The booted bantam breed is is also known as the Dutch Booted Bantam and called “booted” for its well feathered legs and feet. The legs and feet are often completely hidden, from its signature “vulture” hocks down.
This is a “true bantam”, developed as a bantam, rather than downsized from a standard version. The breed is attributed to the Netherlands.
His tail is carried high with sickles and some tail feathers well above his comb. Wings appear significantly large in proportion and are carried low, almost touching the ground, and body is thickly feathered.
Long embraced by the APA, Poultry Club of Great Britain, and Netherlands Sabelpootkriel Club this breed includes many colors in its various standards. They are very similar to the Barbu or Bearded d’uccle, lacking the beard and a bit taller.
Class: Light feather-legged bantam
Size: Male: 30 oz. / Female: 27 oz. APA Standards are smaller at: 26 oz. males and 22 oz. females.
Comb, Wattles & Earlobes: Red – single straight comb, significant but not exaggerated wattles and lobes.
Colors: Today, the most common is Millefleur (thousand flowers); there is also Lemon Millefleur (most prized), and Silver Millefleur. Black & White Booted Bantams were most common, having been created over 100 years ago in the UK, but today there are over 20 color varieties including: White, Self-Blue, Black, Blue, Grey, Lavender, Porcelain, Buff, Barred, Cuckoo, Columbian, Golden Neck, Mottled, and Partridge. In most the beak is horn colored.
Place of Origin: Netherlands, with much development and long histories of the breed in the US, UK and Germany.
Conservation Status: considered a rare poultry breed, but not endangered.
Special Qualities: Adding to their beauty, the breed is often very calm and tame. As well as making great pets, their friendliness and calm nature helps them show well in poultry exhibitions. They are primarily an exhibition breed, though becoming more and more popular as backyard chickens.
Hens are as good a layer as bantams can be, laying a small white or slightly tinted egg. Summer is their best laying season and they make great mothers, easily going broody.
Male and female seem to be easier on gardens with their heavily feathered feet, and love to forage. Exhibition stock is often confined to soft bedded pens preventing wear and soiling of their boots, tails and wing tips.
The breeds vulture hocks are a rare chicken characteristic, only seen in a few breeds. It may be that the D’uccle and Booted were at one time a single breed with origins dating as far back as the 1500’s.
Both have this rare hock feathering and share it with Sultans, among a small group of others. An additional account of their origin credits a Belgian breeder, early in the 20th century, with working to create two separate breeds from the one.
This is a feathery breed from neck to toe, but angular, a broad back and forward carried breast. They have wings that almost seem too large for their bodies, due to long flight primaries.
The breed is overall well balanced, proportioned and agile. The Poultry Club of Great Britain recognizes 11 colors.
Unfortunately some blood lines of the Booted Bantam have little resistance to Marek’s Disease. Experienced breeders have increased inherited immunities against Marek’s in just a few generations. Purchasing vaccinated Booted Bantams, from the heartiest and guaranteed stock should be considered.
The breed was first admitted into the APA in 1914. The Rare Poultry Society in the UK has also embraced the breed and taken it under their wing.