Are Delawares really a heritage breed?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by crperdue, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. crperdue

    crperdue Chillin' With My Peeps

    318
    1
    131
    Oct 30, 2008
    Lake Waccamaw, NC
    Not trying to pick a fight, just wondering what others think.

    ALBC does list the Delaware as a heritage breed. This is the
    definition used by ALBC:

    1. APA Standard breed
    2. Naturally mating
    3. Long, productive life
    4. Slow growing (not less than 16 weeks to market weight)

    Based on the ALBCs own definition, I see where the Delaware might
    not meet the definition based on #4. Whitmore Farm in MD raises
    their Delawares based on market weight at 12 weeks.

    I think the Delaware doesn't have the same background as other breeds
    we think of as heritage. It was only recently developed as the first true
    confinement broiler breed (late 1940's).

    If there were not Delawares running around on small homesteads in the
    1800's then is the Delaware really a "heritage" breed?

    (BTW: I think they are awesome birds no matter if we call them heritage or not!)
     
  2. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation

    Quote:ALBC lists them, and they obviously meet the criteria or they wouldn't be on the list. I don't understand what your confusion with this is. Yes, they are a heritage breed.
     
  3. crperdue

    crperdue Chillin' With My Peeps

    318
    1
    131
    Oct 30, 2008
    Lake Waccamaw, NC
    Maybe my idea of "heritage" isn't the same as the definition
    used by the ALBC. Ok, let me list why I think they might not
    be a heritage breed.

    - Breed is very young (developed in 1940's)
    - Was bred to be a confinement broiler

    This doesn't seem to fit the word heritage to me. I do think they
    are great birds. It just sounds funny every time I hear someone
    refer to them as heritage birds when they were in essence developed
    in a factory instead of a farm.
     
  4. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

    5,644
    369
    303
    Jan 14, 2008
    If there were not Delawares running around on small homesteads in the
    1800's then is the Delaware really a "heritage" breed?

    You cite the ALBC's definitions as the gold standard but nowhere in those definitions does it mention 1800's Homesteads? Where did that come from? Personally I regard "Heritage Breeds" as those breeds that have been around for some time but are rarely seen any more. I believe the concept of "heritage Breeds" is primarily directed at maintaining shrinking gene pools.
    Other than picking a fight what would the purpose of this post be? An exercise in hair-splitting?​
     
  5. crperdue

    crperdue Chillin' With My Peeps

    318
    1
    131
    Oct 30, 2008
    Lake Waccamaw, NC
    Quote:I actually really like the breed. That's why I have been reading about the history behind them.
    I just thought that applying the term heritage to them seems odd and was wondering if anyone
    else thought that as well.
     
  6. Lotsapaints

    Lotsapaints Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2010
    Paso Robles, CA
    Well the poultry industry isn't like it was in the 40's that's for sure let's see that was 70 years ago...and Dels were a cross of Barred Rocks they're a Heritage breed and New Hampshires hummm they're a heritage breed too. Do you know how much prize money was paid out to poultry around the turn of the century? Keep on reading and I hope you decide to raise some. Developing the Delaware was one man's dream carried on by another dreamer. For your information most poultry running around at a homestead in the 1800's was a dunghill depends on who your neighbors were as to what your dunghills looked like...
     
  7. RAREROO

    RAREROO Overrun With Chickens

    4,516
    25
    254
    Jul 22, 2009
    Alapaha, Ga
    Quote:I agree more with this definition but I would like to add breeds that are rarely seen with desent quality any more. There are several birds that come a dime a dozen that are called certain breeds, like RIRs, but hatchery Production Reds are a completly different that true Heritage RIRs and that may lead to confusing when people see that RIRs are a heritage breed and think that their Production Reds are a heritage breed. If that makes sense.
     
  8. jeremy

    jeremy CA Royal Blues

    8,122
    131
    326
    Mar 23, 2008
    Oakland, CA
    Quote:ALBC lists them, and they obviously meet the criteria or they wouldn't be on the list. I don't understand what your confusion with this is. Yes, they are a heritage breed.

    Expanding a bit on Kathy's initial thought...

    I'm not really understanding your confusion either. Plus, basing your argument on criteria/standards only being used by 1 breeder/hatchery doesn't really qualify in my book.

    Based on the ALBCs own definition, I see where the Delaware might
    not meet the definition based on #4. Whitmore Farm in MD raises
    their Delawares based on market weight at 12 weeks.


    No I'm not trying to demerit Whitmore Farm's belief that their Delawares may or may not be at "market weight" by 12 weeks BUT that's only 1 breeder. Who yes may have bred their birds to become heavier earlier than others. Some Del breeders probably breed more towards a bird that will be more productive in egg laying. While others still try to find a balance, seeing how the birds are considered dual purpose.

    That's why these birds (in my book) are considered Heritage. They were once a thriving breed that has since dwindled in numbers. Now you have dedicated few who are trying to bring them back, many by trial and error. You work with the stock you have, working towards the standard, etc. Trying to not only reach the SOP but to also replenish the breed to what it once was before.

    Heritage? Yes.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2010
  9. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    11,005
    423
    328
    Jun 1, 2009
    Ohio
    Quote:Makes sense to me....

    R.I. Red from good breeder -- Heritage

    R.I. Red from hatchery -- Not Heritage

    Chris
     
  10. crperdue

    crperdue Chillin' With My Peeps

    318
    1
    131
    Oct 30, 2008
    Lake Waccamaw, NC
    Quote:But that isn't the "heritage" of this breed is it? They were not bred to be dual purpose, though I certainly would say that they are now.

    That brings up a great question. Do the birds we know as Delawares today resemble and perform just as the birds as they were developed back in the 40's? If not, what has changed?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by