Bantam vs Standard Chicken – What is the Difference?

Backyard chickens are increasingly becoming common in smaller urban dwellings. Chicken keepers have a choice between rearing bantams or large fowl. Some flock owners in urban settings usually go for bantams because they are small and manageable, unlike standard chickens.

Size is the major difference between bantams and standard chickens. There are, however, several differences between bantams and large fowl to consider if you are deciding between keeping either of these birds.

Bantam vs Standard Chickens

Bantams and standard chickens are both chickens. However, the two birds have several notable differences you must consider before keeping any of the two. This guide will help you learn the differences between bantams and standard chickens.

– Chicken Size

Bantam chickens are smaller than standard chickens. The average weight of many bantams is between one lb. and 2.5 lbs. These chickens are about 20% to 30% of the weight of regular chickens.

There are two types of bantams, namely true bantams and miniatures. True bantams are chickens that have no size counterparts. Some common true bantams include chicken breeds such as the Silkie and Sebright. Miniatures are smaller bantams as a result of selective breeding. Miniatures weigh less than standard bantams. They are also physically smaller than their normal counterparts.

Standard chickens weigh between five and ten pounds. Roosters are usually heavier than females in all standard chicken breeds. The average chicken is approximately 27.6 inches tall. Again, roosters are taller than chickens. Overall, bantams are much smaller than standard chickens, and they fit perfectly into spaces that other larger fowl can’t fit.

– Appearance

Standard chickens and bantams also differ in terms of appearance. A Bantam’s appearance depends on the specific breed and variety. The typical appearance of a bantam chicken is a round, short body. Bantams look as if they are tilting slightly.

Bantam roosters walk as if throwing back their heads and dropping their wings downwards while walking. Most bantam varieties have feathered feet. Some bantam breeds with feathered feet include Buff Silkie Bantam, Dutch Booted Bantam, Buff Brahma, and Mille Fleur Bantam.

Furthermore, bantams have thick feathers in multiple colors, including blue mottled, lavender, blue, silver, buff, white and red. All bantams have shorter legs than standard chickens. They also have tails that differ in size and appearance depending on the bantam breed.

Japanese Bantam, for instance, has upright tails. Most bantam roosters have pointed combs. Some roosters can have 3-pointed, 4-pointed, 5-pointed, or seven-pointed combs. Some bantams have beards, while other bantam breeds are non-bearded. Overall, bantam roosters have larger combs and wattles than bantam hens. Bantams look cute compared to standard chickens.

The standard chicken’s appearance also depends on the chicken breed. Overall, standard chickens have rounded and squat appearances. Males have large fleshy combs and lobed wattles that hang below their bills. Roosters also have high-arched tails.

Standard hens also have combs, which aren’t as large as roosters’. Hens also have wattles hanging below their beaks, but their wattles are much smaller than those of roosters.

Standard chickens have different colors and feather patterns. For instance, some standard breeds like Orpingtons, Plymouth Rocks, and Buckeyes have brown plumage. Species like Australorp, Ayam Cemani, and Silkie have black plumage.

Standard chickens have varied feather patterns. For instance, chickens with white and horizontal black stripes have a cuckoo feather pattern. Standard breeds with a combination of darker feathers with other colors have a mottled feather pattern.

– Feeding

Although bantams and regular chickens can eat the same feed, these chickens have different feeding preferences. Standard chickens usually like eating pellets alongside other food items. Because standard chickens are avid foragers compared to bantams, these birds can consume many foods from their surroundings.

Free-range standard breeds eat almost everything, from seeds, flowers, insects, worms, and greens. Nonetheless, bantams aren’t good at foraging, so you need to provide your bantams with additional nutrition. Besides the nutrients and minerals your bantams get from their feed, you must provide your birds with foods like vegetables, fruits, greens, and protein-rich foods.

Regarding food ration, standard chickens eat more than bantams because the latter are small birds that don’t need enough feed to keep full. Standard chickens also need more water than bantams, although water is crucial for these two fowl.

– Housing

Some farmers keep bantams together with large fowl, which isn’t a problem, provided these birds aren’t fighting each other. After all, the two are chickens, and thus, there is a possibility you can house them together. Nonetheless, keeping your bantams and standard chickens in separate coops is beneficial since they have different housing needs.

For instance, Bantams are small-sized and thus don’t require larger cages like standard chickens. Bantams are also good flyers; keeping them in well-covered coops can fly away from the pen and disappear from your yard.

Ideally, you can house more than ten bantam chickens in the same coop that can accommodate three large standard chickens. Every Bantam in your flock needs 2 square feet of space; thus, the typical cage can accommodate many bantams.

Because bantams have feathered feet, you should keep these chickens in extremely clean coops. Else, their feet will be dirty and at risk of mites, lice, and other parasites that thrive in filthy pens.

Clean your cage daily because droppings can make the birds feathering messy, especially considering that bantams have thicker feathering than standard chickens. So their feathers get dirty quickly, and the birds should live in a clean cage to protect their cute feathers from dirt, droppings, and feed or water spillages.

– Egg Size

Standard chickens are better for egg production than bantams. First off, bantams lay very small-sized eggs. Most bantam breeds are suitable as ornamental birds rather than as layers. Some bantams can hardly lay 100 eggs per year.

With such a poor egg production ability, these birds aren’t the best to keep for eggs. That’s why bantam eggs are rare in stores because there aren’t many egg-laying bantam hens that can produce a steady number of eggs. The advantage of bantam eggs over eggs from standard chickens is that they contain less white and more yolk despite being tiny.

Standard chickens, on the other hand, are reliable layers. These breeds lay large eggs in many colors, such as brown, light brown, white, and colored eggs. Some common species, like the Leghorn, can lay over 300 eggs yearly.

That means hens from such breeds can lay more than four eggs per week. Furthermore, eggs from prolific standard chicken layers are large. Some species are known to produce large-sized eggs. Standard breeds also lay for many years, unlike bantam hens, which can lay for a couple of months once they start laying and then cease laying.

– Flying

Standard chickens aren’t flighty as bantams. That’s why these chickens can’t stray far from their premises. Some of these breeds are pretty docile and less likely to fly away from their homes unless when in danger. Bantams are flighty and timid birds.

That is why you should have fencing around the yard if you are keeping free-range bantams because there is a possibility the birds might fly away from the yard.

Not all bantam breeds are flighty, although most birds are flighty. Big-sized common species like Orpington chickens aren’t flighty because they are too heavy to fly, unlike the lightweight bantam breeds. Thus, these breeds opt to remain on the ground throughout and avoid instances where they will fly.

– Behavior

Behavior is also another distinguishing difference between bantams and standard chickens. Most bantam breeds are easygoing, friendly, calm, and docile. It’s hard to get an aggressive bantam breed, although some bantam roosters can be fierce, particularly during the mating season.

Because of bantams’ friendly demeanor, many chicken raisers prefer to keep these birds for ornamental purposes rather than for meat or egg production. Plus, it’s possible to keep bantams with regular chickens, although bantams can only coexist with non-aggressive breeds.

Some standard chickens can be docile and friendly. However, most standard breeds are not friendly and don’t tolerate human handling. Some standard breeds can also be aggressive and difficult to handle.

These breeds won’t get along with docile species because they will bully their docile and calm counterparts. Most standard breeds can’t make good pets because they aren’t quiet and easygoing.

– Broodiness

Many bantam breeds are susceptible to broodiness. Bantams usually go broody after laying a few eggs. Because these birds are small, they can only sit and hatch a few eggs. Thus, don’t let your Bantam sit on many eggs expecting to get many bantam baby chicks. The maximum number of eggs your bantam hen will hatch is around five.

Standard breeds rarely go broody, especially egg-producing breeds. These breeds can lay plenty of eggs before going broody. Because of their relatively larger size, hens from egg-laying standard chicken breeds can sit on many eggs and successfully hatch them into baby chicks.


Bantam and standard chickens are the two popular chicken breeds among urban dwellers. These chickens may seem quite familiar with each other, notwithstanding they are different breeds. There are, however, some notable differences between the two chicken breeds you should consider whether raising bantams or standard chickens.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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