adapted with permission from
SPPA Breed Brochure
Pyncheon Bantams have a long history, but disappeared from exhibition for most of the 20th century. Dedicated breeders have brought them back and are rediscovering this colorful breed and its history.
They are recognized by the American Bantam Association, but not the American Poultry Association. They are shown in the Single Comb Clean Leg class. Pyncheons are a medium size bantam, with cocks weighing 24 ounces, cockerels and hens weighing 22 ounces and pullets weighing 20 ounces. It has a tuft of feathers rising from the head behind its comb, with feathers draped down the neck. Its plumage is similar to the Mille Fleur color pattern. Shanks and toes need to be willow yellow, soles of feet yellow and earlobes bright red. Other colors will disqualify birds being shown.
Finding historical information on Pyncheons is a quest. Bantam Breeding and Genetics by Fred P. Jeffrey includes an article on Pyncheon Bantams, pages 83-84 in the 1977 edition.
It's very possible these first birds originated in Belgium, where the Mille Fleur color pattern originated, and where, in Flemish Belgium, families with the name Pyncheon may be found. It has been suggested to me that the breed may have been created by a Belgian poultry breeder of the name Pyncheon. The name would have passed on to the birds the way that Sir John Sebright gave his name to the bantam breed he created.
A look through information posted by breeders in forums online tells me the breed is inbred, with poor fertility, but they are good layers for bantams, and good broodies. They lay cream or tinted eggs, are winter hardy, and like to fly. According to Nathaniel Hawthorne, they say, the breed has existed in the U.S. since the mid-1700s. The breed is being promoted and interest is growing.
The characteristics unique to the Mille Fleur pattern in Pyncheon females include little to no black stippling in the neck hackles. Most Mille fleur varieties show a strip of black in the lower female neck hackle, a black strip that goes from the white spangle and extends up the shaft of the feather where it meets the body of the feather. Their hackle pattern is the exact same pattern as the breast, cushion, and back, uniform with the rest of the plumage. Color should predominate over white in the head, primary and secondary feathers. The undercolor should be slate shading to slatey buff at the base in males, medium slate shading to pale salmon at the base in females. "The undercolor of the Mille Fleur Pyncheon is just as important as the outer color," says Hart. "Without the proper balance of color, the bird looks foreign and not good Pyncheon color."
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