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The Derbyshire Redcap Chicken

History

The Redcap originated in the Derbyshire and Pennine area of England and is one of our oldest dual-purpose utility breeds. They are an absolutely typical barnyard fowl and are thought to have been developed from a variety of breeds including the Hamburg and Old English Pheasant Fowl. The name comes from its exceptional rose comb, which is approximately 3¼ inches long and 2¾ inches wide and is crowned with many points and a very long spike. The young cocks don’t develop the comb in its most spectacular form until they reach around 3 years of age. They have red earlobes and the cockerels plumage is deep red to black with dark orange neck and saddle hackles. The tail feathers are black and the legs are a blueish grey while the eyes are red. The female has a beautiful red brown plumage and each body feather ends in a black spangle. Their combs are around half the size of the males. They make good table birds with an excellent gamey flavour and the hens also lay around 150-200 large white eggs per year. They are comparatively rare these days but still have a following in the Derbyshire area.

Behaviour

The Derbyshite Redcap chicken are hardy birds and are not good sitters. They are at their happiest free ranging as they are terrific foragers and good fliers so require a lot of space. They have good longevity and will continue to lay for a good many years. Chicks are vigorous and are actually bright yellow with a little black on their heads when they are born and develop their darker plumage as they reach adulthood. A hen can weigh a good 5-5½ lbs while cocks can reach 6-6½lbs in weight.

Status

Rare

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