Serama Chicken: 5 Big Reasons To Keep This Tiny Chicken

The Serama chicken may be small but they have a big personality.

Although they have only recently been accepted into the American Poultry Association, they have quickly gathered a firm and loyal following.

However back in their homeland of Malaysia they have been a firm favorite for the last few hundred years.

These happy and vivacious little birds will bring you smiles and companionship with no strings attached.

They make delightfully friendly musical companions (especially when kept inside).

Keep reading to learn more about this tiny chicken…

A Flock Of Serama Chickens

All About Serama Chickens

The little Serama has a loyal and devoted following in the chicken world.

Although they look feisty, they are a sweet and friendly breed that will include you in their family.

Many folks keep these tiny chickens inside an indoor aviary since they do not tolerate cold temperatures. They can do just as well in an outside aviary as long as the temperature does not drop below 40°F.

Because their eggs are so tiny most people keep them for ornamental or exhibition purposes.

They are however good egg layers and can make great mothers if you want to try your hand at hatching. Just be warned that some have fertility issues and the eggs can be difficult to hatch.

Because they have some extra care requirements (with regard to temperature and handling) they can be a challenge for novice keepers, but if you pay attention and do everything right these beautiful little chickens will reward you with love.

Serama Chicken
Beginner Friendly: Yes (with care).
Lifespan: 7+ years.
Weight: Under 19oz.
Color: White, black, orange and more.
Egg Production: 4-5 per week.
Egg Color: White, Dark Brown.
Known For Broodiness: Average.
Good With Children: Yes.
Cost of Chicken: $10-$80 per chick.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Smallest chicken in the world.
  • Extremely friendly and can be kept indoors.
  • Very camera friendly.
  • Good egg layers.
  • They are a true bantam.

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to hatch due to a lethal gene.
  • They molt continuously all year round.
  • Exceptional specimens can change hands for hundreds of dollars.

What Do Serama Chickens Look Like?

White Serama Chicken

Seramas are very small chickens that only stand 6-10 inches tall.

They stand very upright with their chests thrust out, heads held high and tail feathers at attention. The back of the bird is very short and there is almost no room between the neck and tail feathers. These tail feathers are held almost vertically to the body and rise up above the head.

The wings are long and should almost touch the ground at the side when held upright. They have muscular shoulders that are set high to accommodate the wings.

Their head is very small and they have a single comb with red earlobes. Eye coloring is a bay red color and the beak is short but stout. Legs are clean and muscular with yellow shanks.

As for color there are a variety to choose from including black, white and orange. They are not bred for color so the color palette can be widely variable. Also, they may not breed true to color.

How Small Are Serama Chickens?

Seramas are classified according to their weight.

  • Class Micro: Males (up to 13oz) and Females (up to 8oz)
  • Class A: Males (under 13oz) and Females (under 12oz)
  • Class B: Males (under 16oz) and Females (under 15oz)
  • Class C: Males (under 19oz) and Females (under 19oz)

Any deviation over or under these weights are not accepted as Seramas.

Serama Breed History

Malaysian Serama Chicken

The history of the little chicken is said to go back to the 1600s.

Little birds were very popular with the Malaysian people and the Kapan in particular was very popular.

It was not until the 1970s when a concerted breeding effort was made to try and standardize the breed. It is likely that the Kapan and other small birds were combined to create the Serama.

A Mr. Wee Yean Een bred the current strains in the 1970s in the Kelantan province of Malaysia. He gave this brave little chicken the name of Serama after King Rama of Thailand who was a revered leader in his day.

Unfortunately they suffered a serious setback with the onset of Avian Influenza.

Malaysia and many other Far Eastern countries lost huge amounts of domesticated poultry and the Serama was no exception. Their population was decimated, but with hard work and dedication the breed has now bounced back from the brink of destruction.

Jerry Schexnayder was the original importer of Seramas to the US back in 2000.

In Malaysia they do not have a standard like we recognize in the West. Instead they are categorized in shapes: apple, dragon, ball or slim among others. They also hold beauty pageants for these little chickens and there is lots of money to be made on the outcome of the judging.

However in the West, the Serama is judged by the usual American Poultry Association or Poultry Club of Great Britain standards.

What Is It Like To Own A Serama Chicken?

Black Serama Chickens

Seramas love to be active.

Flying and flitting around the coop and run is their favorite activity and it helps to keep them fit and active.

You will often see them hunting up seeds and goodies on the ground.

This is another activity they enjoy so make sure to sprinkle seeds in their enclosure to keep them busy.

Personality

This chicken is a natural born show off who likes to stand proud and be admired.

When the roosters stand tall and puff out their chests they look like they are spoiling for a fight, but nothing of the sort is going through his brain. They are in fact very friendly little chickens that are very easy to handle.

Serama Chickens love people and make great pet birds.

Their small size means they can be kept inside very easily.

Serama Rooster

Noise Levels

Seramas are chatty little things.

They are not loud, however they do like to talk among themselves.

The crow of the rooster is the loudest you will ever hear them and the sound is much less than a standard rooster although a bit higher pitch.

How Many Eggs Do Serama Chickens Lay?

Serama Chickens

Needless to say, Serama eggs are very small.

One standard chicken egg would equal five Serama eggs.

Serama hens are capable of laying up to four eggs a week (200-250 per year) but there is a lot of variation between the strains. You would have to ask the seller about egg quantity to be sure.

Their eggs can vary from bird to bird. The range of color runs from white to tints and dark brown at the end of the scale.

They are early to mature so they will reach their point of lay around 16-18 weeks.

Seramas are year round layers and hens make great moms!

Just remember if you are going to hatch your own eggs that eggs from Class A and the Micro class are notoriously difficult to hatch (more on this later).

Egg Production
Eggs Per Week: 4 Eggs.
Color: Brown and white.
Size: Small.

Serama Chicken Care Guide

Serama Chicks

Health Issues

The Serama seems to have a diverse gene pool and overall they are a health breed.

However some strains of this bird suffer from a lethal gene inherited from Japanese bantams.

If this gene is present, about one quarter of the chicks will die in the shell. It appears that the legs of the chick are too short to maneuver themselves into the hatching position, so they die. This tends to happen with the smallest of the breed.

Always ask your breeder about this problem before you buy.

Apart from this, just like all of our feathered friends they may suffer with lice, mites and worms at some point in their life.

Lice and mites can be quickly treated with poultry dust.

The dusting should be repeated in another five days and possibly again after that to break the life cycle of these miserable pests.

You can either treat on a schedule or when needed.

There is no right or wrong answer but if you do not want to expose your birds to toxins on a regular basis, spot treating may be the answer for you.

Another interesting part of caring for Seramas is their molting – they seem to molt all year round.

They do not have one big molt but molt a few feathers all year round. This can be confusing and worrisome if you are new to Seramas, but it is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.

Finally, you will need to keep them warm. Although they seem to be fairly tolerant of temperatures into the 40s°F, any lower will require you to provide some heat for them and protect against drafts.

Feeding

You should feed this breed a high quality feed.

Chicks should be fed no less than 20% crumble up until 16 weeks of age.

Once your chicks are 16 weeks old you can slowly move them over to 16% layer feed. You should avoid pellets and use crumble or mash instead because they are so tiny. Just like with other chickens they will need to have a separate container for oyster shell. You can also give them grit in a separate container.

Finally, clean fresh water should always be available. If you desire you can add a vitamin/electrolyte powder once a month to keep them in tip top condition.

Coop Setup

One of the joys of keeping bantams is that the footprint of the coop can be fairly compact.

Seramas like to fly so building your coop upward can give them enough space and keep them happy and active.

Each chicken should have around 2 square feet of coop space inside the coop. This will give them enough room to move around and not get cramped or picked on.

For perches you should give them each six inches.

Also supply plenty of perches at different heights so they can fly around easily and choose where they want to be.

Finally for nesting boxes, one nest box for every three hens is adequate. If you have more space the more is always better. They can be side by side or stacked, whatever works best for you.

Roaming

This breed likes to forage but because they are so tiny there is a long list of predators.

You should not let them free range unsupervised.

Something along the lines of an outside aviary would work well for them. They enjoy scratching in the dirt so a dirt or grass floored area is best.

Each Serama should have at least 4 square feet of outside space.

Adding things such as perches, swings and scattered seeds will all help to keep them busy and happy. You can also give them small hay bales, logs, plenty of perches, dust baths, fresh veggies and mealworms to keep them occupied.

Should You Keep Serama Chickens? (Summary)

The Serama is a delightful little chicken that will entertain you for hours with their fun behavior and talkative personality.

They love spending time with people, so it is not hard to get them to come sit on your lap or shoulder.

As with most small birds they seem to be always busy with something, full of energy and curiosity. Their curiosity is a great reason to keep them confined to an aviary or pen of some description to keep them safe from predators.

They are great flyers so make sure they have a roof over their pen and coop.

What is your favorite thing about Serama Chickens? Let us know in the comments section below…

Chris Lesley Bio Picture
Chris Lesley has been Raising Chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth generation chicken keeper. She can remember being a young child when her grandad first taught her how to hold and care for chickens. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior and Welfare and is interested in backyard chicken health and care.

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