Bantams and Large Fowl

Originating from the town of Orpington in Kent, they were first bred in 1886 by William Cook who cross bred Minorcas, Landshans and Plymouth Rocks.  The first Orpington chickens were black in colour. In recent times the Orpington are more bred for show than their original dual purpose meat and eggs.  Modern Orpingtons are larger and have more feathers than the original strains. They are very friendly birds and make great pets for those just wanting a few hens for the garden or for those with children, and are not prone to be flighty so you don’t need large fences to keep them in, although keeping the fox out is a different problem. Breeding Blue Orpingtons you get a mixture of blue (50%), black (25%) and splash (25%) chicks.

Pekins are true bantams with no large counterpart although Continentals & Americans refer to pekins as bantam cochins even though there are many differences. They come from China, being brought to the UK as loot from the Summer Palace in Peking after the Second China War of 1860. The original colour was the buff followed by many others in the UK & Europe. The popular lavender came from Holland.
Pekins are very tame, placid and confiding with an appealing round and fluffy appearance. They are wonderful for children and love being handled, hopping up onto laps & shoulders. However, they can also be bossy and fight strange birds. They have a short body & back, deep breast and short wings & tail. The head has a short beak & single comb, legs have stout thighs but are short and well spaced, covered with feathers. This description is rendered somewhat superfluous by the abundance of soft feathers which does away with any straight line. The body is rounded, the tail as well and there is loads of fluff underneath.
They do not fly but use their wings to help them along, appearing to bounce. The hens are moderate layers, but famous as broodies and are very good mothers. The large amount of feathering around the vent can affect fertility and may need trimming. They love to roam but do not need a large area. Although wet or damp conditions may not be appreciated.

The Welsummer is named after the village of Welsum in Holland although the breed was originally developed in the area along the river Ysel to the north of Deventer, Holland at about the same time as the Barnevelders (1900-1913). The Dutch bred it from the partridge Cochin, partridge Wyandotte and partridge Leghorn, the Barnevelder and Rhode Island Red. It was first imported into this country in 1928 for its large brown egg. The Welsummer is a large, upright, active bird with a broad back, full breast and large full tail. They head has a single comb, medium wattles, almond shaped ear lobes and a strong, short beak. They have yellow legs which fade to pale yellow in summer and reddish bay eyes.  


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