Tuesday, February 27Food Security Matters

Serama Chicken Breed Profile and Characteristics

The Serama chicken, also known as Malay Serama, or “Kikiriki Chicken” is a breed for ornamental use, or that is also used as a pet. This is due to its physical characteristics which are NOT considered a good producer and its behavior usually be quite docile and familiar, which makes it a good breed of hen for pets.

If you want to know more about the Serama miniature hen, considered the smallest breed in the world, we invite you to continue reading this article, since here we will talk about its origin, history, characteristics of the breed, etc.

Origin and History of Malay Serama

The Serama is native to the Malaysian state of Kelantan. This breed is considered to be the result of crossing the Malay breed and Japanese bantams. The modern race of Seramas is credited with its development to Wee Yean Een, who named this variety after Rama Serama because it is the title of the king of Thailand.

Serama hen and roster

In 1990 this chicken was exhibited for the first time and again in 2004, but many of the chickens in this line were slaughtered due to the bird flu of the Asian epidemic.

The Serama breed has been promoted by different organizations in the United States. One of those organizations is the Serama Council of North America, which helped introduce this breed in many national poultry shows. In 2011, the “American Serama variety” was accepted by the American Poultry Association and the American Bantam Association.

Characteristics of the Serama Hen

The Kikiriki hen is possibly considered to be “the smallest hen in the world”, its size being one of its most outstanding characteristics. The main characteristics of the breed are listed below:

  • They have a muscular body, short, with a high chest.
  • The wings are large about the proportion of its body.
  • The tail points upwards and its feathers are wide.
  • The head is small.
  • The legs are long, straight, and wide.
  • Males weigh approximately 500 grams and females 425 grams.
  • The eggs are beige and weigh an average of 25 grams.

The Behavior of the Serama Breed

Because its feathers are quite attractive to look at, people often raise this dwarf hen as an ornamental bird. They are a breed with a calm and quiet docile character which makes them easy to handle. Nowadays the Serama has gained popularity as a pet since they tend to become familiar with people easily. This breed of miniature bird has a life expectancy of 7 years, however, they can reach up to 10 years of life.

Reproduction of Serama Chicken

The fertile season and egg production of this breed began in January to February and from November to December. Females produce an average of 5 to 7 eggs per month that are white to beige. Chicks take around 19 days to develop and hatch.

After hatching, the chicks take 16 to 18 weeks to reach maturity and the reproductive stage. Something important to keep in mind is that as it is a small or miniature breed, chickens are quite susceptible to cold, so you should protect your birds in warm places to prevent them from getting sick or even dying.

Types of Serama Chickens

Three types of Serama chickens are the following:

  1. Serama Malaysia: it is a miniature hen that has its origin as its name indicates in Malaysia, it developed from the cross of several breeds from which a very typical bird emerged. This variety of Serama does not have weight or color disqualifications and is generally used for table competitions.
  1. American Serama: Although these birds are quite close to the Malaysian standard, they differ in that the American Serama has a stockier and shorter body and the earlobes are white.
  1. British Serama: it is a miniature rooster that is less similar to those of Malaysia, the wings have a vertical position and are not in front like those of Malaysia. The chest is large and the tail is upright, which makes it touch the back of the neck.

Color Varieties

There are more than 2,500 colors of this miniature chicken, however, few varieties are officially recognized by the American Poultry Association and the American Bantam Association. Some of the colored varieties of the Serama breed are as follows:

  • Black
  • White
  • Chocolate
  • Blue
  • Brunette
  • Black speckled with white

In January 2018, black Berama was accepted by the Bantam Association of the United States and the Poultry Association of the United States.

Serama Chicken in the Philippines

Serama chickens in the Philippines are available in several backyard chicken breeders as pets. There are always available for sale in Facebook Groups but the price varies from seller to seller.

Some sell adult Serama for P500 while others ask for more than P500. There is no standard for pricing for this type of chicken. It always depends on age, availability, size, and color.

The Serama breed has been promoted by different organizations in the United States. One of those organizations is the Serama Council of North America, which helped introduce this breed in many national poultry shows. In 2011, the “American Serama variety” was accepted by the American Poultry Association and the American Bantam Association.

How do you look after Serama?

Raising Serama tips:

  1. Serama should be protected from cold temperatures as they are small and originate in warm climates.
  2. Serama makes excellent pets. The crow of the rooster is not at all loud and they are very people-friendly.
  3. Serama will eat regular chicken feed as long as you use bantam or small-sized pellets.
  4.  Serama was not selected for color, so they don’t always breed true to color.
  5.  Serama can be quite productive as chickens and will lay most of the year if kept in the right conditions.
  6.  Serama can be very good mothers and are very capable of sitting on, hatching, brooding, and looking after their own chicks.
  7.  Serama love to be outside during warm sunny days to forage and pick amongst the grass, but whilst out they must be protected as their small size makes them easy prey to cats, dogs, birds of prey, and other predators.
  8. Serama chicks are very small when hatched and for the first 3 weeks, chick crumbs will need to be ground to a powder to help digestion, this is easily done in a coffee grinder or similar machine, or with a mortar & pestle.
  9. The Serama carry a ‘diluted’ lethal gene from the Japanese Bantam Ancestry, causing 1% to 2 % of embryos to develop fully, but fail to hatch or the chick dies within 24 hours of hatching. The Incubation period for Serama eggs is 19-20 days. At the normal incubation temperature of most breeds of poultry. See Breeding Serama.
  10. Serama doesn’t always breed true to size, so out of a batch of chicks, expect a few % to be very small (A class), 10 % or so to be large (C class) and the remainder to be within the normal size range for Serama.

Frequently Asked Questions on Serama Chicken

Are Serama chickens friendly?

They are very friendly little chickens that are very easy to handle. Serama Chickens love people and make great pet birds. Their small size means they can be kept inside very easily.

How long do Serama chickens live?

They generally live to be around 7 years but can occasionally make it to 10 years of age. Feeding these chickens is pretty inexpensive; they will eat about 1lb of food per month. They need to eat crumbles or mash since the pellets are way too big for them.

How many eggs do Serama chickens lay a year?

Despite their tiny size, Serama chickens are quite good at laying eggs. They tend to lay about four eggs a week, for a total of between 180 and 200 eggs a year. However, these eggs are as small as the parent birds. It takes about five Serama eggs to add up to a regular chicken egg’s size.

What color eggs do Serama chickens lay?

Believe it or not, although their eggs are small, Serama hens are fantastic layers of cream-colored eggs, and start laying around 5 months old! Seramas may have white or yellow skin.

How much room do Serama chickens need?

Seramas do not require more than 1 square foot per bird in the coop and 2-3 square feet per bird in the run. They are certainly a very space-efficient bird to raise. If you are after a good show bird but don’t have much space, Seramas should be a great option.

Are Serama chickens cold-hardy?

Serama chickens are from a tropical climate, so before importation to the United States, the breed had not been exposed to the colder climates that occur in much of the U.S. Naturally, the thought was that these chickens could not handle the cold climates, but they are a little hardier to the cold than what was originally expected. In the first years, they were said not to do well in temperatures much less than 40°F. They have since been exposed to areas such as Michigan, Canada, and Ohio, and areas known for their cold winters.

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