Pyncheon Bantams

My friend, Christine Heinrichs, author of How to Raise Chickens, is working on a new book The Field Guide to Backyard Chickens. There are many varieties of chickens that were kept years ago but that are rare now. Some were useful, some were bred solely for looks. As we lose these chickens, we lose their genetic diversity. Christine’s passion is for saving the breadth of traits unique to these old breeds. She asked me if I knew of anyone with Pyncheon bantams. Some “heritage” breeds don’t go back that far (the Delaware dates only to the 1940s) but this decorative bantam was mentioned back in the 1700s.

I checked my shelves of poultry books, both new and vintage. Nothing about Pyncheons.



I looked through my collection of bulletins and brochures. Nothing. Not even in this:



It did however, have this illustration of a more popular bantam that some of you might keep, the Sebright.

sebright bantams

Even back in 1907, chickens were not always kept as productive farm animals. This is what Mr. Howard says about bantams:

Bantams are purely ornamental poultry, and are kept for pleasure exclusively.

What birds do you have just for fun?


If you, or someone you know, has a Pyncheon, please contact Christine!


  1. I have Red Pyle OEG and “regular” OEG bantams.
    I just love having these small very active birds around.
    I love when I let them out into the yard and they fly from one end of the yard to the other just because they can or the little roosters fly up to the peak of the coop (9 feet) and crow. A real life weather vane. ;-)

  2. I have Belgian d’Anvers, they are beautiful cuckoo ones…they lay about 150 eggs a year……the roosters get mean at about a year if they have hens, they seem to remain calm if they have no hens. I have no rooster at this time. We have hatched them out in an incubator, as the hens seem to not be good mothers. I could hold all 8 of the new chicks in the palm of my hands.Very small eggs and chicks. My granddaughter showed a cuckoo hen this summer, but she went into a molt just as the fair started….we had several inquiries about them, they seem to be rare here in the Pacific Northwest….They have beards and their wings drag with an upright head and tail…very proud looking, but cute…the hens are a favorite with my grandchildren as they seem to love being held….that is if the child is calm:) . They are also easy keepers, don’t eat much and are hardy.

  3. I have a bantam Ameraucana hen just for fun. I actually purchased 2 from a friend who raises them but the pair of them insisted on sleeping outside, (one Mary in a tree and the other Connie in the rambling rose). Both were in places i was unable to reach so I just prayed they would get smart and return to the hen house at dusk before they were discovered by a predator. Each a.m. I would anxiously head out to liberate the hens and to my relief for a couple of weeks both Mary and Connie were waiting outside the door for me. But then we had a visit from an Owl and Mary who was the most vulnerable in the tree became breakfast……Connie then wisely decided she would now sleep with the other hens in the house at night. Once Mary was gone she just melded into the flock like she had always been there. She is not at all at the bottom of the pecking order and in fact is not at all bothered by the much bigger chickens as she just darts out of the way if needed. She sleeps by the rooster(my only other bantam), and has never again tried to sleep outside the house. I am still waiting for her first wee blue egg.

  4. An online search brought me to a Backyard Poultry article about Pyncheon (or Pynchion) bantams. Very adorable birds that have a sprout of feathers just behind the comb. Medium sized bantam. Seems there is interest in bringing these lovely birds back….with good reason.

  5. A white-crested black Polish .. both a rooster and 2 hens. Sadly, one of the hens was caught and eaten by some critter soon after we got her back in … geez, 6-7 years ago? The rooster, Einstein, just passed away 2 days ago of natural causes. I thought he was soaking in the rays of a sun beam but he had actually simply keeled over and died. The remaining hen now has no other Polish chicken to keep her company; how sad. She’s quite the doofus chicken and we love her.

    We also have 2 Americaunas for their green shelled eggs.

  6. I have a Chinese Langham hen. I want to breed her, but I can’t find anyone with this breed.

  7. Never heard of it myself: they sure have some interesting colors when you google image search though. Here I thought a Golden Sebright was interesting: it’s paled to “average” now.

  8. I have just googled Pyncheon’s what a wonderfully colourful little hen, how I would love to have some. Although my girls are meant for eggs my Buff Sussex and Welsummer lay so few eggs they are more pretty garden ornaments with attitude ( but it would be boring without them ). See you’ve had some snow, girls look snug.
    Happy New Year…:)

    • When its time to get new chicks you know what to do!!!!!

      I strongly suggest one of the OEG breeds as well. If given attention (like you do) as chicks they are the “sweetest” birds.

  9. I have a flock of eight bantams and adore them. They are such a pretty flock and full of character. I have a gold laced wyndotte (sadly I lost my silver laced wyndotte in the spring), two different coloured game birds (one shades of brown and one beautiful black with shimmers of green and purple), one vorwerk, two brown leghorns, one goldtop and one ancona. The game girls have a short laying season but lay well during that time and the gold top lays well for three week spells then goes broody for two weeks. The rest all lay well except for the gold laced who is unique I think. She lays one clutch each spring then spends the rest of the year sitting on all the girls eggs but not committing to being broody. The eggs are small but have the same size yolks as large eggs so we eat them two at a time and prefer them now to big eggs. It wouldn’t matter to me how many eggs they lay as they are so adorable but we get plenty through the summer. I would never switch from bantams now. I too think you should add some bantams back into your flock in the spring.

  10. Carol, I am seriously considering gradually going to all Bantams after my standard sized hens are gone to their reward. They really are the sweetest lil feathered friends and are low-impact on my garden with their tiny feet and everything else. The eggs have never been the biggest draw to chicken-keeping for me, so this is my current plan. In the mean time I can dream about all the cool different breeds that are out there.

  11. There are several articles regarding pyncheon bantams to be found in the “Backyard Poultry” magezine.

  12. Love the Seabrights. I had 2 belgian D’uccle that I bought for “fun”. I just loved those 2 little birds. They both passed this year. There were sisters from same breeding pair. And they went everywhere together. I will be getting more of this breed in my next round. They are so sweet and well…. fun!