Wattles should be long and fine.
Eye rather large and prominent red in colour and completely filling the eye
Face to be RED in colour, showing no signs of white (broken face). A bit of
white enamel about the size of a grain of rice is alright but any bluish white
coming up from the lobe and extending into the face is definitely a no-no, for
once this fault takes hold your strain is worthless.
Lobe should be rather large and have plenty of substance, preferably almond
shaped. I prefer a rather open face, free from any great amount of feathers.
Colour and Feathers
Top colour to be black with green sheen and no purple barring running across the
feathers. Red feathers in the neck hackles, saddle hackle and on wing bows all
the better, for this indicates an abundance of pigment. How much red? Personally
I believe you can never have too much for the bird will then pass this gene onto
his progeny. (Top quality pullets with good feather and leg colour).
Under-colour white, the more the better. When there is the correct amount of
white under-colour the male bird will have plenty of white showing in his tail.
Beware of a bird showing white in the tail but is light grey with some white in
the under-colour. White under-colour should run from the root of the tail right
up to the base of the skull. I prefer white to show in the neck hackle, mixed
with black and red feathers. Feathers should be broad and of good quality,
especially in the tail and wing. Tail to be on the short to moderate size, guard
against long flowing tails for this will be passed on to the pullets. Tail set
to be approximately 45°.
With the reference to never too much white, the wings
must be scrutinised. Male birds with excessive white under-colour could quite
possibly have one or two feathers showing white in the wing, as long as the
white is about half the feather length I don't mind so much, but if they are
tipped with white be very wary for you will find this will be passed onto the
pullets. With the white half the feather length you will find some pullets
showing white in the wing - cull these, but the majority will be clear in the
Remember TYPE comes first when choosing your male birds.
The female chosen for the breeding pen should compliment the male and be as near
as possible to a top show specimen. Again type must come first. She must have
good leghorn body characteristics, length of back, width of shoulder, depth of
body, well spaced legs and again very important showing ample thigh.
Comb to rise straight up from the beak (no double folds) and fall gracefully to
one side. Texture fine but fairly rough, good deep serrations with nicely shaped
blade. Similar to the male's comb if held upright. Well shaped wattles, fairly
long, preferably free from fold or wrinkles.
Eyes, red, the darker the better, prominent, rather bold and filling the eye
socket completely. Lobes of good quality and shape with ample substance. Again,
I prefer an open face, free from excessive feather, red in colour and absolutely
free from white or bluish white (no broken face - not even a hint of it).
Top colour black with green sheen and no purple barring in feathers. If females
with green sheen are unavailable use a dull black female (no sheen). Undtrcolour
as dark as you can get right to the skin. Tail and wing feathers as broad as
possible and showing no signs of white. Tail to be moderate in length and set at
a good angle, not whippy, but about three fingers in width. Body feathering
rather tight, not loose and sloppy, but soft to the touch and of excellent
quality. Legs to be yellow or orange the richer in colour the better. Again I
like to see red running down the side of the shanks, indicating pigment. Well
spaced and in centre of body, shins round and rather fine. If all goes well some
nice pullets and breeding cockerels should be produced from the above mating.
The four main points in breeding are perseverance,
dedication, accurate record keeping and a genuine love for fowls.
Dedication Have a mental picture of the bird you
are trying to breed and do not settle for anything less - be dedicated.
Perseverance You will never beat mother nature,
you can fool her but never beat her. I find most successful breeders inbreed to
establish top strains of fowls, just how far is up to you. Keep your eyes and
ears open when talking to the experienced breeders for they are a walking wealth
of knowledge and are only too pleased to pass on the finer points of breeding.
Know your strain, what features are recessive and those that are not. Don't be
frightened to experiment within your strain. By this I mean really close
inbreeding (so long as the birds you select are in robust health). Full brother
to full sister, three-quarter sister to half brother, fourth cross pullet back
to sire etc. There are countless combinations. These matings could well surprise
you or open a Pandora’s box, but they will provide knowledge of what your strain
is capable of producing. A few birds produced might have some points you are
looking for, work with these and mate to birds with other good points that they
lack. The secret of a champion is locked in your strain, all you need is the
right combination, the key to unlock it. This will not happen overnight but
persevere. It might take years, the perfect bird has yet to be bred. It is a
great challenge but very rewarding, especially when you start to gain a few
cards and placings and eventually ribbons and people ask where did you get that
bird from, and you say "I bred it!". Very satisfying I might add.
Accurate Records Always keep accurate records,
for when you get a good bird you need to know which mating produced it. This is
vitally essential for years of work could be ruined all because you cannot
A Genuine Love for Fowls This last point speaks
by courtesy of Stuart Fraser, Berrima, NSW ....
Has been associated with fowls for twenty-three years and with Black Leghorn
Bantams for the last nine. During this time, after following the points laid out
in the above article, has produced a highly competitive strain, winning many
championships and major awards