"Heritage" Breeds?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by hwxeper, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. hwxeper

    hwxeper Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 18, 2011
    What exactly denotes a "heritage" breed of chicken? I have heard some breeds, such as Dominiques, refered to as "heritage" and I don't really know what sets a heritage breed apart from any other breed. What are the "heritage" breeds? What are their general characteristics? Do they need any special requirements other than other breeds of chicken? Any input is thoroughly appreciated!
  2. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    There's a whole thread on this. Here. [​IMG]

    Taken from the thread is the ALBC's definition/requirements for a Heritage Breed/Chicken. A heritage breed is any breed accepted to the APA before 1950, however actually having heritage chickens means having the breed and having them bred to the standard, long-lived, and useful for more than just eggs. (In other words, not hatchery stock)

    Heritage Chicken must adhere to all the following:
    1. APA Standard Breed. Heritage Chicken must be from parent and grandparent stock of breeds recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA) prior to the mid-20th century; whose genetic line can be traced back multiple generations; and with traits that meet the APA Standard of Perfection guidelines for the breed. Heritage Chicken must be produced and sired by an APA Standard breed. Heritage eggs must be laid by an APA Standard breed.
    2. Naturally mating. Heritage Chicken must be reproduced and genetically maintained through natural mating. Chickens marketed as Heritage must be the result of naturally mating pairs of both grandparent and parent stock.
    3. Long, productive outdoor lifespan. Heritage Chicken must have the genetic ability to live a long, vigorous life and thrive in the rigors of pasture-based, outdoor production systems. Breeding hens should be productive for 5-7 years and roosters for 3-5 years.
    4. Slow growth rate. Heritage Chicken must have a moderate to slow rate of growth, reaching appropriate market weight for the breed in no less than 16 weeks. This gives the chicken time to develop strong skeletal structure and healthy organs prior to building muscle mass.

    Chickens marketed as Heritage must include the variety and breed name on the label.
    Terms like “heirloom,” “antique,” “old-fashioned,” and “old timey” imply Heritage and are understood to be synonymous with the definition provided here.

    Abbreviated Definition: A Heritage Egg can only be produced by an American Poultry Association Standard breed. A Heritage Chicken is hatched from a heritage egg sired by an American Poultry Association Standard breed established prior to the mid-20th century, is slow growing, naturally mated with a long productive outdoor life.

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