Ixworths do not have a breed club, so are classified as a rare breed and are looked after by the Rare Poultry Society in the UK.  They were created by Reginald Appleyard, originator of the famous Silver Appleyard breed of heavy duck. The chicken was named after the village of Ixworth in Suffolk where Reginald Appleyard was based.  According to Ian Kay’s book Stairway to the Breeds, Appleyard “commenced work on his poultry project in 1931 and continued it for seven years before he considered the birds ready for public display. The style of the breed is best described in his own words. He said that he wanted to establish a bird which was white feathered and was also white pigmented in both bone and flesh. The bone was not to be too heavy and wasteful, which also made the male birds more fertile. Reg very sensibly left us with details of the breeds used in his project, which are different from most of the breeds I have summarised. These breeds were White Old English Game, Indian Game, both Dark and Jubilee, White Sussex, White Orpingtons and, interestingly, White Minorcas.”

2021 breeding trio

Pictured above is the young cockerel that is heading this year’s breeding pen. For the 2020 breeding season, an unrelated cock (pictured left at 18 months of age and not quite through the moult) was used to produce this season’s pullets from our home produced hens. I think he has improved the growth rate and meatiness of the offspring, some of which are pictured below, with their sire 2nd from right:

I have found the breed to be easy to handle and the hens very good layers of cream coloured eggs. I have one spare 2020 hatched cockerel bred from two different bloodlines for sale for £15. Eggs for hatching are now available for collection by appointment. This year’s hatch of breeding pairs and trios are coming to point of lay and are now for sale.

2019 hatched Ixworth hen

A pair of Reginald Appleyard’s birds at the 1937 Dairy Show

Painting of Reginald Appleyard’s ideal Ixworths, by Wippell