Serama: Is This Tiny Chicken Right For Your Flock?

serama chicken

Small but mighty, the Serama lays claim to the smallest chicken globally and one of the most expensive!

It is a relative newcomer to the Western world but has been known in Singapore for many years. Serama breed has the distinction of being a true bantam – there is no large counterpart chicken.

It has won the hearts of many, and although still considered a scarcity in this country, the number of Seramas is on the rise.

Keep reading to learn more about this tiny chicken and see if it will fit into your flock.

Serama Chicken History and Background

Serama In A Flock of Chickens
The Serama originated in the Kelantan province of Malaysia. The beginnings of the breed can be traced back to the 1600s.

However, the current strain of Seramas can be attributed to Wee Yean Een in the 1970s. He gave the name ‘Serama’ as a tribute to one of the Thai kings (King Rama).

It was first imported to the US by Jerry Schexnayder in 2000. This was quite an achievement a few years later. They banned all imports because of the Asian Bird Flu outbreak.

The Asian flu epidemic almost wiped out these little beauties, but they have bounced back wonderfully.

Mr. Schexnayder later formed the Serama Council of North America to develop guidelines and standards for the breed.

The first imported them into the UK around 2004, and those imports were a mix of Malaysian and North American birds.

The breed was created by selective cross-breeding of Japanese bantams with the local bantams of Malaysia.

Seramas come in many colors – they will not breed true to one color. They also come as silky and frizzled. The same is true for size.

You may have larger and smaller birds from one hatch, but all should be no more than 10 inches tall.

Appearance and Breed Standard

Serama Chicken
Seramas are tiny. They range in height from just under six inches to slightly under ten inches tall.

They have a very upright ‘V’ posture; even their tail feathers are upright. They look permanently alert and ‘on guard’ and were given the nicknames of ‘toy soldier’ or ‘fearless warrior.’

The head of the bird is on the small side and is thrown back in the upright posture. The comb is single and red, as are the wattles.

The earlobes can be a mix of white and red. In the hen, the wattles and comb are much smaller than the male. Their eyes are a bay red.

They have a short back; there is little room between the body and tail feathers. They are very muscular birds. The shoulders are set high, and the wings are held perpendicular and should almost touch the ground.

The breast is full and proud, extending well past the head of the bird.
Legs are a muscular and wide set of medium to long length and yellow in color. They should be clean of feathers and four toes to each foot.

Standard

The Serama has three separate standards depending on where you are located (Malaysian, US, and the UK).

The Malaysian standard is somewhat confusing to most westerners since it is classified according to shape (slim, apple, ball, dragon, etc.).

The American standard was written as a combination of ‘slim’ and ‘apple.’

They accepted them into the American Poultry Association in 2011 – white being accepted at that time. Since then, black have been accepted in 2018.

The Poultry Club of Great Britain accepted Seramas in 2008.
Seramas come in four accepted sizes and weights:

  • Micro: Males up to 13 ounces, and females up to 8 ounces.
  • A Class: Males under 13 ounces and females under 12 ounces.
  • B Class: Males under 16 ounces and females under 15 ounces.
  • C Class: Males under 19 ounces and females under 19 ounces.

Birds larger than ‘C’ are not accepted. Some people have had success breeding even smaller than the micro size, but that comes at a high price for the bird.

The smaller the bird is, the greater difficulty in hatching and rearing chicks for the hen. Even size A has difficulty in maintaining a good hatch rate.

Serama Chicken

Disposition and Health Issues

These little chickens are very friendly and love to follow their humans around in the house. They are fairly tolerant of hot and cold temperatures but should be kept in a draft-free area above 40°F – especially chicks.

They will tolerate confinement, although they do like to forage. An enclosed aviary area with a grass base will keep them very happy indeed. They do not do well in a wet and muddy environment.

Although they can be assertive, they are straightforward to handle being a calm and personable bird – they make fabulous house pets.

The roosters can be aggressive towards one another, so they should not be kept together.
There aren’t any unique health problems associated with this bird.

Although coming from a tropical environment, they can suffer in cold climates.

Something else to note is the fact that they molt continuously. You will find that they drop a few feathers here and there but nothing like a major molt.

Eggs and Broodiness


Serama eggs are tiny. It would take 5 of these eggs to match the contents of one grade A egg!
They can be prolific layers – up to 4 little eggs per week, but this can vary from strain to strain.

Somewhere around 180-200 per year is usual. The shell color can vary from white to a darker brown and shades between.

They are year-round layers, and peak fertility is from November to February, although this may not be true of birds raised in a northern climate.

Hens can be broodies and are said to make perfect mothers. They should not be given more than 4-6 eggs to hatch as they cannot cover them adequately.

The incubation time for the eggs is slightly less than others chickens at around 19-20 days only. The smallest strain (the micro) has a hatching period of 15-17 days!

The Serama has inherited a lethal gene from the Japanese bantams; if it is present in the bird, about ¼ of the chicks will not hatch.

The legs are incredibly short, and it seems the chick cannot maneuver into the hatching position.

Chicks mature into hens at the 16-18 week mark, making them early layers. They won’t be fully mature until 15-18 months.

Is The Serama Right For You?

This stunning little chicken has become a firm favorite of many folks since they are so tiny and fit into a tiny area.

They are mainly kept as ornamental birds or pets. They are very sociable with people, love to be held and cosseted, and are quiet compared to standard hens. Even the crow of the rooster is much softer and squeaky.

These attributes also make them ideal as therapy birds too.

Two or three birds can fit into a small indoor aviary or pen to be kept safe from predators.
Although they do lay eggs for you, you will need more than a couple for breakfast!

They are great with children so that they can make a good family pet. 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.

Chicks should have crumb or mash and something to note if you raise chicks – they are very tiny, so a quail-sized waterer is best, so they don’t drown.

Summary

This fascinating little bird is absolutely ideal for anyone who wants an indoor chicken. They are smart, lovable, talkative, and fit into a relatively small space.

They are not as noisy as some parrots, and they are quite at home, either walking or flying around the place.

Of course, you can keep Seramas outside if you prefer, you will need to make sure their run is predator-proof.

Also, make sure to keep their run dry; they don’t like boggy ground.

Do you keep Seramas? If so, let us know in the comments section below…

READ NEXT: Bantam Chickens: Breeds, Egg Laying, Size and Care Guide

40 thoughts on “Serama: Is This Tiny Chicken Right For Your Flock?

  1. Hi,
    I live in Sydney Australia and would like to know where I could buy Serama chickens or if they are available in Australia?
    I have two chickens and would also like to know if the Serama hens would be compatible with my two girls?
    Thanks.
    Jacki

    1. Hi Jacki, I am also in Australia and am chasing some serema chickens.Did you happen to find anyone in Australia that I might be able to get some from

  2. Good day, I live in South Africa and have three Silver Laced Sebrights and would like to learn more about the best way to keep them happy. Currently I do let them walk around in the coop that is on grass and in the evenings I bring them inside the house to sleep in a cat-carrier. What is the best to feed them etc. Thank you for your time.

  3. Hi. My names ryan. Bought only one serma 2 years ago and she is the nicest people chicken lol. Unless shes brooding. Trying to find a good source of eggs or breeders to get her some friends.

  4. Hi,
    I have 2 Black Serama chickens, male/female. Right now I have 19 eggs in my incubator. I just candled them and it looks like only 7 have chicks.

  5. My granddaughter and I want to raise Sarama chickens. We live in the north Georgia mountains, USA. Is this climate conducive to raising healthy serama birds? We look forward to hearing from you.

    1. North GA is fine for Serama. I am in central Indiana and I’ve kept serama for 10 years or more in our climate they need wind protection especiallybut some strains are getting very winter hardy even here

      1. Hi Tim, my husband and I are going to be in Northern GA next month. Wondering if you sell? And you could tell me more about your Seramas. I live close to the woods and a predator got much of my flock. I’m thinking of a couple of house chickens.

  6. I have 3 Seramas. One hen is frizzled, one smooth and 1 smooth roo. Both smooth are solid white. I’ve raised chickens for eggs for almost 30 years. Ran into the first chic by accident. Brought her home and fell in love. They are amazing pets!

  7. We have 1 hen and she is a delight. She is a house bird here in illinois. Along with our bantam Silkie. She has been laying about an egg every other day.
    We want one more.

      1. Jennifer Enck, where in Southern WI? Do you breed Serama’s? I am looking for Serama pullets

  8. Hi, where would I find out how to keep the Serama in the house? Is there a website I can go to that would tell me the correct setup for the bird or 2.
    Thanks

  9. Hi I’m in Ontario, Canada and am the proud and excited owner of so far 8 Seramas. Omg my first hen is quite the character. She thinks she is human. Yesterday she came to get me to show me she has a clutch of 11 eggsshes brooding! I lost her mate 3 months ago, so if fertile, the chicks will be mixed, from one of my regular roosters. However a month ago I met a young man who had an ad for tiniest chickens in the world. When I called him he said yes he had Seramas . So lo and behold I got 3- 2 day old chicks from him and 4- 3 week old chicks. I’m excited one of the older chicks looks like it will be a rooster. Great colours too, lavender, blacks, speckled whites and a light buff.

  10. To everyone looking for these little beauties: you might be better off just purchasing an incubator off and finding some hatching eggs on eBay. I’m in Pennsylvania and we just did it (and currently have even more incubating now, lol) and it has been the most rewarding experience. They really are incredibly affectionate and smart. But there are a lot of sellers on eBay willing to ship eggs and you can find incubators for 7-20 eggs for like $50. I’d really recommend hatching them yourself!

    1. I’m in northern Pennsylvania. I want to buy some chickens but am wondering if I can keep them outside in a chicken coop?

  11. I have 4 hens and 2 roosters I love them so much they greet me every day talk to me when I talk to them love my kids Will sit in their lap for hours

  12. By far my favorite chicken. I have raised and hatched and incubated for years. I love my Seramas!I have a BIG flock of them and continue to promote the breed and educate. I live in Oregon, USA

  13. Hi there, I am looking to get my first ever chickens down the line. What sort of enclosure would you recommend for an indoor serama?

  14. Hi everybody. I am planning on getting a dozen seramas and a rooster. Just wanted to know if any of you ever had problems with people agressive roosters. I’m planning to hatch them with a Broody.
    Eugene

  15. I have four chicks order out of California. They are a month old. I live in Florida Dania Beach area. Looking for a home for them. I unfortunately can’t keep them.

  16. I’ve been keeping and breeding Seramas for 5 years, they love to be outside scratching in the grass, they’re friendly and intelligent. I’ve hatched using incubater and broody hen (Serama)

  17. A month ago, I was asked if I would take 7 chickens that the owner could no longer keep due to health issues. The photos I was sent showed 2 Mottled Cochins, a Silkie, a tiny white rooster and an even tinier white pullet. The deal included a little pre-fab coop and run. When they arrived, I had the Cochins, 3 Silkies, and a pair of white Seramas. The original owner had made some mistakes: the rooster was considerably older than the little pullet (I think she was around 12 weeks old) and on the day I got them, he began to try and violently mate with her so I separated them right away. I was also sent an opened bag of Layer Crumble and an unopened bag of Layer Pellets. Apparently, they had been raised on the crumble until that point so I switched them to Starter/Grower as soon as I could. I continued to feed the rooster the Layer crumble since he was full grown and I fed the Layer Pellets to my flock of standard hens.
    In 2016 when I first decided to get chickens, I thought about getting Bantams but I wanted to produce regular eggs and the Bantam chicks were much more costly than the standard breeds. Knowing nothing about chickens at the time, I bought a book about raising them. It had a description of Seramas with a photo and I thought how fun it would be to own some of them. A month after getting them, I was not disappointed !

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