About Derbyshire Redcap Chickens
Derbyshire Redcaps area a
breed of chicken originated in Derbyshire, England. They have an unusually
large Rose-type comb which is where they got the name "Redcap". It is
covered in small, fleshy points, and has a distinct spike pointing backwards
called a "leader". Their combs, wattles and earlobes are all bright
Redcaps are a native English birds that have
been written about since at least the early 19th century. Most likely they were
derived from Golden Spangled Hamburgs, Dorkings, Old English Pheasant Fowl, and
Black-Breasted Red Games.
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. Today, 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. They 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.
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.
Redcaps are classified as a light fowl, with
roosters weighing approximately 3.4 kilograms (7.5 lb) and hens 2.75 kg (6.1
lb). Their beaks are horn-colored and their combs hang to either side of their
face. They appear in a single variety of plumage, with various dark hues of
red, brown and black. The 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.