The Serama chicken has become extremely popular because of their eye-catching beauty and small size. They happen to be the lightest chickens in the world, but despite this, they are easier to raise than many other breeds.
The Seramas have a regal stature and an interesting personality that you will surely love. Due to their small size, they are ideal for small urban backyards, making them convenient and efficient to raise.
If you plan to care for these stunning little chickens, you’ve come to the right place! Here will give everything you need to know more about Seramas, like their appearance, history & origins, etc. Let’s get started!
The Serama Chickens and Their Origins
The Serama chicken makes an excellent pet you can easily keep indoors and outdoors. Since they are extremely small, you only need a little space in your home to properly care for them.
The history of the Serama chicken can be traced back to Asia in the 1600s. They come from the Kelantan Province, Malaysia, and are a crossbreed of the Malaysian and Japanese bantams.
The Seramas you find today were made by a breeder by the name of Wee Yean Een who bred them in 1970 to honor the Thai king, Rama.
Characteristics and Appearance of the Serama Chicken
If you are looking for the tiniest chicken breeds around, it is best to look at the Serama chickens. They can be as small as six inches in height, making them quite the novelty. However, their size isn’t the only characteristic that sets them apart from other chickens.
Thanks to their distinct upright posture, Seramas show off a V-shape and a noticeably large chest proportionate to their size. They also have a certain alertness and distinct stance, which earned them the nicknames “toy soldier” and “small/fearless warrior” despite being very friendly to humans.
1. Color and Posture
These chickens are a small breed with distinct and unique physical characteristics. They have small heads that lean slightly backward when standing upright. Additionally, they have a single red comb on top of their heads.
The Serama has red eyes and white/red earlobes. They are also stout because of the short length between the body and tail feathers.
Their wide-set, medium to long featherless legs have a nice yellow color, with four toes on each foot. The tail feathers overlap and are naturally larger in roosters than in hens. These chickens come in various colors like orange, gray, blue, and wheaten.
This breed of chickens has highly positioned shoulders, so their wings are perpendicular to the body. Their body and form keep their feet somewhat visible. This is why some people call them archangel chickens.
The little breed shows off a large breast that is plump, full, and round. It protrudes past their head especially when standing erect. Their body and form give these chickens a regal look.
Overall, the Serama chicken is a small, attractive breed with unique features. They come in various colors and possess a distinctive posture that sets them apart from other chicken breeds.
2. Weight and Class
These little chickens are lightweight between 8 to 19oz, while their roosters weigh 13 to 19oz. If you plan to take care of Seramas, then good for you! However, keep in mind that the weight of roosters and hens depends on their size and weight class.
- Micro Seramas reach 8oz for females and 13oz for males
- A Class Seramas weigh below 12oz in females while males are below 13oz
- B Class females are less than 15oz while the males are 16oz
- Lastly, the C Class Seramas weighs 19oz or less for both males and females
The Serama chickens are known to have bold, big, and brave personalities since they are quite fearless despite their size. Of course, you need to keep an eye on them since this attitude can get them into trouble with larger animals.
Since they are the smallest chicken breed, Serama chickens are the main target of predators. And when we say predators, these also include your house cats and dogs. This is why you need to keep them secure while raising them.
Generally, raising these chickens is fun and rewarding, all because of their unique character and charm. They can get extremely friendly and will follow you wherever you go.
But if you need to confine them in a certain area, that is entirely fine. Serama chickens can tolerate being kept inside since their size makes it easy for them to move in small spaces. Interestingly, you can even give them toys to keep them busy and entertained while confined.
4. Serama and Other Breeds
Although friendly and fearless, these chickens tend to be quite assertive. However, you do not have to worry as the Seramas do well with small flock mates. These include similar-sized chickens and Silkies.
Avoid placing them in a coop with bigger chickens like the Brahmas or Orpingtons. These chickens are heavier than the Serama and could cause severe injuries to the smaller birds. These chickens also do not mind being handled but remember to still be gentle with them, especially when handling chicks.
The Serama Breed Standard
There are three different standards for the Serama chickens based on their location. These include the UK, US, and their native country, Malaysia.
Malaysia – Based on Malaysian standards, these chickens need to have certain shapes like slim, apple, ball, etc.
USA – For the American Seramas, these chickens need to have a combination of slim and apple shapes. In 2011, only the white Seramas were APA-accepted, but in 2018, the black ones were also recognized.
UK – The Poultry Club of Great Britain accepted and recognized the Seramas in 2008. In 2011, the American Bantam Association accepted the Serama breed.
Broodiness and Eggs
The eggs of Serama chickens are so tiny that you would need five of these to match the content of an A-grade egg. However, these chickens can be prolific egg layers and produce up to four small eggs a week but this can vary from one Serama to the next.
Usually, the chickens lay around 180 to 200 eggs per year. The egg’s shell color varies from white to a darker brown shade, plus shades in between. These chickens are year-round egg layers, and their peak fertility goes from November to February. However, this may not always be true for the Seramas raised in northern climates.
The Serama hens can be broody and are known as perfect mothers. However, they should not have more than four to six eggs to hatch since the hens cannot adequately cover these.
On egg incubation, the time for it is a bit less than other chickens. So for the smallest strain, which is the micro, the hatching period is 15 to 17 days. However, it is good to note that these chickens inherited a lethal gene from the Bantams from Japan. If it is present in the bird, about a quarter of their eggs will not hatch.
Raising Serama Chickens
- Climate – Serama, being small and originating from warm climates, require protection from cold temperatures. They thrive at 90 degrees Fahrenheit but will be fine in any temperature above 40.
If your location is on the cooler side, you can hang a heat lamp above the heads of your chicken’s coup or cage. Make sure these are about six inches away from the birds. You can also keep the chickens indoors, but if you can’t, keep them in a heated space.
- Feed – It is not difficult to feed Seramas since they eat regular chicken feed. However, you need to make sure that you give them bantam or small-sized pellets. Additionally, you also need to provide your chickens with a constant supply of fresh, clean water.
- Eggs – The Seramas are productive chickens and will lay eggs most of the year. However, this is only possible if you keep them in the right conditions. Fertility and egg production peak during spring and the color of their eggs ranges from white to dark brown.
- Brooding – Since Seramas can become excellent mothers, they are capable of successfully sitting on, brooding, hatching, and watching their own chicks.
- Outdoors – Make sure to bring your chickens out during warm sunny days since they love being outdoors during this weather. When they are out, they enjoy foraging and picking on grass. But always keep them safe and protected since they are easy prey to dogs, cats, and other predators.
- Chicks – When their eggs hatch, Serama chicks tend to be very small, and for the first three weeks, you will need to ground chick crumbs. It should have a powdery texture to help digestion, and to achieve this, we suggest using a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle.
- Bad Genes – It is good to note that Seramas have a so-called diluted lethal gene that they acquired from their Japanese Bantam ancestry. This causes one to two percent of the embryos to fully develop but fails to hatch. If the egg successfully hatches, the chick ends up dying within 24 hours after hatching. The incubation period for these chicken eggs lasts 19 to 20 days.
- Size – Do note that the Serama chickens do not always breed true to their size. That means, out of a batch of chicks, a few of them may be smaller (A Class) while 10% could be larger (C Class). Then, the rest of the chicks in the batch remain within the regular size range for Serama chicks.
- Conditions – Serama chickens dislike muddy places and wet conditions, so it is best to place them in dry, well-insulated coops. This is highly suggested during winter, especially if you live in places that are prone to snow and frost.
Common Illnesses and Issues Among Serama Chickens
Generally, these chickens are healthy, however, they tend to suffer in cold temperatures. Here, we listed a few illnesses and issues that Serama chickens can acquire. Plus, we also provided details on their symptoms and how to prevent these.
1. Lice and Mites
When raising Seramas, you will need to protect them from mites and lice. These external parasites are pests that feed on the skin, feathers, and blood of animals. When these infest a small breed of chickens, the outcome can turn deadly.
Your Serama chickens could have inflamed skin, bald patches, feather loss, disheveled feathers, or the production of their eggs decrease. If that happens, it’s likely that they are getting infested.
2. Avian Influenza
Avian flu, more known as bird flu, is a harmful and contagious disease that infects poultry flocks especially when highly pathogenic. Like other chickens, the Serama are susceptible to this flu. In fact, the Serama breed was badly hit during the avian flu outbreak in 2004.
The common symptoms of avian flu include the following:
- Purple discoloration or cyanosis of the combs, legs, or wattles
- Trouble breathing, gasping, coughing, or sneezing, gasping
- Soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
- Decreased egg production
- Swelling around the eyes, head, and neck
- Lethargy and lack of appetite
- Nervous signs like lack of coordination or tremors
To prevent avian flu, Serama chicken keepers should limit their exposure to wild birds. Nest boxes, aviaries, and areas where the chickens roam should be kept clean to prevent germs.
The Serama is a charming breed of chicken that can provide endless entertainment with its playful antics and chatty nature. They thrive on human companionship and readily perch on laps or shoulders. They are wonderful with kids, making them an ideal choice as a family pet.
Seramas typically live up to 7 years, but some can live as long as 10 years. Being small birds, Seramas are always bustling with activity and are inquisitive by nature. Hence, we suggest keeping them in a secure aviary or pen to protect them from predators.