Small, Bold, and Mighty: The Malaysian Serama

By GPS1504, May 7, 2014 | |
  1. GPS1504
    With their puffed out chests and small stature, the parts of the Malaysian Serama come together to create a specimen that is both bold and proud in appearance. Although they are small, being a bantam breed, the Serama certainly appears mighty. This breed, also referred to as the Malay Ayam Serama, has been around for approximately 50 years although they were nearly wiped out due to exposure to bird flu a decade ago. It is thought that this bird is the result of a cross between Japanese and Malaysian bantams which brought about this little bird that loves to confidently strut its stuff, although there are whispers that it may have originated from breeds of Thai decent.

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    Photo: Out of Eden

    Identifying a true Malaysian Serama can be difficult because over time this breed has become stylized due to a lack of breed standard, and a lot of other bantam breeds are sometimes mistaken for Seramas. Although a general conformation guide has been adopted in Malaysia that is the only place where such a thing exists. As a result, birds can vary quite a bit from one to the next. While diversified appearance is common, the character of birds is generally the same, including descriptions such as bravery and fearlessness.

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    Photo: Amazing Are-Ban

    This imported bird has gotten a foothold in the United States over the past decade and is becoming more widely seen. They are often prized for their looks and temperaments and while they do lay frequently all year round, their eggs are small and can vary in color from light to dark brown. Seramas are also difficult to hatch, which is thought to be due to their short legs resulting in an inability to turn within their egg shells presenting a problem when hatching. They also have a shorter incubation period, usually 17-21 days but they have been known to hatch even earlier. Being quick to hatch is in direct conflict with their growth rate, however, as some lines can take over a year to completely mature.

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    Photo: Belgian Serama

    As a whole, the Serama is a friendly bird, although in some cases roosters have been said to have protective demeanors and behave assertively. They are known to be excellent with children and adults alike as well as a good choice for beginning chickeners. A word that frequently is associated with Seramas is 'easy' in that they are easy to train, easy to house, easy to get along with, easy to love, and even easy-going. What is not easy, however, is protecting them from predators; due to their size, they face frequent predatory threats and will need to be housed securely.

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    Photo: The Poultry Guide

    With an upright stance and full breast puffed out before them, the Serama may be the smallest chicken in the world but it is has a big, bold heart. Physical traits include a full breast, vertically positioned wings that barely clear the ground and largely conceal their feet/legs, an upright tail with a high carriage, and a head that is carried toward the back of their bodies. Feathers come in several colors with silkie and frizzled versions in existence.

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    Photo: Backyard Chickens

    If you are considering adding a Serama to your flock, it is important to remember that they are not tolerant of cold weather. While the cold is hard on adults, it is much less tolerable for chicks and precautions should be in place to keep birds from perishing if you live in a cold climate. Weather issues aside, the Serama is a good choice for starting a flock or adding to one, as long as small eggs are something with which you can live.

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