Despite being bred in Scotland for over a hundred years; and the fact that it had probably been around much longer than that this breed was nearly extinct. They were originally known as Crawlers and Creepers because of their very short legs. Fowls of this description were described as early as 1678 in Britain. Similar birds existed since 900 A.D. and were probably brought by Phoenician traders. In Europe there are similar breeds these are the German Creeper and the French Courtes Pattes.
All the breeds have extremely short legs with the Dumpy standard requiring shanks of no more than 1 .5 inches (3.75 cm). Unfortunately the Dumpy will revert back to a longer legged type and if the shorter legged birds are regularly bred together they develop a lethal gene, where approximately 25% of the eggs will be infertile, 25% give long legged chicks and 50% short legged chicks similar to the lethal gene in crested birds.
When both the females and the females walk its more of a waddle. Infact they walk like a large duck does and so they look like they are swimming on dry land. Its great to watch!
Just how short are the legs?
Well pretty short! Measuring just 1.5 inches or 3.75cms they have the smallest legs of all the normal sized chickens.
How many do I need to buy?
I would suggest buying in pairs. Chickens are social animals and Scots Dumpy’s i’ve found are happier when not totally on their own. A great number for a backyard flock is 6. You can then always scale up from there if you want to buy more.
How much space do they need?
They don’t walk too far due to their leg size but prefer free range conditions but will handle some confinement. Typically 11sqft per bird is a minimum average the more space the better as they are good foragers and will eat lots of insects and grubs.
The are available in Black, Cuckoo (Light grey with dark grey bands), White, Brown, Gold and Silver. In all varieties the eyes are red and feet are white except in the black and cuckoo where they are black and mottled respectively.
Fantastic if you want a breed that’s native to Scotland with loads of history! Their short legs comes with an advantage, if you plan on keeping these beauties free range they wont scratch around much. Some chickens will jump into flower beds and kick around the soil and pull up plants and ruin vegetables plots. The Scots Dumpy wont do either. Add in too that they will lay quite a terrific number of eggs per year. They would make a great addition to your backyard flock.
Males will weight 3.20kg (7lb) whilst the females should weigh 2.70kg (6lb)
The Bantam naturally weight less being smaller. The males weigh 800g (1 ¾ lb) and the females 675g (1 ½ lb).
Light / Soft feather
120-200 per annum
Temperament and would they make good pets?
Yes they make brilliant pets. They are docile and very calm in temperament. They will fit in anyway in fact because of their native Scotland being very wet and windy weather they are a hardy breed. The males can be noisy at dawn, of all the cockerels they will more than likely crow first.
How do I tame Scots Dumpys
They are naturally placid birds so will tame well. If you handle them 2-3 times per day as chicks they will become much tamer than if you dont. If you get your Dumpys are adults id start by offering them treats from your hands, they just cant resist. They will gradually get closer and closer and soon allow you to pick them up without any fuss.
How much do I need to feed them?
Chickens will eat ¼ of a pound (113g) of feed a day and will eat more in the morning than the afternoon. So its good practice to feed them in the morning after letting them out. Chickens don’t have curtains and are more in tune with the natural rhythm of day and night than humans. So they will wake up fairly early around dawn and you may not let them out for a few hours after that so breakfast is key for them.
When and what do I feed them?
From chicks to 6 weeks old they should be eating ‘chick crumb’ or ‘chick starter’ this is perfect for them at this stage as it contains all the right nutrients they need.
From 6 weeks to 18 weeks they eat grower mash or growers pellets. The clue is in the name they are growing so fast they need all the vital nutrients in the feed. This feed contains 15-16% protein.
At 18 weeks they will begin to start to the process of laying eggs. Their bodies now need a different feed so they can cope with the needs that egg production brings. Layers pellets or layers mash is designed for birds on the point of lay and laying birds. They will then eat this forevermore. But not just this – they will require grit.
For further information on feeding chickens head over to the chicken feeds page for more in-depth reading.
What do I need to keep Dumpys
A coop, but just just any old one. Something with not too steep a ramp up into it. Their small stout legs means walking up or down anything isn’t the easiest.
A waterer – as chicks especially they need one with a low lip so they can access it easily. These come in both plastic and metal, I would always say get a metal one. They last longer, left outside the plastic ones will crack and split. A metal one is slightly heavier and this is an advantage. It less likely to be knocked over. Imagine if you out all day and they knock it over and all the water comes out. By the end of a hot day they will have dehydration. Chickens actually prefer cooler water and a metal one will always keep the water cooler than a plastic one.
A feeder – now there as various different types. I’d recommended something that has easy access. They aren’t likely with there little legs to be climbing over the feeder like other breeds always do. Again id go metal, it will last so much longer. Try not to leave feed out all day as this will attract vermin.