Breeds in Brief

 This is only a brief description of some of the birds you may see at poultry shows in the UK.  A comprehensive on-line enclyopedia of breeds complete with pictures is held at Feathersite in the USA 


Origin Mediterranean Eggs White to Cream
Named after the province of Ancona in Italy.  They were first imported into England in 1851.  Anconas are known for being good egg layers. Black and White mottled in apperance very similar to a leghorn in shape. 


Origin Mediterranean Eggs White
Named after the province of Andalusia in Spain they are one of the oldest Mediterranean breeds.
They were imported to England around 1846.  This was the breed that the early geneticist Gregor Mendle used in his experiments into colour heredity. Show birds are pleasant blue colour with lacing,   Black and splash colours are also produced but are not permitted to be shown. 


Appenzeller Spitzhauben

Origin Switzerland   Eggs White
Named after the area in Switzerland  where they originated. The name Spitzhauben relates to the head wear worn by the women of that region. The full name translates as ‘Appenzeller lace bonnet’ They are a very active and alert breed. with a forward facing crest and spotted colouration 


Origin Chile  Eggs Blue or Green
Araucanas are unusual in the fact that they lay blue or green eggs, the colour permeating right through the shell.  The most popular colour is the Lavender which was developed in the 1930s

There is a Rumpless variety of Araucana that has unique ‘ear tufts’ and lacks a ‘parsons nose’ hence the tail just falls down instead of being held aloft.


Origin Asia  Eggs Tinted
The oldest known breed of game fowl, having been bred in India for over 2000 years. The name means ‘Of  High Cast’  they have a pugnacious nature,  the females lay very few eggs, but can make good mothers.



Origin great Britain Eggs Tinted to brown
This breed was the  prototype of the Black Orpington.  It is a good utility bird, making both a good table fowl and a good  egg layer.  The name was derived as an abbreviation of  ‘Australian black Orpington’  The plumage should have a lustrous green sheen.



Origin Holland  Eggs Brown
They originated in the district of Barneveld in Holland, and were imported in to this country around 1921. They are one of the ‘Brown eggs’ breeds.  The most popular colour is called  Double Laced  although they are standardised in Black, Partridge and Silver.


Belgian   Barbu d’Anvers

Origin Belgium  Eggs cream
A true bantam with no large fowl equivalent, they maybe small but they are very proud and bold little birds. There are many colour variations. They all have ‘Beards’ and ‘whiskers’  The d’Anvers is always rose combed and clean legged.


Belgian:  Barbu d’Uccle

Origin Belgium  Eggs Cream
A quiet cobby little bird that can become very tame.  They come in a variety of colours the most popular being the millefleure (thousand flowers)  which is mahogany with a black spot on the end of the feather and a triangular white tip. Barbu d’uccle are always single combed and feather legged.

Booted  Bantams (Sablepoot)

Origin Europe  Eggs Tinted
A true Bantam with no large fowl counterpart.  They resemble the Belgian Barbu d’Uccle  but they have no muffling around the face and the wattles are clearly visible, also they have a narrower neck.



Origin Asia  Eggs Tinted
These birds are named after the Brahma-Pootra river in India. They were imported into New York in 1846 and stock first reached England in 1853  where they caused a great stir.  A huge, very good natured and docile bird that can make super pets. Brahmas were included in the first book of poultry standards issued in 1865.
They have feathered legs and pea-combs



Origin Belgium  Eggs White
Of ancient lineage this is a very striking and graceful breed although there is now reason to believe that it had ever earlier origins in areas of  Turkey.  It has been used in the makeup of many other breeds of poultry. It has striking barred appearence


Origin Asia  Eggs Tinted
Originally known as the Shanghai it was imported from China in the early 1850s, where it created a sensation at the early poultry shows with people paying a vast amount of money to acquire them.  It is a docile breed and has a wealth of feather and fluff with feathered legs.  Cochins have single combs.


Croad Langshan

Origin Asia  Eggs Brown
They were imported into this country by Major Croad.  The Croad Langshan club was founded in 1904  They are a well balanced active and intelligent breed which lay a nice brown egg ,  the plumage has a ‘beetle green’ sheen to it They carry less feathering on the legs than some of the other feather legged breeds.



Origin Great Britain Eggs Tinted
This is one of the oldest breeds of  domestic fowl.  A Roman writer described birds in England of Dorking type with five toes.  They featured in the first Poultry show in 1845 and were used to create the Light Sussex and Faverolles as well as other breeds, they were used to produce excellent table birds.


Origin Holland  Eggs  Tinted
One of the smallest breeds of Bantam with no large fowl counterpart, they first appeared in this country around 1970 and have proved very popular. They are now appearing in many different colour forms.  They are a jaunty little bird of great character.  The males look very attractive with their pronounced tails.



Origin France  Eggs Tinted
Named after the village of Faverolles in Northern France they were created as a dual Purpose breed and were imported into England in 1886 where they were used for crossing with other breeds to produce excellent table fowl. The Dorking and Houdan ancestry can be detected by the fact they have five toes.  They have large beards and muffling around the face


Origin Asia  Eggs White or Tinted
The name of this breed speaks for itself!  Each feather curls towards the head of the bird. They are a purely exhibition breed.  It is noteworthy that crossing frizzles to frizzle for too many generations produces an ‘over frizzled’(Frazzled?)  type of bird.  It is therefore common practice to keep a smooth feathered bird that contains frizzle genes to breed with the main stock.


Hamburgh   (Moonies, Pheasants)

Origin Northern Europe  Eggs White
Despite its name there is reason to believe that this bird originated in England.   The Spangled type, was kept in Yorkshire and Lancashire three hundred years ago. Also a breed called Black Pheasants  was mentioned in a book of 1702.  The name Moonies originates from the Moon shape spangles on the feathers.  There is mention of them in Thomas Hardy’s book ‘Tess of the D’urbavilles’



Origin France  Eggs White
The Houdan is one of the oldest French breeds and was originally developed for table properties  A bold and active bird of unusual appearance adorned with a large crest and beard.  A fictional story ‘The Seventh Pullet’  was written about them by the author Saki.

Indian Game

Origin Great Britain    Eggs Tinted
Dispite its name this bird originated in Cornwall.  In America they are called Cornish Game a much more precise name.   Not overly popular in the poultry world  (They do eat a lot!)  They still have their devoted followers and Cornwall remains the stronghold of this breed. Large fowl males weigh a minimum of 8lb and many exceed this easily.  The females have an intricate and pretty laced pattern to the plumage.

Japanese Bantams

Origin Japan  Eggs cream
True Bantams without any large fowl equivalent they have the shortest legs of any of the poultry breeds. A very ancient breed of bantam that can best be described as quaint.  The tail should be held high so that there is a distinct ‘U’ between the tail and the head. Known as Chabo in Europe they come in a number of colours, and can even have silkie feathering.



Origin Germany  Eggs tinted
Some people claim the name means "field of linen" or "shadow on a sheet" but it is actually the name of the black and white colour patten, and Lakenvelder cows are also known and also a name of a area in Holland which also claims to be the origin of the breed. It is a useful utility breed of striking appearance.  It is very difficult to get one that combines the pure black neck hackle with a pure white body and a slate grey undercolour .  It is classed as a rare breed.



Origin  Mediterranean Eggs White
These birds originated in Italy and first arrived in England in 1870.  They are a small bodied bird and make excellent layers. They are certainly the best egg layers of the Pure breeds.   It has featured strongly in the production of the hybrid laying birds that are now used commercially.



Origin Asia   Eggs: Tinted
A very old breed that reached Great Britain as early as 1830.  It is a bird which  if viewed from the side is composed of a succession of curves; even the tail should be drooping. The naturalist Temmnick  was convinced that Malays did not come from the same origins as other domestic fowl, and there is some evidence to support his claim, as they have a slightly different digestive tract from other breeds of  fowl more designed for coping with live food rather than grain.


Origin France  Eggs Dark Brown
Marans take their name from the town of Marans in France.  They were imported into this country around 1929 and are infact a dual purpose breed.  Marans are best know for the fact that they lay very dark brown eggs. The Cuckoo is the most common colour. No commercial breed can come anywhere close to the egg colour.  They have an annoying trait of always seeming to produce more cockerels than hens which makes them expensive to breed.


Origin Mediterranean  Eggs White
This is a bird that produces large white eggs, it is larger than the other Mediterranean breeds and although very handsome they are not as popular today as they once were. They resemble, and are closely related to the Black Spanish but have red faces and white earlobes.   The Minorca was the favourite breed kept by Lawrence of Arabia.

Modern Game

Origin Great Britain Eggs: Tinted
This breed evolved over a period of thirty years by selectively breeding Malay and Old English Game. By the turn of the century they had reached their height of popularity with birds fetching vast sums.  The large fowl fell out of favour and are now only kept by a few fanciers, but the bantam went from strength to strength. It is now one of the premier show breeds.  The long legs and toes can suffer from frostbite, and it is best to remove the perches and make them sit on a thick bed of straw to protect their toes during very cold winters

Modern Langshan

Origin Asia   Eggs Brown
This breed has been developed differently from the original Croad Langshan and now bears only passing  resemblance to them.  They are a very big bird,  striking in appearance with a  marvellous beetle green sheen on the feathers.


Origin Asia  Eggs Tinted
This is a true bantam with no large fowl counterpart,  It gets its name from the colour of Nankeen cloth.  It is one of the oldest bantam breeds in this country and was used in the makeup of many other breeds.  It is unusual in the fact that it is a buff coloured bird yet it has slate blue legs.

New Hampshire Red

Origin America  Eggs Tinted to Brown
Bred by selection from the Rhode Island Red  this breed originated in New Hampshire USA. New Hampshire Red's were standardised in 1935.  It is very different in colour from the Rhode Island Red and is also a different shape.  It has been gaining in popularity in the last few years.


Norfolk Grey  (Black Marias.)

Origin Great Britain  Eggs Tinted
First shown at the 1920 Dairy Show under the Name of Black Marias. They originated in Norwich. They are now very uncommon and are rarely seen at Poultry shows.  The original birds were a result of crossing Silver Birchen Game and Duckwing Leghorns.


North Holland Blue

Origin Holland  Eggs Tinted
A breed, that at first glance, looks very like a Marans with feathered legs,  and they do share a common  ancestry in the breed called Malines.  They are judged more on their utility properties than on  markings.  This breed was very popular before the last war due to its quick maturity and rapid growth.


Old English Game

Origin Great Britain  Eggs Tinted
This is the most popular breed of bantam kept for showing.  Over thirty different colours are recognised and a well-known saying is that a good Old English Game is never a bad colour; In other words virtually ANY colour will be accepted!  Shape and type are all important in this breed.  They should have a similar shape to that of an old flat iron.

Old English Pheasant Fowl

Origin Great Britain  Eggs White
Originally know as the Yorkshire Pheasant, and Old fashioned Pheasant, this is a rare breed.  Despite being classed as a light breed they actually make a good utility bird and are ideal as a backyard or farmyard fowl. They are very hardy and frequently take to roosting in trees.




Origin Russia  Eggs Tinted
The Orloff has never been popular in this country, possibly because of their gloomy and vindictive expression.  However they are a good hardy breed that sometimes take to laying in the winter months which makes them very useful.  Although they are officially classed as originating from Russia there is much to indicate they originated in Persia (Iran) and were then developed in Russia They are now in very few hands and need as much support as they can get.  They are classed as a rare breed.


Origin Great Britain  Eggs Tinted
The first Orpingtons that  were developed by William Cook in 1886  in Orpington Kent. were the black variety, this was followed by the white in 1889 and the Buff in 1894.  They have become firm favourites amongst the poultry fancy and are always very much admired  whenever shown.  The buff variety is even kept by H.M. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother who is also patron of The Poultry Club.



Origin Asia  Eggs: white or cream
This sweet little bird arrived in Great Britain around the middle of the last century.  It took its name from its place of origin in China.  It was supposed to have been found when the Emperors palace was sacked.  They make good pets as well as good show birds as they have a docile nature and are very easy to tame.  In the USA they are known as Cochin bantams


Plymouth  Rock

Origin America  Eggs Tinted
The Barred Plymouth rock was first shown in America in 1869,  it was later followed by the Buff variety.
This breed has always been popular owing to the intricate barring on the feathers.  If you look closely you will see that every feather should end in a black tip.  The Buff variety is often treated as a different breed and is referred to as Buff Rocks  but it is in fact the same breed only a different colour.



Origin Poland  Eggs Tinted
The large crest make the Poland a very distinctive bird.  They are a very old breed and there was even a class for them at the first poultry show in London in 1845.  There are many illustrations in old poultry books of the Poland.  One of the most striking colours is the white crested black.


Rhode Island Red

Origin America  Eggs:  Light brown to brown
Many people do not realise that just because a bird is red in colour it is NOT necessarily a Rhode Island Red.
The true RIR colour, it is a very dark red and in the male takes on a lustre that gives the bird a glossed appearance. This colour is far darker than any commercial hybrid.  A very popular breed.


Origin Great Britain  Eggs  White or cream
A Sprightly little bird that is popular with show exhibitors,  It is a true bantam with no large fowl counterpart.  Early pictures describe ‘small chickens from Java’ that look very like Rosecombs so it is likely that they derived from judicious crossing of these birds.  They have been used in the make up of many other bantam breeds.


Scots Dumpy (Bakies Crawlers Creepers)

Origin Scotland  Eggs White
Despite being bred in Scotland for over a hundred years; and the fact that it had probably been around much longer than that  This breed became nearly extinct, and  is still in far too few hands for its continued existence to be guaranteed.  A breed that could do with more supporters  They were originally known as Crawlers and Creepers because of their very short legs.  Fowls of this description were described as early as 1678.



Origin Great Britain  Eggs White or Cream
A genuine bantam breed produced in the middle of the last century by Sir John Sebright.   Its plumage gives the impression of an almost surrealist drawing of a bird with every feather outlined in black.  The males are ‘Hen Feathered’ which means that they lack the sickle feathers and tail hangings normally associated with cockerels.



Origin Asia   Eggs Tinted to cream
These birds have been mentioned in writings for several hundred years.  The explorer Marco Polo described discovering chickens with “fur” which is an obvious reference to this breed.  They make good pets and are excellent broodies,  Although many people tend to think of them as bantams,  in the UK silkies are classed as large fowl. However, in the last few years a proper bantam strain has been developed.



Origin Mediterranean  Eggs White
A very old breed of striking appearance, This breed was popular in the early half of the 19th century.
It is the only breed to have the distinctive white face.  In recent years a bantam form has been produced.




Origin Turkey  Eggs White
Imported into this country in 1854 from Constantinople, this bird has the lot!  Crest, Feathered legs, Beard,  muffling, Five toes, Vulture hocks, Horn comb and personality!  Not  a common breed, but one well worth keeping.  It is the symbol of the Rare Poultry Society.


Sumatra Game

Origin Asia  Eggs White
With the Black face and wonderful beetle green sheen to their feathers this is a breed that easily attracts the eye.  The males have a long flowing tail with lots of side hangings.  The breed was admitted into the American standards as early as 1883.   The females make excellent broodies.


Origin Great Britain  Eggs Tinted
Surely Britain’s most popular breed,  Most people can recognise the distinctive plumage of the Light Sussex, but the oldest strain is the Speckled.  They also exist in  Silver, Buff, Red, Brown and White.   Sussex fowls featured in the first poultry show in 1845


Origin Germany  Eggs Cream to Tinted
Developed in Germany in 1900 by Oskar Vorwerk this is a medium size attractive bird that thrives quite happily on smaller rations than many other breeds of the same size.  They are alert and active but not timid. They make an ideal utility and backyarders bird as they lay well and spare males weigh out at around 4lb  Their They are classed as a rare breed.


Origin Holland  Eggs Brown
This breed is one of the premier ‘Brown Eggers’ Producing  Eggs of a rich  dark terracotta colour.  It was imported into this country in 1928 and has been popular with breeders ever since,  both males and females look attractive.  Many people describe them as ‘What a farmyard chicken should really look like’



Origin America  Eggs Tinted
This breed comes in so many colours it has several different breed clubs to cater for them!  It is an old breed, the first  variety being the Silver laced.  It originated in America.  It is a very popular bird for the show bench.


Origin Japan   Eggs  Tinted
Two types exist in this country the single combed and the pea combed.  The great feature of this bird is the tail, which can grow to enormous lengths as it fails to moult out as other birds do.  It takes great dedication t keep the bird so that its tail stays in condition as  the feathers so easily become frayed.





Origin Great Britain
Just because a duck is white does  not necessarily mean it is an Aylesbury!  Aylesburys have a deep body with a prominent breast and keel Thecolour of  the bill  should be pink not orange like so many other ducks.  The Aylesbury featured at the first poultry show in 1845.

Black East Indian

Origin America
An Old breed of Duck it was described in the first book of standards in 1865,  It also used to be known as the Labrador, Buenos Aires and Brazilian.  It is a true bantam duck Sprightly and attractive with its glossy green plumage.


Origin Great Britain
This is the premier egg laying breed in the duck world. developed in 1901 by Mrs Campbell of Gloucestershire.
The ancestry of the mallard can easily be seen in this breed.  Most people have only heard of the Khaki, but the campbell is standardised in both dark and white forms.


Origin America
This breed first appeared in 1851 on lake Cayuga New York, and specimins were then sent to England.  it is a very attractive breed.  When first seen it appears that you are looking at a green duck,  although it is infact a black duck with a lustrous beetle green sheen on the feathers.



Origin Great Britain
This breed always attracts attention with its Jemimah puddleduck hat!  Not all the ducklings have crests, the ones without being easily seen at hatching time.


Call Duck

Origin Great Britain
Always popular these sweet little ducks were bred to have a loud quack, so that they could be used as decoys on lakes to attract wild ducks into the area.  Infact  they usually only quack loudly if seperated from from their mate.  They are the premier show breed of duck and are bred to a very high standard.  They come in a varity of colours.


Indian Runner

Origin Asia
This breed always attracts attention when it is standing upright.  They have very long necks and virtually no shoulders.
They are prolific egg layers, a feature that was utilised in the makeup of the Campbell. They come in a varity of colours.



Origin  South America
This is the only breed of  domestic duck that is not decended from the mallard.   They are also strange in the fact that they do not quack, but make a rasping sound instead.  The males sometimes sound like heavy breathers!
The fact that they are nearly silent can make them avery good choice if you have close neighbours.


Origin Great Britain
This breed was produced by the same person responsible for the Orpington chickens; Mr William Cook.  It has a lovely plumage of deep red-buff   It was developed as a utility breed for both eggs and meat.  A lavender form of this breed is being developed.

Silver Appleyard

Origin Great Britain
A breed produced by the Rev Reginald Appleyard  (who also developed the Ixworth poultry) The large varity is a good all-round utility breed  whilst the small bantam varity is very popular as pets,  it is very attractive.


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