Thursday, February 19, 2009

Downsizing one flock to make room for rare breeds

A friend came over today and took half of the Barred Rock hens and all the ducks but a trio of Buff Orpingtons and one poor old Pekin. He was happy to get some laying hens as well as the ducks. He does a flea market kind of sale every weekend where he sells chickens, rabbits, and ducks.

I decided to downsize this flock so I can add a couple of flocks of rare breed chickens. There are some beautiful chickens that are in danger of becoming extinct. My hope is to help preserve these birds.

There is one type of the Sussex breed where we only have one or two flocks in the United States. This is the Silver Sussex. They are bred in the United Kingdom and have only been in the U.S. for a few years.

Another is the Buckeye breed that is already on the critically endangered list according to American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. The Buckeye is an old breed that has become less common. This is the breed that I am planning to start my rare breed flocks with and then move on to another breed later in the summer or spring of 2010.

I bought some meat chickens late last fall. There was a rare breed chick with my order. The young chick has grown into a beautiful rooster. He is a Buttercup. He is known as a Buttercup due to the shape of his comb which is shaped as a cup (not with handles or anything like that but has two sides). Since I already have the roo I may get some pullet chicks to go with him. Buttercups are on the critically endangered list also.

There is a satisfaction in knowing that I will be helping to preserve an endangered bird along with the enjoyment that I get from watching the chickens grow and mature into layers. These reasons along with their antics make raising rare breed chickens worthwhile.

I will post pictures when I get the chicks ordered and they arrive.

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