As school is getting back in session, I thought I’d put together a little “pop quiz” to test your knowledge of Gallus gallus, the domestic chicken. I’ve finally–after six months– identified all of the breeds we have in our backyard flock. They’re arranged in order of difficulty. Got your breed book handy?
1) This well-known classic is an American original. We have only one.
Hint 1) Note the dark red color, rectagular body, and small single comb.
Hint 2) Named after the state in New England where they were developed
2) A little more difficult, this is another American bird. We have four in our flock.
Hint 1) It’s not a White Leghorn. Note the bird’s short tail and horizontal back. (Also note it’s large, meaty size. It’s used as parent stock for commercial broiler chicks.)
Hint 2) Grandma’s dad used to raise this variety in Wilford.
Hint 3) The best-known color of this breed is “barred”
3) Originally from India, this breed is part of the Asiatic class. It’s considered a “rare variety” We have three of these hens and one rooster.
Hint 1) Note the feathered legs, darker head, and large overall size of the bird.
Hint 2) The breed shares its name with ill-tempered, humpbacked cattle from the same region. The breed is popular as roughstock at rodeos. (Umm… the bulls, not the chicken).
4) This is the hardest one. This smallish bird is “Mediterranean class,” and is very athletic. The gray color is called “blue,” and despite the two-toned feathers, it’s not a Barred, Silver-laced, or spangled anything. It’s considered a rare breed. (I got them by requesting “any laying variety” from the hatchery.)
Hint 1) Note the white ears, long upright tail, large single comb, and gray legs and beak. It also has darker feathers around the head.
Hint 2) Named for a province in Spain.
Trivia) Gregor Mendel used the breed to establish the first rules of genetics with dominant and recessive genes. There are three varieties (black, white, and blue). The blue is obtained by crossing the black variety with the white, with the resulting chicks being a ratio of one black, one white, and two blue. Crossing two blues will result in the same combination.
5)Extra Credit: Our rooster, who luckily doesn’t crow too loudly, needs a name. (Any answer is right on this one!)
I’ll post the correct answers next week.