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As we try and make our way of life greener we look to trying to buy more organic vegetable, we have switched from plastic straws to cardboard ones. A lot of people are looking into owning backyard chickens as a way of producing their own eggs, maybe meat and organic fertilizer. This, in turn, allows for the growing of an organic garden and so on.
But when we look to saving our planet we should also be looking into what we can do for those magnificent species that are dying out. We may not be able to raise a black panther but maybe we could try to save a few heritages and or endangered/rare chicken breeds!
10 of the Rarest Chicken Breeds
The Dong Tao chicken breed is very rare and getting more so. They are a breed that is much sort after and prized for its meat in Vietnam. Originally from Dong Tao village in the Khoai Chau District of Vietnam, these chickens are also referred to as the Dragon Chicken. The males can get to around 13.5 lbs. and the females around 9.9 lbs.
They are called the Dragon Chickens because of their extremely thick legs and large feet. The legs can get to about the thickness of an adult males’ wrists. As they have really large legs and feet they are not very good with their own eggs, not that the hens lay that many. They lay about maybe 2 to 3 a week and most of them are broken due to the chicken’s clumsy large feet.
Breeders have to be rather vigilant in finding the eggs and getting them into incubators to have a better chance of getting hatchlings. They are also terrible mothers! So, it is no wonder that this breed is very rare and considered a delicacy in Vietnam. For a breeding pair of this chicken breed, you are looking at around $2500.
If you think the Dong Tao is expensive wait till you see the price for the Ayam Cemani chicken breed. They say these are the Lamborghini of chickens, they are rare, beautiful, mysterious and were actually regarded as a sacred bird in Java where they originate from.
These beautifully inky black chickens have black feathers, wattles, eyes, comb, beak and legs. They hold themselves in such a way that a person can actually become quite mesmerized by this really unique bird.
Another very unique things about this chicken breed are that it is not only its outer appearance that is completely black! Its meat, organs, skin and even its bones are black. The only thing that is not truly black (although it is very dark) is its blood. As such it was also a very popular bird for various rituals.
Today this breed is very rare and if you can get them there is usually a waiting list for up to a year in advance for them. They can also fetch a price of $2500 each, that is $5000 for a pair of them! Read More
The Onagadori is a large fowl that originates in Japan where its name loosely translates to “Honorable fowl”. This breed was designated as a National Treasure in Japan in 1952 and as to date, there are only about 250 birds left in Japan. These are exceptionally beautiful birds in which the roosters have tails that grow from between 1.5 meters up. One of the longest recorded tails of this species was 12 meters in length. They have roughly eighteen feathers in their tail which do not molt.
Their saddle hackles have also been known to get to quite long lengths and tend to grow quite fast. They come in three different color variations that are Black-breasted red, Black-breasted white and white. My favorite is the white variety!
They require quite a considerable amount of attention and care for their feathers. Most owners will keep them perched so their feathers do not drag on the ground and tie their tail with silk ribbon to keep it in perfect condition. Read More
The Ploverara chicken breed is a very old some say an ancient breed that comes from Italy. They are a medium sized crested chicken with a V-shaped red comb, small wattles and white ear-lobes. They also have a beard which together with their unique shaped crests makes them look like little-bearded chefs. They come in two color variation white and black. The white variation is pure white and the black variation an inky black that shine beetle green in the sun.
These chickens make incredible show birds, they lay a decent amount of medium to large white eggs. Around 150 per year and their meat is a bit darker than most other chickens but is known for its delectable taste. The sad thing is that this beautiful breed of chicken has nearly all but disappeared!
The Ixworth chicken breed was developed in Ixworth in Sussex, UK. They are becoming more and rarer each year. This is sad because this dual-purpose chicken breed is an all-around people pleaser and a great addition to any flock. It only comes in pure white and will lay around 160 to 220 cream/tinted color eggs a year. The eggs are generally from medium to large in size. It was also one highly sort after for its really tender tasty meat. They are a large breed of chicken that is easy to handle, calm and can be tamed.
The Naked Neck has long since been thought of as the “Turken”. This is because it looks like a chicken and turkey got crossed. In fact, there was once a rumor that this was the case. It is not it is a gene that the chicken breed is bred with that gives the chicken up to 50% less feather coverage than the normal chicken breed. Most of which are more noticeable on its neck where there usually are little to none. Hence the reason these birds look like Turkeys!
They originate from Transylvania hence the reason they are mostly known as Transylvanian Naked-Neck chickens. They have an excellent meat quality that is very tasty and are really good layers of large brown eggs. You can expect anywhere from around 200 to 250 eggs per year per chicken. Read More
The Golden Campine numbers are in decline as they are usually overlooked for breeds that are hardier to the climate, mature quicker and lay more eggs. But these intelligent, active and alert birds need help to ensure their numbers rise again. Just because they do not produce as fast or nearly as much as the commercial/hybrid breeds does not mean they are not useful. The hens lay around 180 to 200 medium white eggs a year and if you cull the chicken before 18 months they make a nice meat bird. Not to big but they will give a decent sized meal.
This breed is also exceptional in that the males are what is called “hen feathered”, this means both the males and females share the safe color and patterns.
They are also thought to be an ancient breed having spanned back to the time of Julius Caesar who is thought to have owned a few. To be more precise took a few after a looting spree to Belgium. Read More
The Vorwerk is a dual-purpose chicken breed with its slate grey skin color, beautiful plumage and really great nature! They are not shy birds and love to know what is going on around them. They are great foragers, have great meat and lay around 180 medium brown eggs a year. They were originally from Germany and developed by an Oskar Vorwerk. Oskar wanted a breed of chicken that was an all-around pleaser. One that could lay a good amount of eggs, have a good quality of meat and looked good. The Vorwerk was developed from the Andalusian, Buff Orpington, Buff Sussex and Lakenvelder breeds. A lot of the characteristics of the breed look much like the Lakenvelder and one variety is often mistaken for that of the Lakenvelder.
The Modern Game breed is mainly kept as show or ornamental birds these days. Their long-legged straight up posturing has them likened to the supermodels of the poultry show runways. They also come in an array of magnificent plumage colors which does give them the edge at most poultry shows. Sadly, this breed is not as common as it once was, and their numbers are declining. These beautiful birds do take some care an attention as they are not very cold hardy and tend to prefer the hotter climates. But they are really friendly birds that are full of delightful antics.Read More
The Crevecoeur is said to have been developed from the likes of the Polish breed. To look at them you can see why. These chickens have completely black feathering from the tip of their fluffy crests to their tail feathers. They look like they have black pom-poms on their heads and are a large breed that was supposed to be a dual-purpose chicken. Sadly, they do not produce the best meat unless culled at the right age. Their egg production is also not that good as they lay a maximum of 2 white medium eggs a week. But they make great pets and show birds, their love of foraging is sure to keep the garden critter-free. Read More