Have you ever considered raising rare breed poultry as a fun and fulfilling hobby? It’s a beautiful way to connect with nature and learn about different breeds of birds. But, as with any endeavour, it requires knowledge, care, and attention to ensure the well-being of your feathered friends. Each species has unique needs, from housing and diet to disease prevention. But don’t worry, with some research and some TLC; you can raise happy and healthy rare breed poultry in no time!
The Rare Joys of Rare Breed Poultry Keeping
The rare breed poultry community is gaining attention, and it’s for good reasons! We’ve highlighted some fantastic advantages below, ensuring you can fully appreciate why these feathery treasures are worth adoring:
- Unique appearance: Prepare to be dazzled by their distinctive plumage, combs, colours, and sizes. Each rare breed offers a visual treat that’s truly unforgettable – and all rare breed enthusiasts have their favourite.
- Preservation: Promoting rare breeds helps preserve their unique genetics, leading to a more diverse and resilient poultry population. Not only are you bringing beauty to your coop, but you’re preserving our heritage too!
- Rewarding challenge: While rare breeds often require extra care, there’s something deeply satisfying and joyous about tending to your flock’s unique needs and becoming an expert.
- Proud exhibition: For the exhibitors among us, rare poultry breeds are a sight to behold and perfect for sharing your love of chickens and sustainability with the broader world.
Meet The Rare Beauties: Featured Breeds
According to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST), 27 rare poultry breeds are currently in the UK. These breeds are classified as either “At Risk,” “Vulnerable,” or “Endangered” based on their population numbers and breeding status.
These statistics highlight the importance of promoting and preserving rare breed poultry in the UK, as many breeds are at risk of extinction.
Prepare to swoon! We’ve selected some rare breed poultry that will genuinely make your hearts aflutter:
Ancona: Hailing from Italy’s sun-drenched Adriatic coast, these mottled maestros are as lively as they are lovely. Their eye-catching black feathers, dotted with white tips, stand out in a bustling backyard flock. As foragers, they’ll love pecking around in eco-friendly environments. To sync with their rhythm and requirements, look at their profile on the Poultry Club of Great Britain.
Andalusian: Known for their unique blue-grey plumage, these Spanish stunners bring a dash of the Mediterranean to your coop. Andalusians are hardy and active birds, offering you an eggcellent, steady supply of white eggs.
Australorp: This Australian wonder holds an astonishing world record for the number of eggs laid annually – a delight for egg enthusiasts! Australorps are renowned for their glossy black feathers and docile nature. Check out the Australorp Club of Great Britain for a close-up on their care and keeping.
British Araucana: Adorable and unforgettable with their puffy cheeks and tufted ears, these feathered fellows are one-of-a-kind! They’re also among the few breeds laying blue-shelled eggs – a true sight to behold! Turn towards the Araucana Club of Great Britain for further endearing insight.
British Faverolles: These fluffy, feather-footed French-origin sweethearts bring any coop a docile and friendly presence. For more on this lovely breed, check out the Faverolles Society UK.
Brussbar: An ultra-rare chicken with a friendly character and attractive, feathered feet, the Brussbar is known for its reliable egg-laying prowess. Learn more about this intriguing breed from the Rare Poultry Society.
We’ll provide just a few examples of the unique traits of the following poultry breeds. To find further wondrous details about them, investigate the Poultry Club of Great Britain:
Buff Orpington: The meeting point of elegance and friendliness, these gorgeous golden birds are perfect family companions.
Cream Legbar: A true blue-egg-laying star and a head-turner with captivating crests!
Croad Langshan: Graceful, slightly mysterious, and giver of plum-coloured eggs — an enchanting addition to your coop.
We’d love to share more with you, but alas! Space is a constraint, so let us summarise:
North Holland Blue
Old English Game
Old English Pheasant Fowl
Picture your harmonious coop brimming with these marvellous breeds! Remember, whichever rare bird you choose, you’re supporting biodiversity, and by embracing eco-friendly practices, you’re caring for our lovely Earth. So go forth, fellow backyard chicken keepers. Delight in the captivating chicken universe – for the love of chickens, the planet, and each other!
Now, let’s take a peek into the unique needs of these birds, ensuring they live their best possible lives under your gentle care.
Ensuring the Wellbeing of Rare Breed Poultry
Nutrition for Your Unique Bird
No matter how wonderfully unique, each noble breed deserves a share of top-notch chicken feed, thoughtfully tailor-made to tick their nutritional checkboxes.
Feel free to jazz up their meals with a kaleidoscope of fresh veggies, fruits and the odd cheeky treat. These delicious extras grant them much-needed micronutrients and no end of truly clucking-good joy. Plus, the fun they’ll have foraging around your garden will bring life to their days and a smile to your face.
Oh, and don’t forget a seasoning of grit in their diet – the secret ingredient that helps them digest and absorb these treasures effectively.
Optimum feather growth comes from a diet rich in the suitable amino acids (proteins) to sustain it. Feathers are made from keratin, a protein in our hair and nails. The amino acids needed to make keratin are called ‘essential amino acids’ (EAAs). Chickens must get these EAAs from their diet because they cannot produce them themselves.
For the glossiest, fullest plumage going, consider supplementing their diet with Black Soldier Fly Larvae for an eco-friendly, protein-packed treat. Happy hens equals contented owners!
Housing Fit for Your Rare Poultry Royalty
Some rare poultry breeds may require specialised housing, while others might be just as content in a standard coop. Investigate the specific requirements of your breed and accommodate accordingly.
Indian game, for example, can feel the cold more than others due to their close, hard feathering. Buff Orpingtons are heavy-bodied birds who struggle to cope with sweltering weather.
Large breeds will not roost very high and should have low or a series of perches to climb. Nest boxes should be low, too. Tiny breeds may struggle to get in and out of raised coops, so ladders
Tips to keep your rare breed poultry happy:
- Ensure there’s adequate ventilation.
- Provide comfortable nesting boxes – at least one per four hens.
- Regularly clean your bird palace! A good cleaning guide can be found here.
- If you want to show your birds, you’ll need to be especially careful to keep stress levels low and avoid overcrowding that may result in feather pecking.
Thrilling Opportunities Awaiting Rare Breed Poultry Enthusiasts
Exhibition Time: Proudly Showcasing Your Unique Flock
For all the exhibitionists, consider entering your lovable rare breeds into local shows. Share the charm of rare breed poultry with fellow poultry aficionados and delight in the love you receive from your amazing birds.
Supporting Rare Breed Conservation
By keeping and raising rare breed poultry, you’re playing a vital role in preserving the genetic diversity of these species. Get involved with organisations like the Rare Breeds Survival Trust to support their incredible work further.
Spreading Love and Knowledge
Dear friends, let’s share our passion for rare breed poultry and sustainability. Build a community that appreciates these remarkable birds and cherishes the bond between humans and chickens while living an eco-friendly lifestyle.
And if you would like to get your hands on some of our lovely larvae to boost your rare breed’s feather condition, visit our shop.