Use: The ornamental Booted Bantam chicken makes a striking appearance at poultry exhibitions. Hens are decent layers, considering their bantam status, and provide very small, creamy-white eggs.
History: Michael van Gelder, a fancier from the town of Uccle in Belgium, developed the Booted Bantam chicken breed by crossing Bearded d’Anvers chickens with other feather-legged bantam-chicken varieties. The breed arrived in North America by way of Germany during the early 20th century. It was admitted to the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1914.
Conformation: The Booted Bantam chicken breed has a compact build, feathered legs and unique feather hocks, and long feathers that stick out from the lower back-thigh area. The APA recognizes five colors: Mille Fleur, Non-bearded Black, Porcelain, Self Blue and White. All have standard plumage. Shanks are various shades of slate, and the breed’s single comb and wattles are bright red. Earlobes, medium-sized in males and small in females, are also bright red. Booted bantam hens will go broody and make great mothers, though their clutches do not produce many chicks. Booted Bantam cocks weigh 26 ounces and hens weigh 22 ounces.
Special Considerations/Notes: The calm and friendly Booted Bantam chicken breed is a great choice for fanciers, children, and hobby farmers and urban farmers with enough space for a nice-sized enclosure. The breed is not entirely opposed to confinement; however, as good fliers, Booted Bantam chickens will need fairly tall fencing around yards and coops. If given free range, the chicken’s feathered feet will help to discourage any damage to gardens and flowerbeds, as the feathers prevent the bird from scratching easily.