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Why Does a Rooster Have Wattles?

A rooster’s wattles come in flexible pairs that dangle beneath the beak, while its comb is a single structure prominently affixed to the top of the head. Researchers have determined that hens base their choice of mates, in part, on characteristics of the comb. But when it comes to wattles, they scratch their scholarly heads […]

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The Origin of Modern Chickens

Since the 1800s humans have believed chickens were domesticated from red jungle fowl of Southeast Asia. The main reasons for this assumption are that red jungle fowl (pictured above) look similar and can interbreed with modern chickens. However, we had no real proof of the origin of modern chickens until the advent of gene sequencing. […]

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Difference Between Production Chickens and Show Chickens

Prize Show Chicken

Production chickens are efficient producers of eggs or meat. “Efficient” means outputs are maximized, while inputs are minimized. In other words, production chickens are bred to produce more eggs or meat while eating less feed. The main difference between production chickens and show chickens is that efficient production is not a consideration in breeds developed […]

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What Is a Strain of Chickens?

Chickens from the same bloodline

A strain, also called a bloodline or simply a line, is a family of related chickens. They are distinctive in having been selectively bred by a single person or organization long enough for all the chickens to be uniquely uniform in some way. Each strain of purebred chickens has all the traits that define its […]

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Blue Laced Red Wyandotte or Splash Laced Red Wyandotte?

Blue and Splash Laced Red Wyandotte

Based on discussions and photos circulating online, there seems to be a bit of confusion about the difference between a blue laced red Wyandotte and a splash laced red Wyandotte. Since the two varieties are related and look somewhat similar, the confusion is justified.   Another issue of confusion is the origin of blue laced […]

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Chicken Keeping: A Time-Honored Tradition

Medieval Chickens

Chicken keeping has a long and successful history, dating back to antiquity. Some 19th century writers would have their readers believe that prior to the Victorian era poultry breeding was not a specialized occupation. It was certainly elevated in status once poultry shows began awarding prizes for quality and for new breeds, but the number […]

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What’s the Difference Between a Barred Rock and a Dominique?

Barred Rock

A lot of chicken keepers who are unfamiliar with both barred Rocks and Dominiques have trouble telling the difference between them. Once you’ve seen both, though, you’ll have no trouble readily identifying which is which. First let’s get one thing straight: “Barred Rock” is not a breed. The breed is Plymouth Rock. The original color […]

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Which Chicken Breed Looks Like a Hawk?

Easter Egger

With their large, hawk-like eyes, flattish head profile, downward turning beaks and striking feather patterns, Easter Egger chickens are often described as looking like hawks. Easter Eggers are related to Ameraucanas, which also have a somewhat hawk-like appearance. Easter Eggers are not considered to be a true breed, because they lack uniform conformation and plumage […]

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Olive Egger Chickens: 6 Questions Answered

Olive Eggs

Chicken eggs in the United States were once available in two basic shell colors — unimaginative white and traditional farmstead brown. Along with the ongoing boom in backyard chicken flocks comes an interest in eggs with shells in a wider array of colors, including pink, blue and green. One of the most startling colors is […]

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Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Chicken Crossing Road

The earliest record of anyone asking “Why did the chicken cross the road?” appeared in 1847, in a monthly New York magazine called The Knickerbocker.  The answer, as printed in the magazine: “Because it wanted to get to the other side.”   Since then, the question has spawned an infinite number of variations, and even […]

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