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Looking to add a couple of heritage chickens to the flock

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Chris Mac, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. Chris Mac

    Chris Mac Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 29, 2009
    Hi All,

    I'm live in suburbia and have 3 hens (Americauna, Rhode Island Red, Black Sex Link). I'm think of adding a couple of new girls to the flock in the spring and would like to consider one of the rare breeds or a breed that needs conserving. We are interested in good egg producers and kind temperaments (we have kids). I like in the SF Bay Area...we get cold - but not that big of a deal.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks!
     
  2. jennh

    jennh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2007
    Lititz
    Black Java

    Jen
     
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    How about black English Orpingtons? (not australorps)
     
  4. Chris Mac

    Chris Mac Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 29, 2009
    Thanks for the ideas, guys! I have to say that the Black English Orpingtons are right up my alley....[​IMG]
     
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Or Dominiques? Only I don't know the disposition of them. I have one ordered for February, though!
     
  6. txhomegrown

    txhomegrown Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 18, 2010
    Como, TX
    I would like to have some black javas, but as my grandma used to say "They are scarce as hens teeth". Anybody know where to buy either chicks or egg?
     
  7. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

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    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    If you want to have true heritage birds, and a rare breed that needs conservation, here are some good ones:


    Rhode Island Red (most reds out there are from hatcheries, and do not count, but TRUE to type heritage birds are very rare)

    Rhode Island White (much different from the reds, and despite what is said, are not offered by hatcheries. Another rarity)

    Buckeyes

    Plymouth Rocks (certain colors like silver pencilled are exceedingly rare, and again, avoid hatcheries)

    Javas

    Delawares (true heritage ones, not hatchery stock, very rare)

    Crevecoeurs (non-hatchery type are rare and are good dual purpose birds)

    Houdans (again, non-hatchery type are extremely rare and are good dual purpose birds)
     
  8. Chris Mac

    Chris Mac Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 29, 2009
    Illia,

    If I were to go after some of these birds that are common at the hatcheries but didn't actually purchase the from a hatchery...how do I know they're the real McCoy? (This is so interesting as I do the heritage or heirloom vegetables and the heritage chicken thing is new to me).
     
  9. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

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    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Quote:There's a 90% chance they are just hatchery bred reds. Now, they're likely to still be purebred (although a lot aren't anymore) but they're just not qualified as a true to type Rhode Island Red or a heritage Rhode Island Red. Instead, they're what we call Production Reds - Red chickens with yellow legs, single combs, and lay brown eggs.

    If you're still curious, the thing to do is look at your chicken, then compare it to birds like these:

    (not my birds!)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Are yours are brick-like in shape? Are they large and plump? Are they really dark and lustrous in color? Did the seller whom you got your birds have a bunch of different breeds or did he/she specialize? How much would you estimate your bird to weigh? Hatchery stock is pretty common, and it is even more common to get hatchery stock from a backyard breeder who got birds from a feedstore, hatchery, or yet another backyard breeder who got theirs from a hatchery, and just plain bred from there. Heritage RIR's come from people who have been specializing in the bird and breeding them to the SOP for a long time, and even before that owner, the birds' parents or grandparents have been bred tot he SOP (standard of perfection)

    Heritage Rhode Island Reds are pretty rare, and pretty different from the production types. Either production or true type are still good chickens, the difference is only that one is what the breed was, and one is what industry has turned the breed into.
     

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