Heritage Poultry Breeders Educational Foundation does not inspect poultry flocks. Gold Members can choose to be listed on our website with a link. We do have an expectation that our members are conscientious, responsible breeders of Standard-Bred Poultry who take excellent care of their flock. Every Breeder listed on our Breeder’s page has pledged our Breeder’s Commitment.
Heritage poultry are historically significant breeds that are bred to a written Standard. They are represented by genetic lines created through traditional breeding methods during a time when these breeds were hearty and economically viable. Standards were created as these breeds had their characteristics carefully documented, were given breed names (like the Barred Rock), and are now known as “standard breeds” or “standard-bred” birds. The standard- bred birds that had their characteristics defined before 1950 in their country of origin are the breeds we now call “heritage” chickens and turkeys.
Breed to a Written Standard: A written Standard provides a written description of the birds. It provides a breeding goal; a detailed description of the characteristics (Size, Shape, Comb, Feather color) of each breed. As a breeder, you are expected to know the historical purpose and productive characteristics of the breeds you are raising. It is also important to understand the common defects or other issues pertaining to your breed.
Hatch, Cull, Select: To improve or maintain the quality of the breed; the breeder should have the ability to hatch appropriate numbers of chicks per year , the willingness to cull less than superior specimens, and ultimately select only the best birds for future breeding.
Maintain Welfare Standards: Weexpect that fundamental welfare standards will be met, taking into account the characteristics of the particular breed. Heritage poultry were expected to forage for a portionof their nutrition. Free ranging allows Heritage poultry to live as they were intended and is always preferable. Poultry needs to be kept safe from many predators and we understand that sometimes free ranging is not an option. All efforts should be made that poultry have the ability to scratch, forage and dust bathe.
Fulfill Nutrition Needs: Heritage poultry have different nutrition needs than commercially raised poultry. Breeders are expected to provide nutrition to appropriately support optimal growth and productivity of their particular birds.
Keep Records: The backbone of any successful breeding program is a sound system of recordkeeping. Our expectation is breeders will at a minimum, document the following:
- Egg production by group or pen
- Growth rates, especially when breeding meat birds
- Monitor breeding flock weights relative to Standard
- Hatching success rate; both fertility and hatch rate %’s
- Progeny/Pedigree records