History of the Nankin
Nankins are a true bantam, meaning they have no counterpart among the large fowl. They are one of the oldest true bantam breeds, originating in southeast Asia. They are thought to have been imported from Nanjing (Nanking) in China, hence their name. Nankins were present in England in the 16th century, but didn't become widespread until the 18th century when they were used in the creation of many other bantam breeds, such as the Sebright. Their popularity fell in the mid 1800s, however, and it was their use as broodies by game bird breeders which may have kept them from becoming extinct. They are classified as an endangered breed in both the UK and the US. Very few people keep Nankins within Ireland.
Features of the Breed
Nankins may possess either a single comb or a rose comb, red in colour. Their plumage is buff with black tails; males have a deeper golden-orange and chestnut plumage. Beaks are a light horn colour and legs are slate blue with 4 toes. Because of their small size they are well able to fly and are not very cold-hardy. Nankins tend to be alert and active, friendly rather than flighty, often go broody, and are good mothers. They are not prolific layers, but lay small cream-coloured eggs. Cocks should weigh 680g (24oz) on average, and hens 625g (22oz); many British and Irish Nankins tend to be larger than these standard weights.
We had some success in reducing the success of our Nankin stock. Despite our affection for this lovely breed however, we made the difficult decision to sell our flock. As of 2015, we no longer breed Nankins.