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how many breeding and generations before you can say your chickns are heritage?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by kellyn, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. kellyn

    kellyn Songster

    Nov 17, 2011
    bunnell, Florida
    hello~ this is just a simple question I have about breeding my chickens. Most of my chickens were from hatcherys except for just a few. Mainly Ideal Poultry Breeding Farms.

    Yesterday I bought 13 heritage bred chickens, 8 RIRs and 4 delawares (all 13 are chicks) as well as an adult buff cochin rooster.

    I'd like to breed heritage chickens, but I don't wanna sell all my 60+ hens to do it. I'm attached to them. Sooo, i'd like to breed them and through several generations say I have heritage chickens.

    I would also love to know the APA standard for Rhode Island Reds, Americaunas, Delawares, and Barred Rocks and Buff cochins.

    I know a lot about chickens, but next to nothing on breeding... so if anyone knows anything, i'd love to know!

    Please excuse my mistakes in writing... I'll try and fix them later.it's kinda hard to wrie on a cell phone in a moving vehicle.

  2. buffalogal

    buffalogal Songster

    Nov 28, 2010
    Just as long as you aren't driving that moving vehicle...[​IMG]
  3. Matt1616

    Matt1616 Songster

    Mar 8, 2011
    South Alabama
    In my opinion, never if you cross a heritage line with a hatchery line. Hatchery lines are known to be crossed and mixed, they aren't really considered "pure bred". If you want Heritage Chickens I would suggest you only breed pure bred heritage lines. This is just my opinion....
  4. cubalaya

    cubalaya Crowing

    Nov 19, 2008
    central virginia
    it would take 8 generations to get back to pure or heritage if you add something in.
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    If you start out with hatchery stock, it will take a loooooooooooong time to breed them up. It is far faster and surer to begin with high quality stock in the first place. Even then, you'll likely be culling heavily. If you put good birds in with what you have, the bad traits of the hatchery blood lines will continue to pop up, pull down and pollute the features of the heritage, truer birds. Very tough row to hoe.

    To be clear, we're not talking about showing birds, per se, just the difference in a heritage, pure RIR is soooo far from the hatchery reds, and just look at KathyinMo's or Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch Barred Rocks and compare them the hatchery birds passing as BRs. Such an extreme difference.
  6. Blaineiac

    Blaineiac Chirping

    Jan 30, 2011
    People seem to be changing the definition of "Heritage" to make it fit their flock, since it is the "IN" thing to say about your chickens. I say call them what you want. The term heritage is so over used that it doesn't make much of a difference anyway. Blaine
    1 person likes this.
  7. tadkerson

    tadkerson Songster

    Jul 19, 2008
    Heritage can refer to the inheritance of characteristics from generation to generation. A heritage breed is purebred and will pass on the same characteristics to its offspring.

    Heritage can also refer to a breed that has a tradition. In the USA, there were a number of breeds that were, over a number of years, popular in the past. Any of these birds would be considered a heritage breed.

    Lets take for example the rhode Island red- it is a popular heritage breed and has been bred and used as a dual purpose breed for many years.

    If you have a rhode island red male and cross it with a rhode island red female- the cross should produce rhode island red F1 offspring. You then take the F1 offspring (siblings) and cross them- if there are any genes that do not belong in a rhode island red; they will show up in the F2 offspring from the sibling cross. If all of the F2 offspring only have characteristics of a rhode island red, then by definition they are a heritage breed.

    Some people may get upset about what I have posted. It does not require that a bird comes from a closed flock that has been inbred for years and years. That scenario would preclude almost all the birds that are owned by individuals.

    The test for if a bird is a heritage breed would be 1. was the breed utilized over a period of time in the past. 2. do the birds the person owns breed true by the third generation. If the birds breed true and were a breed that was utilized over time in the past- it is a heritage breed.

    Another point- a bird does not have to meet the Standard of Perfection to be a heritage breed. If that were so, then there would be very few heritage birds because none actually meet the standard of perfection because very few birds are perfect.

    Here is one of my rhode island red that I had in the past. He looks like a rhode island red to me and bred true. The original parents were hatchery stock. Everybody can make up their own minds about the heritage concept. I think he was quit handsome and yes I do see the damage to his comb. Something has got to give when it gets 10 below zero.


    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
    1 person likes this.

  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    For what it is worth, here is the American Livestock Breeds Conservatory's definition. Folks, I'd have no idea whether THIS ALBC definition is the only one employed to determine heritage breeds, nor do I have any idea whether this definition is the most authoritative. But, here it is. At least it is a starting point for dialog.

    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
  9. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member


    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.​
    The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has over 30 years of experience, knowledge, and understanding of endangered breeds, genetic conservation, and breeder networks.​
    Endorsed by the following individuals:
    Frank Reese, Reese Turkeys, Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch, Standard Bred Poultry Institute, and American Poultry Association;
    Marjorie Bender, Research & Technical Program Director, American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
    D. Phillip Sponenberg, DVM, PhD., Technical Advisor, American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, and Professor, Veterinary Pathology and Genetics, Virginia Tech;
    Don Bixby, DVM. Independent Consultant, former Executive Director for the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy;
    R. Scott Beyer, PhD, Associate Professor, Poultry Nutrition Management, Kansas State University,
    Danny Williamson, Windmill Farm, Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch, and American Poultry Association;
    Anne Fanatico, PhD, Research Associate, Center for Excellence for Poultry Science, University of Arkansas;
    Kenneth E. Anderson, Professor, Poultry Extension Specialist, North Carolina State University.
  10. Blaineiac

    Blaineiac Chirping

    Jan 30, 2011
    Exactly my point. Del's weren't accepted until 1952, but people get all upset and come up with reason's like "They should still be considered, because what am I gonna tell my customers." Most of these same people aren't free ranging, live in town, and still want to sell "Heritage Delaware eggs". I agree they are a breed worth preserving, but not Heritage. People think any bird that isn't a CX or a Golden Comet should be considered Heritage because the term sounds neat. These are still pure breeds, just not heritage.

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