A black Scots Dumpy Bantam Hen.
Rare Poultry Breeds
Most fowl are descended from the jungle fowl of South-East Asia. Poultry more then any other species of farm livestock have been subjected to an intensive breeding selection for either their meat or eggs in high quantities. A lot of traditional breeds have been bred for ornamental reasons and therefore cannot serve either of these two functions in an intensive farming environment where chickens are fattened up quickly in an enclosed space with a high reliance on antibiotics. There is a great demand for cheap food and this is why intensive chicken farming is so popular. However there has also been a resurgence in the late twentieth century of a consumer demand for high quality products, compatible with high welfare standards and consideration for the environment, which has focused attention back to the qualities of the old traditional breeds, which are better adapted to free range farming.
Scots Dumpy Bantam Chickens
This breed has been bred in Scotland for more than a hundred years. The bird is considered an ideal broody, being an excellent sitter and mother and they are a hardy breed. Similar birds with Dumpy characteristics have been shown to exist in Saxon times as early as A.D. 900. Legend has it that when the Roman Army moved north of the border, the Picts carried a type of poultry similar to today's Dumpies as guards to warn off strangers approaching the camp. The Scots Dumpy almost disappeared in the middle of the last century, when the breed went into severe decline. Had it not been for a dedicated band of breeders in Scotland during the 1970's it could have died out completely. There are both large and bantam varieties, with the main colours being black and cuckoo, although blues and whites are sometimes seen.