Don’t make light of the heavyweights
Q What defines heavy and light breeds?
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