The Dutch bantam is a breed of true bantam chicken that was developed in the Netherlands, although its exact origins are unknown. It is thought that the breed descended from Asian bantam chickens and that it was selectively bred in order to produce small eggs that could be kept by peasants, because large eggs were required to be sent to kitchens to feed landed gentry. It was exported to the United States after World War II and was first shown in the 1950s, but the next shipment of this breed would not arrive in the US until the 1970s, due to the extinction of the original population in the Netherlands. It was accepted as an officially breed by the American Poultry Association in 1992 and is now one of the most popular breeds in its native country.
The Dutch bantam varies in weight depending upon the sex, with males weighing about 1.2 pounds and females weighing .9 pounds. Its feathers are rather large, and coupled with its small weight, it can fly efficiently. Originally, the breed only came in partridge coloration, but it can now come in dozens of varieties including silver partridge, yellow, partridge, and black. Despite these variations, all individuals must have a five pointed rose comb, slate blue legs, and white earlobes.
The Dutch bantam is typically friendly in nature, but can be flighty. Unlike other bantam breeds, this breed is able to lay a fair amount of eggs, laying up to 160 eggs per year. Because of this and its small size, it is often kept in the back yards of breeds and enthusiasts, although it is vulnerable to the cold.
Image Caption: Two Dutch bantam roosters in a coop. Credit: ChickenMan/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)