Are you planning to raise chickens at home? If your answer to the question is a yes, then we’re assuming you have already heard about the different heritage chicken breeds. However, we won’t expect you to be experts about these birds. That is why we’ve created this comprehensive guide for you.
Becoming a loyal supporter for heritage chicken breeds is a great way to protect endangered species from extinction. But that’s not the only good thing you get. Aside from the fact that you harvest quality fresh eggs in the morning; you also get to enjoy tasty chicken meat.
So, what are heritage chicken breeds?
Heritage Chicken Breeds: Getting to Know Them
Known for their ability to quickly adapt to their environment and to a variety of climates, heritage chicken breeds are old-fashioned breeds that have been raised in country-style setups for centuries now. Compared to other breeds, they are healthier and can live longer. Family farmers prefer them because they produce more eggs.
Originally bred in Italy in 1851, the Ancona is known to hide well from predators. After it molts, the white-colored tips in its feather grow larger and increases in number. This breed is known to be energetic and active winter layers.
The Araucana is the only chicken breed that can lay colored eggs in shades of green, blue, or red. Its plumage differs in varieties of gold, brown white, black, and silver.
3. Blue Andalusian
Because of its elegant blue-laced feathers and excellent quality large white eggs, the Blue Andalusian is often referred to as a royalty. Its offspring may come in different colors, such as black, white, blue, or blackwhite.
4. Black Minorca
A favorite by many breeders, the Black Minorca is an excellent outdoor forager. This breed is a hardy and lays large chalk-white eggs.
5. Black Australorp
Often referred to as one of the best heavy breeds, the Black Australorp is bred by poultrymen for the reason of producing high-quality light brown eggs. Its meat even complements any recipe and is best served for dinner. Here’s another interesting fact about the Austrolorp. It is one of the most popular egg-laying breeds in Australia.
6. Buff Orpington
In the late 1800s to the early 1900s, the Buff Orpington is among the most popular heritage chicken breeds raised in American farms. It was because it lays great eggs in winter and its meat is exceptionally tasty.
7. Barred Plymouth Rock
Although it is somewhat heavier than the Rhode Island Red, many favor the Barred Plymouth Rock because it is capable of providing a steady supply of large, organic, brown eggs.
8. Columbian Wyandotte
It may look like an unusual bird, but the Columbian Wyandotte is a very practical fowl. It is a cross between Barred Plymouth Rocks and White Wyandottes. In addition, this bird is an excellent layer of brown eggs.
9. Dark Brahma
Admired because of its delicate plumage and gentle characteristic, the Dark Brahma is known to lay light to dark brown eggs. It originated in Asian countries, but was brought to New England in the 1800s by Chinese clipper ships.
Tagged as “the pioneer’s chicken”, the Dominique chicken breed lays brown eggs. Ancient settlers took this black-and-white medium-sized breed to the west. Since then, it was called “Dominikers”.
11. Golden Spangled Hamburg
Just like other Hamburg breeds, the Golden Spangled Hamburg is small in nature. However, it is an active and excellent layer of chalk-white eggs. Its origin dates back as early as the 17th century.
12. Mottled Houdan
With five toes, a beard, a V-shaped comb, and a crest, the Mottled Houdan is easily distinguished because of its odd appearance. But despite what it looks like, it is considered an excellent source of meat and white eggs.
13. New Hampshire
A popular dual-purpose breed, the New Hampshire is a great broiler. Then again, it is known to gain weight fast.
14. Partridge Cochin
The Partridge Cochin is a huge show bird type. While the males feature a bright hackle and saddle feathers with black centers, the hens boast a black-penciled plumage.
15. Rhode Island Red
Undoubtedly, the Rhode Island Red is the most popular among all dual-purpose heritage chicken breeds. The reason is that they make excellent broilers and produce good quality brown eggs.
16. Speckled Sussex
The Speckled Sussex is usually raised for both food and show. It was first introduced in England as a meat breed over a century ago. Now, poultry farmers raise it because it lays tinted or light brown eggs.
17. Single Comb Brown Leghorn
Among the Leghorn family, the Single Comb Brown Leghorn is undeniably the most colorful. This bird has the traits of its related species – lively disposition and large white eggs.
18. Silver Campine
A stable producer of white eggs, the Silver Campine is an exhibition chicken variety. Its light weight and tight feathers make it a stand out breed.
19. White Crested Black Polish
Its appearance may look elegant, but the White Crested Black Polish is more than just a pretty face. This bird, although loved for its rich color, is a practical and reliable layer of white eggs.
20. White Jersey Giant
Raised mainly for meat, the White Jersey Giant is popular because of its notable ability to resist diseases. Compared to the Reds and Rocks varieties, this bird matures slower.
By choosing the right chicken breed and having the right equipment like chicken coops, your new birds will provide you with organic and fresh eggs every morning!