (unless of course you have as many as we do). The size of a Serama is not nearly as important as the "type" of the bird. The "type" refers to the bird having large chest that is held high, a high tail (coming straight up behind the head when the bird is posing), a short back, and a "V" shaped profile (meaning the back and the tail form a "V" from the side view). The wings should point downward nearly vertical when they are alert and posed and the legs should be long enough to keep the wings just above the ground (showing the feet). Type is very important in competition. Temperament is also a desired trait for these competitions. The birds that are accustomed to people and other birds will tend to do the best. There are points given for each of the following categories in a tabletop competition.
Type: 30 points
Character: 25 points
Tail Carriage: 15 points
Wing Carriage: 10 points
Feather quality: 10 points
Condition: 10 points
Originating in Malaysia they tolerate 90 - 100 degrees fairly well, but they do not tolerate cold well. We cover our coops and runs with plastic in the winter and even use heaters when necessary to keep them at around 50 degrees minimum at night. They come and go in and out of the coops during the daytime hours and do fine here in Texas
Now that I have shared all I have learned about these birds, I'd like to add that they are such friendly chickens. They are easily trained and love human attention. If you are wanting a pet chicken, find a pet quality serama that someone is willing to part with. You will not regret having a Serama. They will lay eggs and many of ours lay an egg a day. However, the eggs are very small and if you want to eat them, it takes about 3 Serama eggs to equal a large store bought egg. Still, how many people have a pet that lays breakfast?