The Malaysian Serama is a relatively new breed. It’s exact origins and history are unclear. There are legends of it being descent from a chance cross between a pigeon and chicken. Other stories of the birds derived from a gift of some small chickens by the King of Thailand to a local sultan in ancient times. It was almost certainly developed in Kelantan Province in Malaysia (near Thai border). Small chickens have always been popular pets in this area and are 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 from Kelantan, who named the breed “Serama” after Raja Sri Rama, a character in the Wayang Kulit (or shadow puppet plays). The breed was first exhibited in 1990 and became an instant hit. The year 2000 was the peak in popularity in Malaysia. The breed was hit hard by the Asian bird flu epidemic in 2004 when over 50,000 birds were culled amid government concerns. However, the breed has bounced back and is regaining popularity again in Malaysia. There are no written standards for the breed in Malaysia, nor is there any tradition of poultry clubs. Much information is understood by breeders and disseminated by word of mouth. 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 (e.g. Husin, Mat Awang), but may also be more general shape, characteristics or behaviour (e.g. slim shape, ball shape, dragon shape, head shaking behaviour, robot style). Hence there is quite a lot of diversity in Malaysia. All the different styles compete against each other in open table top competitions (often described as “beauty contests”) and scored by several judges.