Heritage and Exotic Chickens
The following is a brief description of each of the breeds of Chickens we raise. This information is based in part on research and mostly on our own observations. There are some facts and some opinions expressed and your specific experience with any of the breed(s)s could be different. The actual Breed is in Bold though different types of different breeds can be very different in personality, in most cases the distinction is the size or color of that type bird.
Ameraucana: Blue egg producer
Varieties we have: Blue, Black,and Splash
These are a pure breed that lays turquoise colored eggs, not to be confused with Easter Eggers or Americanas (several spellings) which are cross-bred birds that can lay blue- green or olive green eggs. Ameraucanas can be nice, quiet, personable birds but in general are a little flakier than the heritage breeds. Our Ameraucanas are not extremely prolific layers nor do they go broody easily or often. They do not lay as well in the cold weather as some of the other breeds. Olive Eggers are a cross between an Ameraucana and a Marans, they tend to be more prolific layers of larger eggs and better brood hens. True Ameraucanas should have a small, pea comb which literally looks like an open pod of peas. Chicks from our flock have been successfully shown and done very well.
Orpington: Dual Purpose, Brown egg & Meat bird,
Varieties we have: American x English: Buff
English: Black, Lavender Cuckoo, Cuckoo (B&W), Buff, & Lemon Cuckoo
Orpingtons are a heritage breed that comes in many “new” colors but Buff is the most common and best known. The English variety tends to be fluffier (more loosely feathered) than the American variety. They are a quiet, docile bird with a sweet personality. Mine lay large to HUGE lt brown eggs and they lay well all year long. Being a heritage breed they will go broody if eggs are left in the nest and are usually great moms. They are somewhat late maturing and it can be very difficult to tell pullets from cockerels until they are almost fully grown.
Cochin (for more, see the Cochin page): Dual Purpose, Brown egg & Meat bird
Varieties we have: Blue, Black, Splash, Mottled, White, and Barred
Cochins come in all colors and all 3 sizes, bantam, standard, and giant. Ours are Standard size. We have a BBS (Blue, Black, Splash pen) as well as separate breeding pens of White, Partridge, Mottled (Bantam), & Barred Cochins. Cochins are super laid back, calm, quiet birds. They are best known for their head-to-toe feathering giving them a dust-mop appearance, their frequent broodiness, and excellent brood skills. Chicks from our flock have been successfully shown and done very well. It can be very hard to tell pullets from cockerels until they are almost old enough to lay or crow.
Dominique: Dual Purpose, Brown egg & Meat bird,
Dominiques, or Domineckers to the old timers, are the original American chicken that the pioneers carried west. They are heritage breed that is quiet, calm, and very friendly. The hens are average size and the roosters are large, impressive looking boys! MOST Dom roos are calm, gentle oosters to the point that we keep 2 or 3 roos in our Dom pen with no fighting, however other roos will pick on them due to their gentle nature. They lay large brown eggs and lay well year ‘round. Chicks can be color sexed with about 90% accuracy as soon as they start to feather. Doms can be ifferentiated from Barred Rocks and Cuckoo Marans by their Rose Comb, which should not be so big as to hang over their eyes or beak and should have an upward swooping rear point. Chicks from our flock have been successfully shown and done very well.
Leghorn: White egg producer
Varieties we have: Paint, Black, Exchequer
a typical Leghorn: small bird with a large comb, economical to feed, and an excellent layer of medium to large white eggs. They were originally created for the egg industry where their light frame and medium size made them a very economical bird to keep in layer houses. They lay throughout the year but do lay better with additional lighting in the winter months. They have a less calm personality that the heritage breeds and startle easily, the roos can tend to be on the aggressive side, and very protective of their territory and hens. The roos also grow very sharp spurs and should be de-spurred at least 1 – 2 times a year to protect the hens sides and your legs!
Exchequer Leghorn: White egg producer
Originally a Scottish breed developed from 5 oddly colored adults in a Leghorn flock, the
interesting looking Exchequer Leghorn, is a typical Leghorn, see White Leghorn
description above. However in my personal experience, probably due to the small
gene pool, they can be VERY difficult to raise from chicks and keep healthy as
adults. We have added White Leghorn hens to our flock to increase the vitality
by expanding the gene pool. The colored females from this cross are then also
added back into the flock in order to keep the coloration of the Exchequer.
Many people confuse the Ancona and Exchequer breeds and you will see both birds
called either name as you websurf. Chicks from our flock have been successfully shown and done very well.
French Black Copper Marans: VERY Dark Brown Egg producer, ok as a smallish meat bird
Marans (even 1 is a Marans (ma-rahns) with an “s”) is a French Breed in origin,that has developed into French Marans with
feathered legs and Marans with clean legs. Though Marans come in many colors the Black Copper is, in my opinion, the prettiest. The roos are black with copper hackles and back feathers and the hens
are black with varying degrees of copper around their necks. Marans lay a dark brown, chocolate colored egg which, on an official egg color scale from 1-9 is at least a
4. Our Marans eggs tend to be in the 4-5 range and a little larger than the average Marans
French Blue Copper Marans: VERY Dark Brown Egg producer
The rare Blue version of Black Copper Marans – see above. Not yet an APA recognized color for this breed.
Silkies (for more, see the Silkie page):
Varieties we have: Buff, Blue & Splash, Paint, Black, White, Partridge, Blue Partridge, Silver Partridge
Though Silkies can vary in size they are considered a bantam breed. They come in many
colors and patterns and have fine, almost hair-like feathers and large top knots. They are a very friendly bird and love attention. They lay a bantam sized egg and go broody frequently and often and are exceptional mothers! A Japanese breed, they are prized for their blue ear lobes and black skin and legs. They should also have a walnut comb and 5 well-spaced toes on each foot, though even SQ adults can produce chicks with 4 or sometimes 6 toes on one or both feet. Due to the fact that their large top knot can impede their vision they sometimes need a little extra help getting to their coop if left out after dark, and care needs to be taken to watch for eye problems especially in wet weather when their top knot gets plastered to their head. Our adults have been shown and done well.
Silver Pencilled Plymouth Rocks: Dual Purpose, Brown egg & Meat bird
Everyone is familiar with Barred Rocks, well, Plymouth Rocks come in several varieties/colors from White to Barred to what we have: Silver Pencilled Rocks. The Plymouth Rock was created in the mid 1800's in New England. It is very much a dual purpose breed produced great laying hens and roos big enough to be meat birds (though the Silver Pencilled do not grow as large as the White variety). The advantage to this variety (color pattern) is that the chicks are color-sexable at a very young age allowing for them to be sold as Pullets or Cockerels as chicks. Our Silver Pencilled Rocks came from SQ flocks and we hope to be able to have some of our chicks shown.
Coronation Sussex:Cream/ White egg producer
A relatively new variety of Sussex chicken imported from England by Greenfire Farm. They are a large white bird with Lavender feathers around their lower neck (preferably all the way around) and Lavender tails. They lay a cream colored egg but mine are not very prolific layers. Since this is a new breed, improvements are being made with each generation in our flock.
Wyandotte: Brown egg producer
Varieties we have: Blue Laced Red (BLRW)
Though Wyandottes have been popular for years, the Blue Laced Red color (which also includes Splash Laced Reds and Black Laced Reds due to the “blue” genetics) are a relatively new and rare color. They are beautiful, docile, and extremely curious and friendly birds that can be easily spoiled rotten! They produce medium to large brown eggs but do not lay well in the winter. Well worth adding to your flock for the WoW factor alone!