We have covered a fair number of soft-feather breeds in this column over the past decade or so, but I am often asked by hard-feather breeders for a bit of a write up.
So, this is the coverage you asked for.
Hard-feather breeds are mostly specialty breeds rather than production breed, but they do lay a fair number of eggs and can be prepared for the table, if desired, with good results.
Over the next few issues I will deal with all the types, but let’s begin with the Indian Game.
The Indian is a heavy breed that lays tinted eggs of fair number and it comes in a number of colours - the dark, jubilee, blue-laced and white - of which the dark is the most common.
They have a hooded brow and rich orange/yellow legs with red lobes, wattle and comb with pearl to pale red eyes in all types.
The breed is a solid, low to the ground bird which is extremely good looking in the yard.
Our stock originally came from England and they have a quiet, non-flighty nature suited to most yards.
Another advantage is that they come in large and bantam to suit most types of enclosure.
One of the challenges of this breed is fertility as they are so large and close to the ground.
They lay well, but you may need to ensure the male birds don’t get too close to the ground and their legs remain of good length.
Some breeders have excellent results with artificial insemination.
Surprisingly, it is not that complex for the experienced owner.
Any reputable breeder of Indian Game can show you the techniques involved in artificial insemination if necessary.
One advantage is that the pullets and hens will go broody quite easily and hatching isn’t a problem.
The Indian Game will bring plenty of benefits to those looking for a good start in hard-feather and an attractive breed for the yard.
The breeders of Indians form a good group.
You would be most welcome as they love sharing the breed information.
Stock is also readily available in most areas.
I will cover another hard-feather breed in the next issue - so look out for that.