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Chick Days - Tractor Supply Co.

Heritage Poultry Breed Chart: Chickens, Ducks and Turkeys

The Conservation priority list (breed priority) was developed as a result of the industrialization of chickens. Many breeds were sidelined in preference for a few rapidly growing hybrids. The extinction of a breed would mean the irrevocable loss of the genetic resources and options it embodies

Below are the qualities that Heritage Breeds must adhere to:

    • APA Standard Breed Heritage Chicken must be from parent and grandparent stock of breeds recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA) prior to the mid-20th century
    • Naturally mating Heritage Chicken must be reproduced and genetically maintained through natural mating.
    • Long, productive outdoor lifespan Heritage Chicken must have the genetic ability to live a long, vigorous life and thrive in the rigors of pasture-based, outdoor production systems.
    • Slow growth rate Heritage Chicken must have a moderate to slow rate of growth, reaching appropriate market weight for the breed in no less than 16 weeks.




Type Breed Image (M) Image (F) Description Status Best For Egg Color Egg Size Market Weight Temperament Characteristics
Chickens Anconas

Ancona chickens are very hardy, fertile, and prolific. They can be a bit wild in their habits – easily flying to avoid potential dangers and ranging over a great area when foraging. They stand frost and snow quite well and will surpass Leghorn chickens as winter layers. The chicks hatch a canary and black in down color, feather and grow quickly, and pullets will often begin laying at five months of age.

Watch Eggs White Medium to Large 4 – 5 lbs Very Active Early maturing egg layer
Chickens Andalusian

Andalusian chickens are wonderfully designed for foraging on range. The breed’s rugged nature makes it hardy even in cold climates. It does not stand confinement well, however, and is predisposed to feather eating. An excellent traditional cross is an Andalusian male over Langshans females. This produces a hardy brown egg layer that matures early.

Threatened Eggs Brown Medium 5.5 - 7 lbs. Active Blue Plumage
Chickens Australorp

Australorp chickens are a medium weight breed with fairly close-fitting feathers. They lay and abundance of large tinted eggs, often averaging 26-27 ounces per dozen. Australorps were recognized as a standard breed by the American Poultry Association in 1929 and are found in only one variety, black. Males weigh 8.5 lbs and females weigh 6.5 lbs.

Recovering Eggs, Meat Brown Large 5.5 - 7.5 lbs. Active Productive & Fast Growing
Chickens Brahma

Brahmas are large chickens with feathers on shanks and toes, pea comb, smooth fitting plumage with dense down in all sections, and broad, wide head with skull projecting over the eyes – termed “beetle brow.” They come in three color varieties – the Light, the Dark, and the Buff. Both the Light and the Dark Brahma were accepted to the American Standard of Perfection in its first printing in 1874.

Watch Eggs, Meat Brown Medium to Large 8 - 10 lbs. Calm, docile One of the largest breeds, good layers of winter eggs, good in cold climates; Large roasting fowl, capon, or early broiler
Chickens Buttercup

In color, the Buttercup rooster is a rich reddish orange with a black tail. The hen is golden buff with regularly marked black spangles, oval in shape, positioned in parallel rows. The black sections of both male and female are a lustrous greenish black in color. Both male and female have yellow skin; white ear lobes; reddish bay eyes; light horn-colored beak; and willow-green shanks and toes with the bottom of the feet yellow.

Threatened Eggs White Small to Medium 4 - 5.5 lbs. Active, flighty Good forager and does well on free range in warm climates.
Chickens Cochin

Cochin hens are inclined to broodiness and will hatch more than one batch per year if allowed. As a broody fowl they have no equals, even the roosters will occasionally brood the chicks; though Cochins do tend to wean the young a bit soon if used to hatch chicks early in the year while it is still cold.

Watch Meat, Ornamental Brown Large 7 - 9 lbs. Friendly, docile One of the best broody breeds, good in cold climates; Excellent capon at 12 months of age.
Chickens Delaware

Delaware makes an excellent dual-purpose bird. It has well-developed egg and meat qualities, and a calm and friendly disposition. The breed is noted for rapid growth and fast feathering of the chicks. Cocks grow to 8 pounds and hens to 6 pounds. They have moderately large combs and medium sized head and neck. Their body is moderately long, broad, and deep.

Threatened Eggs, Meat Brown Large to Jumbo 5.5 - 7.5 lbs. Gentle Fast growth, can be eaten at any age.
Chickens Dominique

The Dominique is a medium-sized black and white barred (otherwise known as “cuckoo” patterned) bird. The barred plumage coloration is also referred to as hawk-colored and serves the Dominique in making the bird less conspicuous to predators. The Dominique sports a rose comb with a short upward curving spike that is characteristic to this breed.

Watch Eggs, Meat Brown Medium 4 - 6 lbs. Calm and Genial Good forager, likes to range.
Chickens Hamburg  

Hamburg chickens are quite prolific egg layers. The breed’s true gift is not in number of eggs per year, but in continued laying of a large number of eggs over several years. Pullets begin to lay at about 4-5 months of age. Though the young can be a bit delicate until this age, once mature, Hamburg chickens are quite robust.

Watch Eggs White Medium 3.5 - 4 lbs. Very Active Flighty, roosts in trees, winter hardy, good at avoiding predators.
Chickens Lakenvelder

Lakenvelder Chickens are white with black hackles and tails. They are an attractive breed of chicken with blue legs, deep red eyes, and long flowing tails. The breed is found only with single combs of medium size and, interestingly, those of the females uniquely stand erect.

Threatened Eggs White to Tinted Medium 3.5 - 4 lbs. Active Good foragers, can be flighty.
Chickens Langshan  

The Langshan is a tall breed of chicken. While its height comes partially from somewhat long legs, more importantly it comes from the great depth of body that is unique to this breed. The breed is a good forager, a prolific layer, and has fewer feathers on its shanks and toes than either Cochin or Brahma. The shanks and toes are bluish-black with pinkish color between the scales and white soles.

Threatened Eggs, Meat Very Dark Brown Large 6.5 - 8 lbs. Very Calm Produces large amounts of very white meat, does well on well-drained land.
Chickens Minorca

Minorca chickens are the largest of the Mediterranean class. They are non-sitters, excellent layers of large white eggs, laying perhaps the largest such, and very hardy and rugged fowls. The breed has proven excellent on all soil types and adapts readily to range or confinement. In America, the breed made a name for itself due to its great egg laying ability combined with its hardiness and proclivity to excel on range.

Watch Eggs Chalk White Very Large 6.5 - 7.5 lbs. Very Active Great foragers, large frame, likes to range.
Chickens Orpington

The qualities that won all the Orpington chicken varieties recognition were fast rate of growth, excellent egg production, and excellent table-quality. Historically, Orpington chickens made excellent broilers weighing 2 to 2.5 lbs at 8-10 weeks of age, excellent roasting chickens at 5 months of age, and excellent old fowl for the table as well. They are first-rate layers of large light to dark brown eggs.

Recovering Eggs, Meat Brown Large to Extra Large 7 - 8.5 lbs. Calm, friendly disposition. Excellent rate of growth in some lines.
Chickens Phoenix

The Phoenix chicken is an alert breed with a pheasant-like appearance. They are fair layers and do go broody. The chicks are hardy, but require extra protein when their tails are growing. The breed is well-suited to estates where it can roam at large, thriving best when given a good deal of freedom.

Threatened Exhibition, Feathers White to Tinted Brown Medium 3.5 - 4.5 lbs. Docile. Highly ornamental with extraordinarily long tail.
Chickens Plymouth Rock  

Plymouth Rock hens grow to 7 ½ pounds and cocks to 9 ½ pounds and their rate of lay is very good at around 200. Temperament is calm and the birds are cold-hardy with early feathering. This chicken has a bright red single comb, face, wattles, and earlobes. The comb of this breed has five evenly serrated points with those in the front and rear shorter than those in the middle.

Recovering Eggs, Meat Brown Large 6 - 8 lbs. Docile. Early feather, cold hardiness.
Chickens Rhode Island Red

The Rhode Island Red was orginally created to lay a good number of eggs yet dress out nicely as a table bird. These birds are very good layers of brown eggs, perhaps the best layers of all of the dual-purpose breeds. They can lay 200 – 300 eggs a year starting as early as six months of age.

Recovering Eggs, Meat Brown Large 5.5 - 7.5 lbs. Calm. Flavor was once considered finest flavored, likes to range.
Chickens Russian Orloff

The Russian Orloff chicken is tall, with a very thickly feathered neck, Yellow legs, minuscule wattles and a cushion/strawberry comb. The first APA standard lists the breed has having a rose comb (a.k.a. double comb) without a spike and solid black plumage. This lack of spike is genetically consistent with what we term today as a cushion comb, or another variant, the strawberry comb.

Critical Meat Light Brown Small 6.5 - 8.5 lbs. Calm but not docile. Very hardy, cold tolerant.
Chickens Sussex

Sussex chickens are a dual-purpose breed with a deep broad body, close fitting feathers, and white skin, shanks and feet. The breed will put on fat very easily, making it well suited for market poultry. The hens are fair to good layers of brown eggs, though they lay best if not allowed to get overly fat. This could be a wonderful breed for a small farm or homestead, being active and all-around an excellent breed for meat and eggs.

Recovering Eggs, Meat Tan to Brown Large 6 - 7.5 lbs. Calm and Curious. Good all-around table bird, famous for flavor.
Chickens Wyandottes

Wyandottes have a rose comb that is fairly flat and has small rounded points. These are smaller in the female. The face, wattles and ear lobes are bright red. The neck hackles of the cock are full and flowing and the tail is carried at a 40 degree angle. The Wyandotte is a friendly and calm breed that is cold hardy. They are not good flyers. The hens are good mothers and egg producers.

Recovering Eggs, Meat Brown Large 6.5 - 8.5 lbs. Calm. Good all-around table bird, famous for flavor.
Ducks Khaki Campbell

The Campbell duck is a light weight bird that on average weighs 4 to 4 1/2 pounds. They are active, streamlined birds with a modestly long head, bill, neck, and body, and a sprightly body carriage of 20 to 40 degrees above horizontal (Holderread, 2001). There are four color varieties of Campbell ducks in North America: Khaki, White, Dark, and Pied, with Khaki being the only one recognized by the APA.

Watch Eggs, Meat White, Tinted Large 3.5 - 4 lbs. Energetic Prolific layers and active foragers.
Ducks Rouen  

Rouens are docile birds that are valued for their meat. They are poor layers, producing only 35-125 eggs yearly, but they make fine roasting ducks and have abundant, delicately flavored flesh. This unsurpassed gourmet quality comes at a price, though, as Rouen ducks are slow to mature. Slow maturation (6-8 months) makes them impractical for commercial meat production.

Watch Meat, Exhibition White Extra Large 7-9 lbs. Docile Poor layers and slow to mature
Ducks Swedish

The Swedish is a medium sized bird that weighs between 6 1/2 and 8 pounds. It has an oval head, medium length bill nearly straight along its top line, and a stocky body with a carriage approximately 20 degrees above horizontal. The plumage of both the duck and drake is a uniform bluish slate, with a white bib.

Watch Meat White, Green, Tinted Large 5.5 - 6.5 lbs. Docile Typically they have calm temperaments and make fine pets.
Turkeys Black

Black turkey skin is usually white, as in all turkey varieties, but some speak of a yellow tinge to the skin that is not seen in other varieties. This may be influenced by diet, as turkeys on range with access to green feed and corn tend to have a more yellow cast to the skin. The Standard weight is 23 pounds for young toms and 14 pounds for young hens, making the Blacks slightly smaller than the Bronze.

Critical Meat Pale cream to medium brown with spotting. Large 14 - 23 lbs. Highly dependent on selection by breeder, Some select for aggressive, others docile Personable, attractive bird .
Turkeys Bourbon Red

The Bourbon Red is an attractive bird for either exhibition or just for the backyard. They are active foragers, and would probably do well in a pasture production system, either as purebreds or when crossed with white turkeys. They also present an attractive carcass when dressed, since the light pinfeathers leave no residue of dark pigment showing the feather follicles as with the Bronze.

Threatened Meat Pale cream to medium brown with spotting. Large 14 - 23 lbs. Highly dependent on selection by breeder, Some select for aggressive, others docile Handsome featuring brownish to dark red plumage with white flight and tail feathers.
Turkeys Narragansett

Narragansett turkeys have traditionally been known for their calm disposition, good maternal abilities, early maturation, egg production, and excellent meat quality. As recently as 50 years ago, they were well regarded for production qualities. This historic variety, unique to North America, merits evaluation for production in sustainable agriculture systems. The Narragansett turkey would make a useful and beautiful addition to the family farm.

Threatened Meat Pale cream to medium brown with spotting. Large 14 - 23 lbs. Highly dependent on selection by breeder, Some select for aggressive, others docile Handsome featuring brownish to dark red plumage with white flight and tail feathers.