Ancona Bantam Chicken
The Ancona Bantam Chicken is a breed of chicken that finds its origins in Italy in the 1800s. It was bred in from a mixture of breeds including the Leghorn in Italy. It is not named the Ancona because it was bred in that province of Italy that is the name of the port that the Chickens were shipped out from to the United States more than a century ago.
A beautiful speckled black and white coat of feathers distinguishes this round and attractive chicken. Sometimes they are called Black Leghorns because of their black feathering and their resemblance to the Leghorn. They are also sometimes called mottled leghorns.
The Ancona Bantam Chicken has a strong mixed ancestry and have been found to be very sturdy, healthy animals, sustaining a strong bloodline that seems to give them that Heinz 57 type protection from disease. They are very avid breeders and multiply in large numbers, hence the large numbers of them found in barnyards and chicken coops all over the world.
Characteristics: The Ancona Bantam Chicken is a hardy, tough bird that is a predictable and prolific layer of large white eggs. They are very hardy and a cock will weigh in at around 6lbs while a hen weighs approximately 4lbs. A cockerel will weigh about 4 pounds and a pullet 4 pounds. They have an average lifespan of around 8 years. The breed is available in two different varieties including the single combed variety and the rarer rose combed variety. With the single combed variety the large comb flops backwards like a bit of a cocky cap on the bird’s crown. Both varieties have white earlobes and bay colored eyes. The Ancona has beautiful iridescent feathered tips to its feathers that end in green black tipped with white. Like other Mediterranean breeds of Chickens the feathers tend to have the appearance of being tightly woven or laced together. They tend to have thick waxy looking featherless legs and long four pronged toes.This Italian chicken is a very pretty bird but not that prone to being a good mother or very broody. Even though they will produce 260 eggs a year they will not tend to sit on them for long on the nest. The chicks produced from these eggs are vigorous and mature quickly which can make them lucrative if you want to make money selling eggs and poultry.
The Ancona Bantam Chicken may be a smallish bird but it is one of those Chickens that can fly. They are not happy kept in confined spaces and make a better free-range animal. One of their main strengths as a farm animal is that they were always able to produce a large number of white eggs in even very cold wintry conditions. So they are not really ever eaten but more used for egg production because they possess this valuable trait.
Ancona Bantam Chicken’s are also perky, alert and smart little birds that make good pets. If they are handled from a very young age they can become very tame and trusting. This trust bond needs to be formed when the chicken is just a chick or the bonding will not take place.
- Standard Weights: Cock-26 oz; Hen-22 oz; Cockerel-24 oz; Pullet-20 oz.
- Varieties: Black Mottled
- Skin Color: Yellow
- Egg Shell Color: White
- Use: Exhibition
- Origin: Italy
Bantams are suitable for smaller backyards as they do not need as much space as other breeds. Bantam hens are also used as laying hens, with some breeds laying up to 150 eggs per year. However, Bantam eggs are only about one-half to one-third the size of a regular hen egg. The Bantam chicken eats the same foods as a normal chicken. In commercial situations they are fed grain-based foods because this is convenient and efficient for the producer. Chickens in the wild eat more insects and vegetation than grains.
Bantams have become increasingly popular as pets as well as for show purposes because they are smaller and have more varied and exotic colors and feather patterns than other chickens.
In contrast, the Bantam rooster is famous in rural areas throughout the United Kingdom and the United States for its aggressive, “puffed-up” disposition that can be comedic in stature. It is often called a “Banty” in the rural United States.
Many bantam hens are renowned for hatching and brooding. They are very protective mothers and will attack anything that gets near their young.
Bantams do have a higher mortality rate when they are kept as backyard pets. They are easy targets for hawks, cats, foxes, or any other small predator.