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The American Serama

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by Julie Miller, FL

It's fairly likely that you may recognize the name of the newest chickens to be introduced into the USA, the American Serama, which is also known as Malaysian Serama, Serama, or sometimes the Serama bantam. They are a landrace breed in Malaysia, and continue their refinement as American Serama in the United States. Mr. Jerry Schexnayder imported 130 Malaysian Seramas, 25 cocks and 105 hens. At the same time, KJ Theodore also made a much smaller importation of Malaysian Serama. Those birds imported by Mr. Schexnayder are the large majority founding stock of the Seramas in the USA today. After three years of continuing development in this landrace breed, Mr. Schexnayder founded the Serama Council of North America (SCNA) in the year 2003 which can be found at http://SCNAOnline.org/ and to date has over 400 members active in the club. American Seramas can be found throughout the United States, Canada and are growing rapidly in popularity in Europe as well.

What makes this breed so unique and different from the rest of the poultry world? Just about everything about them is unique. Did you know that in their homeland of Malaysia, that the Serama is in fact the number one house pet? Some Serama owners in the USA have even to be able to potty train their house Seramas. The founding breeds that contributed to the origin of Seramas in Malaysia is still somewhat of a mystery today but it is generally agreed upon that roughly 4-5 different types of poultry in Malaysia contributed to the type that makes Seramas unique to the rest of the poultry world. Their small size makes them very popular with both the young and old, the exhibitor and the hobby poultry owner. They are after all the smallest bantam in the world, with cocks weighing under 19 ounces and hens under 17 ounces and some birds being as small as 8-10 ounces in both genders. They are recognized within 3 class sizes, the smallest being the A Class birds, the middle weight class the B Class and the largest class the C Class. Generally speaking, the Class A and lower Class B birds will be the Class A producers, but occasionally the larger C Class birds will also produce an A Class bird.

The American Serama comes in an array of color patterns, sometimes never to be reproduced again when a particular pattern is so unique, and it's been said that there are 2500 colors being found in Seramas. With selective breeding, they will also breed true to a standard color as well, with additional defined colors being worked on every day by select accomplished breeders around the country.

The American Serama temperament is unique to the breed in that they are a very hands-on chicken for all ages. They are confident yet easy going, they are even tempered yet make fiercely loyal brood hens, and they will always when given the chance command your attention with their regal stature and tremendous confidence, and rarely will you find a cock bird that is aggressive to a handler or overly aggressive to another cock bird. They are a small package possessing huge heart and showmanship, in both genders. The Serama cock bird's crow volume is about 1/3 that of a large fowl rooster, and this fact along with their diminutive size makes them the ideal poultry breed in even the most urban of settings.

The American Serama conformation is also unique to the poultry world here in the USA. No other breed of poultry possesses the upright, V-shaped conformation that the Serama does. When viewing a Serama, your eye is drawn to the up and down verticalness of the breed, verses the side to side horizontal conformation of the other poultry breeds. On the best specimens in both genders, the tail is full and set at a 90 degree angle on a very short back, with the head held upright and on top of the full chest that often times the tail will bump up against the back of the head. The cock birds possess a beautiful sickle that is slightly curved at the tip. The wings are vertical and just clear the ground, the chest full and held high on a well muscled body. Seramas are generally termed in 4 types-apple, dragon, slim and ball, with the American Serama being a combination of apple and slim types with the SCNA standard of perfection reflecting that of Seramas in Malaysia.

With the continued develop of the breed, the Serama Council of North America (SCNA) has petitioned for acceptance with the American Bantam Association in the standard white color, with the standard weights being 16 ounces for cocks and 14 ounces for hens. Officially, the SCNA exhibits its Seramas in sanctioned shows in the Malaysian style with the three classes (Classes A, B and C) and the birds are judged on a table top, verses in-cage judging which is known to all other poultry breeds. The SCNA encourages its members to participate in ABA/APA in-cage judging where ever SCNA table top sanctioned shows are not offered. SCNA sanctioned shows judge Serama on a point system, with Type being most important, followed by Character, Tail Carriage, Wing Carriage, Feather Quality and Condition. The SCNA holds its National Finals every year in November at the Ohio Nationals Poultry Show, and we cordially invite you to stop by and see our wonderful American Seramas, and experience our unique style of table top judging, where the Serama really displays all of its wonderful characteristics by commanding your attention with its “look at me” attitude on the judge's table.

Monday the 18th. The Definitive Voice of the Serama in North America
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