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Belgian bantams standardized in Britain are Barbu d’Anvers (Bearded Antwerp, clean legs), Barbu d’Uccle (Bearded Uccle, feathered legs), Barbu de Watermael (Bearded Watermael, clean legs), Barbu d’Everberg (Rumpless d’Uccle) and Barbu de Grubbe (Rumpless d’Anvers).
Belgian bantams are old-established True Bantams, without counterparts in large breeds. All of these breeds and varieties have many colour variations, some of them intricate and all attractive.
These have a complex history which spreads over Great Britain, Germany (where they are named Federfuflge Zwerghuhner), The Netherlands (where they are named Sabelpoot) and Belgium (where they were crossed with Barbu d’Anvers to make Barbu d’Uccles). Although Black and White Booted bantams are believed to have been developed in the UK, all colours of Booteds have been rare here since they were overshadowed by Barbu d’Uccles when those were first imported in 1911. Fortunately, they are much more popular in Germany and The Netherlands where large numbers in a wide range of colour varieties can be seen at the major shows. There has been a revival of interest in the UK since the 1990s. Booteds have tighter neck feathering than Barbu d’Uccles, with no beard or neck boule. Some young Booteds can seem too tall and narrow, but they usually become stocky, compact and full feathered when fully mature.
The Dutch Bantam (or De Hollandse Krielan) in its country of origin has been around for a long time, though in Holland a club was only formed on 1 December 1946. The breed first appeared in this country around the late 1960s, and a club was formed in 1982. Since then the breed has gone from strength to strength, with thirteen colours standardized, though in Holland many more varieties keep appearing.
True bantams of great antiquity, these are without counterparts in the large breeds. They are the shortest legged of all varieties and are standardized in three feather forms: plain or normal feather, frizzle feather and silkie feather. The frizzle feathered shall follow both the type and colours of the plain-feathered standards, but the ends of all feathers are to curl back and point towards the head. Feathers must be broad and as closely curled as possible. The silkie feathered refers to the feather construction. All birds must follow closely the general Standard, but body feathers shall have a silky, loose feather structure (i.e. feathers have no main centre vein). This cannot apply to primary and secondary wing feathers or to true tail feathers, which would nullify any true Japanese type.
This is a genuine bantam breed, very old and having no real relationship to the large breed of Cochins. It was imported from Pekin in the middle of the nineteenth century, hence its name. In recent years new colours have been added to the Standard.
The Rosecomb bantam is a gem of show birds. In former days it achieved probably the highest pitch of artificial perfection ever achieved in exhibition birds.
This breed is a genuine bantam and one of the oldest British varieties. It has no counterpart in large breeds, but has played a part in the production of other laced fowl, notably Wyandottes. There are two colours, gold and silver.
The Malaysian Serama first arrived in this country in 2004. Its ancestry is believed to date as far back as the 1600’s and is associated with the Thai King Sri Ama. The modern day Serama was created by Wee Yean Een beginning in 1971 by using Ayam Kapans which gave them their very light weight. He then introduced some Japanese bantams, eventually arriving at our present day birds.