Serama’s originate in the Kelantan Malaysia. Through the crossing of the Japanese and Malaysian bantams. Other stories of this breed say the King of Thailand gave tiny chickens to a local sultan in ancient times. Small chickens have always been popular pets in this area due to their size. They often referred to as Ayam Katik (pygmy chickens) and Ayam Cantik (pretty chickens).
The modern breed is attributed to the efforts of Wee Yean Een. Who named the breed "Serama" after Rama, the title of the Kings of Thailand. The breed was first shown in 1990. The breed was then hit hard by the Asian bird flu epidemic in 2004 when many birds were culled due to government concerns.
There are no written standards for the Serama breed in its native country yet. However, they do now have an overall guide on scoring and judging for competitions in Malaysia. Many breeders have a style or type that they breed to, but often breeders keep several "styles". These styles are often names given by breeders to describe a blood line of a champion bird such as, Husin, Mat Awang. They may also be more general shape, characteristics or behaviour named such as slim, submarine, and dragon. Which is why there is quite a lot of diversity in Malaysia, but an overall theme of a small brave chicken with a persona of fearless warrior or toy soldier. The shape, behaviour, temperament and size of this breed is the most important of characteristics. The birds compete against each other in open table top competitions which are often described as beauty contests and scored by several judges. The prize for the winning birds can be quite a bit of money.
The Serama breed is now promoted by a couple organizations in the U.S. One is known as The Serama Council of North America (SCNA). This council helped to introduce the Serama to North America in multiple National Poultry shows. In the spring of 2004 a Serama only-show, known as the Cajun Classic, in Baton Rouge Louisiana was held. The American Serama as put forth by the Serama Council of North America has now gained acceptance by the American Poultry Association (APA) and the American Bantam Association (ABA) as of April 2011. In early 2012, another group was formed to help gain APA and ABA acceptance of more varieties of Serama. This group is known as the American Serama Association (ASA).
Serama’s were initially imported into the United Kingdom (UK) in 2004. These breeds were imported from both America and directly from Malaysia. The foundation Serama flock in the UK consisted of only a few dozen birds. In 2005, a small group of Serama owners and enthusiast decided to form the Serama Club of Great Britain (SCGB). This was the first Serama club in the UK. They established the standard for the Serama breed for the UK. Eventually in 2008, the club was officially recognised as the affiliated breed club of the Poultry Club of Great Britain (PCGB).
Serama’s are still relatively rare and expensive in much of mainland Europe and America. The Netherlands probably has the largest number of Serama’s outside the UK. Most of the stock in the Netherlands are descendent from birds/eggs imported from America and from the UK. In France and other European countries, they have become increasing in popularity.