The Redcap gets its name from its large rose comb can get up to 3” in length.
This English breed is also known as the Coral chicken and has its roots embedded deep in the country of Derbyshire, England.
They have long since graced the backyards of the English countryside laying a good amount of medium sized white eggs. They lay for quite a number of years after their prime as well.
Known for the good quality tasty meat they were an all-around dual-purpose bird throughout the 19th century.
They are excellent foragers that are quite happy to fend for themselves thus cutting down the cost of feed for them. They are also lively inquisitive and a useful addition to any flock.
|Country of Origin:
|American Poultry Association:
|Yes, they are recognized as a breed of chicken in the United States
They were admitted to the Standard of Perfection in 1888
|Bantam Variety Available?
|Yes – Rose Comb Clean Legged Bantam Classification
|Good Starter Chicken?
|They could make a good starter chicken if raised from a hatchling otherwise they can be a bit flighty and wild.
Appearance/Body: Redcaps have horn colored beaks, dark eyes, small bright red wattles and earlobes. Its red rose comb is large and sits on its head like a crown. It has a round body with red plumage that is tipped with a blue-black half-moon spangle. It has clean slate blue legs with four toes and tight-knit black tail feathers.
Color(s) Reddish Brown with black-tipped (half-moon spangles) feathers
Comb: They have a rose comb
Ave. Weight: Pullet: 5 lbs.
Hens: 6 lbs.
Cockerel: 6 lbs.
Rooster: 7.5 lbs.
Eggs: They are good egg layers.
They lay medium sized white eggs
They lay about 120 – 180 eggs per year
They will lay throughout the year and their egg production is quite good even in their advanced years
They start to lay eggs from around 22 weeks old.
Meat: They have white skin
Their meat is of excellent quality making them a great table bird
Breeding: They can be bred but additional equipment such an incubator and or brood hens will be needed
The hens do not get broody
They do not make good brood hens
They do not sit their eggs readily
They will raise their chicks but are quite happy to foster them out
Foraging: They are among the top forages who do very well in a free-range environment. They are quite happy and capable of scratching out their own food/snack during the day.
Show Bird: Their unique plumage makes them an excellent show bird.
Pets: If reared correctly they can make a good pet
Other: If you are looking to spruce up your flock with a chicken with unique color and a good egg layer the Redcap may just be that chicken.
|The average lifespan is 7 – 8 years
|They have no known health issues
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|They can be quite shy, restless and a bit wild if not reared correctly
|They can and will fly if necessary
|Not too noisy but they do have their moments
|Interaction with other chickens:
|They do not mind mingling with other chickens/breeds as they are pretty hardy and will not tolerate being bullied
|Good with kids?
|They are okay around supervised children if they have been raised correctly and have had some of their wildness tamed
|They will tolerate other domestic animals but tend to shy away from them
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|The normal chicken predators such as foxes and feathery predators from above such as hawks.
Even though most dogs and cats are not interested in them it is best to keep a wary eye on them.
Check with local animal shelters, zoos, vets, animal control and or pet stores about common predators in your area.
|These birds conservation status is recorded as “critical” by the American Livestock Conservancy. They are also listed by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in the UK as “threatened”. It is best to check on any special license or instructions that may be set up for owning these birds. This can be checked with your local or national conservation centers.
|They will grudgingly tolerate confinement and smaller gardens. They are better suited to the larger gardens/homestead where they have a lot of space to free-range and forage.
|They are adaptable to most climates but are more cold hardy but will tolerate the heat.
|The rule of thumb for any coop is 50 cm x 50 cm per hen/rooster in the coop.
Ensure there is a good space for the nesting boxes and nightly roosting rails at least 1.5 inches wide.
Good ventilation for air but not too drafty especially in winter.
It is always a good idea to raise the coop off the ground to give the birds a dry place to roost and lay especially in wet weather.For Bantam breeds, it is best to have the coop in a protected shed or barn.
|Ideal Coop Run:
|They can be flighty, so it is best to completely cover the coop run.
|Ideal Flock Size:
|There should be two or more in their flock.
|They do not have any special requirements or care unless they are used for the purpose of showing. It is best to check with the American Poultry Association.
|The following accessories are ideal for your coop:
Straw for the boxes and roosting area
Animal carrier for transport purposes
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WHERE TO BUY THEM
|Live Poultry Outlets:
|There as still a few mainstream hatcheries and poultry farms that raise the Redcap Chicken.
|Internet Poultry Websites:
|Internet sites such as Omelet US keep them. A search of the internet or check with breeders for reputable websites to order your chickens from.
|American Poultry Association and the American Livestock Conservancy should have information on registered breeders and hatcheries
|Feather Site is a good site to find information and contact details for breeders in and around your area/country.
|The organizations and or breeders listed above may also have a host of valuable information about your chickens.
They will also be able to provide you with any special instructions, problems, etc. about your chickens.
Not a lot is known about the Redcap breed development. It has bee speculated that it may have been derived from breeds such as the Old English Pheasant Fowl, Black-Breasted Red Game, Dorkings and the Golden Spangled Hamburgs. The breed itself bears a remarkable resemblance to the Lancashire Moonie and Yorkshire Pheasant which are now both extinct breeds.
Redcaps have been around since at least the beginning of the 19th century from when there are documented accounts of this breed.
The Redcaps, also known as Derbyshire Redcaps have never really been a popular production bird and always been more of a backyard or farmyard chicken.
Their numbers are in serious decline and they are listed on both the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in the UK as vulnerable and the American Livestock Conservancy as critical.
These hardy dual-purpose birds are very good free-range birds that are excellent foragers and quiet and independent breed.
It is a shame that their numbers are so in decline as these beautiful birds make great pets, show birds, layers and are a low maintenance chicken that does not cost as much as many other breeds to feed.
The exact date that this breed was introduced to America is not too well known but there is documented proof that they were widely spread through the country by 1870.
Throughout the 1890’s Redcaps were known to have been kept on American homesteads, farms and by poultry fanciers. They were great show birds and prolific egg layers.
But their popularity radically declined by the 1900’s.
They were accepted to the Standard of Perfection in by the American Poultry Association in 1888.
Their popularity had also dropped in England by the 1900’s when the breed nearly became extinct.
Through Heritage Poultry trusts and enthusiastic breeders, their numbers have slowly started to rise again.
NOTES / SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS
As they are registered as a “critical” conservation status they may need an extra license to own or keep in your garden. For advice on what the bird’s conservation status and orders are please check with your local conservation department.
For breeders, it is imperative that you always check your bird’s bloodlines and ensure you are buying your birds from a reputed breeder/farm. In order to sell birds of such stature, they have to be recorded and documented, always check with local animal breeding organizations for these records.
These legitimate documents are also required should you wish to show your bird(s) in various poultry shows/competition showings.
For information and advice on adopting rescued animals, you can visit or contact your local animal welfare center.
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- Animal Shelter (ASPCA)
- American Veterinary Medical Association
- American Poultry Association
- American Animal Welfare Society
- American Animal Control
- American Animal Husbandry Society