Key Characteristics

The ‘modern’ Rosecomb is the product of the exhibition fancy, a stunningly individual and attractive looking bird, particularly the males. It has been called the Rolls Royce of show birds. Breeders say it is a challenge to breed a good show quality bird, but it is very rewarding when it happens. At a practical level it offers no utility performance so to speak of. However due to its small size it is ideal for those who have limited space. It is very popular as an ornamental garden bird.

They have a short showing life. Sadly after the first moult the males big tail hackles are lost, they rarely grow back to the same extent. Furthermore the ear lobes are prone to blistering. If the birds are allowed outside the ear lobes turn off-white.

Despite the birds petite appearance, a rosecomb can be quite a hardy bird with many breeders wintering the birds in outside pens. Some breeders choose to keep their birds inside for breeding/showing purposes. It is an inquisitive bird that likes to forage amongst vegetation without destroying gardens, unlike other poultry breeds. Typically the birds display a feisty character, both males and females will establish a pecking order amongst themselves if newcomers are mixed into an established group. They are good fliers, sometimes roosting in trees if given free-range.

The hens are not known for their broodiness, but following a hatch will make good mothers. Hatches are normally small in number due to the size of the bird.


  • Earliest documents on the breed date back to 1483 when a John Buckton, who owned the Angel Inn in Grantham, raised black Rosecomb bantams.
  • As he inherited the birds from his father they must have been in existence at the Angel Inn for several decades prior to this year.
  • The breed has been developed by exhibition breeders.


  • The Rosecomb is a member of a group known as ‘true bantams’ which means they have no large-fowl counterpart.
  • It is dominated by its striking head featuring impressive bright red comb, wattles and face that contrast with the feathering and the dazzlingly white ear lobes.
  • There are 6 standardised colours – black (the most popular), white, blue, black/red, columbian and birchen. 



They are not kept for their egg yield, but this can average 120 small cream coloured eggs per year, with very few eggs being laid during the winter period.

Did you know?

The breed is named for its striking comb. Unlike a single comb, a rose comb lies flat on the head and is covered in rounded knobs. The comb should extend from the back of the head into a spike.

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust is the leading national charity working to conserve and protect the United Kingdom's rare native breeds of farm animals from extinction. We rely on the support of our members, grants and donations from the public to raise the £700,000 a year needed to maintain our conservation work with rare UK native breeds of farm animals. Visit to see how you can help.

Breed Societies

Rosecomb Bantam Club

Support RBST

Your support can help us save the UK’s rarest breeds of farm animals.

Upcoming Events