What is a Heritage Chicken?

Reader Contribution by Troy Griepentrog
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Image by Philipp Kleindienst from Pixabay 

It’s not something new. They’ve been around for a long time. But the The Livestock Conservancy recently defined “heritage chicken” so that consumers have a better idea of what they’re buying when they see meat with a heritage chicken label.

Mother Earth News interviewed Marjorie Bender and Jennifer Kendall, who explain what defines a heritage chicken and how chickens are certified. We also interviewed Frank Reese Jr., who is well known for the production of heritage turkeys. But he’s raised heritage chickens just as long. You might be surprised by what Reese has to say about pastured poultry and the economics of raising heritage chickens.

What’s the definition of a heritage chicken?

How are chickens certified as “heritage chickens”?

Why should people be interested in heritage chickens? Isn’t “pastured poultry” good enough?

So, what breeds of heritage chickens do you raise, Mr. Reese, and why did you choose them?

I thought the American Poultry Association only promoted show poultry. Can raising chickens that meet those standards still be profitable?