The Pekin chicken is a miniature bird that happens to be one of the true bantams available. Being a true bantam means that this chicken doesn’t have a standard-sized counterpart. This is different from miniature standards that have larger chicken versions. Now, this chicken originated in Peking (now Beijing) China and is rounded with an assortment of cool colors to display.
Although it’s small in size, the Pekin bantam is considered a cute treasure that has larger-than-life characteristics. For instance, this chicken has a handful of friendliness making it an excellent pet for kids and most chicken enthusiasts. It’s also robust and hardy and best of all, it doesn’t ruin your lawn thus making it the best for backyards with gardens.
Specifications of Pekin Chicken
So, are you looking to add this bantam chicken to your cute collection of backyard chickens? Well, read on for we have plenty to talk about regarding this miniature chicken breed.
|Weight||1.25 – 1.5 Pounds|
|Lifespan||5 – 7 Years|
|Uses||Pets and Ornamentation|
|Egg Production||50 – 100 Small Eggs Annually|
|Egg Size/Color||White/Cream Small Eggs|
|Temperament||Friendly, Docile, Safe For Kids & Easy to Handle|
|Appearance||White, Buff, Blue, Black & Barred|
|Comb Type||Single Comb|
A Short History of Pekin Chicken
The Pekin Bantam is a small and truly cute chook that has a lot to be admired. From its miniature standard size, and its rounded fluffy looks to its rainbow range of beautiful colors, this chicken is truly a designer breed no wonder it’s used for ornamentation and exhibition.
About its history and origin, this chicken has conflicting theories. Actually, there are two major theories that explain its existence. However, both of these theories agree on two things. One is that Pekin bantam chickens originated in Peking, China. The second one is that these chooks were exported to England during the reign of Queen Victoria.
The first theory mentions that these little chooks, formerly known as Shanghais, were taken from China’s Emperor’s private collection and gifted to England’s queen of the time (Queen Victoria) in 1835. This statement has some truth in it considering Queen Victoria was a lover of chickens and had a huge chicken collection.
The second theory states that these chickens were looted from the Chinese Emperor’s private collection by English soldiers. This was during the 2nd Opium War around 1860.
As we mentioned earlier, the Pekin Bantam is a chicken with a conflicting history. But, nonetheless, this chicken has continued to spread its popularity and is now a common breed in most parts of the world including the United States and Canada.
Physical Appearance and Breed Standard of Pekin Chicken
First and foremost, the Pekin is a true bantam and a standard breed that’s recognized by the Poultry Club of Great Britain. This chicken is easy to recognize because it’s a bantam. But, other than that, there are several other physical features that make it easily recognizable from other miniature chickens.
One of them is the shape of the body where the Pekin bears a well-rounded body with abundant feathers. In fact, this chicken resembles a walking ball due to its extremely fluffy body.
Another feature of this chicken is the carriage that appears to tilt forward making them appear closer to the ground. This is quite different from a majority of the breeds where they appear to have an upright posture.
Although Pekins are quite similar to Cochins, one prominent feature that makes them different is the plumage. These chickens are some of the most feathered breeds with feathers extending to the feet. This is one reason why Pekins are considered ornamental.
The color of their plumage is something else that will definitely make your head turn. A Pekin bantam chick and Pekin adult will bear colors and patterns that range from Black, Blue, Buff, Mottled, Barred, Birchen, Cuckoo, Silver Partridge, White, Splashed, Columbian, Wheaten to Levander.
About their sizes, Pekin hens are around 7.5 – 9.8 inches while roosters are about 9.8 – 11.8 inches. These chickens weigh around 1.25 to 1.5 pounds making them the worst choice when raised for meat.
Productivity of Pekin Chicken (Egg Laying and Meat)
If you’re planning to raise Pekin bantams, one pressing question you’re likely to ask is about the yield. After all, this is one of the factors every chicken farmer must consider when raising a particular breed. When it comes to Pekins, these chickens are bantams. This means that you won’t expect a lot from them in terms of meat and egg production.
Starting with eggs, these chickens can manage to lay around 100 eggs per year. The eggs are pretty small and are white or cream in color. Since they’re not prolific layers, Pekins start laying quite late at around 6 – 8 months old.
Now, some folks have been asking whether it’s safe to eat Pekin bantam eggs. Well, these eggs are safe to eat despite being small. They’re pretty nutritious and have lots of proteins. The only thing I won’t recommend is raising these chickens for meat production as they’re too small for that. However, their meat is considered delicious and flavorful.
As you can see, the Pekin bantam seems like a poor choice when it comes to production. However, this chicken has two major benefits for most farmers. One of them is the unique appearance that makes them perfect ornamental birds.
The second advantage is that they’re good setters. Since they get broody regularly, Pekins can sit on their eggs as well as eggs from other chickens, and they’re usually excellent mothers.
Pekin Chicken Characteristics (Personality and Temperament)
Just like most bantams, Pekin chickens are docile, calm, and very friendly. These chickens are sweet and quite adorable. They enjoy human companionship a lot and will be particularly happy when cuddled and handled with some extra tender love.
Right from a Pekin bantam chick to an adult, these chickens tend to attract attention from kids due to their loving appearance. In fact, Pekins are gentle to a point of tolerating all types of kids even those that are quite rough.
But other than serving as great pets, Pekins usually don’t have a problem when mixed with other birds. However, the roosters seem to be a little defensive and territorial, especially when other bantams are introduced to a flock containing Pekins only.
Lastly, Pekins serve as excellent barnyard chooks thanks to their unique foraging skills. Since they don’t scratch around flower beds, these chickens can be left to free-range in backyards with flower gardens as they don’t cause any damage.
Common Health Issues of Pekin Chicken
Pekin bantams are some so the easiest chicken breeds to care for. Although they’re small, these chickens don’t have any specific health issues. The only thing you need to worry about is the common health issues chickens face.
Some of these illnesses include Infectious Coryza, Gapes, Lung inflammation, Fowl Cholera, and Coccidiosis among others. Additionally, since these chickens are heavily feathered, you need to watch out for parasites such as lice and mites. Otherwise, with special care, Pekins are chickens that can last long for up to 5 – 7 years.
Required Environment for Pekin Chicken
Now, if you’re willing to raise Pekin bantams, then there are some things you need to be aware of. First, these chickens are raised for ornamentation and not for production. Secondly, they’re bantams, and thirdly, they’re heavily feathered.
So, with these specifications in your mind, you’ll obviously know that Pekins won’t need a lot of coop space to raise. With just a small space, you’ll be good to go. Secondly, these chickens have fluffy feathers right from their bodies to their feet.
And since they’re raised for exhibition and poultry shows, their thick plumage should not get wet whatsoever. Therefore, you need to confine them inside raised coops with dry bedding to avoid any form of dampness.
Next, Pekins are chickens that are very docile, attentive, broody, and pretty friendly. Such disposition allows them to fit as great additions to any backyard space. They will keep your kids entertained, and above all, they will coexist peacefully with other chickens in the coop.
Lastly, the thick plumage makes Pekin bantams quite adaptable to cold climates. So, if you live in areas that record cold temperatures, then this chicken will surely survive in such conditions though proper coop insulation is still required.
Raising Tips for Pekin Chicken
Feeding Pekin Bantams
Pekin bantam chickens are omnivorous. This means that they can consume all types of foods such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, and insects. Since they’re considered excellent foragers, Pekins can feed on foods such as sunflower, corn, seeds, and burley. They can also feed on mealworms and oatmeal for a protein boost, fruits for a vitamin boost, and leafy greens for a mineral boost.
The best thing about Pekin bantams is that they’re small. This means that you won’t have to sacrifice a lot of space to raise them as they only need about 2 square feet of space per chicken. But, considering these chickens are fluffy, you must ensure the coop is clean and free from wetness. This will help to keep the feathered legs dry and clean.
Lastly, Pekin bantams are known to be miniatures. However, their small size should not deceive you as they can fly and jump over barriers that are 30 times their height. So, when raising them, you should erect tall fences to prevent them from flying over. The tall fence will also serve as a barrier to keep predators off.
Now, although Pekin bantams are covered with thick plumage, that doesn’t mean they’re tolerant to cold temperatures. These chickens are not cold hardy and will hence require extra care during cold climates. Here, you can provide coop heaters, and don’t forget to insulate their coops.
Pekin chickens are some of the rarest birds to find. This makes them quite costly with prices ranging from $5 to $11 for a chick and around $50 for an adult chicken. They’re wonderfully cute, friendly, and non-aggressive in nature.
Combining these features with their feathered plumage, Pekins are considered ornamental birds that are specifically raised for exhibitions and shows. These chickens also don’t suffer from any known health problems making them hardy and quite easy to raise.
Hello, I am John Reid. I have been raising chickens for the last 15 years. I have got my experience from my father. My father is the owner of a large chicken farm. This is our family business that has been continuing for over 35 years. I am very interested in backyard chickens and I know how to take care of them. You can learn more About Us here. Happy Reading!!