This ornamental true bantam is placid and easily tamed

Japanese Bantams are truly one of the ancient breeds and have no large fowl counterpart. They have the shortest legs of all the breeds and can be normal-feathered, Silkie-feathered or frizzle-feathered. The large comb of the males, upright tails held at 90� to the body and waddling gait make them a very amusing sight in the garden, where they’ve been compared to galleons sailing across the lawn! The neat wings are held low, and this combined with the short legs invariably mean that the wing tips touch the ground.

Being a trusting bird they’re ideal if you want a breed that children can look after. They’re also a beautiful exhibition breed and will lay well, but if you intend breeding them for show then you’ll need to bear in mind that the gene for short legs is lethal in double doses, and embryos that receive the short-legged gene from both parents won’t hatch but will invariably die in the shell. Overall, 25% of embryos receive the lethal double dose of short-legged genes; 50% receive one short-legged gene and one normal and will hatch as short-legged birds, as this is the dominant gene; and 25% will receive double normal-legged genes and will develop long legs, which are undesirable and will detract from the look of the breed. If two such birds were mated their offspring would likewise have long legs.

There are a wide range of colours available including black-tailed white, buff Columbian, white, black, grey, mottled, blue, cuckoo, red tri-coloured, black-red and various duckwing colours.

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