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The Secrets to Breeding R I Red Bantams
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Follow these secrets for success

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Secrets of Breeding R I Red Type in Bantams

By Robert Blosl

Silverhill, Alabama

 

I have often wondered why it was so much easier to breed large fowl Rhode Island Reds for Standard type than Red bantams. I don’t know if it’s because the founding fathers that made the early Red Bantams by crossing Rhode Island Red large fowl onto Cochin and Old English Bantams to shrink these large fowl birds down to make a normal Red Bantam is the reason. Or by using the Cochin Bantams in the 1930’s the current bantam today wants to revert to the original type bantams of the 1930s which had elevated top lines and where loose feathered. Never the less the challenge is to try to have a small brick shaped oblong body, tight feathered  Rhode Island Red Bantam that weights 34 ounces for a cock bird and 30 ounces  for a hen at eighteen months of age. It also appears over the years that only about 5 % of the Rhode Island Red Bantam breeders each year can accomplish and manage correct Standard type on their Red Bantams. You can in fact over a period of time count the number of excellent Rhode Island Red Bantam each year on one hand.  You may think that this is a very low number of only 5 breeders out of 100, but it is a very difficult breed of bantam to maintain IDEAL Standard Type on. Is it the curse of the Cochin Bantam genes that was used to make early day Red Bantams that causes so many Red breeders to lose the oblong shape and revert to an undesirable style of Red Bantam?   In this article I will try to reveal some of the secrets passed down by breeders who where masters of this dual purpose variety of bantams that warned me of such hidden genes that could come back to haunt you if you did not watch carefully your strain of miniature R I Reds. These breeders who deserve the credit for this article are R. Paul Webb, Kenneth Bowles, Maurice Wallace, Lee Roy Jones, Tom McLaughlin and E. W. Reese Jr.

 

Understanding the Standard: When studying the standard of perfection the Rhode Island Reds body and stern should be long, broad, and moderately deep. The bantam should have a long straight keel bone extended well forward, giving the Rhode Island Red Bantam’s body an oblong appearance or “Brick Shape”.  The back should be long, modernity broad its entire length, carried horizontally, blending into the tail. The males tail is suppose to be medium in length well spread, carried at an angle of only 10 degrees above horizontal plane. The female’s tail is to be carried at a 20 degree angle and on a horizontal plane.    The Red Bantams Main tail feathers are to be broad and overlapping. Standard does state it is a defect and undesirable for a Rhode Island Red Bantam to have a top line like a Wyandotte or New Hampshire and should be cut heavily in the show room.  Today we are starting to see red bantams especially females that are short in body, deep in body and are odd and unnatural in shape. The females have lost their flat top line and oblong body appearance which is the classic type of the Rhode Island Red that no other bantam shares. If you don’t have a Red Bantam with long body length you won’t have the brick shape and it will not be a true R I Red Bantam.

The standard states this unappealing Red Bantam with the above faults has major defects and should be cut heavily in the show room by the ABA judges. 

 

Breeding Secrets:  Kenneth Bowles once said the secret to breeding Rhode Island Red Bantams is to have long bodies which are twice as long as the bird’s depth. Maurice Wallace use to advise that the legs on a Red Bantam need to be dead center giving the bantam balance to support their bodies brick shape. Lee Roy Jones use to stress to, breed for a medium width of feather, when you put breeding pressure on your Red Bantams.  If you go with wide feathers rather than a medium width of feather, you are bringing on the Cochin genes that were made to produce the Red Bantam in the 1930s. Tom McLaughlin, Lee Roy Jones’ mentor, always stressed-you will have a loose feathered bird and quite possibly you will see birds with stubs if you venture to the evil of the wide width of feather faddism. Do not keep or breed from females that have top lines like a Wyandotte or a New Hampshire. This is a major defect and is undesirable in the breeding pen and the show room. Look for bantams that are fast feathering, early developing birds just as we do in our R I Red large fowl.  E.W. Reese Jr. once told me the secret for breeding type is in the R I Red female. If you can get the R I Red females type as close to the standard as you possibly can, you will also have males with long oblong brick shaped bodies which is the classic look we are all looking for in a Red Bantam. R. Paul Webb once told me you need to weigh your bantams and try to get the hens as close to the 30 ounces as possible to maintain their oblong brick shape. Remember the secret to having a Standard typed Rhode Island Red bantam is more in the female than the male therefore you must put more breeding pressure on this females traits  to have a great strain of Red Bantams.

 

Conclusion: It should be the responsibly of the Rhode Island Red breeder to obey the Standard of Perfection when selecting his or her bantams for breeding and when bringing their Red Bantams to the show. On the other hand, it’s the ABA judge’s responsibility to review the total birds in the class and select the best specimen not in comparison to the class he or she is judging, but to the ideals of the Standard of Perfection. Our forefathers in the Rhode Island Red Club of America for over 70 years followed the standard instructions when they showed there Red Bantams and so should we.  Please help bring back the classic brick shape type that has made our Red Bantams well know between breeders, exhibitors and judges.  Breed by the Standard of Perfection, live by the Standard of Perfection and judge by the Standard of Perfection that is the secret to developing a great strain of Rhode Island Red Bantams.

 

 

 

 

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