I am really quite taken with these German New Hampshires. They are the calmest, loveliest birds. The pictures do not do justice to their rich coloring; it is more subtle than it appears here, the lines softer. The German line has darker overall coloring and less ticking in the hackles than the American, but their deep color is a reminder of their roots in the mahogany Rhode Island Red.
Descended directly from the RIR without the introduction of any other breeds, they were selected for “early maturity, large brown shelled eggs, quick feathering, strength and vigor,” (APA SOP 2010) which resulted in a lighter overall color. The SOP calls for “chestnut red” over most of the female bird with “lower neck feathers distinctly tipped with black.” Wikipedia provides this description of the chestnut color in its non-poultry specific application accompanied by this image:
I think their plumage comes pretty close! I need to get a shot of them in the sun…
This group has been living with a group of Basque Hens about three weeks older. Because they are younger, they have been lower in the pecking order and more timid, which may have affected my understanding of their temperament. I also think they tend to hold their tails lower most of the time because of their lower rank. However, I have also seen GNH breeders discussing selecting for a lower tail angle intentionally. The SOP calls for a 45 degree tail in the male and 35 degrees above horizontal in the female.
They tend to stay closer to the coop, ranging in the woods rather than the grass.
I am trying to decide which to keep and which to sell. It has proven to be a challenging decision because they are all such graceful birds. I think I have made my selections, but we shall see. If you are local and interested in a pair, you can email me at scratch cradle at gmail dot com. By the way, it’s been very rainy and muddy. I’ve been combating this by sprinkling DE thickly over the mud and laying down hay which seems to be working very well.