Best of Both

Andy Cawthray kicks off his new series on the pure breeds that have been de­vel­oped for egg pro­duc­tion and the ta­ble with a look at the Croad Lang­shan

Your Chickens - - Contents -

Breeds by Andy Cawthray


The Lang­shan breed group has a com­plex his­tory filled with twists, turns and in­trigue more be­com­ing of a who done it novel than the pages of a poul­try mag­a­zine. The Croad Lang­shan, be­lieved to be the par­ent of all other Lang­shans, is a grace­ful, alert look­ing and, some would ar­gue, in­tel­li­gent breed of chicken


Ma­jor Croad was re­spon­si­ble for the first im­ports of this breed into the UK in 1872. They reached the shores of the US in 1898 and quickly es­tab­lished them­selves as a use­ful dual pur­pose breed that pro­duced a good num­ber of eggs, plus a size­able bird for the ta­ble. Orig­i­nally a black plumage bird, whites were de­vel­oped, but are in­fre­quently en­coun­tered. A tall, up­right stance com­bined with its weight gives the bird a strik­ing and grace­ful ap­pear­ance.


Croad Lang­shans are a strong and vig­or­ous bird with an in­tel­li­gent and in­quis­i­tive na­ture. They are of­fi­cially clas­si­fied as a heavy, soft feath­ered breed, broad in ap­pear­ance with a sad­dle well fill­ing the an­gle be­tween the neck and the tail that gives a stun­ning pro­file. Croads are black, with white plumage ver­sions known as White Lang­shans (Croad Type)


The Croad Lang­shan hen weighs 7lb (3.2kg) and car­ries a neat sin­gle comb which is evenly ser­rated. Her tail car­ries less plumes than the male, plus she may or may not have the hock feath­er­ing of the male. The dark eyes set within a well-bal­anced head make for an at­trac­tive char­ac­ter. Ban­tam ver­sions are avail­able weigh­ing 23-28oz (650-710g).


The Croad Lang­shan cock cuts a stat­uesque fig­ure with an ac­tive, up­right car­riage which be­lies his 9lb (4.1kg) frame. His feath­ers are soft and loose which help to make him ap­pear even larger than he is. A larger sin­gle comb bal­ances well with the medium sized wat­tles and gives the head a nice shape, while the leg feath­er­ing dis­guises the long legged na­ture of the breed. Ban­tam cocks weigh in at 27-32oz (770-910g).


The eggs of the Croad Lang­shan are brown and, as is com­mon with the dual pur­pose breeds, the hens are rea­son­ably good lay­ers. As with most pure breeds, how­ever, be sure to pick a blood­line that val­ues util­ity over the show bench to avoid egg pro­duc­tion dis­ap­point­ments.


The Croad Lang­shan is docile and eas­ily tamed by the keeper, show­ing tol­er­ance to­wards oth­ers within a flock. It shares a lot of the qual­i­ties en­coun­tered with breeds such as the Brahma, Cochin or Or­p­ing­ton, and they make won­der­ful pets for fam­i­lies.


The heavy weight of the Croad Lang­shans means that they are un­likely to take to the wing and can be eas­ily con­tained by a low fence. They are a hardy breed that man­ages well in most weather con­di­tions but, al­though the leg feath­er­ing isn’t pro­fuse, care should be taken in muddy con­di­tions.


The Croad Lang­shan has a ded­i­cated fol­low­ing on the ex­hi­bi­tion cir­cuit, but in terms of sales or auc­tions it is not widely en­coun­tered. As such, a buyer is likely to need to source di­rectly from a breeder. On ac­count of their size and rel­a­tive slow ma­tur­ing, they can be quite costly to rear to adult­hood, so ex­pect to pay around £30 for a good look­ing pul­let.

The Croad Lang­shan is docile and eas­ily tamed by the keeper, show­ing tol­er­ance to­wards oth­ers within a flock

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