Hamburgh - Chicken

Hamburgh Details

Eggs, exhibition
Great Britain
Light, soft feather
Silver, black spangled
Weight, cock
2.2 kg
Weight, hen
1.8 kg
A non sitter
Breed Club

Hamburgh Club

Breed Ratings
Egg Laying
Table Value

Hamburgh Description

The history of the Hamburgh is somewhat vague and there is little published information on the breed. The name was given to the breed in the mid 19th century at a time when the Pheasant fowl and Moonies of Yorkshire and Lancashire were becoming popular in the national show scene. There are several colours of Hamburgh, including black, silver spangled, gold spangled and pencilled varieties. The black and spangled are native varieties believed to originate from Yorkshire and Lancashire and were derived from the Pheasant Fowl and Moonies of those northern counties. The pencilled varieties were created in The Netherlands from the use of other European breeds. The Hamburgh is very similar in appearance to the Old English Pheasant Fowl, but smaller and just as lively and flighty. Being a small lightweight breed, chicks should be reared separately from larger breeds such as the Sussex to prevent unfair competition and ensure healthy growth.
The black Hamburgh is as far as known, derived from the black pheasant fowl of Yorkshire and is the least common of the Hamburgh varieties. There are as few as five breeders in the UK with perhaps fewer than 50 birds (2008). The diminishing numbers of black Hamburgh is likely to have resulted in the spangled varieties being bred into the black to keep the variety going. This can result in birchen offspring being produced particularly if crossed with other breeds. The Silver spangled variety is the most common, but both silver and gold varieties are very striking and attractively marked. Both large fowl and bantam versions exist, the bantam spangled varieties being more common than the large-fowl. The bantam version was initially created circa 1880-1890 by a Mr John William Farnsworth using undersized Silver Spangled Hamburgh cockerels, Sebrights and Rosecombs. There is much variation in bantam size. Many bantam Hamburghs are above the weight limit as noted by the standard but not large enough to be classed as large-fowl. It is then important to select by size and weight when breeding to maintain the bantam type and size.

Male and female spangled varieties have large heavy spangles at the tips of each feather. The spangle should be tear shaped with a ‘V’ shaped trailing edge running to the central vein (rachis) of the feather. Spangles are black with a green sheen. The spangles are larger than those of Old English Pheasant Fowl or Derbyshire Redcap. Black Hamburgh have an all over beetle green sheen, no purple should be seen. All sexes have slate grey coloured legs, medium sized white earlobes and a medium sized, low set, square fronted rose comb with a single straight leader that runs level with the top.


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