Heritage breed chickens are chickens breeds that were found and “developed” all over the world to suit the needs and climates of the people of the area. Not unlike domesticated dogs, these chicken breeds range widely in looks, temperaments, and function (eggs vs. meat vs. dual purpose). Up until the commercialization of chicken farming in the 1930-40s, these breeds were the breeds of chickens available.
This mass farming made heritage breed chickens nearly obsolete, and in fact many breeds became extinct.
In the 1970s a movement began in earnest to locate and resurrect these unusual, diverse breeds from around the world.
Currently small farms and private breeders are working to bring these breeds back into popularity in backyard flocks. Breed-specific clubs have been established to create recognized breed standards.
The chicks sold at Pollinate Farm & Garden were purchased as eggs from these breeders around the USA, in the interest of both supporting their efforts, and sharing these unusual chickens with those of us who would otherwise never see them. Many of the breeds offered are still considered highly endangered.
These chicks have been hatched by a local family in Oakland and have been vaccinated for Mareks.
These private breeders focus on quality–striving for healthy representatives of the breed, and the chicks tend to be healthier than hatchery chicks. In fact, many of these breeders show their birds and some of these chicks may in fact be “show quality”.
Heritage breeds tend to be healthy and long-lived, and can live up to ten years. They will lay eggs their entire life, with production slowing as the years pass.
The chicks offered at Pollinate Farm & Garden represent breeds that are:
Different chicken breeds produce eggs in different sizes and colors–colors that range from white, pink, blue, green, olive, burgundy, speckled to chocolate brown. The breed dictates the color; the chicken’s diet impacts the yolk color and taste.
Chickens of different breeds and ages can do well together in a flock so there is no need to stay with one breed if you prefer a diversified flock.