True bantams are miniature birds that do not have large chicken counterparts, and the Dutch bantam is one of the smallest of the group. The average weight of a Dutch hen is under a pound, and the roosters only weigh a few ounces over a pound. Although not used in commercial poultry operations, the Dutch bantam chickens are prized for their calm temperament, variety of colors, hardiness, and adaptability. We’ll examine the breed’s origin, uses, and traits that make it unique compared to other chicken breeds.

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Quick Facts About Dutch Bantam Chickens

Breed Name:Dutch Bantam Chicken
Place of Origin:Holland
Uses:Show birds, eggs for small farmers
Rooster (Male) Size:1.1–1.21 pounds
Hen (Female) Size:0.88–0.99 pounds
Color:29 color variations including yellow partridge, blue silver partridge, gold partridge, silver partridge, cuckoo partridge, white, lavender, black, and blue
Lifespan:4–8 years
Climate Tolerance:Warm climates, cannot tolerate colder temperatures
Care Level:Moderate
Production:160 eggs per year
Other uses:Used as pets and show birds

Dutch Bantam Chicken Origins

Historians have not pinpointed the exact lineage of the Dutch bantam, but most speculate they’re related to bantams from Indonesia. Merchant sailors from the Dutch East Indies often picked up chickens at seaports for eggs and meat, and they’re thought to have brought the birds back to Holland in the late 19th century.

Peasant farmers began raising the chickens because the bird’s eggs were too small to be given to their upper-class landlords. Around 1945, the Dutch bantams were exported to the United States, but the breed died out in the 1950s due to a lack of interest before it was reintroduced in the early 1970s.

Dutch Bantam Chicken Characteristics

Dutch bantams are lively little birds that seem to strut when they walk; they keep excellent posture with their heads upright and breasts proudly displayed. They’re one of the friendliest chicken breeds, and they’re a perfect choice for homesteaders with small children. Because of their small size and calm demeanor, children can easily handle them, and some birds become attached to their human caretakers. Dutch bantams do not become anxious or aggressive when confined to the chicken coop, but they can fly away if they feel threatened or uncomfortable.

Dutch hens are not as productive as larger chickens, but they typically lay around 160 eggs each year. Hens are exceptional mothers, and breeders do not need to use artificial incubation to raise chicks. The breed adapts to most environments, but they’re vulnerable to cold weather and must be kept in warm enclosures in northern regions. Unfortunately, some unreputable breeders have crossed Dutch bantams with Old English Game bantams and produced chickens with more aggression than the purebred birds. Choosing a reliable breeder is vital for finding Dutch birds with friendly attitudes.


Dutch bantams are not used in commercial operations in most countries because the birds are too small for meat production, and hens lay fewer eggs than other breeds. They’re becoming more popular in the United States with small farmers and homesteaders, but they’re primarily used for their eggs and as pets. Because the breed has several color variations and an attractive body structure, it’s admired as a show bird. The American Dutch Bantam Society was established in 1986 to promote the breed and educate breeders on standards and care.

Appearance & Varieties

The Dutch bantam is an attractive bird with large wings and a full tail with prominent sickles. It has a bright-red comb with five points and a curved beak. Most varieties have gray, featherless legs except the Cuckoo and Crele types, which have dark-spotted legs. Since the Dutch Bantams were selected for size and temperament, they display a wide range of colors. Some of the breed’s most common colors in the United States include:

  • Light brown
  • Blue
  • Self-blue
  • Silver
  • Blue light brown
  • Blue silver
  • Blue light brown splash
  • Blue silver splash
  • Cream light brown
  • Cream blue light brown splash
  • Black
  • Golden
  • Cuckoo
  • Crele
  • Blue golden
  • White

Population, Distribution & Habitat

Although it’s gaining popularity in the United States, the Dutch bantam is not a common breed in North America. However, it remains a popular breed in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Germany. Because it does not produce a high yield of eggs or meat, the Dutch bird typically resides on small farms and homesteads. Although the chickens have a small worldwide population, their popularity is growing with small farmers.

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Are Dutch Bantams Good for Small-Scale Farming?

The Dutch bantam is an excellent choice for small-scale farming, but it’s not suitable for free ranging. The tiny bird is a tempting target for winged predators like hawks, and it can fly away when it’s not comfortable in its surroundings. However, Dutch birds handle confinement without issues and require less space in the coop to roost than larger breeds. They provide a small number of delicious, tiny eggs to their owners, and their friendly personalities make them ideal pets for homesteaders with young children.

Featured Image Credit: JohnatAPW. Shutterstock