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APA/ABA Standard and History of the breed in America

American Seramas--Why? & How? (A must read for any American Serama enthusiast- the history )

  • Discussion on the American Serama Hows and Whys  by: Brian Reeder  http://brianreederbreeder.blogspot.com/   Since it's arrival in the USA, the serama has generated much controversy. Many see it as nothing  more than a "chabo cull" or just a crossbreed. There is some truth in both of these, but they are  not quite accurate. While the Serama was developed from chabo and crosses with many other  breeds, it is a true breed.  However, it is not a "breed" by Western standards. That is to say, it is  not set into one type nor is it set into color varieties. It is the type of breed called a "landrace",  which is a group of birds sharing common traits, but also still segregating many  other traits.  The importation of landraces from Asia into the West has occurred several times and most of our  modern breeds are descendants of such imports. Once in the West, these landraces have then  been refined into breeds, varieties, etc. In other words, refined, to suit Western tastes. The  Asiatics (cochin, brahma and langshan) are classic examples of just such events. In the East, they  are not separate breeds, and are more regional variations of the same thing. Those original  variations were refinedinto separate varieties and breeds in the West. 
  • This process is now  beginning with the serama.  With the Malaysian Serama being a landrace and not a consistent and refined breed, the question  arises, "So what do we do with them?" This has been my focus of research: to determine what  genes they have that are useful, what genes are not useful, problem traits and strong points.  Amongst their greatest traits is the wonderful and calm personality seen in many serama.  Amongst their bad traits is the fact that the majority of serama seem to lack the basic desirable  "chicken traits" ( good production/reproduction traits, high fertility, strong hatchability, etc). As  well, there are type traits desired in Malaysia (where there are at least four styles of Serama) that  are extreme and detrimental to a balanced, productive and graceful bird.  So what do we seek to make in the American Serama? What are the traits to discard and what  traits are to be intensified? In what ways do we seek to change the Malaysian Serama to make  it an American Serama?  As past SCNA Chair, I have had the privilege of working with the other members of the  Governing Council of SCNA to formulate a desirable standard that can correct the faults of the  Malaysian serama and refine it into a breed as recognized in the West. 
  • In writing this standard,  our first concern was to establish one type, rather than four or five different types, as in  Malaysia. To do that, we chose the "slim" form and combined it with the "apple" breast. Why?  The slim type gives several desirable traits. These include a longer back (which allows more  space for internal organs and promotes better reproduction/production), longer legs (which  allows the wing to not drag the ground, which is one of the major faults in most Malaysian lines  of serama), a longer neck (which keeps the wattles off the breast) and the ability to have a very  high held tail. The apple breast then gives much more developed breast muscling, allowing the  extra culls to be usable for food, gives more muscle mass to the bird thus creating more  resistance to disease and more durability and better cold weather tolerance.To people who are used to one or the other of the Malaysian types, the American Serama type  may seem odd at first, neither one form nor the other. However on closer inspection (especially  when evaluated by a poultry man or a geneticist) the difference are not arbitrary. They are  designed to create a better, more durable and sustainable/reproducible type. This can thus create  a serama that has consistency. 
  •  Let us look at the parts of the bird and the points attached to each.  There is no point emphasis given to any size class. This is to de-emphasize size, which has been  focused on far too heavily in the US, to the detriment of the breed. Size ONLY defines the  category in which the bird falls and should have no effect or reflection on market value, with  type and temperament being the basis of the market value of the American serama.  Type receives 25 points, and is the highest number of points given to a single trait. That is  because type makes the breed. The type of the serama (both Malaysian and American) should be  very distinct from any other breed, and a bird that looks like a "chabo cull" or an "old English  cross breed" should not be considered a serama, as they do not have type (which is the general  silhouette). The overall type of the American serama is a compromise between the "slim" form  and the "apple" form. That general outline is a large V with the foot as the apex, the breast as the  front line and the back of the tail as the back line of the V. The second V in the outline is from  the back of the head/comb region and the front line of the tail. The V of the breast and back of  the tail should be slightly wider than the V of the back of the head to the front of the tail. The  overall effect is of a very proud, "cocky" appearance. This is type and short squatty birds, those  which look like poor chabo, old english or do not have the two distinct V's do not have type. Another important point in the American Serama type is that the base of the foot should show  from the side, allowing the wing to clear the ground. More on this in the wing and leg sections.  Temperament is the next point group. Temperament receives 20 points. This is one of the most  important traits, which sets the serama (when they have this personality) apart from most other  breeds in existence. Since this breed is promoted as a "pet bird", especially for young children,  the calmness is a major and important trait to intensify. Further, aggressive, flighty or easily  agitated birds are simply not enjoyable to work with and do not make good pets. These are the  reasons for the strong emphasis on temperament.  Tail carriage comes next and scores as highly as temperament, as the tail carriage is one of  the most important points in making the overall type. In Malaysia, there has been a trend toward  heavily breasted strains with low tail angle. These are lacking in grace and are very extreme, in  fact so much so that their reproduction is decreased. While a serama should be able to lower its  tail, it must not carry it low, as that ruins the type and makes it mistakable for other breeds or  crosses. Also, wry tails are often seen in serama, and the emphasis on high points in the tail  carriage is to discourage the wry tail which is often genetic and thus requires a concerted effort  to eliminate. Wry tail can be a genetic flaw, a weak tail bed (also genetically influenced) or  caused by environmental problems in hatching. It must be guarded against, as it is extremely  unattractive.  The wing is next. In Malaysian serama there has been a tendency for the wing to be very long  and to often drag the ground. We find this very unattractive, unsightly and unclean. Since the  posed serama is to have the wing carried vertically, pointing to the ground, it is imperative that it  not drag the ground. However, the wing is only awarded 10 points, as the leg is equally  important in making the overall type and length to allow the wing to clear the ground. The emphasis with the ten points is toward a vertical wing, with the wing clearing the ground to beconsidered in both the wing points and leg points, as the proper length of leg is required toachieve this end.  The body receives 5 points. This is a lower point rating, because body is also considered with  type, where the wrong body form will not allow for proper type. The emphasis of the body is in  the well developed breast, though this is also considered in type points as well. A thin weak or  bony body is a great detriment both to type and health.  Legs receives 5 points. While the look of the leg is considered, the major consideration of the leg  is if it is long enough to allow the wing to clear the ground. A medium length leg is preferred, which allows the main foot to show from the side, but if one has to choose between a shorter leg or a longer leg, the preference in the American Serama would be toward the longer leg, thus ensuring the wing clears the ground. This is also considered in the points awarded to type, as the leg too short is a great detriment to type. The short leg is a flaw often seen in the Malaysian serama and is highly undesirable, as this is usually indicative of one of the complex of  achondroplatic genes, which shortens the entire skeletal system creating a "dumpy", "squatty" or  otherwise non-graceful appearance which is too chabo like. 
  • The American Serama should be a  graceful, mobile bird and the short leg prevents.  Feathering gets five points. We wish to see well finished feathering in all American Serama.  There is some segregation of the frizzling gene and it's suppressor gene in the Malaysian serama.  We wish in the American serama to breed up a true smooth feathered bird and if interested  parties use the frizzling to breed up a frizzled American Serama, this is fine too though it would  be a different variety of American Serama. What is important to us is to separate the frizzling  from the suppressor gene, which will allow for true frizzling, true smooth feather and no  intermediate forms. As well, we do not wish to see broken, damaged or poorly feathered  American Serama being shown.  Comb/wattles also gets five points. This section receives fewer points, because comb finish is a  refinement, which should be focused on at the end of breeding, rather than at the beginning  . A common beginners mistake is too much focus on combs/wattles/heads and color, in general. It is  desirable that the wattles not touch the breast, as this indicates that the neck bones are long  enough to give the graceful form and carriage desired for American Serama. . 
  •  Finally, on our points scale, there is appearance. This is "finish" and is considered to help all  members to focus on properly finished birds for the show room. Appearance receives five points. . 

  •  Now, with the list of areas and points defined,let us talk about what I call the "intangible traits".  These are the traits you can't see, but which are essential to a breed, if it is to survive and be  consistently reproducible. These include such traits as resistance to disease, vigor, production of a  quality and hatch able egg, high fertility, ability to breed naturally with high fertility, no traits  so extreme that they hamper or impair reproduction and health, etc.   The decision to make the form basically similar to "slim", with the longer neck, longer legs, longer back (though the longer back is disguised by the pose and the long hackle feathers), etc,  was made to allow for a well proportioned body which can carry the internal organs with ease, to  create a more graceful form which allows the wings toclear the ground and to avoid the achondroplastic genes, which create the shorter legs, but also shortens the entire skeletal system.  These skeletal shortening genes are detrimental to health and reproductive traits. This decision  then is based on the genetic necessities of form's influence on health and reproduction, with the  visual aspect being considered, but more being a happy coincidence of the genetic reality. The compromise was found by putting the well developed apple breast onto the slim form, thus creating a balance between extreme type and vigor/reproduction, with the nod to grace and cleanliness (getting the wing off the ground).
  •  We feel our standard for the American Serama has achieved a balanced compromise that allows the best traits of the Malaysian serama to be brought forward, with the less desirable and detrimental traits being eliminated.  What we desire to create with the American Serama is a breed which is consistent and  reproducible, based upon genetic understanding of form's influence on health and reproduction. .  The question was, "How extreme can the bird be before it starts to impact upon health and  reproduction?" Experiments and research show that the longer back (even if hidden by the  overall form) gives more "guts": i.e., room for the internal organs and the proper production of eggs. We also desire that the American Serama be consistent in type with that type reproducible.  For consistency sake, we chose a compromise form, giving a wealth of genetic advantages, and  allowing for one type to be created to diffuse much of the confusion seen in the various types  seen in the Malaysian serama . 
  •  Finally, I would like to stress that there are probably no birds in the US or in Malaysia that match  the SCNA American Serama standard 100%. A standard is a guideline to breed toward. Since  there has been no importation of a landrace, which was then refined into consistent breeds in  living memory, there is much confusion with the process. It is one thing to go out and get started  in a breed that has been established for decades. You buy the best and breed to the standard. Yet  it is a different process when a landrace is being turned into a refined and consistent breed.  
  • Proceed to look for birds that are strong in various points and begin to blend them together. Since  no one bird is at this time expected to have every desired trait, the development of the American  Serama will be a process of combining traits, collecting those traits together in higher  concentration and increasing their prevalence in each generation. This is how breeds are  developed. On the flip side of this there is the need to be consistently removing the undesirable  traits in each generation. It is also important to remember that as the SCNA Virtual Evaluations  continue, that a low score for type should not necessarily exclude a given bird from breeding. As  an example, a bird with really high vigor, fertility, egg production or wonderful temperament,  but lesser form, can be blended with a bird of much higher type and in the subsequent  generations, selection would focus on the birds with better type, but also having the good traits  from the lesser type bird. It is very common that exhibition breeders do not breed from their best  show birds and the most gifted breeders learn what is desirable for breeding and what is desirable for showing. In many cases, they are not exactly the same.

APA & ABA AMERICAN SERAMA STANDARD - MALE

Shape of Male  

Comb: Single, medium, set firmly and evenly on head, straight and upright, evenly serrated with five regular and distinct points, the middle points the same length as the width of the blade, moderately arched, blade should extend well over back of head.  Beak: Strong, stout and well curved.  Face: Small, rounded, smooth, fine in texture, free from wrinkle or folds.  Eyes: Round, conspicuous.  Wattles: Medium, round, fine in texture, free from wrinkles or folds.  Ear Lobes: Small, oval, fitting closely to head.  Head: Small, carried well back in a proud manner.  Neck: Medium length, backward arched, showing off breast, full, tapering gracefully from shoulders to head.  Hackle: Abundant, flowing naturally from front of neck reaching far back covering both shoulders.  Back: Short, broad, in profile, shaped like a 'V' with neck and tail forming the vertical sides.  Tail Coverts & Saddle: Slightly curved, sword shaped hanging over the abdomen and covering back, widely spread, overlapping the tail and lesser sickles.  Tail: Moderately large and upright, carried in an upright position so as to almost contact the back of head.  Main Tail: Feathers wide, moderately spread in a neatly overlapping manner, rising above the head, “A” shaped from the rear view.  Main Sickles: Medium to long, strong, firm, broad sword-shaped slightly curved.  Lesser Sickles: Well-spread, medium length slightly upright, sword-shaped sickle feathers covered with coverts.  Coverts: Abundant, becoming very broad, flowing well up tail.  Wings: Large, long, closely folded, carried vertically not quite touching the ground, Shoulders and Fronts: Prominent, slightly concealed by hackle.  Bows: Well rounded.  Coverts: Feathers broad, forming two distinct bars across wings.  Primaries: Moderate width, rather long, completely concealed by secondaries.  Secondaries: Broad, tapering convexly to rear, wing bay well exposed.  Breast: Highly lifted, well developed, full, carried prominently forward beyond the vertical line drawn from point of beak, broad and well rounded, from head to neck to breast – S shaped profile.  Body & Stern: Body- short, good depth and width, sloping from front to rear. Stern: Fluff, short, abundant.  Legs & Toes: Legs- average length, widely set, parallel to each other without bowing or knocked knees, well proportioned.  Lower Thighs: Medium, stout at top and tapering to hocks.  Shanks: Medium, smooth, round, evenly scaled.  Toes: Four, straight, well and evenly spread, evenly scaled.  Appearance: Small, broad, compact, active, tame, standing up majestically.





Drawings Below by Catherine Stanevich  These drawings shows the ideal form of the American Serama male and female. They represent the type breeders should consider as their main goal and what they should be working towards. " Please try to understand that this is a goal.  There is no perfect American Serama.  We all try our best to better the breed at all times.   

  " Lulin"     

 American Bantam Association All rights reserved




AMERICAN SERAMA - FEMALE

Shape of Female  Comb: Single, small, set firmly and evenly on the head, straight and upright, evenly serrated with five regular and distinct points, the middle points the same length as the width of the blade, moderately arched, blade should extend well over the back of the head.  Beak: Strong, stout, and well curved.  Face: Small, rounded, smooth, fine in texture, free from wrinkle or folds.  Eyes: Round, conspicuous.  Wattles: Small, round, fine in texture, free from wrinkles or folds.  Ear Lobes: Small, oval, fitting closely to head.  Head: Small, carried well back in proud manner.  Neck: Medium length, backward arched showing off breast, full, tapering gracefully from shoulders to head.  Hackle: Abundant, flowing naturally from front of neck reaching far back covering both shoulders.  Back: Short, broad, in profile, shaped like a V with neck and tail forming the vertical sides.  Cushion: Short, feathers broad and plentiful.  Tail: Moderately large and upright, carried in an upright position so as to almost contact the back of head.  Main Tail: Feathers wide, moderately spread in a neatly overlapping manner, rising above the head, “A” shaped from the rear view.  Coverts: Abundant, becoming very broad, flowing well up tail.  Wings: Large, long, closely folded, carried vertically not quite touching the ground, Shoulders and Fronts: Prominent, slightly concealed by hackle.  Bows: Well rounded.  Coverts: Feathers broad, forming two distinct bars across wings.  Primaries: Moderate width, rather long, completely concealed by secondaries.  Secondaries: Broad, tapering convexly to rear, wing bay well exposed.  Breast: Highly lifted, well developed, full, carried prominently forward beyond vertical line drawn from point of beak, broad and well rounded, from head to neck to breast – S shaped profile.  Body & Stern: Body- short, good depth and width, sloping from front to rear. Stern: Fluff, short, abundant.  Legs & Toes: Legs- average length -- widely set, parallel to each other without bowing or knock ed knees, well proportioned.  Lower Thighs: Medium, stout at top and tapering to hocks.  Shanks: Medium, smooth, round, evenly scaled.  Toes: Four, straight, well and evenly spread, evenly scaled.  Appearance: Small, broad, compact, active, tame, standing up majestically