Old English Pheasant Fowl
2008 Watchlist; Category 2, Endangered.
The Old English Pheasant fowl originated in Yorkshire and Lancashire and on the fell farms of the old counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland, where they had been known under a wide number of names for hundreds of year. The picturesque names of golden, silver and black Pheasant Fowl, Lancashire Silver Mooniew, Yorkshire Pheasant, Manchester and Moss Pheasants were used for such birds until poultry shows came along and they became gradually lumped together under the general name of Hamburghs. From this same ancient lineage came the Old English Pheasant Fowl, officially named in 1914, when a specialist breed club was formed. There is no doubt that the breed is extremely old. The Feathered World Year Book of 1915 says “it is known to have been a favourite with the northern Dalesmen upwards of 100 years ago.”
The male bird has a red rosecomb, set firmly on the head, white earlobes, rich bay and mahogany colouring with striped top and laced breast, slate legs and feet and a graceful carriage. The hen is the same colouring, with crescent-shaped spangle markings.The breed today retains much of its original utility merits as a good layer of white or slightly tinted eggs, whilst producing a plump little table fowl. It is a hardy breed, suited to free range