Booted Bantam Chicken
Gallus gallus domesticus
Introducing one of the strangest looking chickens; perhaps this is where the ‘Big Foot’ myth came from! Dave and his flock are full of character and will come running over as soon as they hear you shake your bag of seed. Dave, the black cockerel, is happiest when he’s perched on your head!
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This breed of bantam chicken originates for the Netherlands, but they also developed and have a long history in Germany and the United Kingdom. They are a domesticated chicken so there is no specific habitat, yet are usually found in farm and grasslands.
Arguably the most unusual aspect of this chicken’s biology is their long, feathery legs and feet which can grow up to 6 inches in length. These ‘boots’ have no function but instead this feature was selectively bred by humans. Bantams are defined as miniature chickens, hence these chickens are very small, yet are broad and their breast is very forward positioned.
They are very good foragers, finding and eating grain, seeds, corn, some vegetation, as well as some insects. However, not all insects are on the menu, as even new born chicks show fear of a stinging insect. Worms are a rare treat, from a young age a chick will instinctively run away with a worm to stop other chicks trying to steal it.
Up to 10 years.
They are very friendly, docile, calm chickens. They are social, living in hierarchical flocks or ‘pecking’ orders where chicks as young as 16 days begin fighting for dominance. After a social hierarchy is established, chickens can individually recognise each other, and so will continue to peck chickens lower in the order.
These chickens can lay up to 180 very small eggs a year. A ‘broody’ hen will incubate the egg for 21 days before it hatches.
Although they are not classed on the conservation list, they are a rare breed of chicken.
They are considered ‘true bantams’ because most larger chickens have a miniature, bantam breed. However, there is no larger version of this booted breed, thus they are truly a bantam chicken.