What are the heritage laying breeds?


10 Years
Sep 25, 2009
Where Chickens are Outlaws
Hi. I tend to study things out before committing to the responsibility of an animal (took me 2 years to work up to getting my kitties). If I ever got chickens I'd only want a few layers to provide eggs for home use and perhaps to give to friends. I don't want to kill the chickens for meat or for any reason I can avoid. I've been doing a lot of reading here and I've noticed that a lot of people seem to have problems with inlaying or egg blockages. People have said that the breeds produced for commercial laying seem to have the most problem with this after a couple of years of life. So what are they laying breeds that don't have problems like this? Are today's leghorns and Rhode Island reds susceptible?

I don't think I could live with it if I bought an "egg factory" so over-bred that she self-destructed after a few years.


Is Mostly Harmless
12 Years
Jul 16, 2009
Actually, chickens don't usually have laying problems. Remember the saying "no news is good news"? Well, people don't write about all the healthy hens as much so...
I would recommend Easter Eggers or Orpingtons as a good "first chicken", they are nice breeds.

I hope you will decide to raise chickens and


14 Years
Jul 17, 2008
DC Region
Breeder quality birds are usually better for overall longevity. I have found the hatchery birds -bred for egg production do internal lay more often and that kills birds.

But that said any chicken can live a good long time. Breeder's birds are usually bred from more balanced stock and do better in the long run.

The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy lists all the endangered and heritage breeds currently considered endangered or threatened.

And though some breeds are not on there because they are mass produced (poorly) by hatcheries, good representitives are as rare as well, hen's teeth.

Good Partridge Rocks are very hard to find, they're not on the ALBC's list. I loved mine even though they were hatchery stock. I also love my blue and my black rock. They're breeder birds (GO HALO) and aweeeesome. Okay they make the remaining partridge rock look like an ugly step sister but she's sweet.

Delawares are on the ALBC list and I love mine. Most of mine are from a breeder, one from a heritage breeder and two from a hatchery - got more, culled all but two. You can totally tell the difference in quality and type.

So whatever breed you pick, take your time, find a good breeder with good references and then enjoy.


11 Years
Sep 16, 2009
Vernon Parish
I'd say heritage breeds are what we call the old original that a lot of crosses and hybrids are bred from: Plymouth Rock class, Rhode Island Reds,not Production Reds, Wyandottes, Cochins, Brahmas, Leghorns, Orpingtons, and so forth. Look at the ALBC report web site. There's alot of them.


13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
Bryant Alabama
One of the best of the Heritage breeds and the foundation stock of many of the common breeds we now have is the Java, they come in black, white and mottled. They are great foragers and know to have an easy going nature. I don't have any but I may in the near future.


11 Years
Jan 22, 2009
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy lists all the endangered and heritage breeds currently considered endangered or threatened.

walkswithdog and others beat me to it - this is a great resource and sounds like something you might want to get into

personally we love the barred rocks, RIR's, and we are trying Buckeyes for the first time. i'd love to get some delawares and wyandottes

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