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Heritage Breeding

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by HughesFowlFarm, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. HughesFowlFarm

    HughesFowlFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    I don't own any heritage breed chickens. I was maybe looking into getting some. What makes the difference from regular and heritage?
    I guess an example question would be.
    What is the difference between hatchery Delawares and heritage delewares?
    (Any heritage not just delewares)

    What makes heritage so special? Do they lay more eggs? Do they weigh more? Are they show birds?
    Any input would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Heritage strains usually lay fewer eggs.

    Heritage strains are just strains of a breed that meet the original characteristics of a breed. Most hatcheries have bred for egg production, so body size, coloring, and mothering instinct have often been changed.

    Do you plan to show chickens? If not, you will probably be fine buying Delaware chickens from a hatchery. Buy a bunch of them and select the chickens that meet your needs. If you want to breed them, you will probably be able to find a broody Delaware hen.
     
  3. HughesFowlFarm

    HughesFowlFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    But do heritage chickens meet standard of perfection? Do people who get 20 birds from a hatchery, breed them to what they prefer or like, and just sell them calling them "heritage"?
     
  4. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, the heritage strain is trying to meet the standard of perfection for a breed.

    I suppose a person could start with hatchery purchased chickens and start selecting them to meet the standard of perfection.

    Heritage is a name that is thrown around a lot. It is a name that someone came up with to indicate that a strain was bred for the standard of perfection of the original breed.

    Do you plan to show chickens?
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    We have a number of heritage threads here.

    Heritage Rhode Island Red Thread
    Heritage Large Fowl thread
    Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch Barred Rocks
    Delaware's from KathyinMO
    Homesteading with Heritage Large Fowl

    And many others. Those just come to mind. Take your time and do your research. I may not have those thread names precisely right, but close enough for you to find them with a quick search.

    Read the website on Poultry at the American Breed and Livestock Conservatory. Great information there as well.


    The difference, simply put, is that Heritage is bit of a misnomer, but was coined to express something important. The original birds had a tremendous heritage, but that heritage is being lost, frankly. Think heirloom seeds. The true bred, bred to the Standard, heritage lines are rare. They are usually gorgeous, bigger, slower growing, more docile and much truer to their original intent. There really is a night and day difference. You'll only find true bred, Heritage birds by contacting breeders, fanciers and those who are dedicated to preserving these lines of old time fowl. You cannot get them from the large, retail hatcheries. Hope that helps.

    Below are two photos. The first is a pair of hatchery Barred Rocks. The second is a young pair of our Heritage Ringlet line Barred Rocks that have been pure bred and standard bred for 100 years. You decide if even visually there is a difference. What the photos cannot show is the difference in size and demeanor. Click on any photo to enlarge.


    [​IMG]


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    Here are some drawings and posters from a century ago, the early 1900's. Which of the above pair of Barred Rocks better represent the true, heritage, heirloom birds pictured below?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  6. HughesFowlFarm

    HughesFowlFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    The bottom 2 look ALOT more like the drawings.
     
  7. HughesFowlFarm

    HughesFowlFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Honestly? I've thought about it. I would really like to show Barred Rocks, I've got 3 that are a month old, I may try to show them when they are grown.
    [​IMG]
    The only problem is I don't know for sure if they are purebred or not, I bought them from someone who bought them from a sale barn. One has brown around its eyes and is crooked toes.
    [​IMG]
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    Looking at the pictures from the ones above, these don't look anything like heritage standards and with the crooked toes one especially with the brown around its eyes. I don't know if they would even be able to show. I have 1 chick that just hatched Saturday that I know for a fact is a pure bred Hampshire red. I may show it when it is full grown.
     
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Here's a fairly average, to better than average hatchery Barred Rock rooster. Not too awful bad, but is he representative of the heritage of the Breed? Well......... only slightly. Many look far worse.



    [​IMG]


    Here's one of our cockbirds. Bad, cellphone, barn photo, but nonetheless. That was HIS baby picture featured above. LOL


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    And here are his grandsires. Glamour, outdoor shots.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  9. HughesFowlFarm

    HughesFowlFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Those bottom 2 roosters are VERY good looking. Do you ever sell your birds, or maybe sell hatching eggs?
     
  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Yes, but there's also another difference between most breeders who are preserving the heritage birds, fanciers and breeders for shows and the retail hatcheries, feed stores, auctions and other places people get birds easily.

    Breeders normally only keep their breeding pens together from January through April. They do not "wear out" their birds. This time of year, it would be very unlikely to find most breeders selling eggs. However, this is an awesome time to pick up juvenile birds. Many folks will be paring down their flocks soon. No breeder can carry a ton of birds through the upcoming winter. Those breeders will be trimming or may already be trimming their flocks. Shipping is quite pricey, but soooooo worth it.

    If you are within driving distance, you can make arrangements to pick them up.

    Also, many folks will attending the heavy poultry show season the fall. Many folks bring excess birds to sell at the shows. There will be a bunch of top notch shows in September through December, because it will be cooler to transport birds.
     

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