Anyone who admires barnyard fowl will love the Booted Bantam chicken. Also called the Dutch Booted Bantam, this fantastically feathered and colored bird is also friendly, calm, and happy in any safe and suitable environment.
This breed is a true bantam, which means that it is not a miniature version of a larger breed, as many bantams are. Some say that these chickens were in the Netherlands as early as the 1500s, though others credit a later breeder in Belgium.
It is a tiny bird, weighing less than two pounds for roosters and just over a pound and a half for hens. The American standard is smaller than these limits, which are rules for British breeders.
The Booted Bantam is tiny, with the British show standards limiting cocks to thirty ounces and hens to no more than twenty seven ounces. The American Poultry Association standard sets even lighter weight for birds to be accepted in a show.
The small size does not make this a fragile or sickly type, however. They are not hardy in cold weather but otherwise can take care of themselves just fine.
Another defining characteristic of this breed is its ‘vulture hocks’, giving an extreme angle to the leg. It is hard to see in pictures, since the birds have dramatically feathered legs and feet. From eleven to seventeen color variations are declared standards depending on the national criteria of breed traits.
The colors and patterns are truly fantastic and can be seen online or in fancy chicken catalogs.
While these extremely beautiful chickens are bred for showing, they make great pets. They are not hardy so need to be protected from the cold, but otherwise are good foragers and easy to keep in the outside garden.
The people who have had them say their fluffy feet, the ‘boots’ that give them their name, keep them from scratching up gardens as much as most domestic fowl. The cocks are proud but if hand raised are neither timid or aggressive around children or adults. In fact, many love to be picked up and will stand around close so you can admire them.
If meant for show, the bantams must be kept in cages with soft, clean bedding that will protect their dramatic feathers. Their legs, which have what is called ‘vulture hocks’, have long, beautiful feathers, and their feet are completely covered with fluff.
Their wings sweep back and down at the same angle as the leg feathers for a truly lovely effect. Add the bright colors of feathers in dramatic patterns and the red, upstanding comb and face, and you have incredibly beautiful birds.
Although they do not have much meat on their frames, what they do have is well-proportioned. Their value is more ornamental than utilitarian, though, so check them out for their beauty and their charm.
Online sites have great pictures of the more popular varieties, such as the Millefleur. You will not believe your eyes when you see how splendid some of the birds are, although they also come in black and in white, where their shape and gracefulness is the main attraction.
The Booted Bantam chicken must be seen to be believed. Not only are their feathers and colors gorgeous, but their upright shape and perky feathers make them very appealing.