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Heritage Breeds?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Quail_Antwerp, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. Quail_Antwerp

    Quail_Antwerp [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]Mrs

    Aug 16, 2008
    Ok this may be a dumb question, but how does a person find out what breeds of chickens are Heritage breeds?

    I have Heritage Turkeys, and it was my understanding that Heritage merely meant a breed that can reproduce naturally replicas of itself in offspring? Is that a mistaken understanding on my part?

    If so, what breeds of chickens are truly heritage breeds? I am very interested in knowing this.


  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    No, even non-heritage birds can do that. This is a place to start... http://www.motherearthnews.com/Sustainable-Farming/2005-02-01/Enjoy-Heritage-Chickens.aspx
    a great article. Also we had a discussion on another thread about that and here is a quote from seriousbill:
    Quote:I'd say that's a good way of putting it, Cyn.

    The way I look at it is this: Delawares are a rare, old-time(heritage) breed that nearly died out in the 70's and 80's. A few breeders managed to salvage what they could of the remaining lines, and kept the breed going. Then later, when there was renewed interest in the old breeds, you started to see a lot of hatcheries adding Delawares to their lists of stock. That might sound like a good thing, and in a way, maybe it is, but not all of the hatcheries have been very careful about the amount of "outcrossing" they do in order to produce larger numbers of a truly rare breed (also since the Del color pattern is dominant, it's really easy to do this and still get birds that "look" like Dels). Therefore, some Del breeders tend to differentiate between "hatchery Delawares" and "heritage Delawares." It's a touchy subject, and different breeders have different policies on it. Some never mix lines; others do. It gets more complicated when you consider that not all hatcheries or breeders are equal on the issue. But, for the most part, I'd consider a "heritage" Delaware to be one obtained from a breeder who has taken care to procure and breed from non-hatchery stock.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Anything that's not a modern commercial strain nor a hybrid nor real recently developed, I think, will commonly be referred to as a heritage breed by many people.

    Thus for example, sexlinks = no, modern commercial Leghorn or brown layer strains = no, CornishX broilers = no; almost everything else = yes.

    I do not personally see the term "heritage breed" as meaning a whole big lot, honestly. If you are interested in breeds of a certain age or historical role you would have to research that as a subject in and of itself; and of course even for those breeds, modern lines do not always closely resemble what there was Way Back Then.

    (e.t.a - I would like to see better distinction made in conversation regarding what Cyn's post talks about -- chickens that are nominally X breed, versus chickens that are from a well-maintained older-style line of that breed. The way people seem to use 'heritage breed' often seems to gloss over that entirely)


    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008
  4. Quail_Antwerp

    Quail_Antwerp [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]Mrs

    Aug 16, 2008
    Thank you for the replies.

    Thank you for the link speckled hen, I am going to check that out. Delewares were one of the breeds I was considering to add at a later time. (depends on how many coops and runs I can convince DH to let me put out here [​IMG] )

    With the hatchery deal, what I am wondering is this, I have speckled sussex that were hatchery stock, so even if I breed them and continually get just SS out of them, I could never say they are heritage breed because I don't know if they were cross bred with anything else?

    Assuming SS are a heritage breed...I haven't clicked that link yet to find out!
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008
  5. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Songster

    Oct 18, 2007

    will tell you which breeds are in danger of giong into short supply, they dont neccesarily break them down as heritage/ not heritage.

    from albc Delawares, originally called "Indian Rivers," were developed by George Ellis of Delaware in 1940 and were used for the production of broilers.

    I guess a definition of what heritage means needs to be established, 30 years from now will Showgirls be considered a heritage breed??

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