Through its Poultry Working Group, RBST promotes knowledge and the keeping of UK native and rare breed livestock, including poultry. The Poultry Working Group includes representatives of the Poultry Club of Great Britain, The Rare Poultry Society, Turkey Club, Goose Club, Domestic Waterfowl Club and the British Waterfowl Association and individual poultry specialists.

RBST recognises large fowl and true bantams (although it is noted that some miniature versions of large fowl are also listed as rare). Not all of the breeds listed are numerically rare but all have been assessed as fulfilling specific criteria and may face other threats to their populations within the UK.

The full list of Poultry Breeds at Risk is included in the RBST Watchlist and among those are the following breeds of chicken which have been identified as priority breeds for support:

  • Andalusian

• Brussbar

• Burmese

• Campine

• Derbyshire Redcap

• Dorking 


• Malay 

Marsh Daisy

• Modern Game

• Modern Langshan

• North Holland Blue

• Old English Pheasant Fowl

• Rhodebar

• Rumpless Game

• Scots Dumpy

• Scots Grey

• Sicilian Buttercup

• Spanish

• Sultan

• Sussex

• Welbar

Choosing your stock

Since Victorian times, Standards have been written down for specific breeds. The Poultry Club of Great Britain is the guardian of the Standards, while specialist breed clubs delineate the Standards themselves.

The seventh edition of The Poultry Standards was published in 2018 and is a crucial tool in the preservation and conservation of many of our pure poultry breeds. It is the official reference used by judges at poultry shows in the UK and the Republic of Ireland and is intended to be a manual in the instruction and identification of breeds for everyone from the novice through to veterinary practitioners.

The publication is available from The Poultry Club and it contains complete specifications for all standardised breeds and varieties.

As well as ensuring that the birds you choose conform to the Standards, good health in your breeding stock is essential and this can be both seen and felt when you are choosing birds. You should look for sleek, well-furnished feathers which will form the protective cover for the birds in extremes of weather. They should have a healthy glow to the head with no apparent discoloration or weakness and in most varieties, faces and wattles should be a bright red. Eyes should be bright, standing out well from the head, and the nostrils dry.