Easter Egger

An Easter Egger is any chicken that possesses the "blue egg" gene, but doesn't fully meet any breed description as defined in the American Poultry Association (APA) and/or the American Bantam Association (ABA) standards. The name derives from the resemblance of their colorful eggs to Easter eggs. Araucanas, Ameraucanas, and Easter Eggers are descended from the same founder stock that spread around the world from Chile and the Falklands. Three main founder breeds were involved in the creation of what we today call Araucanas, Ameraucanas, British tailed Araucanas, and the Easter Eggers. These would be the Quechua, the Quetro, and the Colloncas. In about 1976 some Chilean Araucanas were imported to the United States and are still here today unchanged. They appear except for color to be Ameraucanas or British tailed Araucanas. Some Easter Eggers breed true to type and color over fifty percent of the time. Molecular data retrieved from specimens of known provenance in the Falklands, United Kingdom, Shetland Isles, and Canada proved to be closely related. Consequently, the Ameraucana is probably closer genetically to the South American founders than the North American Araucana. None of these, Araucana, Ameraucana, or British tailed Araucanas were actually a breed in South America.

Often confused with the rare, pure breeds of Araucana and the not so rare Ameraucana, the majority of chickens in laying flocks that lay blue or green eggs are Easter Eggers. Even if a bird meets an APA or ABA Standard of Perfection breed description, but doesn't meet a variety description, or breed true at least fifty percent of the time, it is technically considered an Easter Egger. These chickens also may exhibit the muffs and beards similar to the Araucana and Ameraucana.
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Wyandotte (chicken)

The Wyandotte is a breed of chicken originating in the United States. The first examples of the breed appeared in 1870s. Wyandottes are a docile, dual-purpose breed kept for both eggs (Wyandottes are brown egg layers) and meat. They also appear in a wide variety of color patterns, and are popular show birds.

Appearance

The Wyandotte is a medium sized breast with a rose comb and clean legs. The chicken feathers are broad and loosely fitting. The area around the vent is very fluffy. The legs are yellow, although some silver laced may have grey.

Colors

There are eight colors recognized by the APA (American Poultry Association) which are golden laced, silver laced, white, black, buff, Columbian, partridge and silver penciled. In bantams there is also buff Columbian, black breasted red, blue red, lemon blue, barred,brown red, and birchen that are recognized by the American Bantam Association. However, there are more colors than that which are either recognised by similar organisations in other countries like the PCGB (Poultry Club of Great Britain). These colors include blue laced red and buff laced. Overall there are 17 colors.

Characteristics

The Wyandotte is a breed that suits both free range and confinement in a run. They occasionally go broody. They tend to be quite friendly, and not flighty, and so make good pets for people. They are also very vocal, uttering soft clucks on a regular basis.

Utility aspects

The hens (females) will lay around 200 eggs a year with an exceptional hen laying around 240 eggs a year. The eggs are brown or tinted. The hens weigh around 6 pounds and the cocks weigh around 8 1/2 pounds. The hens also make great setters. It is sometimes difficult for natural insemination to occur, due to the number and thickness of feathers in the tail area. For the same reason, they are prone to accumulation of feces on vent-area feathers that needs to be regularly washed off, or the vent could become clogged.

Variations

Silver Laced: The silver laced wyandotte has white feathers with black edges to every feather, an effect called lacing. The tail is black and they should have yellow legs. The silver laced was developed in New York state in the early 1870s and was admitted to the standard in 1883. The silver laced wyandotte was the base for all other colors.

Golden Laced: The golden laced wyandotte is a golden color with black around the edge of every feather and black tail. Joseph McKeen of Wisconsin was the originator of the Golden Laced Wyandotte. In 1880 he crossed Silver Laced Wyandotte females with a large "Black Red" patterned fowl of unknown origin called the Winnebago. The variety was admitted to the American Standard in 1888.

Blue Laced Red: The blue laced red is a buff/red color with a blue that looks just like grey around the edge of every feather.

Buff Laced: The buff laced is buff but with white around the edge of the feathers.

White: The white is white all over. The whites are the rarest color in the UK.

Black: The black is black all over.

Buff: The buff is a buff color all over. A buff is like a ginger orange color.

Columbian: Columbian is white, but with a black tail, black wing tips and the neck is mainly black with some white.

Partridge: A red color but with three black stripes, meeting at the middle of the feather and then going outwards at an angle in the hen, and the cock looks like a typical farmyard cock.

Silver Pencilled: Like the partridge, but with a silver undercolor in the hen and the cock is a white color but with bits of black in there until the tail and the wing which are black.

Blue: The hen is blue all over but the cock is black with the tail and wing blue on some birds.

Barred: The barred, in both genders, has feathers which have black and white stripes across the width of the feather, all over the body.

Mille Fleur: The mille fleur wyandotte is a dark brown color with black crescents with white spots on the tips.

Buff Columbian: Like the Columbian except buff.

Red: The red wyandotte is a dark red/brown all over.

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Dominique (chicken)

The Dominique, also known as the Dominicker, is a breed of chicken originating in the United Kingdom. It is considered America's oldest breed of chicken, having been brought to New England from southern England during colonial times. By the 19th century, they were widely popular and were raised in many parts of the country. Dominiques are a dual purpose breed, being valued for their meat as well as for their brown eggs. They weigh 6 to 8 pounds (2.7 to 3.6 kg) at maturity. In earlier times, their feathers were much sought after as stuffing for pillows and mattresses.

Appearance

Dominiques, sometimes called Dominickers, are quite distinctive in appearance, having a rose comb and a heavy plumage of irregularly striped black-and-white feathers (a pattern called "barring" or sometimes "hawk coloring"). The breed matures quickly, producing eggs at about six months of age.

At first glance, Dominiques and Barred Rocks appear strikingly similar, often leading to confusion when discerning a particular breed. The strongest indicators are the Comb,Plumage and Colour

Comb

Dominiques possess a rose comb while Barred Rocks possess a single comb.

Plumage

Dominiques exhibit staggered barring in their plumage, lending to a somewhat mottled appearance. Barred Rocks exhibit crisp, parallel barring.

Colour

Dominiques exhibit a softer contrast of "not quite black on not quite white", while Barred Rocks exhibit a high-contrast black-on-white color.

Disposition and Behavior

Dominique hens tend to be calm, personable birds (a desirable trait in an egg production bird). Their calm, steady demeanor makes them successful as show birds or family pets. However, some Dominique roosters tend to be aggressive.

The hens tend to be good mothers, brooding and raising chicks with a high rate of success.

The Dominique is hardy and a good forager, traits which are attributed to the harsh conditions in which the breed first developed.

History

After the Plymouth Rock breed was developed from the Dominiques in the 1870s, the Dominiques' popularity declined, until by 1950 they were so rare as to be considered nearly extinct. During the 1970s, Dominiques were listed in "Critical" status by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, with fewer than 500 breeding birds in North America. However, due to a revival of interest in them and other rare breeds, the Dominiques have made a comeback and are now listed on the "Watch" list, indicating lesser danger of extinction.

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Rhode Island Red

The Rhode Island Red is a breed of chicken. They are a utility bird, raised for meat and eggs, and also as show birds. They are a popular choice for backyard flocks because of their egg laying abilities and hardiness. Non-industrial strains of the Rhode Island Red are listed as recovering by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. It is the state bird of Rhode Island.

Appearance

The bird's feathers are rust-colored, but darker shades are known, including maroon bordering on black. Their eyes are red-orange and they have yellow feet, with reddish-brown beaks. Chicks are a light red to tan color with two dark brown bars running down their backs. The Roosters usually weigh in at 8.5 pounds (3.9 kg), the Hens slightly less at 6.5 pounds (2.9 kg), cockerel at 7.5 pounds (3.4 kg), and pullets at 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg).

History

Developed in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, early flocks often had both single and rose combed individuals because of the influence of Malay blood. It was from the Malay that the Rhode Island Red got its deep color, strong constitution, and relatively hard feathers.

The Rhode Island Red was originally bred in Adamsville, a village which is part of Little Compton, Rhode Island. One of the foundation sires of the breed was a black-breasted red Malay cock which was imported from England. This cock is on display at the Smithsonian Institution as the father of the Rhode Island Red breed.

In 1925, the Rhode Island Red Club of America donated funds for an elegant monument to the Rhode Island Red in Adamsville, near the baseball field and across the street from what used to be Abraham Manchester's restaurant. (The monument is now on the National Register of Historic Places.) A competing monument to the Rhode Island Red, claiming its creation not for the poultry fanciers, but for the farmers who grew them commercially in great numbers in Little Compton, was erected by the state in 1954 a mile or so (about two kilometers) south of Adamsville.

Rhode Island Reds and Sussex are also used for many modern hybrid breeds. Many modern hybrid hens have Rhode Island Red fathers, mainly due to the prolific egg laying characteristic of the Rhode Island Red, which is passed down through the males.[citation needed]

Characteristics

The Reds are friendly chickens with a good nature. They are very good pets for children, but they can get angry when annoyed.

Rhode Island Reds are tough birds, resistant to illness, good at foraging and free ranging, and typically docile, quiet, and friendly. Although they are widely known as good layers through cold periods, if the coop temperature drops below freezing (0 °C (32 °F)), their output drops considerably, and the tips of their combs become very susceptible to frostbite.

Although usually friendly, Rhode Island Red roosters, and sometimes hens, can be quite aggressive towards young children and adults. Most roosters will also attack strangers (humans or animals) if they feel nervous or have never seen the intruder. They are usually friendlier with familiar people, such as those responsible for feeding. Both hens and roosters are known to be aggressive with other chickens, especially in confinement.

Eggs

Rhode Island Reds are excellent egg layers. Although they can sometimes be stubborn, they can end up producing up to 250 to 300 large, light to dark brown eggs per year. When free ranged, their first year eggs can be too large to fit comfortably in a standard or medium egg carton. Nine hens can lay up to 6-7 eggs per day depending on their conditions of care and treatment.

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Delaware (chicken)

The Delaware is a breed of chicken originating in the U.S. state of Delaware. It was once of relative importance to the U.S. chicken industry, but today is critically endangered. It is primarily suited to meat production but also lays reasonably well. It has plumage of a unique pattern, and is accepted in to poultry standards for showing.

Characteristics

With males weighing 8.5 pounds (3.9 kilos) and hens 6.5 pounds (3 kilos), the Delaware is a medium sized breed. They have rather large, bright red colored single combs and wattles. Delawares appear in a single color type: a white body and breast, with light black barring on the ends of the hackle, wings and tails. It is similar to the Columbian color seen in some breeds, but has barring in the dark portions, rather than uniform black. Also of note is that all feathers have a white quill and shaft, which, combined with yellow skin, makes for a cleaner appearing carcass. Like most standard breeds of chicken, the Delaware has a miniaturized bantam version; however, these are rarely seen.

Delawares are hardy birds that mature quickly. Hens are good layers of large to jumbo brown eggs and will go broody. Unlike the most common commercial meat birds in use today, the Delaware does well in free range operations. In temperament, it is a calm and friendly breed.

History

In the early 20th century, crosses of Barred Plymouth Rock roosters on New Hampshire hens was a common choice for producing broilers. Occasionally, this mating produces sports with light coloration. By breeding these white (genetically silver) sports intentionally, George Ellis of Delaware created the breed in 1940. He first chose to call them Indian Rivers, but later the name was switched to match its state of origin. At the time, the Delmarva Peninsula, where the breed was created, supplied chicken to the entirety of the East Coast of the United States through companies such as Perdue Farms. The Delaware rapidly became the premiere broiler fowl in use in the region, thus affecting the industry at large. In 1952, it was recognized for exhibition by acceptance in to the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection.

Beginning in the mid-1950s, commercial farms began to use the White Cornish-Rock cross that would come to dominate the chicken industry into the next century. The speedy adoption of the Cornish-Rock saw the decline of the Delaware, though it persisted in some areas into the 1960s. In the 21st century, the Delaware is considered a critically endangered breed by organizations such as the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. It is also included in Slow Food USA's Ark of Taste, a list of heritage foods in danger of extinction.

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Plymouth Rock (chicken)

The Plymouth Rock, often called simply Rocks or Barred Rocks (after their most popular color), is a chicken breed that originated in the United States. The Plymouth Rock is a dual-purpose, cold-hardy bird and therefore makes a great breed for the small farm or backyard flock owner. These chickens are often called Plymouth Rocks, but this title correctly belongs to the entire breed, not just the Barred variety. There are seven varieties of Plymouth Rock chickens: barred, blue, buff, Columbian, partridge, silver-penciled and white.

Origin

The Plymouth Rock was developed in New England in the middle of the 19th century and was first exhibited as a breed in 1869. Several individuals claimed its invention, using crosses of Dominiques, Black Javas, Cochins, and perhaps Malays and Dorkings. John C. Bennett (1804-1867) has been credited with either creating or popularizing the breed. Plymouth Rocks were bred as a dual-purpose fowl, meaning that they were valued both for their meat and for the hens' egg-laying ability. The first Plymouth Rock was barred and other varieties were developed later. The breed became popular very rapidly, and in fact, until World War II, no breed was ever kept and bred as extensively in the United States as the Barred Plymouth Rock. Its popularity came from its qualities as an outstanding farm chicken: hardiness, docility, broodiness, and excellent production of both eggs and meat.

Most of the other varieties were developed from crosses containing some of the same ancestral background as the barred variety. Early in its development, the name Plymouth Rock implied a barred bird, but as more varieties were developed, it became the designation for the breed. The Barred Plymouth Rock was one of the foundation breeds for the broiler industry in the 1920s, and the White Rock continues to be used as the female side of the commercial broiler cross.

Characteristics

Plymouth Rocks are large, long-lived chickens. Some varieties are good layers while others are bred principally for meat. They possess a long, broad back; a moderately deep, full breast; and yellow skin and legs. The hens have a deep, full abdomen, which is a sign of a good layer. The face of a Plymouth Rock is red with red ear lobes, a bright yellow beak, bay-colored eyes, and a single comb of moderate size. Their feathers are fairly loosely held but not so long as to easily tangle.

Generally, Plymouth Rocks are not aggressive, and tame quite easily. They are docile and may show broodiness. The hens usually make good mothers. However, some males and females are big and active enough to be quite a problem if they become aggressive.

Breeders should be aware of the standard weights and not select small or narrow birds for the breeding pen. Common faults include a shallow breast, high tails, narrow bodies and small size. Friendly and curious.

Varieties

The varieties of Plymouth Rocks refer to differences in feather markings.

  • Barred
  • White
  • Buff
  • Partridge
  • Silver Penciled (or Silver Laced)
  • Blue
  • Columbian
  • Black

Eggs

Plymouth Rocks lay a large egg that varies in color from light to medium brown, sometimes with a touch of pink. The birds continue laying all through the winter with decreased production. On average, each hen will lay around 200 eggs per year.

Weight

The standard weights for Plymouth Rocks, as established by the American Poultry Association, are as follows: cock - 9-1/2 pounds; hen - 7-1/2 pounds; cockerel - 8 pounds; and pullet - 5-6 pounds.

Use

Choice among families who choose to raise chickens at home as pets. The birds are well-adaptable to confinement or free range, are docile, friendly, and easily-handled.

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New Hampshire (chicken)

The New Hampshire breed of chicken originated in the state of New Hampshire in the United States. Poultry farmers, starting with Rhode Island Reds and performing generation after generation of selective breeding, intensified the characteristics of early maturity, rapid full feathering, and production of large brown eggs. One New Hampshire breeder described his birds as being especially endowed with "spizzerinktum"; they were unusually handsome and vigorous[citation needed]. The mature birds are a rich chestnut red, of a somewhat lighter and more even shade than the Rhode Island Reds. The baby chicks are also a lighter red.
Standard weights

Cock: 8-1/2 pounds; hen: 6-1/2 pounds; cockerel: 7-1/2 pounds; pullet: 5-1/2 pounds.

Skin Color

Red

Egg Shell Color

Light Brown

Use

A dual purpose chicken, selected more for meat production than egg production. Medium heavy in weight, it dresses a nice, plump carcass as either a broiler or a roaster.

Origin

New Hampshires are a relatively new breed, having been admitted to the Standard in 1935. They represent a specialized selection out of the Rhode Island Red breed. By intensive selection for rapid growth, fast feathering, early maturity and vigor, a different breed gradually emerged. This took place in the New England states, chiefly in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, from which it takes its name.

Characteristics

They possess a deep, broad body, grow feathers very rapidly, are prone to go broody and make good mothers. Most pin feathers are a reddish buff in color and, therefore, do not detract from the carcass appearance very much. The color is a medium to light red and often fades in the sunshine. The comb is single and medium to large in size; in the females it often lops over a bit. These good, medium-sized meat chickens have fair egg-laying ability. Some strains lay eggs of a dark brown shell color. New Hampshires are competitive and aggressive. They were initially used in the Chicken of Tomorrow contests, which led the way for the modern broiler industry.

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Buckeye (chicken)

The Buckeye is a breed of chicken originating in the U.S. state of Ohio. Created in the late 19th century, Buckeyes are the only breed of American chicken known to have been created by a woman, and the only one to have a small "pea" comb. As of 2008, Buckeyes are extremely rare, and breed conservation organizations have recognized them as critically endangered. The breed's name is derived from Ohio's nickname of "Buckeye state", and their mahogany color is said ideally to resemble the seeds of the Ohio Buckeye plant. They are a dual-purpose chicken that have a decent laying ability and strong meat production characteristics. Buckeyes are yellow skinned chickens who lay brown eggs.

Characteristics

The Buckeye male weighs an average of 9 lbs (4.1 kg), and the hen 6.5 lbs (3 kg). The breed has yellow skin and lays brown eggs. Its primary color is a mahogany red with black tails; sometimes males have other dark feathering. According to the breed standard, a Buckeye's plumage should ideally resemble the hue of an Ohio Buckeye's seeds. Especially in the hen, the breed is very similar in appearance to the Rhode Island Red, although can be differentiated by a bar of slate color on the back feathers close to the body; the body is also much more compact, with a short, yet broad, back.

The Buckeye is the only purely American breed to sport a pea comb, and this, combined with its stocky build, makes it a supremely cold hardy chicken. Other breeds of fowl developed in the U.S. (such as the Ameraucana) may sport pea combs, but these chickens were primarily created from foreign birds. It also bears some traits of Game fowl in frame and disposition, being assertive in character and a very good forager. Generally calm, the cock birds in rare cases may become aggressive. Despite its game heritage, it tolerates confinement well, although it will be much happier and produce better if allowed to range on grass. The Buckeye is said by breeders to be disinclined towards feather picking. A good meat producer and layer of between 150 to 200 eggs per year, the Buckeye is a dual purpose chicken well–suited to small farmyard and backyard flocks

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Brahma (chicken)

Brahmas are an Asiatic breed of chicken, originating in the Brahmaputra region in India where they were known as "Gray Chittagongs." Their heritage is unclear, but they are believed to be closely related to the Jungle Fowl (Gallus Gigantus) and the Cochin (chicken).

The first Brahmas were brought to the U.S. from India in 1846, and were used as a utility fowl for their edibility and generous egg laying and hardiness even during the winter months, although today they are kept mainly for ornamental purposes as selection for utility has taken a back seat to selection for appearance. Some of the earliest imports to the U.S. reached weights of nearly 14 pounds, but rarely is such massive size seen today: standard weight for a cock is 11 pounds; hens are 8.5 pounds. By the 1870s Brahmas had become so popular that they were admitted into the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection.

Temperament

Brahmas are calm, friendly birds that make good pets or exhibition fowl. Males are calm and generally not aggressive towards humans. They are not skittish or easily scared, making them a popular choice for families with children. Due to their docile demeanor, Brahmas can be easily trained so that they can be handled by almost anyone. They should be hand trained when young because their large size makes them difficult to control in the early stages of training if they are full grown.

Appearance

Brahmas are massive in appearance, in part due to profuse, loose feathering and feathered legs and toes. Approximate weights:

  1. Cock - 12 pounds (5.443 Kg)
  2. Cockerel - 10 pounds (4.536 Kg)
  3. Hen - 9 pounds
  4. Pullet - 8 pounds

Recognized varieties

The American Standard of Perfection recognizes three Brahma varieties: light, dark, and buff. The light Brahma has a base color of white, with black hackles edged in white and a black tail. The cocks' saddle feathers in a light Brahma are striped with black. The dark Brahma has the most notable difference between cock and hen.

The hen has a dark gray and black penciled coloration with the same hackle as the light whereas the cock has black and white hackles and saddle feathers, and a black base and tail. The wings of a dark Brahma are white-shouldered and the primary feathers (remiges) are edged with white. Buff Brahmas have the same pattern of black as light Brahmas, except with a golden buff base color instead of white.

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Blue Hen of Delaware

The Blue Hen of Delaware is a variety of chicken that was adopted on April 14, 1939 as the state bird of Delaware. The University of Delaware mascot, known as YoUDee, is also modeled after the bird.

While it is not a currently recognized chicken breed, the fame of the Blue Hen can be traced back to the Revolutionary War. On December 9, 1775, the Continental Congress resolved that a military battalion was to be raised from Delaware, then known as the Lower Counties on the Delaware. Thus, the Delaware regiment was born - a group composed of eight companies representing New Castle, Kent and Sussex Counties.

The second company was composed of men from Kent County and was under the command of Capt. John Caldwell, who was an avid fan and owner of gamecocks. The troops often amused themselves by staging cock fights with a breed known as the Kent County Blue Hen, recognizable for its blue plumage.

The renown of these chickens spread rapidly during the time when cock fighting was a popular form of amusement, and the "Blue Hens' Chickens" developed quite a reputation for ferocity and fighting success. Capt. Caldwell's company likewise acquired a considerable reputation for its own fighting prowess, in engagements with the British at Long Island, White Plains, Trenton and Princeton, and soon it was nicknamed "Caldwell's Gamecocks."

Capt. Caldwell's company was part of Col. John Haslet's first Delaware regiment that reported for duty near the outset of the American Revolution in January 1776. In August 1781, remnants of the regiment were still battling at Eutaw Springs, South Carolina. Although often referred to as "The Fighting Delawares," Haslet's regiment also won the nickname, "The Blue Hens' Chickens," and that name was formally adopted by the Delaware General Assembly in 1939 when the Blue Hen Chicken was named the official state bird. It is one of only three US state birds that is not a species native to the United States.

The University of Delaware's College of Agriculture & Natural Resources maintains a breeding group of the Blue Hen Chicken on the campus farm.

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American Game (chicken)

The American Game is a game breed originating in the United States. It's colors come widely in range due to them being bred for the pit instead of color. Though the most common are Black breasted red (called reds, or by strain name), Wheaten (called reds, or strain name.), Silver duckwings (Called greys), Golden duckwings (called greys), White, black, brownred, red quil, blue (in various forms, this includes splash, blue wheaten, blue reds, etc.), and gold or pumpkin. The American gamefowl should not be confused with Old English Games, another breed once bred for the pit though now is an exhibition bird.

History

American gamefowl is a breed of poultry which were once bred for cockfighting, they played a big role in American history as they were bred, fought, and raised by many of our political leaders in the past. And contributed to Abraham Lincoln's nickname honest Abe as he was a cockfighting referee.

Most American gamefowl lines (or strains) consist of Irish, Old English, and Oriental Gamefowl. However many others contain Spanish, along with gamefowl from other places including the Sumatra breed. The American gamefowl is now becoming popular as a show breed since cockfighting has been outlawed.

The American gamefowl are truly an amazing breed, they're some of the most beautiful birds you will ever see and are extremely cold and heat resistant, they are intelligent, and can survive on their own if given the chance. Many places have gamefowl crosses running among the streets/woods, Key west, Guam, and Hawaii are some of the main places known for Spanish crosses running around (some being Americans as well. Along with various places throughout the states have American games running the yards because of escaping from or being let out by the owners.

American games in poultry shows

In the past, game fowl were primarily used for sport purposes. Recent changes in the political atmosphere have brought admirers of this unique poultry strain to follow the footsteps of European counterparts and display their fowl in the show ring. Game fowl are now shown and considered top competitors in poultry shows across the United States and Europe. There is even an on-line game fowl monthly photo contest for showing gamefowl. The fowl are judged using the American Game Fowl Standards - AGFS.

American Game Bantam

There is also a bantam variety of this breed, they were bred down from the large fowl. However like the Old English Game bantams they are not game, and have been crossed with a few other breeds to add feather length and kill gameness. One breed known in this cross is Jungle fowl. American game bantam should not be confused with miniature gamefowl which are pit (game) quality as well as exhibition quality since being selected and not being crossed with other breeds.

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Ameraucana

The Ameraucana is a breed of chicken developed in the United States. The name is a portmanteau term of American and Araucana (a related breed). Ameraucanas come in both a large and bantam variety. Eight colors are officially recognized for poultry shows by the American Poultry Association: Black, Blue, Blue Wheaten, Brown Red, Buff, Silver, Wheaten and White.

Characteristics

Ameraucanas are similar to Araucana chickens because both have pea combs and lay blue shelled eggs, but they have many differences and are completely different breeds. Some other Ameraucana traits include full tails, muffs and slate or black legs depending on the variety. Bantam cocks weigh 30 ounces and bantam hens weigh 26 ounces while large fowl cocks weigh 6 1/2 pounds and large fowl hens weigh 5 1/2 pounds.

They also are friendly and quite curious and tame but sometime they get picky of their egg laying spot because it's probably not comfortable they sometimes need more bedding for their spot.

Confusion with Easter Egg chickens

The Ameraucana Breeders Club defines an Easter Egg chicken, or Easter Egger, as any chicken that possesses the blue egg gene, but doesn’t fully meet any breed description as defined in the APA standards. Further, even if a bird (that possesses the blue egg gene) meets an APA standard breed description, but doesn’t meet a variety description or breed true at least 50% of the time it is considered an Easter Egg chicken. The American Poultry Association's American Standard of Perfection contains breed and variety descriptions of all recognized standard bred poultry in North America.

In other words, most Easter Egg chickens are "mutts" which happen to carry the blue egg gene. True Ameraucanas are rare.

Also, when they are mating the rooster will pull out the back feathers of the hen.

History

Ameraucanas were bred from Easter Eggers, a mixed non-standard breed derived from breeding the native South American Araucana with Old World varieties. The APA officially accepted Ameraucana as standard breeds in 1984.

The characteristic muff and beard of the Ameraucana are present in U.K. Araucana as these traits are present in the Mapuche and Quechua de Artes founder stock imported into Europe from the Falkland Islands. The fully feathered faces of the founder stock are of vital importance as they insulate the birds against the frigid cold of southern coastal South America. Winds from Antarctica bring the temperatures to below zero for months at a time. Blue egg laying chickens brought to the Falklands by Argentinians, traded from Mapuche and Quechua speaking Indians, were later exported from the Falkland Islands by British guano and fishing fleets. The Ameraucana is descended of U.K. Araucanas brought into North America during the World Fair in Toronto and Montreal's 1967 Expo. Molecular data retrieved from specimens of known provenance in the Falklands, U.K., Shetland Isles and Canada, proved to be closely related. Consequently, the Ameraucana is probably closer genetically to the South American founders than the North American Araucana. In about 1976 a group of prople imported some Chilean Araucanas. At least one of these people kept his flock breeding only among themselves. Chicks from their blue eggs looked similar to the British tailed Araucanas and the Ameraucanas. However most do not meet the standards of those breeds. They look a lot like the falkland island birds in some photos and are decendents of the founder birds of Chile. They come in shades of red, mixed with black, blue, and gold.

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Sussex (chicken)

The Sussex chicken is a dual purpose breed that is a popular backyard chicken in many countries. They come in eight colours (with a couple more being developed) and have a bantam

version at 1/4 size; the bantams may be any of the eight colours. The Sussex breed club was formed in 1903.

Appearance

The colours found in Sussex chickens are: Brown, Buff, Light, Red, Speckled, Silver, White and Coronation. The Sussex chicken, whatever colour, should be graceful with a long, broad, flat back and a rectangular build, the tail should be at a 45 degree angle from the body. The eyes should be red in the darker varieties but orange in the lighter one and they sport a medium sized, single, erect comb. The earlobes are red and the legs and skin white in every variety. Cocks should weigh approx 9 lbs, and the hens (females) 7 lbs. The Brown and red varieties are rare but the others are more common.

Brown and Red

In the brown variety, the cocks are dark brown with black points and the hens have a slightly paler shade of brown. the Red Sussex is the same only it has a richer, more vibrant colour.

Light, Buff and Silver

The light Sussex has a white body with a black tail and black wing tips. Its neck is white, striped with black and has a very striking appearance. The buff is ginger where the light is white. If showing the bird, a person must be careful to keep it out of strong sunlight, as the colour will fade. The Silver Sussex has a similar neck to the previous two variants, except that the body is black and the majority of the feathers on the body have silver lacing.

White

The White is beautiful - pure white throughout and is very rare.

Speckled

The feathers of the Speckled variety all have a mix of mahogany and black with white tips. Sometimes the amount of white increases as the bird moults each year. This is the most common variety in the US. However, the Light is far more common in the UK.

Coronation and Lavender

The Coronation sussex is essentially the same as the light, but the black markings are replaced by pigeon grey/blue. There is a buff coronation, but it is quite rare and not recognised.

It should be mentioned that pure sussex will sometimes throw offspring, with white Colombian patterns replacing the black.

The Lavender sussex is the same but a bit lighter and no buff.

Golden

The Golden sussex can be found in Australia. It is like the light sussex but where the light sussex is white the golden sussex is a light brown colour and has black on the top of its back and the same places as the light sussex.

Characteristics

The Sussex chicken is an alert, docile breed that can adapt to any surrounding, they are comfortable in both free range or confined spaces. The breed sometimes (but not very often) goes broody, the speckled version is most likely to do so. They are good foragers.

Utility aspects

Eggs

The Sussex was bred to be a dual purpose bird and is one of the most productive breeds of poultry. They lay large eggs that are cream to light brown in colour. A person owning a hen of this breed should expect approximately 240 to 260 eggs a year, although the light and white varieties are the best choice for layers. Recently there has been an olive green coloured egg introduced to some Light Sussex breeds, although these green egg layers are very rare.

Meat

It is a good producer of meat and all of the varieties are a good choice to have for this purpose. The chicks mature quickly for heavy breed but the speckled is slowest to mature.

History

The Sussex chicken was created over a century ago in the county of Sussex, England. The original colours were the Brown, Red and Speckled, and the Silver is the latest variety. The breed was prized as table fowl more than one-hundred years ago and, more recently, the Light Sussex was very popular for the laying trials of the 30's. Today they are a popular breed for exhibitions as well as a backyard breed. The breed has made a huge contribution to the poultry industry and is even an ancestor to the modern broiler. Sussex is one of the oldest breeds of chicken that still exists today. The Coronation Sussex was bred to celebrate the coronation of King George, but is now an extremely rare breed.

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Sebright (chicken)

The Sebright is a breed of chicken named after its developer, Sir John Saunders Sebright. Created in the 19th century through a selective breeding program designed to produce an ornamental breed, the Sebright is a true bantam, meaning it is a miniature bird with no corresponding large fowl to which it is related.

The first poultry breed to have its own specialist club for enthusiasts, Sebrights were admitted to poultry exhibition standards not long after their establishment. Today, they are among the most popular of bantam breeds. Despite their popularity, Sebrights are often difficult to breed, and the inheritance of certain unique characteristics the breed carries has been studied scientifically. As a largely ornamental chicken, they lay tiny, white eggs and are not kept for meat production.

Background

Sir John Saunders Sebright (1767-1846) was the 7th Sebright Baronet, and a Member of Parliament for Hertfordshire. In addition to breeding chickens, cattle and other animals, Sir John wrote several influential pamphlets on animal keeping and breeding: The Art of Improving the Breeds of Domestic Animals (1809), Observations upon Hawking (1826), and Observations upon the Instinct of Animals (1836).

Charles Darwin read Sir John's 1809 pamphlet, and was impressed with a passage that elaborated on how "the weak and the unhealthy do not live to propagate their infirmities". These writings, along with Darwin's correspondence via their mutual friend William Yarrell, aided Darwin in the inception of Darwin's theory of natural selection. Darwin's seminal work On the Origin of Species, first published in 1859, cited Sir John's experiments in pigeon breeding, and recalled "That most skilful breeder, Sir John Sebright, used to say, with respect to pigeons, that 'he would produce any given feather in three years, but it would take him six years to obtain head and beak.'" Darwin also cited Sir John extensively regarding the Sebright bantam, as well as pigeon and dog breeding, in his 1868 work Variation of Plants and Animals Under Domestication, his 1871 The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, and his book on Natural Selection (which was not published in his lifetime).

Development

With the breed that carries his name, John Sebright intentionally set out to create a very small bantam chicken with laced plumage similar to the laced variety of Polish chickens. Although the exact makeup of the breed is uncertain, he is thought to have crossed British, Hamburgh, Nankin and Polish birds with a base of Rosecombs before achieving a laced chicken that would breed true. After the breed's establishment circa 1810, Sebright founded The Sebright Bantam Club, which was the very first individual breed association for chickens. The breed has appeared in the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection since the first edition in 1874. Today, the breed is one of the ten most popular bantam chickens, according to the American Bantam Association.

Characteristics

In accordance with the intentions of their creator, the Sebright is an ornamental chicken, and is common in competitive poultry showing. As a true bantam, all Sebrights are very small in stature; males weigh an average of 22 ounces (625 grams) and females 20 oz (570 g). Their short backs, proportionally large breasts, and downward–pointing wings combine to create an angular, jaunty look.

All Sebrights have plumage that is laced around the edges evenly with black, on a base of either dark gold or whitish silver. Sebrights have unfeathered legs with slate–blue skin, and their beaks are ideally a dark horn color. Sebright roosters carry a rose comb covered with fine points, and a small spike that sweeps back from the head (called a leader). Combs, earlobes and wattles were originally a purplish color, but today are often bright red. Some breeders consider hen feathering to have an adverse effect on the fertility of male Sebrights, and may use roosters that don't carry the trait for breeding purposes, despite their automatic disqualification in shows.

Characteristically, Sebrights are only one of a few chicken breeds in which the roosters are hen feathered, meaning they have none of the long, sickle–shaped feathers common in most roosters that appear in the tail, neck and saddle. Due to the unique characteristic hen feathering, molecular biologists have found the Sebright bantam a useful model organism in the study of sex hormones.[12] This is because they carry a mutation that causes the tissues of their skin to convert an unusually large amount of male sex hormones (androgens) into female sex hormones (estrogens).

Husbandry

Sebrights are neither prolific egg layers, nor outstanding meat birds. They can be difficult to raise, especially for the beginner. Hens rarely go broody and chicks usually have high mortality rates. Adults are generally hardy birds, but are especially susceptible to Marek's disease. In temperament, Sebrights are friendly, but very active birds. Males are not known to be aggressive, but Sebrights in general are, like most small chickens, somewhat skittish birds. Due to their small size and relatively large wings, they are one of a minority of chicken breeds that retains a strong flying ability. Thus, most keepers keep Sebrights in confinement rather than allowing them to free range.

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Muffed Old English Game

The Muffed Old English Game fowl is the original jungle fowl Gallus bankiva or red jungle fowl imported to England during the spice trade era of early European navigation. They are the originators of many breeds including the fighting games, broad breasted English games and are very similar to the Dutch Kraienkoppe.

Characteristics

The Muffed Old English Game fowl is a varied breed in color. It being probably the most ancient of varieties it does not have a great deal of set definitions and is not standardized by the America Poultry Breeders.

The characteristic which sets this original breed off is it is muffed or bearded on its cheeks making it a most handsome bird and hardy. That is what is noted in this variety in its jungle fowl heritage is that it is a most thrifty bird, broods eggs wonderfully, is able to care for itself in most primitive conditions in eating insects, grasses, weed seeds and worms all the while raising a brood of chicks in a most protective manner.

The coloration is typical in Kraienkoppe trends as all the jungle fowl were most colorful in reds to the duckwing which is silver. The hens can be hen pheasant in beautiful tan. Size is of a medium build and this breed was termed with the bantams, although it is much larger than the 20 ounce banties in being Leghorn in type in 6 pound roosters and 4 pound hens.

They lay very well in seasonal trends a nice cream colored egg of a small 21 ounce size.

In being such an ancient breed many local variations have developed across the globe. There are English versions, Latin versions and American versions which show up in remote areas and are termed "chickens", because locally they do not fit any definite groups of poultry.

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Scots Grey

The Scots Grey is a breed of chicken originating in Scotland. It is so named because of its striped plumage, which is called either Barred or Cuckoo by poultry enthusiasts. Though superficially similar to breeds such as the Cuckoo Marans and Barred Plymouth Rock, the Scots Grey's feathers have a less distinct pattern with a steel-gray base. It can also be sexually differentiated based on color of the adult birds, as hens usually have a noticeably darker hue. Scots Grey are relatively heavy chickens, with hens weighing 7-9 pounds (3.2-4 kilos), and roosters weighing 9-11 pounds (4-5 kilos).

In body type, Scots Grey are tall, upright chickens. Though they share a place of origin and often color with the Scots Dumpy, this height can be used to set the two apart. Scots Grey have white skin, a single comb, and red earlobes.

They are considered to be dual-purpose, laying both a good amount of white eggs and producing wholesome meat. In temperament, they are active birds that do best under free range conditions, and may develop destructive habits when confined. They are hardy, and can forage well. Hens are not generally inclined to go broody.

History

Scots Grey have been known in their country since the 16th century, and were developed as barnyard fowl for small farms and crofts. Breeds which are thought to have influenced their development include Dorkings and Malays. Though they have been popular among poultry fanciers for exhibition, and have their own breed club, they are classed as an endangered breed by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

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Modern Game

The Modern Game is a breed of a chicken originating in England in the latter half of the 19th century. Purely an exhibition bird, Modern Game were developed to epitomize the visual appeal of the gamecock. After the outlawing of cockfights in the U.K. in the mid 19th century, many cockfighting enthusiasts turned to breeding for shows as an alternative poultry hobby, and the Modern Game was developed from crosses of Old English Games and Malays. Despite being classified as game chickens (i.e. of cockfighting derivation) in breed standards, Modern Game were not bred to fight.

Today, the ideal show bird should have a body shaped like a flat iron when seen from above, a relatively short back, fine tail, hard feathering, and a very upright carriage. The breed appears in more than a dozen colour variations. The most common being black red, birchen, brown red, duckwing and pyle. The colours can be broadly divided into two groups; those with willow-coloured legs and red eyes, and those with black legs and dark eyes.

Like many breeds, Modern Game comes in both a standard large size and a bantam version; according to the British Poultry Standards large fowl should weigh 5- 9 pounds (2.25-4.10 kilos) and bantams 16-22 ounces (450-620 grams). Today, the bantam version is the most popular among poultry fanciers. The colour of their skin, comb, and wattles varies from red to mulberry depending on variety, but all have a small single comb. Combs and wattles are required to be dubbed (cut off) to compete in showing in some countries, which reflects their descent from fighting birds.

Modern Game are neither good egg layers nor are they valued for meat production. Admitted to the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection upon the first edition in 1874, they are almost exclusively kept by competitive breeders. In temperament, they are friendly and curious towards people, and are easily tamed.

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Orpington (chicken)

The Orpington is a breed of chicken named after the village of Orpington in Kent county England, which was made famous in part by this breed. Belonging to the English class of chickens, it was bred to be an excellent layer with good meat quality. Their large size and soft appearance together with their rich color and gentle contours make them very attractive, and as such its popularity has grown as a show bird rather than a utility breed. Being rather heavy, they are unable to fly, so they work well as backyard birds. Due to their build they do well in very cold climates. The fluff of their feathers allow rain water to penetrate their feathers, so they must be kept out of the rain.

History

The original Black Orpington was bred by William Cook in 1886 by crossing Minorcas, Langshans and Plymouth Rocks to create a new hybrid bird. Cook selected a black bird that would exhibit well by hiding the dirt and soot of London. The first Orpingtons looked very much like the Langshan. According to the British Poultry Standards, the White was bred in 1889, the Buff in 1894, and the Blue in 1905. When the breed was shown in Madison Square Gardens in 1895, its popularity soared.

Besides the original colors (black, white, buff, blue), many other varieties exist today, such as porcelain (Jubilee, speckled), red, mottled and birchen. Although there are many additional varieties recognized throughout the world, only the original colors are recognized by the American Standard, and the Buff is the most common. In the beginning of the twentieth Century Herman Kuhn of Germany developed a Bantam variety. The Bantam retains the large appearance, but in a smaller size. Like the Standard varieties, there is a large variety of colors in the Bantam version (i.e. black, blue laced, white, buff, red, buff black laced, barred, buff columbian, and birchen.) The Bantam retains the friendly personality of the Standard breed, and seldom or never flies, so it too makes for a good backyard breed.

Appearance

The Orpington has a heavy, broad body with a low stance, and the down from their body covers most of their legs.

Some characteristics of an Orpington are:

  • Heavy weight (7 to 10 pounds),
  • Soft, profuse feathering, which almost hides the legs of the bird,
  • Curvy shape with a short back and U-shaped underline,
  • A small head with a medium single comb.
  • Large and usually easily tamed
  • Fluffy feathers making it look distinctively large.

Productivity

Orpingtons lay about 200 medium to large light-brown eggs a year. They do not stop laying in the winter.

It was said to at one time lay as many as 340 eggs per year. This decline in production was due to breeders selecting for looks over utility

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Cornish (chicken)

The Cornish, known as the Indian Game in its native country of England, is a breed of chicken originating in the county of Cornwall. Cornish chickens, as well as crosses of Cornishes, are the most-used breed in the chicken meat industry. They are heavy, muscular birds that lay eggs poorly, and require substantial amounts of feed.

It is a large, stocky breed, and is often crossed with other breeds to enhance meat production. There are two varieties, the Cornish Game and the Jubilee Cornish Game. The Cornish Game is dark blue - green in color, with brown patterning on the hens. Jubilee Cornish Game are much lighter, and less stocky than their counterparts. They are usually light wheaten in color, with light brown patterning.

The Indian game, also known as Cornish, is sometimes called the bulldog among chickens; you can actually see the roast chicken shape in it. It was created because people wanted to cross the Asian game breeds with old English game to create a fantastic fighter. However what they got (though not the right build for fighting) was a fantastic meat bird. It comes in many colors and is quite a popular show bird, though it has a tendency for bad legs due to widely spaced hips. It is also when crossed with a Sussex or a Dorking, an excellent backyard meat bird.

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Dorking (chicken)

The Dorking is a breed of chicken that is believed to have originated in Italy during the period of the Roman Empire. One of the earliest known mentions of this breed was by the Roman writer Columella during the reign of Julius Caesar. In his text, Rei rusticae libri, he described the breed as, "square-framed, large and broad-breasted, with big heads and small upright combs...the purest breed being five-clawed". From there it was introduced to Great Britain by the Romans at an early date where much of its development continued to take place. They appeared in the first British poultry show in 1845. They were later used to produce the Sussex and Faverolles

breeds.

Characteristics

The Dorking has a rectangular body with very short, five-toed legs. Due to its relatively large comb it generally requires protection in cold weather. Dorkings are also well known for their versatility as a breed for both egg and meat production. It is one of the few breeds with red earlobes that produces a white-shelled egg. The skin colour beneath the feathers is white. The standard weight is 9 pounds for a cock, 8 pounds for a cockerel, 7 pounds for a hen, and 6 pounds for a pullet. Furthermore, the breed is very docile. The bird has five recognized varieties: White, Silver-grey, Red, Dark and Cuckoo.

They are noted for being exceptionally broody at times in entire flocks refusing to lay and preferring to set on eggs to incubate them.

Glenn Drowns flock from Sand Hills Preservation Center in Iowa is recorded to be exceptional layers and being hardy even at temperatures of 25 below zero. (1) "Poultry for anyone" by Victoria Roberts BVSc, MRCVS, Hon. Sec. of the Dorking breeds club.

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Old English Game

The Old English Game Fowl is a breed of chicken. Pure English Game Fowls are prized among Poultry breeders and thus fetch a high sale price. one of the type oxford english large were originally bred for cockfighting. Old english should not be confused with American games nor should American games be confused with old english. There are two different types of Old english, the Oxford type which is more "intact" and bred for show as well as bred to maintain their gameness and the Carlisle type which is purely exhibition.

Characteristics

Purebred English Game Fowl tend to have long legs and be muscular and full breasted. The cocks are colourful and have many long tail feathers. The hens look similar to the males except they don't have the large tail feathers and typically show less colour. There are more than 40 colour varieties of the bird today.

Old English Game Fowl were bred as active birds. They need plenty of room or space. The females will often become broody and according to poultry breeders, they make excellent mothers.

The Old English Game tends to have a long lifespan of 12 to 16 years, which is more than most other chicken breeds.

Muffed Old English Game

The Old English Game comes in wide range of domestic fowls. One being the Muffed Old English Game which is noted for muffs or light delicate frizzled feathers on their cheeks. The Black Breasted Red Old English is the basis for many modern fowls in the Brown Leghorn color pattern.

Bantam version

The Old English Game Bantam is the bantam version of this breed, it is one of the smallest chicken breeds, weighing about 22 oz (650 grams) when they are fully grown. The Old English Game Bantam is one of the most popular bantam breeds. This is especially the case in the United Kingdom, where it has its own specialist shows. The Old English Bantam is similar to the Old English Game in that it has long legs and it is fairly muscular. they are a great pet for children. The bantam was not developed from the larger sized old English but rather from other barnyard bantams of the same area. This explains their lack of length in the sickle feathers that you see in the standard sized O.E.G. The American old english game bantams contain blood from Dutch, and Rosecombs plus other breeds to add feather length and more colors like the silver laced varieties developed from sebrights.

colors of the Old English Game Bantams

  • Barred
  • Birchen
  • Black
  • Black Breasted Red
  • Black Tailed Red
  • Black Tailed White
  • Blue
  • Blue Brassyback
  • Blue Breasted Red
  • Blue Golden Duckwing
  • Blue Mille Fleur
  • Blue Quail
  • Blue Red
  • Blue Silver Duckwing
  • Blue Wheaten
  • Brassyback
  • Brown Red
  • Buff
  • Columbian
  • Crele
  • Cuckoo
  • Fawn
  • Fawn Breasted Red
  • Fawn Silver Duckwing
  • Ginger Red
  • Golden Duckwing
  • Lemon Blue
  • Mealy Gray
  • Mille Fleur
  • Mottled
  • Porcelain
  • Quail
  • Red
  • Red Pyle
  • Red Quill
  • Self Blue
  • Silver Blue
  • Silver Duckwing
  • Silver Quill
  • Spangled
  • Splash
  • Wheaten
  • White
  • Muffed White
  • normal pile

Domestication

The oxford English game fowl can be an aggressive bird toward other birds of any sex . It is only recommended for experienced poultry keepers and enthusiasts. keepers should learn how to properly handle and care for oxford English Game Cocks. Keepers should always separate the males; roosters should never be able to have contact or even see each other.

Mostly the breed is not suitable for integration with other flocks, both the males and females are more aggressive than their counterpart breeds and could attack. It is suitable to keep Oxford English game fowl separate from other breeds, with a few females for each male. Making sure that flocks can not see each other is also important as Old English game will fight with other chickens even through wire. They are an active bird and need plenty of space and should not be kept in crowded areas.

English Game Cocks will attack if their flock is threatened and they do not take exception to humans. The breed can be aggressive and not timid, some birds will grab on to limbs of there Human keepers.

The Oxford English Game are not laying birds, hens only lay ~130 eggs a year. They are a reasonable eating bird, being culled at about 5 months old. However, because of their high value (US$:40-250) per bird, many choose not to eat them.

History

The English Game Fowl is one of the oldest strains of poultry breeds that have been used for fighting purposes. Through the Middle Ages the breed was developed by the English Nobility into many varying colors, traits desirable for cockfighting were chosen by breeders. Cockfighting became illegal in Britain and Australia in the 1850s and English game fowl are usually kept just by poultry enthusiasts. Many of the original strains have died out, however many varieties remain.

Because cockfighting is illegal in many countries, the Old English game have little use and are not kept by many people. Their aggressive nature means that most backyard chicken keepers are put off. Today the breeds are used at poultry exhibitions and breeders try to develop stock that will win prizes. Exhibition bred cocks can fetch amounts over US$ 600. Breeders aim to preserve the present strains of this species, as many have already died out.

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Derbyshire Redcap

The Derbyshire Redcap is a breed of chicken originating in the English county of Derbyshire. The name "Redcap" derives from the breed's unusually large Rose-type comb. British breed standards dictate a length of more than 7 centimeters (3 inches) of length for a Redcap comb. It is covered in small, fleshy points, and has a distinct spike pointing backwards called a "leader". Combs, wattles and earlobes are all ideally bright red.

Characteristics

Redcaps are classified as a light fowl, with roosters weighing approximately 3.4 kilos (7.5 pounds), and hens 2.75 kilos (6 pounds). Redcaps can be differentiated from similar looking breeds, especially the more popular Hamburgs, by their red earlobes and larger comb. Beaks are horn colored. Combs which hang to either side of the face, white earlobes, or a lack of points on the comb are undesirable traits according to the breed standards, and result in disqualification from poultry shows. The breed appears in a single variety of plumage, with various dark hues of red, brown and black. Roosters display a greater diversity of color, but both males and females have black tails and a crescent shape of black on the edge of most body feathers.

Derbyshire Redcaps are a hardy, active breed of chicken that does well in free range conditions. They are well suited for dual-purpose farm flocks, being used for both meat and egg production in addition to their ornamental qualities. Hens do not usually go broody, and lay a good amount of large, white colored eggs.

History

Redcaps are a native English bird that have been written about since at least the early 1800s. The exact breeds that contributed to the creation of the Redcap are unknown, but Golden Spangled Hamburgs, Dorkings, Old English Pheasant Fowl and Black-Breasted Red Games may have been involved. The breed is also very similar in conformation to now-extinct chickens such as the Yorkshire Pheasant and the Lancashire Moonie.

Derbyshire Redcaps were common on British farms until the middle of the 20th century, particularly around the southern Pennines. They have never been preferred by intensive farms or commercial operations, and have always been primarily a barnyard fowl. In the 21st century, they are a very rare chicken, with the largest numbers still residing in their home country. The Rare Breeds Survival Trust of the U.K. lists them as Vulnerable on their watch list. Abroad, Redcaps were admitted to the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection in 1888, and are listed as Critical on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy watchlist.

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Poltava (chicken)

The Poltava is an old Ukrainian dual-purpose breed of chicken named after the Ukrainian city of Poltava. It includes three color varieties: Clay, Cuckoo, and Black.

Ukrainian Names: полтавська (глиняста, зозуляста, чорна)
English Names: Poltava (Clay, Cuckoo, Black)
Russian Names: полтавская (глинистая, зозулястая, черная)

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Appenzeller (chicken)

The Appenzeller is a breed of chicken originating in Appenzell region of Switzerland. The Appenzeller comes in two varieties. The Spitzhauben, meaning "pointed hood", has a V-comb and feather crests in males and females. The Barthuhner ("bearded hen") has a rose comb and no crest. Both types appear in either black, golden spangled and silver spangled plumage.

Today the breed is largely an ornamental one kept for showing, but it lays also a respectable quantity of white eggs. It is a light chicken, with hens weighing an average of 3.5 lbs (1.6 kg) and roosters 4.5 lbs (2 kg). Behaviorally, it is a flighty breed that doesn't do well in confinement, can forage well, and will roost in trees if given the opportunity. In North America, it is very rare and is recognized officially by neither the American Poultry Association or other breed registries. The silver spangled Spitzhauben is the most common variety found abroad.
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Minorca (chicken)

The Minorca is a breed of chicken originating in Spain. They are classified in the Mediterranean class by the American Poultry Association. They lay white eggs. Color varieties include buff, black, white with the British recognizing a blue phase. Minorcas mature quickly and begin crowing sooner than other breeds. It closely related to White-faced Black Spanish and Castilian Black. Minorcas tend to be very flighty.

Characteristics

The Minorca is the largest of the Mediterranean class of fowl in roosters weighing 9 pounds and hens 7 1/2 pounds. They are utility fowl and were once in the class of widespread large flocks for laying and meat production like the Leghorn breed which is the smallest of this class. The distinction of the Minorca is its rather large white ear patch much like the White Faced Black Spanish, another of this class which makes it recognizable at a distance.

The white phase of this breed which once numbered in the thousands is thought now to only have 100 chickens in all of the United States. The breed was developed in England from imported Castilian fowl of Spain. Another of this Minorca group is the Blue Andalusian noted for its equally Minorca large-sized comb which limits this breed from the frigid northern areas of the United States and Canada where comb frostbite is a problem for these birds.

In Popular Culture

In George Orwell's 1945 novell Animal Farm, three Black Minorca hens are mentioned rebelling against Napoleon's regime on the farm.

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Penedesenca

The Penedesenca is a breed of chicken originating in the Spanish province of Catalonia, in the area around Vilafranca del Penedès, which is the main town in the region known as "Penedès". It was developed in the first half of the 20th century from native barnyard chickens, and today is noted for producing copious amounts of very dark brown eggs, said to be among the darkest of any breed of chicken.

The earliest variety was the Black Penedesenca, which became standardized in 1946, when it was better known as the Vilafranca chicken. Today, Black, Crele, Partridge, and Wheaten colors exist (the Crele variety shows sexual differentiation at hatching, the males being light ash-grey and the females nut-brown in color). However, no variety has been accepted in to poultry standards. All members of the breed possess red earlobes with a white center, red wattles, and an unusual red comb. Called the king's comb or carnation comb, it is similar to a common single comb but has several lobes at the rear. The breed is rare among poultry fanciers in North America, but is a common breed in Central and South America.
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Yurlov Crower

The Yurlov Crower is an old Russian breed of chicken primarily selected and used for long crowing cock contests in Russia.

Russian Name: юрловская голосистая.
Other Names: Yurlovo Crower, Yurlov Vociferous (English), Jurlower Kräher (German), Yurlow kraaier (Dutch), Canterino di Yurlov (Italian).

Breed History

The Yurlov Crower breed was presumably created in the second half of 19th century by crossing Chinese meat-type breeds, fighting cocks and landraces, but doubtfully with the direct influence of the Malay breed. According to Moiseyeva (1992), the known breed’s plumage color variants are white, silver, scarlet, black with light yellow, or golden, hackle (most of all), and black.

The breed was a subject of interest among fancy, commercial and state breeders in Russia and Ukraine for a long time in the 20th century. It has been preserved and studied at few state poultry collection farms since 1970s-1980s. The Geflügel-Börse magazine articles published by two German writers, Rüdiger Wandelt in 1993 and Wolfgang Vits in 1994, introduced the breed to poultry fanciers in Germany. However, the breed was not well known until recent time to a broad community of Western poultry breeders. The continued contacts between German and Russian poultry breeders in 1990s and 2000s led to the import of the Yurlov Crower breed to Western Europe and growth of its popularity first in Germany and then in other European countries.

According to the USSR Central Statistic Administration, there were only 200 Yurlov chickens registered in the entire Soviet Union by 1985 (Moiseyeva, 1992). After the USSR disintegration, the breed population in independent Russian Federation, Ukraine and other republics dramatically declined. Based on the data collected in 1993, a Ukrainian strain of Yurlov Crowers (line 92) was included in the second edition of the FAO's World Watch List in 1995 (Scherf, 1995). The breed and line 92 data were also summarized in the third edition of the WWL in 2000 (Scherf, 2000), in which, as of 1993, only 205 Yurlov birds (line 92) kept in Kharkov Region of Ukraine were mentioned and the population status was endangered. The current population of the Yurlov Crower chickens in Russia and Ukraine may be several thousands including both state farms and fanciers. However, bird influenza may represent a serious threat to and decrease numbers of pure chicken breeds (including Yurlovs) in these countries to a large extent.

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