Tudor hens

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Tudor hens

Postby Christabel » Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:09 pm

Yes, you did read that correctly!

Has anyone any idea about which of our modern hens would look passably similar to breeds around in Tudor times?


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Postby Merlon. » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:08 pm

It might be worth tracking down a copy of
Pigs, Goats and Poultry 1580-1660 (English Agriculture 1580-1660 First Series) (Paperback) By Stuart Peachy
ISBN 1858040663

It might have some pointers. I do know that Dorkings is supposed to be an old breed, possibly going back to Roman times.
Failing that you may have to fall back on match the chicken to the background detail in portraits, most modern breeds are less than 150 years old.
Good Luck

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Postby Christabel » Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:12 pm

Thanks, Merlon!

I like the sound of matching hens to pictures - it sounds like a bizarre type of card game!

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Postby Truly Scrumptious » Fri Jun 27, 2008 9:32 am

I think you're looking at something along the lines of an Old English Game Bird, or a Pheasant Fowl, most of the common modern hens are hybrids, usually based on a Rhode Island Red. Also a lot of them had 5 toes, rather the 4 we usually see. The Silkie is an old breed and it has 5 toes but they're of Asian origin. Marco Polo described seeing fluffy-type hens that reminded him of a cat! (the Silkie)

I used to have a cockerel who was a cross between an Old English Game Bird and a Welsummer, now he really looked the part!

Try the Domestic Wildfowl Trust for more info as they keep a lot of rare breeds and will be able to tell you what's what. :D Although I keep hens, I'm just an interested amateur! :wink:

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Postby lucy the tudor » Wed Jul 02, 2008 10:56 pm

I would have to agree about the Dorkings, anyone who was at Tatton will have seen them scratting about looking very scenic. I have some of theirs who have just successfully produced 7 healthy youngsters about three weeks ago.
Cracking breed, look the part and the cockerel is a real gentleman, lets the ladies and chicks eat first and only gets cross if someone upsets the little ones.

Lucy the Proud Chicken Aunty :wink:


a filthy, arse-grabbing strumpet, masquerading as a demure two-door lady.

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Postby m300572 » Thu Jul 03, 2008 12:39 pm

Have a scratch around on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust website - there may be breed societies linked there that will give you a history of their specific types of hen.

Wilkes and Liberty, Wilkes and the Forty Five

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Postby Christabel » Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:45 pm

Thanks, all!

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Postby Wiblick » Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:18 pm

Dorkings will probably be a little 'heavy' (large) for my suburban set up. Bum! But now at least I know where to go from with my research.

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