Chicken fever is definitely gripping America again, and we see more and more homesteaders get excited about the idea of keeping a flock of their own. Chickens make surprisingly great and affordable pets, of course, but they’re also productive ones that can supply you with fresh eggs and excellent, high-quality meat.
Perhaps the only downside to chickens, like all poultry and other livestock, is that they require a certain amount of space on your land in order to thrive. However, that space requirement can be cut down significantly if you invest in bantam breeds.
Bantam chickens are simply much smaller birds, whether they were naturally small-statured or developed into pint-sized birds from existing, larger breeds.
This can be a big advantage for certain owners, but you’ll still need to know how much space these tiny birds need if you want them to thrive- and to prevent problems like fights and picking! Keep reading and I’ll tell you about the space requirements of bantams below.
How Much Space Do Bantams Need in the Run?
Bantam chickens need anywhere from 4 to 6 square feet of space per adult chicken in the run. Although that’s not as much as the 8 to 10 square feet required of larger breeds, this is still a fairly significant space requirement and must be accommodated to prevent fights and reduce stress.
One thing to keep in mind is that many bantams, especially developed or miniaturized bantams, don’t know that they are as small as they are. I mean to say that they don’t necessarily understand the “fact” that they require less space. Some bantams, you might find out, actually need plenty of personal space!
Use this as a guideline for planning your run and where it will fit on your property, but always err on the side of more room in the run if you can
How Much Space do Bantams Need in the Coop?
Bantam breeds need significantly less room in the coop compared to standard chickens, about 2 square feet per adult. This is really where you’ll start to see significant savings on space.
Considering that most chickens are only in the coop to sleep before they get up and venture out into the run or yard, they are more amenable to being “packed in” compared to being out in the run.
That being said, this figure is only dependable and only a good guideline if indeed your birds won’t be living in the coop for much of the time throughout the year or for much of their lives.
Bantams That Stay in the Coop Longer Need More Space!
Bantams, regrettably, tend to be more vulnerable to temperature extremes compared to other chickens.
Extreme heat and cold means they’ll need shelter more often, whether it is shade that will relieve them from the relentless sun, or extra insulation and protection against the wind and cold. Most times, that means their coop.
If by simple necessity (or emergency) you anticipate that you’ll need to put your bantam flock up in the coop for extended periods, you must allow more space to prevent fights, injuries, and skyrocketing stress.
This, to a degree, is also influenced by the breed. Chickens are individuals in many ways, yes, but some breeds are far more susceptible to the stressors being cooped up, literally, than others!
Cochin Bantams and Seramas are two bantam breeds that are known for staying calm and content even when confined for extended periods.
How Big Should a Nesting Box Be for a Bantam Hen?
Nesting boxes for bantam chickens should only be slightly smaller than those for standard breeds, around 10 inches wide by 10 inches deep and 12 inches high.
Again, many bantam varieties do not necessarily comprehend how small they are in relation to their environment; at least not when it comes to their overall comfort and sense of security.
This is definitely true for choosy hens, and though a slightly smaller nesting box will save you room in the long run, you’ll still need to allow plenty of space overall.
How Many Nesting Boxes Should You Provide for Bantams?
A good rule of thumb is that you should provide one nesting box for every 2 to 3 bantam hens, the same as standard breeds.
Remember: always round that number up if you’re going with the more conservative figure! If you have 8 bantam hens, for instance, and are planning on a single nesting box for every 3 ladies, you should have 3 nesting boxes, not 2.
However this, as always, is subject to change depending on the productivity of your flock and individual chickens, generally. A shortage of nesting boxes will result in elevated stress and lost eggs along with other problems associated with hands laying in suboptimal places.
A little research concerning your specific breed will likely reveal whether you need to be more plentiful with nesting boxes or if you can afford to be more conservative. Plan accordingly!
How Much Room Do Bantams Need to Roost?
Bantams, once again, only need slightly less space for roosting compared to their larger cousins, around 6 to 8 inches, laterally, for each hen. Consider leaving a little extra space for each bantam, rooster, around 7 to 9 inches.
The very smallest breeds, like Seramas, can do with a lot less but generally this is a guideline that you should stick to.
Something else to keep in mind is that many bantam breeds are far more capable jumpers and flyers compared to larger breeds, and so you might be able to save space by placing roosting bars higher in the coop than you would normally.
Do Bantams Need More Vertical Space in a Run or Coop?
Not necessarily, but it can be a good idea to leave plenty of overhead room for bantams that want to jump around or try to stretch their wings a bit!
On that note, as mentioned above in the previous section, bantams tend to be capable flyers, and most can jump quite high with the assistance of their wings even if they aren’t capable of true flight.
This means you definitely need to think about taller fences than you would compared to the larger and heavier common chickens, and large breeds among them in particular.
A net over the top of the run is also a good idea if it isn’t fully enclosed by design, both to keep your bantams inside and also to give them protection from birds of prey which can make quick work of them.
How Much Room Do Bantams Need in a Mixed Flock?
If you were adding bantams to a mixed flock, meaning one with standard-size chickens, you should still use the bantam guidelines above for making your calculations for coop size, run size, nesting boxes, and more.
Your bantams don’t necessarily need more room just because they’re living alongside larger chickens: your goal is simply to ensure that all of your birds, large or small, have enough room to cohabitate, live, forage, and sleep peacefully.
Tim is a farm boy with vast experience on homesteads, and with survival and prepping. He lives a self-reliant lifestyle along with his aging mother in a quiet and very conservative little town in Ohio. He teaches folks about security, prepping and self-sufficiency not just through his witty writing, but also in person.
Find out more about Tim and the rest of the crew here.