Serama Chicken Breed 101: Complete Care Guide (2022)

Seramas have grown immensely popular over the last decade because of their striking beauty and their incredibly small size!

They are the smallest chicken in the world reaching a height of 6-10 inches, so they’re perfect for the small urban backyard.

Along with their regal stature and bold personality, they’ll soon become the darlings of your chicken coop.

So, if you’re interested in a small chicken breed that is stunning in appearance and affordable to care for, let’s look a little closer at their egg laying, their personality, and their background so you can decide if these bantams are right for you…

History

The Serama chicken is a true bantam breed which means that there is no large counterpart chicken.

They are no more than 10 inches tall when standing upright which is the reason they are growing in demand as a backyard chicken and a beloved house pet.

Origin

Despite Seramas being new to North America, these little chickens are well-known in Singapore.

In fact, the Serama originated in Asia in the 1600s.

They come from the Kelantan province in Malaysia and are also known as the Malaysia Serama. Seramas included the selective cross breeding of the Japanese and Malaysian bantams.

The Seramas that you find today were developed in 1970 by Wee Yean Een. To honor King Rama, a Thai king, this breed by Wee Yean Een received the name ‘Serama”.

DID YOU KNOW

Serama chickens will not breed true to one color or size.

If you breed Serama chickens you may find that some birds are larger or smaller than others. Only the birds of 10 inches or less qualify as an accepted size for this breed.

Importation to the USA

Serama Chicken on a Table
Serama Chicken on a Table

These bantams were imported to the States by poultry hobbyist Jerry Schexnayder in the year 2000.

Around the same period, An Asian Bird Flu epidemic swept across the country affecting hundreds of birds that had to be culled, but thanks to dedicated breeders, the Serama recovered after the Asian Bird Flu pandemic.

UK

Only a few years after being imported to the US, the Serama Council of North America was formed with the purpose of establishing a breed standard prior to their APA acceptance.

The breed was imported to the UK in 2004 but consisted of a crossing of the North American and the Malaysian Serama otherwise known as the Ayam Serama.

What are Serama Chickens Used for?

Despite Seramas being year round layers, their small eggs are not useful for production purposes.

They are also not considered meat birds because of their tiny size.

Serama chickens are ornamental birds as they were bred for their beauty, their pint-size, and their friendly nature.

Both silky and frizzle varieties are available but only normal feathered birds are accepted in Malaysia and only the smooth feathered birds are recognised by the American Poultry Association (APA) recognised.

Appearance

The Serama chicken has a single red comb and a small head that appears slightly backwards when they stand upright.

The tiny chicken has red eyes with white or red earlobes. You will notice that they have a very short length between the tail feathers and the body creating a stout shape.

Posture

Serama Chicken Posture
Serama Chicken Posture

Their shoulders have a high position while their vertical wings are set perpendicular to their body and their feet partially visible. This might be the reason why some call them archangel chickens.

The breast is large and round that protrudes past the bird’s head when they stand erect. This very position gives Serama chickens an alert and regal look.

Legs

The legs must be yellow in color, wide set, and medium to long length. Their legs should be featherless and clean with four toes on each foot. The tail feathers must overlap and are broad in size but naturally larger in the roosters compared to the hens.

You can find Serama colors such as gray, orange, wheaten, and blue but these are yet to be APA accepted.

Weight

The Serama hens weigh between 8-19 oz while the roosters weigh 13-19 oz.

The weight of the hens and roosters will depend on their size and weight class.

ClassWeight
Micro Females reach 8 oz and males 13 oz.
A Class Females weigh below 12 oz and males below 13 oz.
B Class Females weigh less than 15 oz and males 16 oz.
C Class Both males and females weigh 19 oz or less.

The size of Serama chickens must be below 19 oz or it won’t be accepted by the relevant poultry clubs and the APA.

You can find Serama bantams smaller than the Micro class; however these smaller birds are rare because they are so difficult to hatch and to rear.

Breed Standard

Serama Chicken in a Room
Serama Chicken in a Room

There are three distinct standards for this breed based on their location which include the US, UK, and its native country of Malaysia.

Malaysia

According to the Malaysian standard the Serama must have specific shapes such as apple, slim, ball, etc.

USA

For the American Serama, bantam chickens must be a combination of apple and slim. In 2011, only the white variety was APA accepted but in 2018, the black color was also recognized.

UK

In 2008, the Poultry Club of Great Britain recognized and accepted Seramas while 2011 saw the acceptance of the Serama breed by the American Bantam Association.

How Many Eggs Do Serama Chickens Lay?

The Serama hen lays between 180-200 eggs per year but despite its ability to lay eggs throughout the year, the size of each egg is very small.

When do they begin laying eggs? Serama hens are ready to lay by around 5 months of age but the number of eggs produced will differ according to the strain of the bird.

DID YOU KNOW?

Serama chicken eggs weigh between 14-18 grams each.

What Color Eggs Do Serama Chickens Lay?

The Serama egg colour ranges from white to dark brown but they can lay many colors including beige and pink.

Here’s a video of a serama egg being compared to a regular chicken egg.

SERAMA EGG SIZE

Are Serama Eggs Hard to Hatch?

Hatching Serama chicks can be difficult and requires healthy parents and a perfect incubation period for chicks to start peaking through their shells.

Owing to their small size, a very small hen may struggle to cover all of her eggs so breeders suggest picking a few eggs to place under a broody hen and others will choose the best eggs to use in an incubator. Egg candling can help you identify the best eggs to incubate.

Incubation

Serama incubation is best achieved at a temperature of 99.7 degrees Fahrenheit and in a room with no drafts that could affect the temperature inside the incubator.

It will take around 19 days for a Serama chick to hatch but if you are planning on breeding Serama chickens provide the female and the male Serama a nutritious diet to improve the quality of eggs.

Are Serama Chickens Broody?

Serama Chicks
Serama Chicks

Serama hens don’t have a particular laying season because they will produce eggs all year long which also means that you could be dealing with a broody hen multiple times a year.

Other breeds may go broody once or twice a year but these little chickens can become broody 3 or 4 times especially in spring and summer, her period of peak fertility.

Lethal Gene

An important part of breeding this chicken breed is the consideration for a lethal gene that the Serama breed has inherited from Japanese bantams.

This gene from Japanese bantams is responsible for around 25% of chickens failing to hatch.

Temperament

Raising Serama chickens is certainly a fun and rewarding experience because of the unique character of these birds.

They are exceptionally friendly and will follow you around the garden right into the house if you let them!

Serama chickens tolerate confinement well and their tiny size make them perfect for a small urban yard. Giving them toys to play with can also help keep them entertained in confined spaces. Check out this review to check out good toys for chickens.

TIP

Do allow them ample time to forage in a secure chicken run or enclosed aviary to prevent boredom and protect them from predators.

Flockmates

Serama Chickens Outdoors
Serama Chickens Outdoors

The Serama is quite assertive but they’ll do well with small flock mates including Silkies and similar sized chickens.

Don’t place them into a coop with large chickens such as Orpingtons or Brahmas as the weight of these birds alone will cause serious injury to the smaller chickens.

You will find that the Serama doesn’t mind being handled but always be gentle with them especially if you’re handling the fragile Serama chicks.

NOTE

If you plan on keeping a Serama rooster or two, look out for signs of aggression, particularly during their breeding season in spring.

The roosters are known to be aggressive towards one another so they’re best kept separate.

Lice and Mites

When raising chickens, lice and mites are pests that you always have to protect against.

These external parasites feed on the feathers, skin, and blood of chickens and an infestation in such a small breed can quickly turn deadly.

Symptoms

Look for signs such as inflamed skin, feather loss or bald patches, reduced egg production, and disheveled feathers when pests are present.

Staying on top of coop hygiene and creating areas for chickens to dust bath will kill mites and lice.

Are Serama Chickens Cold Hardy?

Serama Chicken at a Backyard
Serama Chicken at a Backyard

The Serama comes from a warm, tropical climate and does well in spring and summer but they aren’t very cold hardy.

Their lack of dense feathers, small body, and large combs make them less tolerant of cold temperatures.

Keep them warm by insulating the chicken coop or using a chicken heater in winter.

Bedding

You can use straw as bedding to keep the heat in and ensure that the roof is completely waterproof.

The coop should be ventilated but without any cold drafts and the temperature kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another reason for their lack of cold hardiness is their constant molt.

They don’t tend to go into a full molt like Australorps or Orpingtons but they will lose a few feathers every week or two.

Feed

All Serama owners appreciate the fact that these small birds are simple and affordable to feed.

NOTE

Seramas only consume a pound of feed per month compared to the average sized chicken of around 6 lbs per month.

They can be fed regular chicken feed including chicken crumbles or mash that consist of small bits making it easier for their tiny beaks to collect. They cannot eat pellets that are simply too big for them to pick up.

Provide chicks with a shallow dish to eat out of and a soft mash they can easily consume.

A quail sized waterer is best to prevent them from tipping into their bowl and drowning.

Lifespan

The lifespan of Serama chickens is between 7-10 years of age which is exceptional for these bantams.

Is the Serama Chicken Right for You?

Serama Roaming with Other Chickens
Serama Roaming with Other Chickens

Seramas are perfect for the chicken enthusiast who is limited on yard space but wants a friendly and beautiful chicken for their coop.

They are so small they only need around one square foot of space inside the coop per bird.

Noise

The hens are generally quiet and even the Serama cockerel has a soft crow which contributes to their favorability as an urban chicken.

They also don’t mind eating regular chicken feed and are one of the least expensive birds to feed owing to their tiny stature.

If you want a pretty bantam and one of the smallest chicken breeds in the world, then think about introducing the little Serama to the coop.

Conclusion

The Serama breed is a small, strong, and friendly one perfect for the backyard chicken coop.

The mature hens are gentle and they’re also good with kids which makes them the ideal pet chicken.

They aren’t recommended for first-time chicken keepers because they can be fragile to handle and require special consideration for feed, insulation in winter, and protection against predators.

Breeding

Hatching eggs is also challenging if you want to breed them. Some of them may carry a lethal gene responsible for a ¼ of chicks failing to hatch.

The eggs of Serama Chickens are very small weighing up to 18g each, so if you’re thinking about eating their eggs for breakfast, you’ll have to add quite a few to the pan to make a decent meal!

Feel Free To Share!

They are fun, bold, and available in exotic colors from snow white to orange and black and if you want to spread the word about these amazing little bantams, please share our Serama guide with your fellow chicken hobbyists and friends.

With their regal stance and their inquisitive nature, you’ll have hours of fun and entertainment watching these teeny-tiny chickens frolic about your garden.

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Jess Woods
Jess Woods
Founder of Chickens & You. I love raising chickens and creating a self sustainable homestead for my family. I like to spend my time writing and teaching skills for homesteading and self sufficient living. 🐓 👩‍🌾