Heritage Breeds Can Be the Best Egg Laying Chickens

Rare domesticated animals need engaged stewards to survive. Raise heritage chickens and you’ll find some of the best egg laying chickens around.

| May/June 2012

  • Australorp
    Known for its docility and hardiness, the Australorp is an excellent addition to any homestead flock.
    Paul McMahon
  • Heritage Chickens Great for Laying
    Another reliable heritage layer, the Delaware breed does well on free-range forage.
    Lori Dunn
  • Campines
    The Hamburg is easily confused with the Campine, but the comb gives it away.Rose comb indicates Hamburg, while the Campine has a single comb.
    Paul McMahon
  • Langshan
    The hardy, ancient Langshan breed is fighting to regain its place on small farms across the country.
    courtesy ALBC
  • Anconas
    Anconas are known for their beautiful color pattern, a black ground color mottled white.
    courtesy ALBC
  • Rhode Island White
    The Rhode Island White is a true American original.
    courtesy ALBC
  • Leghorns
    Add a few of the non-industrial Leghorns, such as this dark brown beauty, to your backyard.
    courtesy ALBC
  • Poultry Net
    For a chance to win a Poultry Net from Gallagher check out www.GRIT.com/grit-gear. This offer ends June 14, 2012.
  • Guide to Raising Chickens
    Purchase Storey's "Guide to Raising Chickens" by Gail Damerow on our shopping site at www.Grit.com/shopping.
    Storey Publishing
  • Large Chicken Feeder
    For a chance to win a Large Chicken Feeder from Grandpa's Feeders visit www.Grit.com/grit-gear. This offer ends June 14, 2012.

  • Australorp
  • Heritage Chickens Great for Laying
  • Campines
  • Langshan
  • Anconas
  • Rhode Island White
  • Leghorns
  • Poultry Net
  • Guide to Raising Chickens
  • Large Chicken Feeder

For fun, profit, principle or superior nutrition, raising layer hens is a rewarding experience. Keeping a few of the chickens described in this article will provide hours of pleasure, a valuable education for the entire family, a renewed connection with your food and some of the animals who provide it, and a sense of satisfaction that you are participating in the important work of saving these interesting and valuable breeds for future generations. Many of these breeds need quality stewards to ensure their survival. If one of these breeds doesn’t strike your fancy, check out Heritage Chickens to learn about many other endangered chicken breeds that might fit the needs of your farm or homestead. 

Australorp

Status: Recovering 

You might think Australia’s claim to fame is the kangaroo, but in the land Down Under, Australorps reign supreme. In fact, the breed is recognized as the unofficial breed of Australia, its country of origin.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Black Orpingtons were imported from England to Australia. The Australians valued the Black Orpington for its egg-production traits and began selecting and outcrossing to improve laying abilities. Meanwhile, the English continued selecting their Black Orpingtons for meat qualities. By the 1920s, the “Australian Laying Orpington” was divergent enough to be labeled as its own breed, the Australorp. The breed then was imported to England and the United States. In 1929, Australorps were officially recognized by the American Poultry Association as a standard breed.



Today, Australorps are still known for their great egg-laying abilities, often laying more than 200 eggs a year. The Australorp’s eggs are tinted tan, and average 26 to 27 ounces per dozen. Although the breed is reputed for its laying abilities, the birds have relatively meaty carcasses that can serve the needs of the small farm or homestead. The Australorp is a black chicken with a moderately large single comb. Females average 6 1/2 pounds and males average 8 1/2 pounds. The Australorp is gaining popularity among poultry fanciers.

Campine

Status: Critical 

AnonymouseIsAWoman
3/29/2014 12:26:29 AM

Amazing. Not one mention of the Barred or White Plymouth Rock, breeds that are far more productive than most listed. No mention of the Delaware or the Buckeye, among many other useful, hardy, tough American breeds. For those who want low maintenance, try the Dominique, an extremely hardy, vigorous forager.


Stanley
6/20/2012 2:40:22 PM

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Danine Segale
6/6/2012 7:41:58 PM

Who won the June 3 2012 coop contest? thank you Danine







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