Origin: The Nankin is an ancient breed of bird and is thought to be one of the oldest known bantam. The origin of this bird is not clear as it goes back beyond all known records, however it’s believed the bird came from India and evidence that the breed was imported well before the 1500's to England where they were a popular breed. The Nankin began to decline in numbers during the “hen-fever” craze in the 1800’s when chicken fanciers began to breed new exotic breeds. However the Nanjing breed was probably saved from total extinction due to its part in crating a lot of these new breeds and for being recognized for it’s usefulness as broody hen.
Description: Nankins have rich chestnut color bodies, with hens being a shade or two lighter in color from the cockerels. Roosters have black tail and flight feathers and although hens sometimes may have it is common. The breed has red wattles, faces and earlobe and can be found with either rose combs or single comb. Legs should be a slate blue though white leg color can occur. White legs is considered a fault in the breed and occurs because of a hidden recessive gene in the males.
Temperament: Nankins have calm dispositions and a likable personality, however the cocks will overcome their gentle nature and become rather aggressive if a hen calls out in distress.
Size: Rooster 24 oz Hen 22 oz
Requirement and Production: Nankins will generally always separate from groups of larger birds and crate their own little tight nit group, hardly leaving more then a few feet from the main flock. They are also very good mothers with chicks that are hardy, easy to raise and grow very quickly. These birds are recognized for having high fertility and hatching rate for hens who are allowed to nest, however they need extra attention and care when artificially incubating as the eggs are round in shape which can cause hatching problems.