If you have an interest in keeping hens in your backyard, you will be surprised to learn how many different Heritage Chicken Breeds there are to pick from.
The chicken breeds you decide to raise will depend on various factors, such as egg production, temperament, meat production, or even appearance.
However, before making that decision, you must be sure of the purpose you intend to serve with the chickens you intend to raise.
Most of the time, heritage chicken breeds will be your best bet for your farm.
There is considerable ambiguity and debate surrounding the precise characteristics that define heritage chicken breeds.
The definition of a heritage breed in the United States is not the same as in other countries worldwide.
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy recently defined a heritage chicken breed as “resulting from the fertilization of a heritage egg that an American Poultry Association member had sired. The standard breed that formed before the middle of the 20th century; known for its modest growth, spontaneously occurring mating, and long, productive lives outside.”
This definition does not include some breeds in many poultry groups abroad, such as the Maran, but many enthusiasts still consider them to be heritage chicken breeds.
If you are interested in bringing some heritage chicken breeds into your backyard and need assistance deciding which ones to acquire, we have compiled a list of 26 breeds we could discover to give you as many options as possible.
Let’s plunge in!
1. White Langshan
The White Langshan is a type of bird known for having a regal appearance. They have prominent chests, thick plumage, and a towering height.
There is a belief that this particular bird has a long and illustrious lineage that began in China.
White Langshan chickens are known for their calm and submissive nature despite their intimidating appearance.
Despite its somewhat menacing appearance, the White Langshan is a very placid and submissive chicken. They are fearless birds that are tough to acquire due to their rarity.
You’ll be able to identify them by the feathers found on their legs and feet and the bluish-black color of their legs.
At approximately 26 weeks old, you can anticipate this chicken to lay between 200 and 220 eggs over a year.
These chicken types produce eggs that are huge and brown, and they are very consistent and dependable as birds.
Similarly, the White Langshan provides great meat you may roast perfectly.
Be careful because these birds have incredible flying abilities and can scale even the tallest fences.
2. Buff Orpington
The fluffy, attractive Buff Orpington hens kept by their owners serve their masters in two different capacities.
You may raise them for their meat and have it ready for consumption in as little as 22 weeks.
On the other hand, they have a respectable egg production, laying anywhere from 200 to 280 brown eggs yearly.
Orpingtons are quite simple to care for. However, they can become stressed when exposed to high temperatures. If the temperature in their environment is too high, it can be fatal for them.
Because of the dense feathering on their bodies, they are also notorious for harboring lice and mites.
Because they are so docile and thrive on human care, Buff Orpingtons are a popular choice for people who want to keep chickens as pets on their homesteads.
They do not exhibit aggressive behavior and are simple to train, but they fare best when isolated from other breeds known to be hostile.
3. Barred Plymouth Rock
The Barred Plymouth Rock chicken and the Dominique chicken have a striking resemblance in terms of their physical appearance.
Simply by looking at its name, you may have guessed that this is one of the oldest breeds in the United States; it has been around far before the Second World War.
This chicken is popular not just for the quality of its meat but also for the quantity and quality of the eggs it produces. In this respect, it is analogous to the Rhode Island Red chicken.
At its heaviest, the breed weighs around 9.5 pounds, and you can anticipate the hens to produce about 200 brown eggs each year on average.
The breed’s name comes from the 9.5-pound weight at which it reaches its full size.
Even while their chickens can keep laying eggs for as long as ten years, the rate at which they do so begins to slow down during the third year.
If you’re concerned about space constraints, you can also breed or purchase Plymouth Rock bantam chickens.
4. Single Comb Brown Leghorn
The Single Comb Brown Leghorn is possibly the most vibrantly colored of all the heritage chicken breeds.
Its feathers can be a variety of colors, including reds, browns, greens, and even blues.
This bird is endemic to Italy and is known for its independence, hard labor, and busy lifestyle.
It doesn’t like attention or handling; in fact, it doesn’t even love confinement.
On the other hand, if you provide the right conditions for this bird, she will repay you with more than 300 eggs annually.
They don’t just give you a lot of stuff, but the eggs they lay are enormous, pure white, and stunning.
You will need a good amount of Patience and perseverance in order to obtain these eggs.
They don’t start laying eggs until they’re about 18 and 20 weeks old and have a loud attitude in exchange.
5. White Laced Red Cornish
If you are seeking a hardy chicken to survive in chilly conditions, then the White Laced Red Cornish chicken can be the right choice for you.
This chicken is from England, features a pea comb, and is a clean-legged breed. The females of this species only weigh 2 pounds.
Hence they are considered a toy breed. They are born as chicks with a mixture of pale red and white feathers, but they swiftly mature into birds with full white plumage and a characteristic form.
Egg output from this bird is around average. You may find roughly 100 eggs each year, but it’s implausible that you’ll find many more than that.
6. Cochin Partridge
The Partridge Cochin chicken is unquestionably a member of the family-friendly birds that make excellent pets.
This is one of the many reasons why the Partridge Cochin chicken is so famous.
Their size and authoritative demeanor may look intimidating, but these birds are actually rather gentle, kind, and sweet.
Because of the distinctive color patterns on its feathers, People also refer to this breed of chicken as a partridge.
They have an abundance of feathers, some of which reach down to their toes and legs, making them extremely fluffy.
Although these hens can produce a large number of eggs all at once for a brief period, on average, their annual output is between 150 and 180 eggs.
Aside from that, their meat is their most common use, and some people even keep them as pets.
7. Speckled Sussex
The Speckled Sussex chicken is often referred to as “pretty and functional,” which is an apt description of this breed.
Anyone who appreciates chickens will notice that this breed has a stunning covering of feathers with brown and white.
In addition to its outward beauty, it also produces an annual average of about 250 eggs, which is a respectable amount.
Although some birds are better suited for laying eggs, the Speckled Sussex is an excellent option for meat and is also useful for both show and farm.
This chicken got its start in Sussex County, which is located in England, as its name suggests.
Today, there are many distinct variants of these chickens included on lists of heritage chicken breeds.
As your Speckled Sussex goes through its annual molt, you will notice that the feathers on its body are getting increasingly speckled.
8. Rhode Island Red
We have already found some heritage chicken breeds from other countries on our list. The first variety of chicken to have its origins in America was the Rhode Island Red.
The fact that this chicken bears the name of a city in Rhode Island immediately gives away its place of origin.
It has a very traditional appearance, as evidenced by the roosters’ dark brown and red feathers, as well as their bright red combs, earlobes, and wattles.
When you factor in its golden feet, legs, and reddish-brown beaks, you’ve got a chicken from the farm.
This breed was specifically developed to produce both meat and brown eggs.
In the past, People believed that this bird could lay anywhere from 200 to 300 brown eggs in a single year. In addition to this, the flesh has an incredibly robust flavor.
Keep your distance; this chicken has a reputation for being a little bit vicious, and it may not be the ideal choice for homesteading. Although we strongly recommend partaking in its offerings,
Due to the bird’s appearance and the hue of its eggs, the Araucana chicken practically gives off the impression of being a cartoon character.
This peculiar bird’s history is only partially known to us because large portions of it have never come in for inspection.
Despite this, there is a significant amount that we have not yet deduced.
The origin of this chicken may be unclear; nonetheless, it was discovered for the first time in Chili, and it has since been in the Standard of Perfection of the American Poultry Association.
The Araucana chicken is on the smaller side, with adult males weighing approximately 5 pounds and hens coming in at 4 pounds.
Most of the time, these birds have pleasant dispositions and remain still and quiet.
You may anticipate that your Araucana hen will lay approximately 250 eggs over the course of a year, but you shouldn’t be surprised when you check for them.
These eggs turn out to be a beautiful hue of blue after cooking.
It is consistent with their lack of tails and the presence of additional feathers around the perimeter of their faces for them to be peculiar.
10. Blue Andalusian
The Blue Andalusian, another breed of chicken named for the region in which their breeding process started, is a descendant of the Andalusian chicken.
This gorgeous farm animal is undeniably striking, with blue-gray feathers and black outlines and markings to accent those feathers.
The Blue Andalusian is a bird that is raised for its meat and can lay up to 150 eggs annually.
These hens are quite active; you’ll frequently see them running and searching for food.
Because of this, Blue Andalusians can survive in many different homesteads.
Although they provide a substantial amount of breast meat, the rest of the carcass does not provide much in the way of other edible parts.
On the other hand, they are relatively reliable egg producers and guarantee an annual surplus of 150 eggs from their hens. They can produce big, white eggs.
The Blue Andalusian is a dual-purpose breed of chicken, which means that in addition to being able to lay eggs, You can also use it for broiling.
11. Black Minorca
The Black Minorca chicken is a breed native to Spain that is notable for its large size.
The males can weigh up to 8 pounds, depending on the environment and the breeding, which is quite a bit for a heritage chicken breed.
The largest of the enormous white egg layers seen in the Mediterranean, this bird lays the largest eggs.
In addition to being an excellent producer of eggs, the Minorca is put on display as a result of the extensive breeding it undergoes and its physical appearance.
It is easy to detect because of its vivid red comb, face, and wattles, which provide a striking contrast to the glossy greenish-black plumage it possesses.
In general, the Black Minorca is a wonderful choice for producing a decent amount of eggs, performing as a superb display animal, and enhancing the aesthetic value of your yard.
They are also quite peaceful and hardy birds with a kind attitude, social birds that are very friendly.
12. Dark Brahma
Back in the 20th century, the Dark Brahma chicken enjoyed a good deal of popularity.
Its meat had a reputation for being exceptionally flavorful and preceded many other heritage chicken breeds.
Despite this, it is still a breed of ordinary quality on the list.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, Humans have developed numerous new breeds of chickens capable of laying more eggs. However, that has not rendered this chicken irrelevant in any way.
The Dark Brahma has the potential to lay approximately 140 brown eggs over a single year.
Although this is not a record-breaking high, it is nonetheless an admirable achievement.
Since people use these chickens for their eggs and meat, we can consider them dual-purpose birds.
The size of this chicken is undoubtedly one of its most notable characteristics.
The male standard weighs an astounding 18 pounds, far more than any of the chickens we have discussed up to this point.
Due to that aspect, it is an outstanding source for harvesting meat.
The area around Boston in the Northeastern United States is most likely where the Dominique chicken first appeared in the wild.
This bird, which is kept for its eggs, meat, and even to stuff pillows, is one of the oldest breeds in the country.
Because of their very similar appearances, many people have trouble distinguishing between the Dominique and Barred Rock chicken.
Both varieties of chicken have a striped black-and-white appearance.
But the Dominique, also a dual-purpose chicken, has a distinct comb and a more staggered pattern on its feathers than the other varieties.
The eyes and the beak are likewise different colors and shapes from one another.
They are highly sociable and tend to follow people around when they are in the vicinity and also make lovely additions to the homestead as heritage chicken breeds.
They can also lay as many as 270 eggs in a single year, which is certainly nothing to scoff at.
As animals that are very capable of taking care of themselves, keeping Dominiques on the farm does not require a great deal of planning.
14. White Jersey Giant
The fact that the White Jersey Giant is the largest chicken breed in America may be a fascinating aspect of this breed.
Because a male can grow to be as heavy as 13 pounds, this breed is excellent for raising chickens just for their meat.
The Jersey Giant is capable of going broody. However, due to their size, they are not the ideal choice for incubating eggs or raising young.
Because it produces anywhere from 150 to 200 eggs per year, it is also an excellent choice for eggs. On average, it lays those eggs.
Your Jersey Giant will serve you, your family, or your company well so long as you keep it in an environment that is pleasant, conducive to good health, and protected from the elements.
The White Jersey Giant perfectly exemplifies what comes to mind for many people when they think of chickens residing on a farm.
It is rather big and fluffy, and it has a lot of white feathers to complement the red feathers accented on its comb and face.
This chicken tends to expand out in its frame first, one of its less desirable traits.
They don’t have a considerable amount of meat until at least six months, and often even 8 or 9 months, which means there is a bit of a waiting period if you want it for your dinner table.
15. White Crested Black Polish
No other bird on the planet even comes close to the White-Crested Black Polish.
Because it has a highly unique appearance, many people regard it as a valued possession in their collection.
Except for the feathers on the very top of its head, these heritage chicken breeds have black feathers across their entire body.
People often compare the head feathers of this chicken to a top hat because the chicken has stark white feathers that fan out from the top of its head in a complete fan formation.
On the other hand, the Polish chicken breed has a low tolerance for the cold and can handle high temperatures very well.
They produce white eggs of moderate size and at a reasonable rate. On the other hand, their meat is not a particularly desirable alternative.
Their mature weight of just approximately 4 to 6 pounds is not to lot to work with; therefore, it is essential to keep this in mind.
It’s vital to keep in mind that these chickens are highly flighty and won’t make good mothers because of it.
If you wish to breed them successfully, you will need an incubator because they do not typically sit on their eggs.
It is common knowledge that Ancona chickens are an exceptionally useful breed for keeping close to and all around the house.
The fact that these particular heritage chicken breeds originated in the Mediterranean gives them a preference for warmer weather.
The stunning bird with the spotted feathers was welcomed into the American Poultry Association in 1889, only one year after people brought it into the country for the first time.
The mature males weigh between 5.5 and 6.5 pounds, while the adult females weigh even less.
Although it is a timid and reclusive bird, the hen that lays the most eggs also leads the pack in terms of productivity.
It has been shown to lay a staggering 220 eggs per year, likely to be large and white.
17. Silver Campine
Poultry keepers first bred the Silver Campine chicken in northern Belgium, and later made its way to the southern regions of the Netherlands.
They are not especially huge heritage chicken breeds; on average, males can weigh approximately 6 pounds, while females weigh far less.
This animal underwent several different breeding stages while being transported from Belgium to England and then finally to the United States of America.
An interesting tidbit regarding the bird’s breeding is that it has a history of winning awards at various competitions.
In the end, The A.P.A even included it in the Standard of Perfection established by the American Poultry Association.
The head and neck feathers of the silver variety of the Campine breed are completely white, while the rest of the body is black with a green shine to it.
It is a standard layer known for producing huge eggs of pure white color and is regarded as one of the rarest chickens today.
18. Red Star Chicken
The Red Star Chicken is a dependable source of a steady food supply and is famous for its enormous egg output.
You can count on these heritage chicken breeds to provide what you need. It is classified as a hybrid specifically for the purpose of egg production.
In contrast to most other breeds, it is very simple to determine a Red Star’s gender on the day it is born. This makes the breed exceptional.
It is really simple to distinguish between males and females as soon as they are born because their skin tones are distinct from one another.
Over the course of a year, The hen can lay more than 200 eggs. Under ideal conditions, a female Red Star can produce as many as 360 eggs in a year.
This breed has a reputation for being somewhat hostile toward the other members of its flock; nevertheless, it is typically kind toward the people who own it, so there is no need for concern in this regard.
19. Aseel Chicken
The Aseel is an old heritage chicken breed initially established in India to compete in cockfights.
Even though they can be pretty violent at times, they are sturdy birds that can survive successfully foraging in the wild due to their doggedness. Determination.
Although they produce brown eggs of modest size, they are not good layers overall and are more useful for meat even though they develop slowly.
They do, however, make wonderful moms and will even battle off snakes and other dangerous predators in order to protect their young.
20. Australorp Chicken
The Australorp is a chicken breed developed in Australia from the Black Orpington type.
This species is famous for its ability to lay eggs and has won numerous competitions in this area.
Not only do they lay a lot of eggs, but each one is quite enormous, weighing in at about 27 ounces on average for a dozen.
There is only one color variation of Australorp, and that is black.
21. Faverolle Chicken
These chickens have their roots in the French village of Favorelles and exist in many different color varieties; however, in the United States, only the salmon and white color varieties have gained widespread acceptance.
They are a valuable asset to any homestead as they are of moderate size, reach maturity at an earlier age, are exceptionally hardy, and have excellent egg-laying skills. In addition, their meat is quite tender.
22. Phoenix Rooster
The Golden Phoenix is a remarkably beautiful and ornamental chicken mainly used as a show bird. It has an exceptionally long tail and a striking appearance.
They are calm, resilient, versatile birds, and they thrive best in homes where they have plenty of room to run around.
23. Hamburg Chicken
The Hamburg chicken is famous for its high level of alertness as well as its high level of activity.
Additionally, these heritage chicken breeds have a habit of roosting in lofty locations such as trees.
They produce a considerable number of eggs consistently over a period of years, making them an excellent choice for producing eggs at home because of their high production rate.
They are adaptive birds that do well in the free range rather than being confined since they are robust and resilient animals that do not fare well in confinement.
Those who are tall but lanky. The Malay is a very old breed believed to have originated in India around 3,500 years ago.
They are big, lively birds that reach great heights and are one of the tallest chicken breeds.
These birds can be hostile at times and prone to fighting becomes more noticeable when housed together in close quarters.
They are hardy creatures that farmers breed for their meat because they lay few eggs and breed only during certain times of the year.
25. Polish Chicken
The huge crest of spread feathers atop Polish chickens’ heads is one of the breed’s most recognizable characteristics.
They were not initially from Poland but got their name from a symbol on their coat of arms that looked like the feathered caps that Polish soldiers have traditionally worn.
They produce eggs of white color that are of medium size and are superb layers that are tenacious.
Unfortunately, because of their distinctive crest, they have impaired vision, making them more susceptible to attack by dangerous animals.
The Welsummer is one of the heritage chicken breeds that originated in the Netherlands.
These chickens are famous for their friendly demeanor, calm demeanor, and high intellect.
They produce about 160 eggs per year and are a good meat source, making them an excellent breed for a small homestead because they can serve dual purposes.
They are also lively birds that are excellent hunters, and they are one of the best free-range fowl that are currently accessible.