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Heritage Chicken Breeds

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Posted by Don, Dueling Bubbas on March 27, 2014 at 13:16:05:

Ran across the info below on characteristics of various heritage chicken breeds.

If you go to the sourced link you'll see the undedited (had to shorten the article to fit Ray's site) and be able to locate sources.

Dueling Bubbas

from :
How to Find and Cook a Heritage Chicken
Everything old is new again, with farmers and eaters rediscovering heritage breeds of chickens. But finding and cooking one isn't as easy as heading to the local grocery store and buying a pack of chicken breast filets. Here's how to cook a chicken that actually tastes like chicken.

Heritage-breed chickens are defined by The Livestock Conservancy as breeds with four characteristics: they were recognized as an American Poultry Association Standard Breed prior to the mid-20th century, they are naturally mating, they can live a long and productive life outdoors and they have a slow growth rate — meaning they reach market weight in no less than 16 weeks. These are different than industrial-breed chickens – the kind you typically find at a grocery store or restaurant – in price, form, conformation and genetics.

They’ll also likely cost quite a bit more than your normal bird – expect to pay anywhere from $5.50 to $10.50 per pound for your heritage chicken – but many cooks and eaters swear by their flavor. Heritage birds also look a bit different, as Americans’ obsession with huge chicken breasts is a relatively recent phenomena. Expect, instead, to see longer-bodied chickens with smaller breast-meat portions and darker dark-meat portions.

Heritage chickens aren’t typically sold in a grocery store, so you might have to do some research to find them in your area. Look at the farmers market, at the co-op, or online at The Livestock Conservancy’s directory,, or Heritage Foods USA.

A Breed for the Table
Heritage-breed chickens were developed for different purposes and climates – some strictly for eggs or strictly for meat, and others for dual purpose, meaning both eggs and meat; some for cold weather, and others for tropical climates – so you won’t find every heritage breed in every locale. Depending on where you live, you might be able to find some of the following breeds of heritage meat birds for your home use:

Brahma: 8- to 10-pound market weight; found in cold climates; was considered the best meat chicken from mid-1850s through early 1900s

Buckeye: 5.5- to 8-pound market weight with meaty thighs; developed in Ohio

Catalana: 5- to 6.5-pound market weight; known for succulent meat; warm-climate bird

Plymouth Rock: Fast-growing; 6- to 8-pound market weight; cold-hardy bird; foundation breed for industrial-chicken production

Orpington: 7- to 8-pound market weight; slow-growing chicken; excellent for cooking at any age

Delaware: Fast-growing; 5.5- to 7.5-pound market weight; flavorful when eaten at any age

Wyandotte: 5.5- to 7.5-pound market weight; fast maturing; cold-climate bird

Sussex: 6- to 7.5-pound market weight; known for flavorful meat

Cornish: 6.5- to 8.5-pound market weight; very muscular; young birds eaten as Cornish Game Hens; foundation breed for industrial-chicken production

Rhode Island Red: 5.5- to 7.5-pound market weight; flavorful meat; hardy in all climates

Dorking: 6- to 8-pound market weight; cold hardy; tender and delicate, especially white meat

Langshan: Slow-growing birds; 6.5- to 8-pound market weight; abundant white meat

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