Native Scottish Chicken Breeds
Victorian poultry books agree that the Scots Grey is a very old breed, going back to the 16th Century. A breed club was formed in 1885 and still exists today. Known primarily as a cottagers fowl, the Scots Grey has long been known for its hardiness, excellent foraging ability and capacity to thrive in cold and damp climatic conditions. It is classed as a non-sitter, but if chicks are hatched then it is a good mother. Being classed as a non-sitter does not mean that they are flighty and they can become quite tame if handled regularly. The barring of the Scots Grey feathers is quite precise and results in a beautifully smart and crisp looking bird. The beak and legs are white with black mottles or streaks. The effect is completed by a single upright comb and red earlobes. It is a good all round layer of whitish eggs. Although the breast meat is not over generous on the Scots Grey, it is particularly full of flavour, with good texture and whiteness of skin.
Scots Dumpy Scots Grey
Short legged fowl have been recorded since 1678, and birds of this type have been known in Scotland for more than 200 years. The Scots and Picts claimed that their alerted them to potential Roman attacks. Thus the particular genetic feature of short legs in poultry has great antiquity. As a breed the Scots Dumpy is first mentioned in the 1850s and was exhibited in 1852 at the Metropolitan Exhibition, London. Known by various names Creepers, Crawlers, Bakies, Corlaighs and Dumpies - they are excellent broodies and were often used to brood clutches of game birds in Scotland. In 1975 the Michael Roberts at the Domestic Fowl Trust tried to find further stocks of Scots Dumpies in Scotland, knowing that the breed was scarce. He had no success, but was fortunate to discover that Lady Violet Carnegie had gone to Kenya in 1902 with a small flock of Dumpies as part of her dowry. After extensive research he found that this flock was still in existence and arranged with her niece for the importation of 12 birds back into this country in 1977. The short-legged gene is subject to the laws of Mendel and also has a lethal factor, as a percentage of chicks have short legs, a percentage have long legs a percentage have medium legs and the rest just do not hatch. It is only the short legged birds that are used for breeding, the remainder being fine as layers. Dumpies are best kept on easy terrain, and the chicks should be kept separate from more vigorous breeds when rearing. It is important not to let the chicks onto long wet grass too early as they chill easily, being so close to the ground; otherwise they are perfectly hardy. There is no fixed colour for Scots Dumpies and as a result, there are a variety of colours seen. The most common are black and cuckoo, while white and blue also exist. The black is all black with a beautiful green metallic sheen, dark eyes, dark beak and dark legs with four toes. It has a single comb and the ear lobes are red. In the cuckoo colour the background is grey with darker grey, rather fuzzy stripes all over. The legs on the cuckoo are white or lightly mottled. The legs must not exceed 3.75 cm. Dumpies are good layers, and they are considered particularly good as broodies and mothers.