About Our Old English Pheasant Fowls
Uses: Moderate egg layer, small table bird.
Origin: Lancashire/Yorkshire Eggs: 120-200
Weight: Cock:. 3.2 Kg. Hen: 2.7 Kg.
Useful to Know: The breed is very nimble, energetic and the most flighty of all British chicken breeds. Although a small light breed the OEPF is classed as a large fowl and does not exist in a bantam version. When mature the OEPF is exceptionally hardy and a reliable layer.
The Old English Pheasant fowl originated in Yorkshire and Lancashire and on the fell farms of the old counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland, where they had been known under a wide number of names for hundreds of years. The picturesque names of Golden, Silver and Black Pheasant Fowl, Yorkshire Pheasant, Manchester and Moss Pheasants were used for such birds until poultry shows came along and they gradually became lumped together under the general name of Hamburghs. From this same ancient lineage came the Old English Pheasant Fowl, officially named in 1914, when a specialist breed club was formed. The breed got its name as this chicken type due to its similarity to the wild pheasant (even the chicks are striped like pheasant chicks).
There is no doubt that the breed is extremely old. The Feathered World Year Book of 1915 says "it is known to have been favourite with the northern Dalesmen upwards of 100 years ago".
The male bird has a red rosecomb, set firmly on the head, white earlobes, rich bay and mahogany colouring with striped top and laced breast, slate legs and feet and a graceful carriage. The hen is the same colouring; with crescent-shaped spangle markings.
The breed today retains much of its original utility merits as a good layer of white or slightly tinted eggs, whilst producing a plump little table fowl. It is a hardy breed, suited to free range and is recommended for smallholdings or as backyard pets. However, this is a very rare and endangered breed.
Although it is a small and light breed, the Old English Pheasant Fowl is classed as a large fowl and there is, currently, no bantam version.