What's the difference between a high production and a heritage chicken

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Sarahbethk, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. Sarahbethk

    Sarahbethk Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 14, 2010
  2. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    A production breed is most commonly a hatchery bird bred for high egg production. A heritage breed is a old dual purpose breed bred to a high standard of perfection by dedicated breeders.
    It's a matter of what you are looking for in a chicken. I currently have mostly production birds because my main goal is egg production. I am just starting on some of the heritage birds as a hobby.
  3. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    Quote:A high standard of cosmetic perfection. Few spend any real effort retaining the practical qualities that go into a genuine dual-purpose breed. 150 eggs in their pullet year and taking eight months to a year to get the first eggs is not dual-purpose no matter how big and pretty they are.
  4. Cindiloohoo

    Cindiloohoo Quiet as a Church Mouse

    Dec 19, 2009
    Southwest TN
    I agree with mississippifarmboy on this one, and would like to add that hagan is correct as well on the fact that a lot of heritage breeds don't maintain their production values if the breeder is pairing for cosmetics only. I do believe you can attain both production and beauty at the same time. Biggest diff between production strains and heritage strains...would be broodiness. A lot of broodiness is bred out of the production strains for the sake of production, just as a lot of production is bred out of heritage strains for the sake of beauty.
  5. Urbanfarmerkc

    Urbanfarmerkc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2010
    Raytown, MO (BY KCMO)
    I have to agree with A.T. You can get a great Dual Purpose bird that meets the cosmetic standards and still lay great. A good example of what is not really a good Dual Purpose breed and I'm sure this will stir up a disagreement but I think the Dorking (although I LOVE them) are better for eating than laying as they lay sporadically and then go broody in the summer and don't lay much at all during the winter.

    High Production birds are like White Leghorns. They are excellent layers but they have a skinny frame. Not the best for eating. They also rarely go broody and when they do it is more a teaser as they tend to abandon their nest within a week of being set.

    Dual Purpose tend to be birds that lay well and still are big enough to eat. The Delaware is the best example. A Delaware hen can come close to an egg a day and the roosters grow fast for eating. (hens do too for that matter). BTW, before we started with the creepy leg braking under their own weight Cornish Crosses, the Delaware was the broiler of the day.

    Hope this helps.

  6. X2Farm

    X2Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Homer, GA
    I guess I will disagree, with the "cosmetic perfection" crowd on this one...that is not what the SOP is all about.

    while I'm new to chickens, I am NOT new to breeding.

    Heritage birds are not all about how they look. Other things come into play... body type, heart girth, leg set to name a few. They all lend to the proper body for good laying production as well as meat characteristics. I can't remember who said it, someone here on the board.. possibly Walt.. "Build the barn before you paint it" Breeding for the correct body type first, should be the goal. Without a good foundation, its all for naught (I know I messed that spelling up!)

    Remember, the Standard of Perfection takes into account body type and coloration, for every breed recognized. Some are dual purpose, some are not.

    The best I can relate is The American Quarter Horse. Foundation stock had a good body type, broad well muscled shoulders and hind quarters, well sprung ribs with deep heart girth, good bone in the legs and feet of a good size to put up with the demands of a QH's daily job. Now look at some of todays stock, take the halter bred horses. There was a LOT bred for those nice, tiny boxy feet, they looked purty underneath that nice well muscled package of a body. But, performance suffered due to issues such as navicular, etc, because the hooves and all that makes them up couldn't stand the workload. Think of a huge honkin wrestler with size 3 feet. Simliar circumstances.

    Without breeding to the Standard, which calls for body type lending to the characteristics of specified breeds, as well as cosmetic specifics, you get a bird who falls short in one area or another, who can't perform as originally intended, or suffers health issues due to improper proportions.
  7. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2007
    Quote:High production means lots off eggs or lots of meat on the smallest amount of feed possible. This doesn't apply to heritage chickens because it usually cost more to raise them then what they are actually worth. Their worth is what people will pay for their eggs or their meat.
  8. Mervin

    Mervin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 25, 2010
    Central Pennsyltucky
    The thing that bothers me about this conversation is "heritage" and "dual purpose" being used somewhat synonymously. To me, the term heritage denotes something with historical value. Dual purpose does not necessary imply historical value, nor does being singular in purpose prevent a breed from having a historical value IMO. For example, I think there are darn few folks that would label a Leghorn dual purpose. Yet, few could deny the Leghorn has a huge historical significance. Despite their impact on American poultry, they seem to be completely dismissed from the "heritage" discussion. Similarly, there are a few "heritage" breeds that seem to have had little impact due to timing, the ever-changing marketplace, or a number of other factors. For instance, the the Jersey Giant was bred to fill an niche for large roasters but never did due to it's slow development. The point being, it was bred for a type of production. So was the Delaware and we celebrate both as part of our poultry heritage. I don't think having high production value of one type or another should eliminate a breed from the heritage discussion, just the dual-purpose discussion.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010
  9. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    Quote:This is a good point. Many of the "heritage" breeds were never of any significant commercial importantance back in the day. Because they were either developed too late or because they were bred for "the fancy" and not the farm. They can still be quite good birds - or not. Depending on their performance. Form AND function. They must go together. Separate them and you no longer have a true dual-purpose bird.

    You make a good point about the White Leghorn as well. It's not dual-purpose but it is certainly "heritage."

    Quote:You make a good point here about body type, but if the bird has the right body type but still only lays 150 eggs in their pullet year and takes eight months to a year to lay the first one the job is not finished. The foundation of the barn was laid, but the walls were never raised, much less painted.

    Relative to the well-bred sex-link layer and the modern Cornish X meat bird the old dual-purpose breeds are never going to commercially compete in the modern day commodity poultry world. But they can be a heck of a lot better than what is mostly found today. In fact they used to be a lot better both in body size and laying ability. A good body shape/weight and lays 200-250 eggs a year is where it's at for a genuine dual-purpose breed. They built the American (and pretty much everyone else's) poultry industry on just those sorts of birds.
  10. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    Everyone is making some good points. My answer was basicly a very simplfied quick answer to a new member. It wasn't meant to be exact or detailed as I figured there were so many post already on this subject that the OP would research in time. [​IMG]

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