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Orpington Chickens in the Heritage Breed Spotlight

An Orpington chicken with a chick

Orpington chickens get their name from the town of Orpington in Kent, England. They are the creation of Britain’s William Cook, whose goal was developing an outstanding meat and egg breed that tolerates England’s cold winters. Orpingtons first appeared at exhibition in London in 1886 and were first shown in the United States in 1895. […]

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Wyandotte Chickens in the Heritage Breed Spotlight

A Wyandotte-Buff-Roo chicken inside a coop

Wyandotte chickens were developed in a region of the United States once occupied by the Native American Huron tribes. Collectively, these tribes were known as Wendat, or Wyandot, which inspired the breed name. Physical Attributes With their short tail, short back, and loose feathering, Wyandotte chickens look rather round. They may be large or bantam. […]

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9 Reasons to Show Your Chickens

A young girl holds up a ribbon she won showing off her chicken

As keeping backyard chickens becomes ever more popular, poultry shows attract more and more participants. Today’s chicken keepers participate in poultry exhibitions for all sorts of appealing reasons. Here are nine reasons to your show chickens: Affordable Hobby Everybody needs something relaxing to do in their spare time. Many people find that conditioning and showing […]

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Silkie Bantam Chickens in the Breed Spotlight

A White Silkie Hens sitting next to a cat

The details of exactly when and how Silkie bantam chickens came into being have been lost in the mists of time. The breed was first mentioned by Marco Polo, who wrote about “chickens with fur-like feathers and black skin” in his 13th century report of his explorations in Asia. Most likely Silkie chickens existed long […]

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Caring for Bantam Chickens

A young man holds a bantam chicken

Does caring for bantam chickens differ from keeping larger chickens? Yes and no. Any differences generally relate to the bantams’ smaller size and to their typically gentle temperament. Predator Protection Bantam chickens are so light in weight that most predators can easily carry one away. And because they have shorter legs, they can’t run to […]

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Swedish Duck in the Heritage Breed Spotlight

Blue Swedish Duck sits on a pond

The Swedish duck has its origins in the early to mid 1800s in Pomerania, a region on the Baltic Sea that was once controlled by Sweden. The breed first came to the United States in 1884. The only variety listed in the American Standard of Perfection is the blue variety, accepted in 1904. Physical Attributes […]

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Which Poultry Breed Lays a Black Egg?

A black chicken egg

The internet is rife with photographs of eggs from chickens and other poultry that have black shells. Are they a trick of the imagination? Poor photographic lighting? Or true poultry eggs with inky shells? If so, which poultry breed lays a black egg? Maybe Ducks Among ducks, the Cayuga sometimes lays eggs with black shells. […]

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Ancona Duck in the Rare Breed Spotlight

A group of Ancona Ducks

The Ancona duck originated in the 1910s, yet remains a rare breed that has never been listed in the American Standard of Perfection. Cackle Hatchery® is one of its few long-term breeders, having maintained Ancona genetics since 1977. Physical Attributes Anconas are typically white and black, or any combination of white and color, in irregular […]

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Duck Eclipse and Nuptial Molts — What Do They Mean?

A group of ducks sit on the water on the pond

Ducks, like other birds, periodically replace their worn-out feathers with a full set of fresh plumage in a process called molting. Young ducks go through two consecutive molts. After maturity, the hens renew their feathers annually, while the drakes go through two annual plumage changes —the eclipse and nuptial molts. Most domestic duck breeds in […]

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Heritage Breed Spotlight: White Pekin Duck

Two white Pekin Ducks

The White Pekin is the quintessential duck that most people think of when they hear the word “duck.” This big white duck derives from an ancient Chinese breed, the name of which translates as “ten-pound duck.” The first Pekins in the United States arrived in the early 1870s, hatched in the Chinese city of Peking, […]

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