What happens if my live birds or hatching eggs arrive way past the time of being viable or are lost, destroyed or have perished?
There are inherent dangers in shipping hatching eggs or live chickens. Unfortunately, the USPS insurance treats eggs and live chickens as perishables. They are an insurance exception and cannot be insured. In the event of any loss or tragedy with shipping, we can not issue a refund. Priority Express does insure a courtesy claim of $100 under certain circumstances. In the event this should occur, we will pass the $100 on to you. There can be no recourse to Diamond Seramas or Feathered Diamonds. We have no control over shipping once your eggs or birds leave our premises.
Is it hard to hatch Seramas?
Hatching Seramas can be a bit tricky. Please see the Hatching Tips page.
How should I keep my Seramas?
Seramas are from Malaysia. We adhere to my rule of 50/95. Under 50 and over 95 degrees, requires heat or air conditioning (respectively).
Malaysia is a tropical climate. So, keeping them toasty...around 70, for instance...is what we recommend.
Getting one pair? Why not house them in a guinea pig/rabbit cage inside your home? We recommend about 36-48 inches length by 18-24 inches width and 2 feet high.
Seramas enjoy perching. We mount a decent size branch from outside really low (protecting their tail feathers from rubbing the top of the cage). You can make your own perch. A dowel rod about 3/4 inch diameter or a 1x1 (sand the 90 degree edges to round them slightly) cut and held with zip ties to the cage.
They are more like house birds than chickens. We do not recommend free ranging. We do supervised recess only. They are tiny and easy prey for just about every predator.
Larger chickens in your flock could become a predator to them, even.
If you must house them outside in a coop, please keep the 50/95 rule in place. This will help avoid an unnecessary tragedy. Add heat as necessary with a brooder plate or heat plate or mat.
Why don't you sell chicks?
We do not sell chicks because of the delicate and fragile nature of this special breed, first of all. We do not want to set someone up for sadness, especially if they've never raised Seramas before. Secondly, we would never ship any of our chickens still requiring any additional brooder heat. Shipping is very stressful. The younger the bird the easier it is for them to experience stress. This is why we do not sell birds before 4 to 6 months old.
Seramas are slow to mature. We need to see how their type and variety are developing. This tells us who is ready for a new home or who may need to stay with us; improving our breeding program or showing program.
We are a breeder always striving towards the Standards of Perfection for Seramas. If we sell too soon, we may actually hurt our breeding and/or showing program from progressing forward.
Why do Seramas pose?
It is in their nature to stand that way. They have been bred to be show pieces. They are truly living works of art. The frames of their bodies are built to have a very upright, vertical stance with a pronounced breast a bit of the shape kind of like a rocket. Most breeds of chickens are more horizontal and "look" more like an airplane rather than a rocket.
Posing is part, a big part, of the training and makes up about a quarter of the score the bird receives from the judges.
Are Seramas good pets?
The Serama makes a wonderful companion. We always say that they are more like house birds than chickens.
Because they are so little, they require very little space. Seramas should only be let outside of their cages for what we call "supervised recess", where they are safe from predators such as dogs, cats and birds of prey.
As long as there are people within earshot who recognize when they are under threat, they will "sound their alarms".
They are inexpensive to keep as each Serama consumes very little feed per month.
They have docile, kind, sweet personalities. They are family friendly and actually need and crave human interaction and attention.
How do you prep your Seramas for show day and what do you take with you to groom them that day?
I like to wash my Seramas 7 or 8 days before the show. The type of shampoo to use should be very soft and gentle on the chicken. Dawn will work in a pinch.
I do like to add a couple drops of glycerin to their water at the end of rinsing to help give them a headstart to replenishing the oils lost from washing. (That is also why I wash a week before the show. They need time for preening.)
Trim beaks and toe nails carefully and file. I keep styptic powder always nearby when trimming toe nails. The judge will notice a good manicure or a manicure that was needed and not done.
I find no need to trim spurs unless they are completely uneven looking or so long that they are causing an issue for the cock.
On the day of the show, baby oil gel or coconut oil will shine the waddles, comb, beak and legs nicely. I also like using the pink sheen spray by Luster's to shine their feathers up. Be careful not to get it in their eyes or face when using.
A grooming box is smart to have on show day. Place your NPIP card or paperwork in it so it isn't accidentally left at home. Place all grooming items inside.
I include the following:
Styptic powder (stops bleeding from anything)
Cotton balls (used to clean feathers or apply baby oilgel or coconut oil)
Antibiotic ointment (just in case...I like Bacitracin. Never use antibiotic ointment on chickens that has added pain relief. Chickens cannot tolerate the active ingredient it contains.)
Wet wipes, washcloth, hand towel, hand wipes, toothbrush, paper towels (last minute clean ups)
Nail clippers and file
Feed cups/feed and water cups/water for my birds
Silk cloth (shines hard feathers nicely)
Pink Sheen Spray
Zip ties and a pocket knife (always comes in handy)
I keep cardboard in my car. (Sometimes I put it between coops to keep birds from fighting.)
Oh, and I always keep a couple camping chairs in my car if I am not familiar with the venue. Seating is often times lacking or limited.
What do you keep in your chicken first aid kit?
My BASIC kit contains: disposable gloves, Vetericyn Spray, Vet Wrap, syringe or dropper, Preparation H (without pain relief), some type of eye wash (I like Vetericyn products), Sav-A-Chick Electrolyte packets, raw/unfiltered honey, antibiotic ointment (without pain relief, I prefer Bacitracin), nail clippers, nail file, styptic powder (corn starch works), Vet RX, Vaseline, Ivermectin, Elector PSP, disposable scalpel, tweezers, Rooster Booster, Tylan (oral) and Corid.
How to raise Serama chicks? A guide for those first few weeks of life.
I keep my Serama chicks with only Serama chicks. Large fowl chicks tower over them and even bantam breed chicks are too boisterous and bigger as well. Trampling and smothering can easily happen. Any bantam breed chick is larger and poses a risk of tragedy for your Serama chicks. I keep my Seramas chicks in their very own, separate-from-all-other-breeds brooder.
I use a rabbit/guinea pig style cage as my brooder. I typically use paper towels in a double layer laid flat for their bedding. I use a heat plate. I adjust the height little by little as they grow. I start with the heat plate very low to the ground. Chicks like to lay flat. That first week is crucial to keep the heat 95 degrees or very close to it. Place an aftermarket thermometer under your heat plate. Check on your chicks frequently.
Rules of thumb:
Week 1: 95 degrees
Week 2: 90 degrees
Week 3: 85 degrees
Week 4: 80 degrees
Week 5: 75 degrees
Week 6: 70 degrees
Seramas are tropical. Malaysian. You may desire to stretch out one week at a time to 10 days at a time. Use your judgment. Watch your chicks behavior. Let that dictate how you adjust the height of your heat plate. Cold chicks will cheep over and over again. They'll all huddle together for warmth. Hot chicks won't go under that heat plate much. Examples, if the heat plate is too low, they'll cheep cheep outside of it and most likely huddle for warmth. Raise the height a bit on your heat plate.
You may need to really kind of watch and teach your day old chicks to go under the heat plate. They may come out to eat and drink and sort of lose their way back. Gently teach them that under the heat plate is where to go for warmth. I also place the heat plate in the corner of my cage so two sides are up against solid walls. That helps keep the heat 'in' under the plate.
Since I use open wired rabbit/guinea pig cages, I use towels to cover 3 to 3 1/2 of the sides and the entire top. I even double up the towel for added insulation. I want to keep it nice and warm for the chicks.
I have complete dark at night and cover (loosely) the 4th side also with a sheet or towel as well. Uncovering that 1 side (or 1/2 of that side depending on your chosen setup) during the day and ensuring they have adequate lighting to see in order to come out from under the heat plate to eat and drink.
I feed medicated chick feed crumble fine ground up (with a coffee grinder) for the first 4 weeks of their lives (minimum). Sometimes I grind their feed longer than 4 weeks. It depends on the sizes of the baby chicks. If the feed is too big, they may not eat at all or they may choke. Either way, it ends up tragic. I don't rush into feeding non-ground crumbles. It isn't worth the chance in losing a chick. Sometimes I grind their feed for a couple months. I usually will grind enough to fill up a gallon Ziploc bag at a time (for my convenience).
I place a shallow dish, a flan dish with low edges works great, in their brooder very close if not partially under an edge of their heat plate. I want them to eat. I also place ground food all around and under the perimeter of most of their heat plate. Place it directly on the paper towels. Again, I want them to eat. They must eat. I do not worry about wasting feed with my chicks. Ever.
I use my finger to touch and kind of scratch the food to show them (like a mama hen) that's what you eat. Make sure each chick is eating. Observe them.
I also use a shallow dish, usually a low edge flan dish, (with a couple small stones in it) as my water dish. I do also place it very near the heat plate and patiently 'teach' each chick to drink by putting my finger in the water and coaxing them verbally and also so they can see the drops of water drip from my finger and see it ripple in the dish.
It is important that you make sure each and every chick is eating and drinking. The water dish will need fresh, clean, high quality water. Mine get changed SEVERAL times a DAY, especially in the first week or so.
As the chicks get bigger and grow, I remove the stones one at a time. The stones are there so they do not drown. Be careful not to use too small of a stone that they'll slip and fall.
You can do and use whatever you wish and feel comfortable with your water dish. Just make sure the placement is where they can reach it and that they cannot fall in and drown or get soaking wet. I cannot express the importance of fresh, clean water enough.
I do not add anything to their water the first few weeks of their lives. Just, fresh, clean, high quality water changed a lot.
At the second week or so, the food and water dish can be moved a little bit further from the heat plate. I do not rush anything with my Serama baby chicks. Use caution and patience when changing and tweaking the brooder environment.
The paper towels bedding gets changed as it needs.I do not adhere to a specific cleaning schedule with my chicks I do keep it very clean for them. Sometimes changing the towels out more than once daily. They are tiny, fragile and developing their immune systems. They are susceptible to a lot of bad things those first several days and weeks of life. Around 4 to 6 weeks old, I switch to pine shavings. I do use fine pine shavings.
It is my privilege to help others with their Seramas. Whether or not you have a Diamond Seramas, please reach out with questions. I have assisted saving many, many chicks during these first precious days and weeks across the country. Though not a doctor, I will help advise as best as I can to save a Serama chick's life.
Are there different types of Seramas?
Different types of Serama in the USA. This is one of the best and most easily understood explanations of the different types of serama that I have read. Thank you to author David Mills.
There are 4 different type of Serama here in America. AMERICAN (standard type and colors accepted by the ABA), TRADITIONAL (same body as American but no color requirements), AYAM (US version of Malaysian type), and then MALAYSIAN (recent import of new blood birds different than the original 2001 import). Smooth, Silkied and Frizzled are the three feather types that Seramas come in.