Don’t make light of the heavy­weights

Q What de­fines heavy and light breeds?

Country Smallholding - - Poultry Pen -

ANDY SAYS: Large fowl breeds are of­ten sub­di­vided into heavy breeds and light breeds. Heavy breeds tend to be weight­ier look­ing and solid in stature. The cocks will weigh over 3.6kg (8lbs) and the hens tend to ex­ceed 2.7kg (6lbs). They are usu­ally breeds that have their roots planted in the ta­ble breed clas­si­fi­ca­tion or dual pur­pose group as they will have been de­vel­oped to pro­vide meat for the kitchen.

There are, how­ever, many breeds now, such as Brahma and Cochin, who, de­spite be­ing heavy, are pre­dom­i­nantly or­na­men­tal.

Light breeds are the op­po­site end of the scale and rep­re­sent the stream­lined breeds, where the cocks tend to weigh up to but no more than 2.7kg (6lbs) and the hens up to but no more than 2kg (4.5lbs). Th­ese breeds usu­ally fall within the layer cat­e­gory, although, again, there are some which are now viewed as or­na­men­tal as their egg lay­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties have been aban­doned in favour of looks. Light breeds, by na­ture, such as the Ham­burg and the Silkie, tend to be flighty, alert and busy birds that are not eas­ily tamed.

The Brahma is a ‘heavy’ chicken which is pre­dom­i­nantly or­na­men­tal

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