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Why Keep Pure Breed Poultry?

barred rock

Barred Rock Hen

Why choose a pure breed of chicken over a hybrid? The most important reason behind keeping pure breeds, is conservation. If you choose to keep or breed pure bred poultry, you are helping to conserve that breed for the future. Unfortunately some breeds have fallen out of fashion over time, and are now considered “at risk” by the Rare Breeds Survival trust (RBST) Hybrids are often popular with back yard keepers who just want chickens as garden birds, that lay plenty of eggs. Hybrids are easy to source  birds and usually available all year round. They also rarely go broody, and  are generally speaking, predictable and of placid nature. Unfortunately although hybrids are very productive, they have no conservation value at all. It is also worth mentioning that a hybrids egg laying, dramatically drops after the first season -they are not designed to lay for longer.

Records of poultry keeping go back centuries, but it is only since Victorian times that Standards have been written down for specific breeds. Pure breeds are the traditional breeds of poultry, developed in various countries for various purposes, mostly since Victorian times. Most pure breeds will mostly, only lay during the longer, lighter days. For egg laying, the lighter breeds tend to be far more productive than heavy breeds. Leghorns for example are excellent egg layers, producing large

Leghorn's are productive layers of large white eggs.

Leghorn’s are productive layers of large white eggs.

white eggs, as with most light breeds, they do tend to be more flighty. Heavy breeds were developed for meat, they consume larger quantities of food, lay less but produce lots of delicious meat, and tend to be more docile in nature. Dual purpose breeds like the Rhode Island Red, Marsh Daisy and Brahma, were developed for both egg and meat production.

True bantam breeds are often popular with exhibitors, who enjoy the ornamental attraction these birds offer. The previously mentioned Malaysian Serama is a tiny showy bird, with huge amounts of personality. Sebrights are elegant little birds that like to strut around, whilst Pekins are a beautiful fluffy breed, that are especially popular with children due to their good natures, and make excellent pets.

The great thing about pure breeds of poultry is the variety. Chickens come in all shapes and sizes, from the huge and gentle Jersey Giant to the smallest chicken in the world, The Malaysian

Ixworth's are huge tablebirds

Ixworth’s are huge tablebirds

Serama. Different breeds have different personalities, some being friendly and docile birds, others more energetic and flighty more suited to free ranging. No matter what you are looking for in a chicken, there is a breed out there to cater for everyone’s taste!

Useful Links

Rare Breeds Survival trust (RBST)

Poultry Club Great Britain (PCGB)

Everything Poultry Forum

Poultry Breed Clubs

A-Z Poultry Breeds

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