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Defective Top Lines in the SCCL Classes

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Defective Top Lines in the SCCL Classes

By Robert Blosl

As a breeder of Rhode Island Red and White Plymonth Rock bantams I would like to share some of my observations on what I have been seeing coming out of the shows with exceedingly   unusually defects in body type especially the top lines sections. It is my hope that this article will bring some light to the defects that I and many of my fellow bantam breeders are also seeing at the popular shows and hope that we can start correcting our breeding of these type of birds and also get the support of the ABA judges that have to pick the best of breeds of each of these varieties.  

Plymonth Rock Bantams: First of all its been brought to my attention from one East Coast Judge and Breeder that the Plymonth rock bantams tail angle are exceeding ten to 15 degrees over what the standard calls for. Also, it’s been brought to my attention by excellent bantam breeders and exhibitors that our Plymonth rock bantams most likely the white variety is getting to large and are encroaching into the Orpington Bantam type. Obviously if these bantams were weighed by the judge they would be over the 4 oz allowance and they would be disqualified.

Rhode Island Red Bantams: The next dilemma is the Rhode Island Red bantam and especially the females that seem to find their way up on Champion Row at leading shows. These females do not possess the classic brick shape or oblong appearance which Red Bantams have been having for over 70 years since their inception to the Standard of Perfection. These females are short in body length, deep in body and have top lines from their back to their tail in the appearance of a Wyandotte or a New Hampshire Bantam.  There is no scale of points that I am aware of for cutting a female that has such an uncharacteristic top line from the classic old fashion brick shape where the body is twice as long as it’s wide and has a racy style or type with a medium wide feather tightly held to its body.

What I intend to do in this article is present some of the key areas from my old  black and white standard that I have been reading  over  and maybe I can help bring back  to you  what the correct R I Red  type is and as breeders  should be selecting  for our bantams before we  bring them  to the shows.  Furthermore, I would like to refresh the judges to what the standard calls for when they are looking over a class of Rhode Island Reds or Plymonth Rock Bantams at a show to help them with their selections of the ideal dream bantam in both these breeds.

Description of the Plymonth Rock:  Back rather long, broad is entire length, flat at shoulders  extending with a slightly concave incline to tail Feathers moderately broad Tail of medium length moderately spread, carried at an angle of 20  degrees above the horizontal and forming no apparent angle with back. Main tail feathers broad and overlapping coverts well developed. Breast broad moderately   deep, well rounded, over all presents like a (gravy bowl or derby Hat) in breed appearance.

Description of the Rhode Island Red:   Back: Long, moderately broad its entire length, carried horizontally, blending into tail Tail: of medium length will spread, carried at an angle of Only  10 degrees above horizontal.  Main tail feathers are broad and overlapping.  Breast:  Moderately deep, full, well rounded over all breed type (BRICK SHAPE or OBLONG in appearance)

 New Hampshire Bantams:  Back is Medium length, broad its entire length forming a gradual concave sweep to tail. Tail is medium length well spread carried at an angle of thirty five degrees above horizontal. Main tail feathers broad and overlapping.  Breast deep, full, well rounded (Shape between a Wyandotte and a Rhode Island Red) , but with a distinguished sweeping tail carriage.

Cutting for defects:        Bantams weight in the Single Comb Clean Legged Class should receive one half point cut for each ounce up to four ounces.  Bantam weighing 3 oz over weight should be cut 1 pints Over 4 0z the bird should be disqualified.  Cutting for breed shape in Orpington   bantams revealing a definite cushion should be one to two point cut.  (Rhode Island Red and Plymonth Rock with cushions no such points cut for females.) Symmetry: four points; for a Rhode Island Red   or White rock When a R I Red looks in appearance of a Wyandotte or New Hampshire Bantam  on its top line( a possibly of  four points could be cut for the severities of the non flat top line or   brick shape  .) Back receives a total of 12 points 8 for type in the white rock Bantam and 4 four color.  In a Rhode Island Red its 6 points for color and 6 for type. Tail gets 8 points 4 shape and 4 for color in a Rhode Island Red a white rock five for shape and three for color. Weight and size 4 points for both Bantams.  Breast has a total of 10 points in a red 5 for shape and 5 for color. In a White Plymonth Rock

Scale of Points: The merit of a specimen shall be determined by a careful examination of all sections listed under the scale of points. As a breeder or flock inspector you must be familiar with this scale so that no more or no less value will be placed on any section than is provided for.

Size and Weight:  Weighing: When size and weight cannot be determined by comparison judging it is advisable to require the weighing of the specimens. Shape and type it is imperative that shape and type be considered of greater importance and specimens greatly deficient in t breed type should be disqualified as lacking in breed character. Approximately two thirds of the total value of the scale of point is allotted to shape in Single Comb Clean Legged bantams. Shape of feather when considering all American class type bantams’ feathers should be moderately broad and long, fitting fairly close to the body.

General Disqualifications: All Breeds and Varieties: Specimen lacking in breed characteristics.

Conclusion:        Should a Rhode Island Red bantam pullet that has a top line like a New Hampshire or a Wyandotte be disqualified for lack of breed characteristics? Should such a female be cut say two points for not being symmetrical to the total scale of points? Should a female be cut two to three points for having a short back and a deep body revealing more of a boxy looking appearance than the tradiondalial oblong brick shape?  Should a female with a elevated top line be cut 3 to 4 points in her tail section. These are just some of my questions that I would like to ask the judges, the judges committee and then the breeders. Really, should Red Chickens entered as Rhode Island Red Bantams be on Champion Row for the prestige’s award for Champion Single Comb Clean legged with type like a Wyandotte or New Hampshire Or even worse be considered for Champion Bantam of the show. This is my reason for writing this article. Let’s just look at the facts above that I have pulled out of the standard of perfection and let’s try to resolve our issues with the top lines on our Rhode Island Reds and Plymonth Rocks. Many of us can correct these faults in the breeding pen in a few years. Some of you have got these traits fixed so badly you are best to devolve your line of birds and start over with correct type Rhode Island Red Bantams. For us who bred in the Plymonth Rock bantam is task is not as difficult. Just breed by the standard and in a few years your Plymonth Rocks will be in harmony to what the true standard calls for. Quite possibly start hatching your bantams in March and April instead of early in the year like you would for large fowl and the size most likely will be smaller and closer to standard weights.  The members of the Plymonth Rock Fanciers Club of America which I am National Secretary and the officers and members of the Rhode Island Red Club which I am a past National President look forward working with the American Bantam Association and its judges to help us resolve this non compliance of breed type in our bantams. I know with a working cooperation we will see improvements in our show rooms and the breeds will be better off for it.