Geese, ducks, large fowl, Bantams and new poultry varieties enter the APA Standard of Perfection
by Christine Heinrichs
New poultry breeds and varieties are continually making their way toward recognition by the American Poultry Association (APA). Several new breeds will be included in the 150th Anniversary edition of the published Standard of Perfection, to be celebrated at the Ohio National Poultry Show, November 10 to 12, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio.
A breed is considered an established group with reliably reproducible characteristics. Varieties within a breed may differ by color pattern, comb, or beard. The process of achieving APA recognition for any breed is deliberately complex, requiring 10 years or more to complete: At least five years of breeding followed by another five years to document and show the breed.
Breeds applying for recognition usually have a breed organization helping them through the process. Jacob Bates, APA Licensed Judge and former Vice President of the International Waterfowl Breeders Association, supported the Buff African and Silver Muscovy applications for the Standard.
Bates credited Dave Holderread of Holderread Waterfowl Farm & Preservation Center in Oregon for creating the buff variety and propagating it with breeders across the country. The Buff African is a good all-around goose, according to Holderread, with all the qualities of White and Brown African geese. They’re good meat birds with watchdog qualities.
“They are pretty geese, in good feather,” Holderread said. “Africans have always been one of my favorites.”
John Monaco, former APA President and member of the Standard Committee for more than 20 years, agreed. “The Buff African was one of the major additions; the only goose added since the Steinbacher in 2011,” Monaco said.
The Silver Muscovy results from double-diluting the blue gene. It’s genetically equivalent to the splash color variety in chickens. The silver pattern is genetically different from lavender. Silvers have been around for a long time, but efforts hadn’t been focused on getting them recognized in the Standard.
“If you are breeding blues, you will make silvers,” Bates said. The color pattern fades easily in the sunlight, but it’s “really pretty,” featuring silver feathers with a faint lacing on them.
Bates lauds Muscovies for being functional and productive, as well as beautiful. They’re good foragers, good meat birds, and produce plenty of eggs.
“To me, Muscovies are a multipurpose breed,” he said. Their abilities as good brooders are unmatched. Bates puts eggs that are otherwise hard to hatch under Muscovies. “Set them under a Muscovy and they’ll hatch ’em for you.”
Standard Large Fowl
The Black Marans variety was added to join existing Marans chicken varieties, including Black Copper, White, and Wheaten. All varieties lay dark brown eggs.
As president of the Marans Chicken Club USA, Fernando del Aguila Jr. of Georgia led the application for recognition. He and other breeders worked with Black Marans developed by Bev Davis of Texas.
“It was a long but rewarding process,” del Aguila said. “Working with the APA was intense, as attention and adherence to the Standard are priority. However, they provided great input and guidance along the way.”
The Black Copper variety is the most popular, but del Aguila describes Black Marans as “more elegant,” for the green sheen on their black feathers. He recommends interested novice and intermediate breeders work with them.
“It allows more focus on type and feather integrity,” he said. “The Black Marans are an excellent bird to work with.”
The Black Breasted Red Phoenix met a straightforward approval, following a strong application and qualifying meets. The variety’s Black Breasted Red pattern (known as “BBR” for short) is long established.
“The color was always very good,” John Monaco said of the BBR Phoenix, which joins established Silver and Golden varieties.
Barnevelders had been in the Standard since 1991, but the description was revised in May 2017, changing details about its shape and color, and adding detail to the neck, tail, and wing descriptions.
“The changes describe what the breed should look like in a much clearer form,” Monaco said.
The Self Blue Ameraucana is also known as Lavender. It joins eight other color varieties, including Wheaten and Blue Wheaten, illustrated in the Standard. Ameraucanas lay distinctive blue eggs.
The large fowl Splash variety is next up. The Ameraucana Breeders Club will hold the second qualifying meet for Splash Ameraucanas at the Ohio National. Contact the club at AmeraucanaBreedersClub.org for more information.
Five color varieties of Bantams are new to the Standard: Bearded Self Blue Silkie Bantam; Ginger Red Modern Game Bantam; Black Breasted Red Rosecomb Bantam; Buff Columbian Cochin Bantam; and Lemon Blue Cochin Bantam.
The BBR Rosecomb and the Cochins were accepted through a provision of the APA Bylaws that allows the results of the annual qualifying meet to be replaced by American Bantam Association show reports.
Breeder Bill Mackowski of Maine has been involved with poultry for 65 years and focused on Cochins for the past 15. He works to perfect the Lemon Blue Bantams. The Standard calls for lemon color in the head and hackle of the males and a lustrous lemon on the back and saddle. He finds the type is very good, and the color in the females is close to its description.
“The hackles could be lighter, but body color and lacing are right on,” he said, noting that color in males is more difficult to perfect.
“It’s my feeling that the influence of the Brown Reds in the males makes the head, hackle, saddle, and back too orange,” he said. “I can get perfect hackle color in the Lemon Splash sport. But even breeding Lemon Splash to lighter lemon hackled hens doesn’t result in the proper lemon color in the males. They’re a very challenging variety to work with.”
150th Anniversary Standard
All these breeds and varieties will be included in the 45th edition of the Standard of Perfection as part of the 150th celebrations, which will be introduced at the Ohio National in November. The Standard will have a new look, with pictures accompanying as many as 70% of breed descriptions, according to Monaco.
All these breeds and varieties testify to the dedication of breeders who aspire to bring their birds to meet the APA’s standards.
“It’s going to take dedicated breeders who want to preserve the breed,” Jacob Bates said.
The list covers a range of colorful varieties of currently recognized breeds:
- Bearded Self Blue Silkie Bantam, December 2010
- Ginger Red Modern Game Bantam, December 2010
- Black Breasted Red Rosecomb Bantam, April 2019
- Buff Columbian Cochin Bantam, April 2019
- Lemon Blue Cochin Bantam, April 2019
- Standard Wheaten Malay Male, May 2017
- Standard Wheaten Shamo Male, May 2017
- Standard Barnevelder (revised), May 2017
- Standard Black Breasted Red Phoenix, September 2017
- Standard Black Marans, January 2020
- Standard Self Blue Ameraucana, January 2020
- Buff African Goose, November 2018
- Silver Muscovy, 2021
Check with these hatcheries to purchase some of these newly recognized breeds.
• The American Association of Poultry https://amerpoultryassn.com/
• Find the official details in the APA Bylaws, https://amerpoultryassn.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Constitution-By-Laws-November-2021-PDF.pdf Article VI American Standard of Perfection, Section 2, Admission of Breed and Varieties.
• Standard descriptions are on the APA website at https://amerpoultryassn.com/accepted-breeds-varieties/newly-added-to-standard/
• Ohio National Poultry Show http://www.ohionational.org/
• International Waterfowl Breeders Association https://officialiwba.weebly.com/
• Holderread Waterfowl Farm & Preservation Center https://www.holderreadfarm.com/
• Marans Chicken Club USA https://maranschickenclubusa.com/
• Ameraucana Breeder Club http://ameraucanabreedersclub.org/self-blue%20sop.html.
• Cochin International https://www.cochinsint.com/
CHRISTINE HEINRICHS is the author of How to Raise Chickens, available through the Countryside store, and How to Raise Poultry and The Backyard Field Guide to Chickens, available on the APA’s website, https://amerpoultryassn.com/store/