The Derbyshire Redcap is perhaps one of our oldest dual-purpose utility breeds
Historically it was especially popular with farmers in Derbyshire and Yorkshire, where it was highly thought of, especially for its laying quality. Always recognised as a barnyard fowl, Derbyshire Redcaps are classed as a light breed and are at their best on free range where they can forage for most of their food. Never bred intensively or commercially, the hens are generally non-sitters producing large numbers of good-sized white eggs. The hen can produce 150 - 200 white eggs a year, and the meat is white and has a flavour similar to game birds.
THE DERBYSHIRE REDCAP LARGE FOWL
The Redcap is one of our finest breeds. It is pure bred like the Brahma and the Hamburg, being completely unmixed, not having been crossed for generations, it is a non-sitter and a layer.
This grand breed was by far the best laying breed in the country for many years, and was deservingly popular among farmers. It was swept from its place during the onrush of the breeds from the Mediterranean countries - Minorcas, Leghorns and Andalusians - and through the search following for the perfect dual-purpose fowl - Orpingtons, Plymouth Rocks and Rhode Island Reds. The Redcap could have withstood the flood of Mediterranean immigrants, but the reason for it being swept so completely from its place was its own excellence as a breeding fowl for first crosses. It is the perfect fowl for first cross breeding, and was used too extensively for this purpose, consequently, the numbers of good pure Redcap stock were too few for the breed to hold a worthy position before the onrush of the incoming breeds.
The Redcap is one of the most beautiful of all breeds of poultry. It is healthy, hardy and thrives in all parts of the British Isles. It has long been a favourite with poultry breeders in the exposed Derbyshire High Peak district.
The breed is not without value for the table, as year-old birds have a very good breast.
The Redcap is generally a non-sitter and an excellent layer. Every discerning poultry keeper should have a trio of Redcaps. Some writers have described the breed as good layers, but others have listed it as one of the five excellent varieties, namely; Ancona, Leghorn, Redcap, Rhode Island Red and Wyandotte. The fowl is worthy of this high place, and it is the intention of the Derbyshire Redcap Poultry Club to bring the Redcap to the state of utility and popularity to which the breed is entitled.
It is a grand old English breed, a utility layer of the first class and on the show bench a bird of beauty in shape and feather.
Average weight of large fowl eggs: 2 - 2½ozs. (56.6 – 70.8grams)
THE DERBYSHIRE REDCAP BANTAM FOWL
There is no doubt that the Redcap Bantam will become increasingly popular. The beautiful rose comb and the exquisite red and black feathering of the large fowl is reproduced in the miniature, providing a charming little bird that is bound to win its way into the pens of bantam fanciers.
Like the large fowl, it is a good layer, and it thus particularly suited to the small domestic poultry keepers who, while not having much space, can keep a pen of bantams, receive a plentiful supply of eggs, and indulge in his fancy by entering one of these lovely little birds at the local show.
Breeders are recommended to breed down from the large fowl and not to introduce foreign bantam blood, which can scarcely ever be bred out. Bantams can only be recognised as Redcaps if true in colour and type.
Average weight of bantam fowl eggs; 1½ - 1¾ozs.(42.5 - 49.5grams)