Norfolk Grey

A Norfolk Grey female
Photo courtesy of Frances A. Bassom

This bird, originally known as the Black Maria (pronounced Ma-ree-a), was developed as a utility breed before the First World War by a Fred Myhill of Norfolk. (The original name was considered too evocative of funerals so it was quickly dropped and the breed was renamed the Norfolk Grey.) It is said he created them by crossing Birchen Old English Games and Partridge Wyandottes. The single comb and face are a distinctive red color. This bird is classified as a heavy breed, although it is not all that large, males weighing in at 7 pounds and females around 6 pounds. Although a fair table bird and reasonable layer of brown eggs, as well as an excellent forager, the breed never caught on and by the early 1970s was declared extinct.

Then, in 1974, the last four birds of a private flock were discovered. By the diligent efforts of interested breeders this cockerel, "Arthur," and his three hens, have been the precursors to the revival of the breed. In 1989 there were over 180 Norfolk Greys in breeding flocks in England.


"Rocky," a Norfolk Grey cockerel
Photo courtesy of Steve Drakeley

A clear shot of the distinctive dark eye of the breed
Photo courtesy of Gina Upex

"Nancy," a Norfolk Grey pullet
Photo courtesy of David Hearn

A cockerel, hen and pullet
Photos courtesy of Gina Upex

"Rocky" and his ladies
Photo courtesy of Steve Drakeley

A Norfolk Grey male
Photo courtesy of Colin Clark & Fancy Fowl

Another Norfolk Grey hen
Photo courtesy of Rupert Stephenson

6-week-old cockerel (left) and pullet
Photos courtesy of Gina Upex


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