Top Lines in the SCCL Classes
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
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
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 ½ 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.