The Java chicken is one of the oldest American
chickens, forming the basis for many other breeds. Despite the breed's
name, which comes from the island of Java in Indonesia, it was
developed in the U.S. and it is not known exactly where in Asia its
ancestors came from. After the Dominique, the Java is the second
oldest breed developed in the U.S. even though its name would suggest
a Javan background. It was first mentioned in print in 1835, but it
is thought to have been present well before this time. Javas are
slow-growing chickens compared to the broilers used by the commercial
chicken industry today, they are great meat birds. The hens lay a
quantity of large, brown eggs and will hatch their young. Javas are
particularly known as good foragers, needing less supplementary grain
than many breeds when allowed to free range. Like many large breeds,
they are known to be docile in temperament. In general, Javas are
particularly suitable for keepers of smaller flocks who require a good
dual-purpose chicken. The males can reach 9.5 pounds and females 7.5
pounds. Javas had nearly vanished by the end of the 20th century,
having been pushed to fringes of the poultry world by the intense
focus on one or two breeds by commercial growers, and the introduction
of innumerable new and exotic breeds to poultry fanciers. Javas were
especially notable as meat production birds throughout the 19th
century, with their popularity peaking in the latter half of that
The Dominique was the bird that traveled across the
country with the pioneers. Known as Dominikers, they were quite hardy
and could forage well. This historically important breed is now very
The original Orpington, the Black, was developed in
England in 1886 and brought to the US in 1890. It was developed from
Langshan-Rock-Minorca crosses. Today Buff, Black, White, and Blue
Orpingtons are recognized.
Developed as a dual purpose breed, Orpingtons make
fair table fowl and are excellent winter layers of large brown eggs.
They have very laid back personalities and make good pets. I've heard
that the Buffs are especially good in this regard.
Island Red - Single Comb
One of the best known breeds, the RIR is a good layer
of large brown eggs and as a dual purpose breed also can supply a
fair-sized roaster. The hens will rarely go broody and can produce
around 260 eggs per year.
Developed in Rhode Island in the 1830s, various breeds
were used in their makeup, including Malays, Cochins and Brown
Leghorns. The single combed variety was admitted to the APA's Standard
of Perfection in 1904 and the rose combed birds a year later. The cock
will weigh about 8 1/2 pounds and the hens run about one pound
Island Red - Rose Comb
Barred Plymouth Rocks, often sold as Barred Rocks,
are one of the most popular of the dual purpose breeds for backyard
flocks. White Rocks are crossed with White Cornish to produce the
Rock / Cornish hybrid that makes up most of the roasting chickens found
- Blue Laced Red
The Wyandotte is an American breed. Silver Laced
Wyandottes were developed in New York State in the early 1870s and
were admitted into the standard in 1883. The other varieties accepted
in the American Standard of Perfection are the Golden Laced,
White, Black, Buff, Columbian, Partridge and Silver Penciled.
Layers of good-sized brown eggs and reaching a weight
in the males of 8 1/2 pounds, Wyandottes are good dual purpose birds,
especially the White and Silver Laced varieties which have been bred
for utility, as well as for show.
- Silver Laced
Beginning in about 1915, this dual purpose breed was developed in New Hampshire from a foundation stock of Rhode Island Reds. Supposedly no other blood was introduced during this process. Live birds were selected for early maturing and large brown eggs. The standard of perfection recognize them in 1935 . In approximately 2012, there has been some additional breeding stock brought in from Germany , and this addition to our American lines has created quite a lot of excitement. Are birds here at AFF Poultry are approximately one-half American and one-half German breeding.
The Marans breed originated in France in marshy areas close to the Atlantic coast. The breed is named after the historic port town of Marans. Evolution of the Marans type bird is said to have begun as early as the 13th century, with crosses between the local marsh hens and various gamecocks brought in to the port on ships. Gradual development of the breed then continued through the centuries, including the introduction of Brahma and Langshan blood during the late 1800s. Marans in their modern form first began appearing in French poultry shows in 1914. The Marans Club of France was organized in 1929, and that club established the first standard for Marans in 1931.
Marans have been imported to the USA in small numbers for many years now, probably beginning around the time that soldiers returned to the States after World War II. Over the years, birds and eggs have been brought in not only from France but also from countries such as England, Canada, Australia, and possibly Belgium and Switzerland. Importations of "English type" clean-legged Marans have led to the establishment of many clean-legged flocks in this country, especially in the cuckoo variety; nonetheless, the American standard adheres to the French standard calling for lightly feathered shanks and toes.
Marans are best known for their large, russet brown eggs. This is a defining characteristic of the Marans breed, so selection for egg color and size should never be neglected.
Physically the Marans is a medium-sized bird with the character of a rustic farm hen, giving an impression of solidity and strength without being coarse. The legs are lightly feathered, but leg feathering should never be excessively heavy. Eye color is bright and clear in all varieties, never darkening into brown nor paling into yellow or pearl.