A pair of Manx Rumpies
Photo courtesy of Dr. Albert McGraw

The Unique Manx Rumpies

by Dr. Albert McGraw
424 County Road 93, Box 132
Anderson, AL 35610

with permission from
SPPA Bulletin, 1997, 2(4):12-13

I have been raising what [are] known as the Manx Rumpies for many, many years. Actually, it was around 1958 that I was first introduced to the odd, yet most beautiful breed of poultry by a late friend of mine who, in turn, had been raising them for a long while.

Practically all I know about the Manx Rumpies has been derived from my late friend. In other words, despite the fact I have tried several times to do some research on the breed, I met with complete failure. But, be that as it may, I am only too glad to pass along what I learned from my friend about the breed, plus what I have learned about them from having bred them for a plethora of years as well.

According to my late friend, a relative of his who was a resident of California, supplied him with two clutches of eggs his flock had produced, and from those thirty or so eggs, my friend had the good fortune of establishing a sizable flock. He liked the birds so well that he raised them as long as he lived.

The relative who brought my friend the original clutch of eggs, had procured his stock from a neighbor whose forbearers were natives of ancient Persia, or more specifically from the general area where Iraq is located.

According to my friend who ordered eggs from which he established his original Manx Rumpie mating, the gentleman conveyed to him that the unique breed had been raised by his family members for a long, long while, and he was carrying on the family tradition.

My late friend, from whom I obtained my original mating, saw Manx Rumpie eggs advertised in a copy of some farm magazine--the Progressive Farmer, if my memory serves me correctly. But, be that as it may, the breed had, for many, many years been referred to as Persian Rumpless. However, with the passing of time, and one no longer heard anything about Persia once the country was divided into other nations, they were given the present name of Manx Rumpies, having derived the name, at least in part, from the Manx cat. The name is very fitting according to my way of thinking, since their tail feathers slough off and turn downward which quite resembles the tail of the Manx cat.

The California native believed, according to what my late friend learned from him, the Manx Rumpie has been in existence for several centuries. Some of the reasons why he believed as much was due to his having been exposed at one time or another to vintage poultry books which showed pictures of them dating back to at least a century or more. Additionally, he had also heard his older kin state that the exceptionally great Manx Rumpie had been raised by their grandparents, and in some cases, by their great grandparents. Such a time frame would have amounted to at least 200 years.

The Manx Rumpie is found in a wide range of colors and rarely, if ever, two birds will have the same color pattern, provided, of course, they consist of multi-colored birds, which many of them do. There are, however, a plethora of birds that hatch to solid colors such as buff, red, black, and in rare instances, white. By and large, all birds will sport a small, single comb, and, in many instances, there is somewhat of a wild look about their eyes.

The average weight for cock birds is 5-6 pounds, and for females, 4.5-5.5 pounds.

The upswing in fertility, no doubt, amounted to the fact that, with fewer birds composing each of the three flocks, the males could more easily spot each other when one was in the process of mating, and, as a result, two or three males would proceed to mate with the same female. Such a scenario resulted in greatly enhancing fertility.

As good fortune would have it, I experienced no difficulty whatever in filling the order I had received from personnel at the Maryland Poultry Husbandry facility. Furthermore, filling orders for lesser amounts proved to be "a breeze" from that point on, whereas, before that point in time, I often had difficulty filling orders for as few as 15 chicks.

It has been my experience throughout the many years that I have raised this most interesting breed that, by and large, fewer than 5% of the chicks will have the conventional tail. Now and then, a chick will hatch with what I refer to as a semi-rumpless tail. Such a bird has three or four feathers that usually turn downward. To me, those birds are completely unattractive, and they inevitably wind up in the stew pot.

Through the long time frame that I have been affiliated with this breed, I have experimented with crossing a Manx Rumpie female with a conventional male and found, and not particularly to my dismay, I might add, that the offspring is not worthy of their feed. Such a mating produced a high percent of semi-rumpless birds; also, many of the chicks had the conventional tail, while something like 20-25% were completely rumpless. When using a female conventional bird with a Manx Rumpie male, all percentages resulting from the conventional male and the Manx Rumpie female, closely paralleled.

The Manx Rumpie is an extra good layer of brown or tinted eggs. They likewise make good clucks. Leg color varies widely. Some have yellow legs while others have blue or almost black legs.

As ironic as it turned out to be, during the war known as DESERT STORM, I was privileged to have seen dozens of Manx Rumpie chickens via TV on two occasions in the countryside of Iraq. On both occasions, they were located on farms in close proximity to Baghdad, which leads me to believe that it is quite possible Manx Rumpies are still raised in great numbers in that part of the world. Without exception, both flocks, consisting of a total of around 15 to 20 birds, were 100% Manx Rumpies.

Although I have never heard dialogue or read anything about my supposition that Manx Rumpies and Rumpless Araucanas are rather closely related, I am definitely inclined to believe in such a theory. Offhand, I would guess the two breeds to be at least first cousins, and for the reason that many Rumpless Araucanas are colored precisely like the Manx Rumpies, not only the varicolored ones, but the solid color ones as well. Their physical makeup is identical. And, to further substantiate my belief, Rumpless Araucanas sometimes lay eggs that are neither green nor blue, but brown like the Manx Rumpies. However, I have found that no more than 1 female in a hundred will lay a blue or green egg. In any case, I am quite positive that the original mating of both breeds somewhere out there in the distant past, was on and the same.

The Manx Rumpies is definitely one of my several favorites, and for numerous reasons. First of all, I like them because they are so terribly different from all other breeds. Additionally, I like them because they sport such a constellation of colors. Finally, I like them because my late friend asked me to be sure and continue raising them should something happen to him. The least I can do is to abide by his wishes, for I feel I owe him such an honor.



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