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Derbyshire Redcap

Derbyshire Recap

The Redcap is one of our finest breeds, it is a pure breed like the Brahma and the Hamburg, being completely unmixed not having been crossed for generations. They love to forage for most of their food, and are at their best on free range. Some writers have described the Redcap as a good layer, but others have listed it as one of the five excellent varieties, namely, Ancona, Leghorn, Redcap, Rhode Island Red and Wyandotte.

The breed is not without value for the table, as year- old birds have a very good breast. The plumage of the cock varies from a deep chestnut red, to a black red. The neck and saddle hackles should be dark orange, matching in colour when the head is turned to the tail with a dark strip down the centre of each feather. The females body feathers end in a half moon black spangle, the rest of the plumage being a rich deep nut brown. The tails are all black, beaks horn coloured, face lobes and wattles are red. Legs and feet are slate grey.

In the 1930s the exaggerated and unsightly combs of birds being bred was thought to be one of the major factors in the redcaps decline in popularity. The standard now states the comb should be 3 ¼ x 1 ½ inches, much smaller than in the 1930s. Males were often used on farmyard hens to improve their laying. Redcaps are now being seen back on the show benches again in both large and Bantam forms.

Dave Renwick