What are the benefits of heritage breed chickens?

sylviethecochin

Free Ranging
5 Years
Jun 14, 2017
5,544
11,509
721
Central PA
Heritage birds from an actual breeder?

They're less feed-efficient, they need higher protein and nutrients in the feed they do eat, and they'll lay fewer eggs and grow more slowly.

Many will go broody, which can be a plus or a negative, depending on your lifestyle.

They're less neurotic and likely to live longer lives with fewer reproductive problems.

EDT: Also, if you get them from someone who personally raises them, the roosters are less likely to be people-aggressive.
 
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rocking chickens

Songster
Dec 2, 2018
140
628
132
1. Heritage breeds are more hardy.

2. They are more likely to go broody and make better mothers.

3. They forage better.

4. Generally they are Dual purpose so you can get both eggs and meat.
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
11 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,660
4,005
476
NEK, VT
Heritage breeds do not grow more slowly. Many are slower to feather due to breeding for feather patterns but the birds themselves grow well. Heritage dual purpose cockerels will be 4-5 lbs live weight by 14 weeks of age. Perfect for grilling culls. Heritage dual purpose will be much larger than the hatchery "breed" with far superior carcass. If you plan to propagate birds and eat the extra cockerels you really want a standard bred bird (heritage), hatchery birds are no comparison but hatchery birds do lay more eggs per year. Heritage birds will lay for more years.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
24,928
44,806
1,156
southern Michigan
Hybrids are one-stop individuals rather than actual breeds. The hybrid layers should produce a lot of eggs, but might not be so productive after that first year or two, and they are smaller, so not so good if you plan to eat them.
Cornishx meat birds are meant to be in the freezer by eight weeks of age, and rarely can live comfortably for much longer.
If you are interested in the most economical egg producers, the commercial method of 'all in, all out' every year is the way to go. Nobody is a pet, and nobody lives longer.
If you are interested in having eggs, interesting chickens, and maybe offspring later, purebreds and especially heritage breeds are the way to go.
Mary
 

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