Pekin

Other Names: Barred, Birchen, Black, Blue, Buff, Columbian, Cuckoo, Lavendar, Partridge, Silver Partridge, Gold Partridge, White, Salmon, Red, Splash, Mottled, Millefleur

Type: Bantam

The Pekin only comes as a bantam and are often only between 20 to 30 centimetres tall. They have a rounded body, a carriage that tilts forward and with their head just slightly closer to the ground than their tail feathers. Their feet are completely feathered which give the whole bird the appearance of a feathered ball. The males have slightly longer feather on the feet. Their docile and placid nature make them ideal as pets, particularly with children, and with regular handling, are quite happy to sit contentedly and be petted. Roosters can be aggressive particularly when mature and defending territory.

It is certain that the origins of this breed are in China. However, their arrival in England is subject to debate, with allegations of 'looting' from the private collection of the Emperor of China at Peking around 1860, to suggestions of consignments being delivered to Queen Victoria around 1835. None of these alleged arrivals in the west are substantiated.

Pekin bantams are round, and their carriage tilts forward, with the head slightly closer to the ground than their elaborate tail feathers. This 'tilt' is a key characteristic of the pekin bantam. They have sometimes been described as looking like little walking teacosies, or feathery footballs. The cockerels often have longer feathers that protrude outwards from their feet. The range of pekin colours is extensive, including black, white, buff, lavender, mottled, buff and red. Rarer colours are in great demand, and many breeders spend years perfecting new lines of colours in their birds.

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