The Serama Bantam is the smallest and lightest chicken in the world. There are many different "styles" or "types" of Serama. We support all Serama style and types from the most extreme specimens to normalized standards. All are exciting in their own way and individual breeder's vision enhances these traits with lines and families they develop.
The main difference between a Serama and a regular chicken is their size. Seramas are very small so they need to be kept safe from predators, and also kept warm. I highly reccommend letting your birds range in a confined area during the day, becuase I have found that this boosts fertility and general health tremendously. The birds love it, and are more contented, and better producers.
The smallest chicken.
Make sure that when the weather is bad outside, you have a suitable place for them to go into. This can be a coop, a shed, or a partition of a building. Make sure that inside is warn, dry and free from parasites. I highly advise using wood shavings, as the birds do not ingest them, they are easy to clean, and they last a long time. The Serama is a very personable little bird, and thrives on human interaction. Make sure you spend some time with your birds, they and you will both love it.
Feeding the Serama
Seramas can eat regular chicken feed, but I have found that they do better on crumbles or mash, rather than pellets. There size means they need smaller food or grains or grains that have been rolled or broken. My opinion is they need a slightly higher protein than full size birds.
They should also have free choice grit and oyster shell. They enjoy being on pasture and will peck at the tips of grasses like most chickens.Treats may be fed.
Because of their diminutive size and short legs they are easier to keep in a garden and will not do as much damage as other chickens.
Seramas can fly like any other chicken and will do occasionally. Above.
Colours and Type.
The Serama does not breed "true" meaning two things. Any pair of Seramas, can produce any of over 2500 documented color varieties. Breeding a black bird to a black bird does not mean you will get black offspring. This is yet another reason why the Serama is so fun, becuase you never know what you will get! Seramas also do not breed true to size, meaning that if you take a Class A bird and breed it to another Class A bird, you could get birds that are either Class A, B, or C.
Although Seramas are not your common everyday chicken, they are no harder to raise then any other quality bantam.
The modern day Malaysian Serama Bantam is said to be due to the many years work by Wee Yean Een from Kelantan Malaysia, who had a fascination with chickens since his early childhood days. See our history of the serama article.
The serama has started to become more popular in recent years, and unfortunately some people are getting the wrong idea about the breed. The serama is merely another breed of poultry that happens to be quite small. They should be treated no differently than any other bantam, and people need to know this.
The Malaysian serama is always a proud bird.
The type is the outline of the bird or "silhouette" and this is particularly important with the Serama. It is the general form of the overall bird and distinguishes the bird at a glance with it's upright tail, high prominent breast, low wing and head held far back nearly against the tail. The overall effect of tail and neck/head is of a V shape. The back should be very short and nearly completely covered by the hackle and saddles so as to appear nearly nonexistent.
Typical Malaysian Serama Types are Slim, Ball, Apple, and Dragon. Slim is a relatively tall, slender bird with a very small breast. This type looks as though it could fit into a cylinder without problem. Ball are quite round in appearance. The legs are short and the wings are not held at vertical, but closer to 45 degrees or less, due to wing and leg length.
More than 2500 colours are known.
They don’t lay golden eggs or have any other special ability. By this I mean they should not be kept in a class of their own. What then, are people getting so confused about? Let's examine some key issues facing the Serama in the next paragraph.
There are, of course, a few problems surrounding this breed. People seem to be pulled into this breed to make moneyand this is most definitely the wrong reason. It has inherited the fatal recessive gene from the Japanese bantam that means that 1 in 4 eggs won’t hatch even if it is fertile. The legs are just too short.
Is it for the money or is it for the bird? If it’s for the money then back out, it will be best for everyone associated with the serama otherwise the breed will suffer.
Breeding methods seem to be a key point in debates about the serama these days. There are a few individuals who are breeding these birds correctly and who maintain pure flocks, but some of the other breeders who apparently are selling seramas are in fact selling crosses. Many of these crosses coming from Serama X Old English Game Bantams, and Serama XJapanese or Chabo bantams.
Serama cockerel below.
Serama cockerel below.
As with any breed buyers should be aware of who they are dealing with and who has pure stock before they part with their money. Serama clubs are in the process of creating a breeders directory that lists the breeders of pure Seramas. If you would like to know where to find this information please contact me personally or see our clubs and resources page. So please do your research before investing in this breed, as with any other breed. In the end, you will benefit yourself, the Serama, and anyone who is buying Seramas from you.
Another thing that is bothering me is the condition most of these birds are being kept in. If you look at pictures of a Serama listed on an online auction or a breeder’s website, pay attention to how they are being housed. Most; you will see are kept in small, dirty cages. They are being housed a lot like battery hens. If you don’t know what battery hens are, they are hens that lay eggs in the big commercial barns that are housed in 3 square foot cages along with 9 other hens. I know that some breeders have enough of a sense of ethics, and animal care responsibility to house them like any other breed would be housed and I appreciate those breeders. I would encourage any new buyers to buy from them, because they clearly show that they have the breeds' and the individual bird's best interest at heart.
Day old serama chick above
Day old serama chick above
In conclusion, I hope that this will help inform some fanciers about some of the problems with this breed and some of its breeders, and what some current breeders should take into consideration. I also hope that if you are looking to buy a Serama you have become more informed as to how to choose a good breeder.