5 Oldest Chicken Breeds
The Dorking is recognized as the oldest breed of
chicken, originating in England as part of the Roman occupation. They are a five-toed breed that is dual
purposed. Dorkings come in both a standard and a bantam, the standard weighing 6.5 pounds and the bantam
weighing one. They are good layers of smallish eggs and are fairly uncommon in the poultry would. They
fatten easily which is why they are a good dual purpose bird and often do well in confinement. Having a
Dorking in your flock is like introducing Julius Cesear to your backyard!
Old English Game
Seen even in the medieval times, these
birds were used in cockfighting rings in the medieval castles. They are a very rare and aggressive bird. Small,
weighing in at four pounds, and very poor layers; perhaps due to their personalities. They are hardy but not
built for harsh winters and slow to mature. The Old English is not a chicken for the novice owners and they are
quite rare and expensive.
This birds are widely accepted as the oldest
truly American breed. They are likely a crossbreed of the grey birds kept in the New England area. They are a
dual purpose bird with feathers that are sought after for fly fishing lures. Perhaps our founding fathers
caught many of their fish with the feathers from these chickens? Uncommon, they are good layers of average
sized eggs and do not struggle with winter weather. They are mostly calm and adaptable. They have the pleasure
of being named the first American chicken.
America's second oldest breed, the Java is in danger
of extinction and groups are in the midst of bringing it back from the brink. It has a distinctly recognizable
body that is rectangular in shape but with a sloping back. It comes in black, white, mottled and auburn. They
are a hardy breed, poor layers or average eggs. If you are looking to get into the chicken fancy world, this
breed definitely deserves some attention.
Though not one of the oldest breeds
internationally, the Chantecler is both the oldest and only chicken to hail from Canada. These birds are
exceptionally rare, even in their home land, and are considered a dual purpose breed. They are good layers of
large eggs and were developed specifically for cold weather. They are good for confined spaces and known for
their docile nature though some are skittish. Frequently broody, they are known for being good mothers and
certainly deserve a spot on the list for being the oldest and only truly Canadian chicken.
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