All About Heritage Chickens

Considering Raising Heritage Chickens? Here’s What You Need To Know

A heritage chicken is a breed of chicken that has been around for a long time and is considered to be a part of a country’s agricultural heritage. These chickens are usually bred for their ability to thrive in a variety of environments, rather than for their egg or meat production.

They are generally considered to be healthier and hardier than modern commercial breeds, and are often used in small-scale or backyard poultry farming. Some examples of heritage chicken breeds include the Barred Plymouth Rock, the Sussex, and the Brahma. These chickens are known for their unique characteristics and are often bred for their colorful feathers and distinctive appearances.

Heritage chicken breeds are breeds that were developed in the past and are now considered to be endangered or at risk of extinction. These breeds are valued for their genetic diversity and are important for maintaining a healthy and resilient gene pool in poultry.

Here is a List of Some Heritage Breeds You May Be Familiar With:

  1. Australorp
  2. Barred Plymouth Rock
  3. Brahma
  4. Buckeye
  5. Chantecler
  6. Cochin
  7. Dominique
  8. Dorking
  9. Faverolle
  1. Jersey Giant
  2. Leghorn
  3. Marans
  4. Orpington
  5. Plymouth Rock
  6. Rhode Island Red
  7. Sussex
  8. Wyandotte
  9. MORE
Dominique | TBN Ranch

Where Can You Find Heritage Chickens?

  1. Hatcheries: There are several hatcheries that specialize in heritage chicken breeds. You can find a list of hatcheries that sell heritage breeds online or by contacting the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
  2. Poultry shows or exhibitions: Poultry shows or exhibitions are a great place to find heritage chickens and talk to breeders. You can find a list of upcoming shows in your area by contacting the American Poultry Association or the American Bantam Association.
  3. Online classifieds or forums: There are several online classifieds and forums where you can find heritage chickens for sale. A popular option is Backyard Chickens.

Best Place To Learn More About Heritage Chickens

Livestock Conservatory Articles of Interest

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Raising mealworms for free chicken feed – Murano Chicken Farm

Raise your own mealworms instead of buying them!

Want to save money on your chicken feed bill? Raise your own mealworms instead of buying them! Save money and provide a nutritious treat to your chickens!

Read Article | Murano Chicken Farm

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Considering Back Yard Chickens? Pros and Cons

The Honest Truth About What You’re Committing To

The first and most important thing you’ll need is proper housing. That means you’re going to have to spend some money on a shelter that’s not only suitable for flock, and the climate you live in, but one that is easy for you to clean and maintain. The coop also must be predator proof, no matter where you live, chickens are not safe from predators, not in residential communities, and not in the city. If you’re not sure where to start, or need some ideas on coop types, here’s a collection of  Chicken Coops to help you choose the proper set-up.

Always keep in mind, you get what you pay for. Here’s the truth, by the time you get your first egg, you probably will have spent $1,000 for your chicken set-up.
Usually, new chicken keepers invest good money in a to small coop and end up spending even more money on larger one. Bigger is always better, no exceptions. Chickens need space, they live by the harsh rules of a pecking order, and their chosen territories are not kindly shared.  Remember, happy chickens fill the egg basket. So always keep in mind, build or buy bigger than you need, it’s the smarter investment in the long run.

Furnishing the Coop

Your birds are going to need a feeder, drinker, nest boxes, shavings, and a roost. Those are the obvious necessities. But there’s a lot of little things that you might not think of such as a rake, gloves, buckets, a hose, etc. It would be really helpful to have a nearby shed to store all your supplies, including feed, shavings, or straw/hay.

Pine Shavings

So the next time you are mesmerized by those cute fuzzy butts at the feed store, remember what you’re getting into. You may only have to pay a few bucks for the chicks, but I guarantee you’ll be digging a lot deeper into your pockets in no time at all.  It’s best to get your set-up in place before you buy the chicks. Make sure it’s weather proof, predator proof, and in a place where it’s protected from inclement weather.

Caring for Your Chickens

You will be committing to a daily chore, even in inclement weather. It will be your responsibility to keep the coop clean and dry, provide your flock with fresh water, and ample good quality feed. As a rule, chickens don’t need much personal attention, but there will be occasions when a bird may need special treatment. You may even have to isolate a bird if it becomes injured. A chicken that is bleeding even the tiniest bit will cause havoc among the flock, will most definitely be pecked by the others, and the outcome is rarely good. Be prepared for these inevitable situations.

Cost of Keeping Backyard Chickens

If you think you’ll save money by having a small flock to supply your family with fresh eggs you are dead wrong. In comparison, buying grocery store shelf eggs are substantially cheaper. One standard size bag of chicken feed is about $14.00, it will feed 4 birds for a month, One bale of shavings (bedding & nest boxes) for your coop is about $10-$12 and it will last about 2 weeks.  Straw or hay is also comparable in price, somewhere between $10-$15, depending on where you live.
Considering the initial investment of a coop, and the monthly overhead of caring for the birds, it’s hard to argue the fact that you could buy more store shelf eggs for much less money. Just sayin’…. get into chicken keeping because you want to invest in healthy eggs and enjoy a rewarding hobby.

Bottom Line

A back yard flock is wonderful if you’re up for the job. If you want to bring your own farm fresh eggs to the table for your family then jump right in and start preparing.  Research what breeds are best for you, get your coop and set-up ready, then get your chicks. We are here with any help you might need raising chicks from brooder, to coop, and beyond. Check out our Resource Directory, Articles Archives, and FAQ’s.

The Reward!
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