This bird has been around for over a century and was once known as the Yorkshire Pheasant, Copper Moss, Golden Pheasant or Old Fashioned Pheasant and is a rare breed now. The Pheasant name comes from the spangled plumage of the female. It gained its present name in 1914 when it was classed as a light breed. It is usually kept for egg production but can be used as a dual purpose bird as the cockerel can produce a good amount of tasty meat and the breed is well suited to a farmyard environment. It originates and has existed in Yorkshire and Lancashire for centuries and is related to the Hamburg and Derbyshire Redcap. The feathers are spangled with a crescent shaped spot at the end of each feather and they have a red rose comb, smooth face, white earlobes and red wattles. The legs are slate grey and featherless, as are the feet, and it is a graceful looking bird. There is a quater size bantam version but this is very rarely seen these days.
They are fairly wild and active birds with a habit of roosting in trees and they are best suited to free ranging. They are extremely hardy and thrive in the cold winters in the North of England. They lay a good number of large white or cream eggs but the pullets don’t usually come into lay until they are around 7 months of age. They do tend to go broody and make very good mothers. Chicks are vigorous and strong but take a long time to mature. Hens weigh approximately 5-6lb while the cockerels are 6-7lb.
There are two varieties available; the gold and silver. The gold has rich bay coloured feathers with darker markings while the Silver has white feathering with beetle green/black markings.