About Heritage Chickens

Definition: Standard breeds of chickens as defined by the American Poultry Association that are naturally mating, long-lived, and slow growing.

The Livestock Conservancy now lists over three-dozen breeds of chickens in danger of extinction. Extinction of a breed would mean the irrevocable loss of the genetic resources and options it embodies.

Where to Find Heritage Chickens

Note: The Livestock Conservancy encourages contacting the hatchery directly to determine the breeds of birds available and to determine whether these are in fact Heritage Chickens.

The Livestock Conservancy also maintains a list of Heritage Chicken breeders in its Breeders Directory.

This is a compilation of images taken of a variety of heritage breeds that were photographed by Conservancy staff at several poultry shows.

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Ameraucana, Araucana, or Easter Egger?

The Blue Egg Layer

It is not clear where the Ameraucana was developed, but it is thought to be the United States. Ameraucana large fowl are in the APA “All Other Standard Breeds” (AOSB) class of chickens. Eight colors are officially recognized for poultry shows by the American Poultry Association: Black, Blue, Blue Wheaten, Brown Red, Buff, Silver, Wheaten and White. There are several project colors, including Lavender.

The Ameraucana is defined as an Easter Egg chicken, or Easter Egger, as any chicken that possesses the blue egg gene, but doesn’t fully meet any breed description as defined in the APA standards. Further, even if a bird (that possesses the blue egg gene) meets an APA standard breed description, but doesn’t meet a variety description or breed true at least 50% of the time it is considered an Easter Egg chicken.

The American Poultry Association’s (APA) American Standard of Perfection contains breed and variety descriptions of all recognized standard breed poultry in North America. This means if your bird does not meet a color requirement, it is in Easter Egger. However, it is highly unlikely to see an Easter Egger which meets all APA standards yet doesn’t have the correct color. They are almost always mutt birds.

While many hatcheries claim to sell Ameraucanas or Araucanas, nearly none of them do. Most sell mutt Easter Eggers. Ameraucanas come in both a large and bantam variety.

Standard Weight for Bantams

  • Cock: 30 oz.
  • Cockerel: 26 oz.
  • Hen: 26 oz.
  • Pullet: 24 oz.

Standard Weight for Large Fowl

  • Cock: 6 1/2 lbs.
  • Cockerel: 5 1/2 lbs.
  • Hen: 5 1/2 lbs.
  • Pullet: 4 1/2 lbs.