Heritage breed chickens are the breed of chicken that your grandparents might have raised. All modern breeds have been created from heritage breeds. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, each with its distinct personality. Raising heritage breed chickens offers many benefits and holds great importance for small-scale farmers and backyard enthusiasts.
15 Best Heritage Breed Chickens
Buff Orpington Heritage Breed Chickens
Buff Orpingtons make excellent egg layers, producing around 200 to 280 large brown eggs annually. Buff Orpington Heritage Breed Chickens are a popular choice for backyard chicken enthusiasts. With their beautiful buff-colored feathers and friendly personalities, Buff Orpingtons add beauty to your flock and provide you with a steady supply of delicious eggs.
One of the standout characteristics of Buff Orpington hens is their impressive egg production. In addition to their remarkable productivity, Buff Orpingtons are known for being docile and friendly birds. They’re great with kids, make wonderful pets, and are reliable egg producers. Plus, they handle cold weather well, making them suitable for various climates.
Rhode Island Red Heritage Breed Chickens
These birds are very good layers of brown eggs, perhaps the best of all the dual-purpose breeds. They can lay approximately 200 – 300 eggs annually starting as early as six months of age. Rhode Island Red Heritage Breed Chickens are the cream of the crop for egg-laying. These birds are known for their exceptional ability to produce many brown eggs, making them highly sought after by poultry enthusiasts and farmers alike.
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In terms of size, male Rhode Island Reds weigh in at around 8.6 pounds, while females average around 6.6 pounds. This makes them a substantial breed with good meat potential as well. They will provide abundant, delicious brown eggs year-round and add beauty and character to your flock with their striking mahogany feathers and confident demeanor.
Plymouth Rock Heritage Breed Chickens
Plymouth Rock hens grow to 7.5 lbs. and males to 9.5 lbs. Plymouth Rock chickens are decent layers, laying ~200 large, brown eggs annually. These birds are stunning with their distinctive black and white striped feathers. Not only are they reliable producers of delicious eggs, but Plymouth Rocks are also known for their friendly and docile nature. They make great additions to backyard flocks and are often recommended as beginner-friendly breeds.
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Leghorn Heritage Breed Chickens
They can lay approximately 280 and 320 eggs per year. Leghorn Heritage Breed Chickens are known for their impressive egg-laying capabilities. In terms of size, the males weigh in at around 7.5 pounds, while the females come in slightly lighter at 6 pounds. Despite their smaller stature compared to other heritage breeds, Leghorns more than makeup for it with their egg production. Leghorns also possess an endearing charm that makes them great additions to any backyard flock. Their active and curious nature can provide endless entertainment as they explore their surroundings.
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Brahma Heritage Breed Chickens
They lay medium to large light brown eggs. They average between about 150 to 200 eggs per year. Brahma Heritage Breed Chickens are known for their impressive size and beautiful appearance. Brahma hens weighing around 8 pounds and roosters reaching up to 10 pounds are truly a sight to behold in any backyard or farm. These majestic birds lay medium to large light brown eggs, adding a touch of elegance to your daily egg collection. When raising Brahmas, their calm and docile nature makes them excellent additions to any flock.
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They are known for being friendly towards humans and other animals alike. Their gentle temperament also means that they can easily be handled and cared for by children. Brahmas have relatively low feed requirements for maintenance compared to some other breeds. They are known for being good grazers and can find much of their nutrition from free-ranging or scratching around the yard.
Cochin Heritage Breed Chickens
Cochin Heritage Breed Chickens are a unique and beautiful addition to any backyard flock. These chickens are known for their large size, with roosters weighing 11 lbs and hens 8.5 lbs. When it comes to laying eggs, Cochin hens are reliable producers, laying an average of 160 medium to large eggs annually.
Silkie Breed Chickens
However, they tend to lay more eggs in cooler weather than during summer heat. So, if you live in a region with mild winters, these chickens can be a great choice for consistent egg production throughout the year. Cochin hens have a gentle demeanor and make excellent mothers. Their feathers come in various colors, including black, white, buff, blue, partridge, silver laced, and more. Cochin Heritage breed chickens bring both beauty and productivity to your flock.
Silkie Heritage Breed Chickens
Their unique fluffy plumage and friendly dispositions have become a favorite among chicken enthusiasts. Their size sets them apart – males weighing in at a mere 4 lb and females at just 3 lb. Despite their small stature, Silkie hens can still pack a punch in egg production. A Silkie hen can produce up to 100 eggs in an ideal year. This might not be as many as some other breeds, but what they lack in quantity, they make up for in quality. Their eggs are known for having rich yolks and strong shells. Plus, the experience of gathering those adorable little eggs from such tiny chickens is simply delightful.
Sussex Heritage Breed Chickens
Sussex Heritage Breed Chickens are a delightful addition to any backyard flock. Not only are they beautiful with their speckled feathers and bright red combs, but they also have some impressive qualities when it comes to egg production. These hens are known for being consistent layers, producing between 200 and 250 light-brown eggs annually. That’s an average of around 4-5 eggs per week. Imagine the joy of gathering fresh eggs from your own Sussex chickens every morning.
In terms of size, Sussex males can weigh up to 9 pounds, while females typically reach around 7 pounds. This makes them a substantial breed that adds a bit of heft to your flock. They are known to be friendly and docile birds, making them great companions in the yard or garden. Plus, their calm nature makes them easy to handle and interact with.
Wyandotte Heritage Breed Chickens
Wyandotte chickens are a popular heritage breed known for their beautiful appearance and reliable egg-laying abilities. These birds come in various color variations, including silver-laced, golden-laced, black, blue, and more. With males weighing 8 to 9 pounds and females ranging from 6 to 7 pounds, Wyandottes are considered medium-sized chickens.
One of the main reasons people choose Wyandottes as heritage is their ability to lay many eggs yearly. These hens can produce around 200 light to dark-brown eggs annually. That’s a decent amount for any backyard chicken keeper or small-scale farmer looking for a steady supply of fresh eggs. Aside from being productive layers, Wyandottes also possess friendly and docile personalities. They are calm, gentle birds that get along well with humans and other flock members.
This makes them an excellent choice for families or individuals who want chickens that are easygoing and enjoyable to be around. In addition to their appealing temperament, Wyandottes have sturdy builds, which make them resilient against harsh climates and predators. Their compact bodies and dense feathering provide natural insulation during colder months.
Ameraucana Heritage Breed Chickens
Regarding Ameraucana Heritage Breed Chickens, you can expect a moderate but steady supply of eggs. These beautiful birds produce around 150 to 200 eggs per year. And not only are they good layers, but they also have a decent weight for both roosters and hens. Ameraucana roosters weigh around 6.5 pounds, while the hens are slightly lighter at 5.5 pounds. This makes them a good size for those looking for chickens that offer both meat and egg production. With their striking appearance and charming personalities, Ameraucanas are popular among chicken enthusiasts.
Easter Egger Heritage Breed Chickens
These chickens are not only beautiful with their unique and colorful feathers, but they also happen to be great producers of eggs. With roosters weighing between 5.5 and 7.5 pounds and hens ranging from 4.5 to 6.5 pounds, these chickens are the perfect addition to any backyard flock.
They can lay up to an impressive 280 eggs per year, making them one of the top contenders in productivity. In addition to their excellent egg-laying capabilities, Easter Eggers are known for being friendly and docile birds – making them great additions for families with children or first-time chicken owners.
Marans Heritage Breed Chickens
Marans heritage breed chickens are a delightful addition to any backyard flock. Not only are they beautiful birds, but they also have some unique qualities that set them apart from other breeds. One of the standout features of Maran chickens is their egg-laying capabilities. These hens are known for producing between 150 and 200 eggs per year. Imagine having a constant supply of fresh, delicious eggs.
In terms of weight, the males tend to weigh around 8 pounds, while the females come in at approximately 6.5 pounds. They have a sturdy build and make an impressive presence in any flock. They also have friendly personalities and can become quite tame with regular handling. Marans heritage breed chickens offer both beauty and functionality to backyard chicken keepers.
Bantam Heritage Breed Chickens
One of the great things about the Bantams is that they are excellent layers despite their small stature. They can lay between 80 and 220 eggs per year, which is impressive for such little birds. Not only are Bantams productive layers, but they also come in a wide variety of beautiful colors and patterns.
From stunning black-and-white speckled feathers to vibrant reds and blues, these little chickens will surely add visual interest to your flock. In addition to their egg-laying abilities and attractive appearance, Bantams are known for being friendly and docile birds. They make great pets and can easily be handled by children or first-time chicken owners.
Frizzle Heritage Breed Chickens
Frizzle Heritage Breed Chickens are a unique and eye-catching addition to any flock. These chickens will turn heads with curly feathers that give them a frizzled appearance. Regarding egg production, Frizzle hens lay an average of 120-150 cream-colored eggs annually. While this may be slightly lower than some other heritage breeds, the quality and uniqueness of these eggs more than makeup for it.
In terms of size, Frizzles differ slightly from standard chicken breeds. The male chicken, or rooster, typically weighs around 8 pounds, while the female chicken weighs approximately 6 pounds. This slight weight difference adds to these birds’ charm and character. Their distinctive appearance and moderate egg production make them a delightful addition to any backyard or farm setting.
Yokohama Heritage Breed Chickens
With their small and elegant stature, Yokohama Heritage Breed Chickens bring a touch of uniqueness to any flock. Males typically weigh around 4.5 lbs, while females are slightly smaller at around 3.5 lbs. The Yokohama is not known for its prolific laying abilities. They are considered poor egg-layers compared to other heritage breeds. On average, these chickens will lay about 80-100 eggs per year.
However, what they lack in egg quantity they make up for in their nurturing instincts. Yokohamas excel as mothers and are known for being attentive and protective of their baby chickens. If you’re looking to raise some adorable fluffy babes or expand your flock naturally through brooding hens, Yokohamas might be the perfect choice. These birds have a graceful presence that adds beauty to any backyard setting. Their long tail feathers and striking plumage make them quite the eye-catcher among poultry enthusiasts.
Best Heritage Breed Chickens for Meat, Eggs and Dual-Purpose
|Chicken breed||Weight||Egg production|
|Buff Orpingtons||Rooster (male) – 10 lbs, Hen 8 lbs||200 to 280 large brown eggs per year|
|Rhode Island Red||Rooster – 8.6 lbs, Hen – 6.6 lbs||200 to 300 eggs per year|
|Plymouth Rock||Rooster – 9.5 lbs, Hen -7.5 lbs||200 large, brown eggs per year|
|Leghorn Heritage||Rooster – 7.5 lbs, Hen – 6 lbs||280 to 320 eggs per year|
|Brahma Heritage||Rooster -10 lbs, Hen – 8 lbs||150 to 200 eggs per year|
|Cochin Heritage||Rooster – 11 lbs, Hen – 8.5 lbs||160 medium to large eggs per year|
|Silkie Heritage||Rooster – 4 lb, Hen – 3 lbs||100 eggs per year|
|Sussex Heritage||Rooster – 9 lbs., Hen – 7 lbs||200-250 light brown eggs per year|
|Wyandotte||Rooster – 8-9 lbs, Hen – 6-7 lbs||200 eggs per year|
|Ameraucana||Rooster – 6.5 lbs, Hen – 5.5 lbs||150 to 200 eggs per year|
|Easter Egger||Rooster – 5.5 to 7.5 lbs, Hen – 4.5 to 6.5 lbs||280 eggs per year|
|Marans Heritage||Rooster – 8 lbs, Hen – 6.5 lbs||150 to 200 eggs per year|
|Bantam Heritage||Rooster – 1.5-2.5 lbs, Hen – 1-2 lbs||80 and 220 eggs per year|
|Frizzle Heritage||Rooster – 8 lbs, Hen – 6 lbs||120-150 cream-colored eggs per year|
|Yokohama Heritage||Rooster – 4.5 lbs, Hen – 3.5 lbs||80-100 eggs per year|
Heritage breed chickens are often more resilient and adaptable than modern commercial breeds. They have been bred over generations to thrive in various climates and environments, making them well-suited for backyard flocks or small-scale farming operations. Additionally, heritage breeds offer us a wide range of size, coloration, temperament, and egg production choices.
Firstly, these chickens are living links to our past, preserving the genetic diversity that modern commercial breeds often lack. By raising heritage chicken breeds, we preserve agricultural history and promote sustainable farming practices.
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