AUSTIN & LISA HANSEN
HANSEN HERITAGE HOMESTEAD
When deciding what article to write, we had a lot of options. Chickens are probably both my husband’s and mine’s favorite topic. We could talk to someone about chickens for days. However, there is one breed that is dear to our hearts and that is our Seramas. These tiny wonders fill our hearts with so much joy and we thought what an excellent article this would be. So, let’s get started with the basics and dive in.
What is a Serama?
Seramas are relatively new to the United States. They were imported September of 2001 from Malaysia by a gentleman named Jerry Schexnayder. Unfortunately, the birds got caught up in the events of Septermber 11th and were rerouted and kept in limbo for a few days before being able to continue to Louisiana. The timing was just before the major bird flu banned all imports/exports in 2004. Jerry then formed The Serama Council of North America. He formed the club which focused on developing specific guidelines and standards for the breed.
Their size is one of their most unique traits. They are the smallest breed of chicken in the world. Seramas are typically weighed in under 18 oz. for adult males. One of their most noticeable characteristics is their stance or type. They hold themselves up proud like brave soldiers. They have an upright posture, full boasting breasts, vertical tail feathers held upright and tight up to the body with vertical wings held down nearly brushing the ground. Just having a small bird does not mean it’s a Serama, as the Japanese bantam and a few others are similar in size. A Serama is characterized by three “types”. The majority of them are the Ayam (extremes), American, and Traditional.
What is the difference between an American, Traditional, and Ayam Serama?
Well, I am glad I pretended you asked! The body type of American and Traditional Serama are identical. The only difference is American refers to the colors accepted by the ABA (American Bantam Association) and APA (American Poultry Association). The APA only accepts white. Since 2019, the ABA accepted colors are white, black, and exchequer with splash, blue and ginger red just accepted in January of 2023.
Traditional Serama have the same type as American, but can only be shown tabletop, or entered in cage shows as AOV (All other Varieties).
Ayam Serama have a different, more “extreme” body type and is only able to be shown in tabletop shows.
Color and Feather Varieties
Seramas, can be difficult to breed true to color without a few generations of selective breeding. Some breeders will specifically breed for certain color varieties, although they come in over 3000+ varied colors. A bonus with their feathering is that they can come in smooth, frizzled, or silkied.
This is such a fun breed as the variety of colors and feather types you can acquire. They are kind of like candy…once you have one it’s hard not to want more.
As mentioned above, the APA (American Poultry Association) recognizes white seramas for in cage shows. The ABA (American Bantam Association) recognizes white, black, exchequer and as of January 2023, blue, splash and ginger red.
If you enter a table top show, there are no color restrictions, as your birds are judged on type and performance.
Like most bantam breeds, seramas only take approximately 19 days to hatch. After hatching, it takes about 16–18 weeks for the chicks to mature and reach the point at which they can begin laying eggs. Seramas can lay around 1x-5x eggs a week and are estimated around 100-250 per year. The size of the eggs are a little smaller than a walnut or large olive. We noticed with our Serama hens that they lay pretty consistently throughout winter. This was great as our LF (large fowl) hens took a break. So, I would be pleased to say that Seramas can be great layers. These ladies can sometimes go broody more than other breeds, but when they do they sure make amazing mothers and do the job well.
Housing, Feed, and Care
These little chickens do not need much space at all. You could easily house a pair in a large wire animal kennel or a bunny hutch. Of course, you can always go all out and make a larger coop and run. The great thing about Seramas is that those who want to own chickens but don’t have the space, can easily house a Serama…or three. These cuties can live indoors just fine and be completely happy.
When it comes to their feed, Seramas can eat crumble or pellets. Many breeders use crumbles because they are smaller and easier for a small breed, but others use pellets with no issues.
As for temperatures, there are a lot of mixed opinions out there. However, going off our personal opinion (as we live in Alaska) I would suggest not letting your Seramas get below 40 degrees F. We’ve had a few nights that dropped into the low 30s and a few of our roosters got some frostbite on their combs. So our best advice is not below 40 degrees F.
Our Serama Story
Austin and I started our bantam journey with a single Serama. Her name is Cleopatra “Cleo” for short. She is a silked variety. She was a surprise chick from a fellow breeder. When we got our chicks one was so tiny. She didn’t grow as fast as the other chicks and we knew she was something special. We learned what her breed was just shortly after getting them. As a chick, she had the best personality, so spunky and full of sass. She became our house chicken by all means. Some darling videos on our social media show her following us around like a puppy. Like I said previously in the article…just like candy, once we had one we wanted more! Soon we did all kinds of research on specialty breeders and the SCNA (Serama Council of North America). We soon found one of the most well known breeders and show winners down in the lower-48. We acquired a breeding pair. A smooth feathered rooster we named Mark Antony and a frizzled hen we named Octavia. From there, we got a few more and then began breeding our own line. It was highly addictive, to say the least. So to wrap this up…if you are looking for the tiniest of chickens, a house chicken, a pet for you or your kids, a therapy chicken, or looking to get into raising them as a part of your flock…. we couldn’t be happier to recommend Seramas.
ABOUT AUSTIN AND LISA