Japanese Bantam Chicken

Japanese bantam chicken is a tiny breed which is known for it’s size, extremely short legs, large combs and graceful arched tails. It is also known as Chabo, Shojo Chabo and Katsura Chabo. The word “Chabo” means bantam, dwarf or miniature in Japanese.

As it’s name suggest the ‘Japanese bantam chicken’ is an Asiatic chicken breed originating in Japan. It is a true bantam breed, meaning that there are no large fowl counterparts, and it is not and never was bred as a standard size chicken. It is an unusual breed and one of the few chicken breeds that is a true bantam.

Now this chicken breed is a strictly ornamental bird that is well liked by poultry fanciers. And the breed is very popular. The American Bantam Association considers the Japanese Bantam chicken breed to be in the top ten most popular breeds of all breeds.

The breed was recognized and admitted into the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1874.

Japanese Bantam Chicken Characteristics

Miniature size, large combs, extremely short legs and graceful arched tails are the main characteristics of this chicken breed. It has a large, upright tail that sits forward on the body creating a V-Shaped appearance.

Wings are held at a downward angle and are large in size. The wings in combination with their short legs, causes the wings to touch the ground. Their legs are of yellow color.

The comb, wattles and earlobes of these chickens are usually large in the males and medium in the females. And all are of bright or dark red in color. Their comb is single with five well defined points that stand upright.

Their eyes are dark brown or reddish bay and their beak is in shades of yellow. Their skin color is yellow. There are many color varieties of Japanese bantam chicken. But all the color varieties are not recognized by the American Poultry Association.

The American Poultry Association recognizes several color varieties, and those are; Black, Barred, Brown Red, Black tailed Buff, Black tailed White, Gray, Mottled, Wheaten and White. There are also frizzle-feathered and Silkie-feathered variations available of the Japanese bantam chicken.

On an average, the males weight about 510-600 grams and the females weight about 400-500 grams.


Japanese Bantam chickens are instantly recognizable for their petite stature and distinct features. With a compact, rounded body shape and short legs, they exhibit an endearing charm that is hard to resist. These birds have a short, upright tail that adds to their overall elegant appearance.

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One of the most striking aspects of Japanese Bantams is their abundant feathering. Their soft and profuse plumage creates a puffy, almost cloud-like effect. The feathers come in a variety of colors, including white, black, gray, and red, among others. Each color variation carries its own unique appeal, enhancing the breed’s visual allure.

Japanese Bantams also boast feathered legs, meaning their shanks and toes are adorned with fluffy feathers. This distinguishing feature sets them apart from other chicken breeds and adds to their overall charm.

Broodiness and Mothering Abilities

One remarkable characteristic of Japanese Bantams is their strong broody instinct. They have a natural inclination to sit on and hatch eggs, making them excellent mothers. When given the opportunity, they display exceptional dedication and care in nurturing their young.

During the brooding phase, Japanese Bantams exhibit protective behavior, diligently safeguarding their eggs or chicks. Their mothering abilities are often commendable, and they actively participate in raising their offspring. This quality is especially valued by chicken breeders and those interested in expanding their flock naturally.

Egg Production

While Japanese Bantams excel in other areas, such as appearance and temperament, they are not prolific layers. Their primary purpose lies in their ornamental value rather than egg production. The hens typically lay small to medium-sized eggs, which may be tinted in color.

Though not known for their egg-laying capabilities, the eggs produced by Japanese Bantams possess a certain aesthetic appeal. Their diminutive size and unique coloring add an element of novelty to the eggs, making them a delightful addition to any collection.


The Japanese bantam chicken is an extraordinary, ornamental breed. It was originally favored as ornamental garden birds by the aristocratic class of Japanese society. It can be a difficult chicken breed for the new poultry keepers because of it’s form.

And it’s plumage is difficult to achieve and requires extra attention and care. The breed suffers with a lethal gene combination that causes 25% of chicks to be unable to hatch. Breeding for good type is not easy. That’s why it’s not recommended for the beginners.

This chicken breed is easy to tame, though roosters might be aggressive. They are not a hardy breed and can be good fliers. Hens make a good broody and are excellent mothers.

Their chicks hatch after 20 days of incubation. The breed is not suitable for cold areas. Because their large comb and wattles are prone to frostbite.

During winter, they must be kept in a tight and warm coop with supplemental heat if needed. It is usually a gentle bird and a good forager in warm dry weather. Hens are not good layers. They lay a fair amount of small eggs.

The Japanese bantam chicken is an ideal breed for the people who are fond of their lawns and gardens. Because it is not good digger and it’s short legs stop them from damaging the ground.

The Japanese bantam chickens should be kept in a very clean chicken house, because their wingtips touch the ground and can be easily soiled.

They make excellent pets and are long lived birds. The average lifespan of Japanese bantam chicken is up to 13 years with proper care. Review full breed profile of Japanese bantam chicken below.

Breed NameJapanese Bantam
Other NameAlso known as Chabo, Shojo Chabo and Katsura Chabo
Breed PurposeOrnamental breed
Breed TemperamentFriendly, calm, easily tamed, bears confinement well, roosters might be aggressive
Breed SizeTrue Bantam
Climate ToleranceAll Climates but not cold hardy
Egg ColorCream or Tinted
Egg SizeSmall
Egg ProductivityLow
Feathered LegsNo
VarietiesThere are many color varieties of Japanese bantam chicken. But the American Poultry Association recognizes several color varieties, and those are; Black, Barred, Brown Red, Black tailed Buff, Black tailed White, Gray, Mottled, Wheaten and White.
Country of OriginJapan

Tips for Raising Japanese Bantam Chickens

Raising Japanese Bantam chickens can be very easy and simple. These small and ornamental birds are known for their unique characteristics and charm. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced poultry enthusiast, it’s essential to have the right knowledge and practices in place to ensure the health and well-being of your Japanese Bantams.

Now, we are going to provide you with the top tips for raising Japanese Bantam chickens. From selecting healthy chicks and creating a suitable living environment to maintaining their diet and addressing common health issues, these tips will guide you in successfully raising and caring for these delightful feathered companions.

  1. When starting your Japanese Bantam flock, select healthy chicks from reputable breeders or hatcheries. Look for active, alert, and well-groomed chicks with bright eyes and clean vents. Avoid chicks that appear weak, lethargic, or show signs of illness.
  2. Create a secure and comfortable coop for your Japanese Bantams. Ensure adequate space, proper ventilation, and protection from predators. Provide roosting bars, nesting boxes, and bedding material such as straw or wood shavings.
  3. Japanese Bantams are small birds, so consider their space requirements when determining flock size. As a general guideline, allow at least 2 to 3 square feet of space per bird in the coop and 8 to 10 square feet per bird in the outdoor run.
  4. Japanese Bantams are agile and can fly short distances. To prevent them from escaping, ensure that your fencing is secure and at least 4 to 5 feet high. Consider using hardware cloth or chicken wire with small openings to prevent predators from entering the enclosure.
  5. Maintain the coop temperature between 50 to 75°F (10 to 24°C) for Japanese Bantams. Provide insulation or heat sources during colder months and proper ventilation during hot weather to prevent overheating.
  6. Feed your Japanese Bantams a balanced diet consisting of high-quality poultry feed specifically formulated for small breeds. Supplement their diet with fresh greens, fruits, and occasional treats such as mealworms or kitchen scraps. Ensure access to clean, fresh water at all times.
  7. Provide poultry grit to aid in digestion and oyster shell or crushed eggshells for calcium supplementation. These additions support strong eggshell formation and overall digestive health.
  8. Regularly monitor your chickens’ food consumption to ensure they are eating the appropriate amount. Adjust the quantity based on their needs, making sure not to overfeed or waste feed.
  9. Japanese Bantams are prone to obesity, so avoid excessive feeding or reliance on high-calorie treats. Maintain a healthy weight by promoting exercise and providing ample opportunities for foraging.
  10. Japanese Bantams, like other chickens, enjoy dust bathing to keep their feathers clean and control parasites. Offer a designated area filled with dry dirt or sand for them to indulge in this natural behavior.
  11. Maintain cleanliness in the coop by regularly cleaning out bedding material, removing droppings, and ensuring proper ventilation. Clean and sanitize waterers and feeders regularly to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
  12. Japanese Bantams are sociable birds and benefit from social interaction. Spend time with your chickens, handle them gently, and provide opportunities for them to interact with other flock members.
  13. Protect your Japanese Bantams from predators by reinforcing the coop with sturdy materials, including predator-proof locks on doors and windows. Install fencing that extends underground to prevent digging predators from accessing the coop.
  14. Japanese Bantams are not prolific layers, so keep track of their egg production. Monitor their laying patterns and ensure they have suitable nesting boxes filled with clean bedding material.
  15. Be prepared for broodiness in Japanese Bantam hens. They have a tendency to go broody, showing the desire to sit on and hatch eggs. Provide a secluded and comfortable nesting area if you wish to encourage brooding behavior.
  16. When introducing new birds to an existing flock, do so gradually and carefully to avoid conflicts. Monitor their interactions closely to ensure a smooth integration.
  17. Regularly observe your Japanese Bantams for any signs of illness, including changes in behavior, appetite, or appearance. Seek veterinary assistance if you notice any abnormalities.
  18. Implement a parasite prevention program to protect your Japanese Bantams from external and internal parasites. Consult with a veterinarian for appropriate treatments and follow recommended guidelines.
  19. Keep your Japanese Bantams mentally stimulated by providing environmental enrichment, such as perches, branches, and toys. This helps prevent boredom and encourages natural behaviors.
  20. Implement biosecurity measures to minimize the risk of disease transmission. Restrict visitor access, practice proper hand hygiene, and prevent contact with other poultry populations.
  21. Schedule regular health checks for your Japanese Bantams to ensure their overall well-being. This includes examining their feathers, beaks, feet, and checking for signs of infection or injury.
  22. Maintain accurate records of your Japanese Bantams, including their hatch dates, vaccinations, breeding information, and any notable observations. This information helps in managing their care effectively.
  23. Above all, enjoy the experience of raising Japanese Bantam chickens. Embrace the joy they bring, observe their unique personalities, and appreciate the beauty of these charming birds.

Raising Japanese Bantam chickens requires attention to detail and a commitment to their well-being. By implementing these tips outlined in this article, you can provide a healthy and enriching environment for your Japanese Bantams.

From selecting healthy chicks and creating a suitable living space to monitoring their diet, health, and social interactions, these tips will guide you in successfully raising these delightful birds.

Remember to provide a safe and comfortable home, prioritize their nutritional needs, and regularly monitor their health. With proper care and attention, your Japanese Bantams will thrive and bring joy to your flock for years to come.

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