Westhoff Poultry

Subtitle

  One of the many great things about the poultry world is the variety of breeds and colors available.  We only sell varities that are recongnized by the American Poultry Association, unless otherwise noted.  To help you find the breed or breeds that are best suited for you and your situation we have written brief statements about the breeds we handle.
American
Buckeyes:  These are probably the fastest maturing birds we raise.  With proper feeding chicks of this breed can be ready to show in 5 months and sometimes even sooner.  Hens are great layers of medium sized eggs and the males are large meaty birds that are worth butchering.  Great foraging breed that does well with minimal care during the summer months.

Dominques:  A very fast maturing breed that has a striking pose when out foraging.  They make great foragers and the hens are great layers of medium sized eggs while the males are decent for butchering.  They will have black pin feathers which tend to make plucking more difficult compared white feathered breeds.

Javas:  Javas are a truly medium sized breed of chicken, they are not meant to be large or small.  Javas were developed as a dual purpose breed that would lay eggs decently then be good stewing hens, while the cockerals would grow fast and make good fryers.  This is the case with the Javas we raise.  The hens lay a small egg their entire lives but are steady producers in all weather.  The cockerals grow fairly fast and can do well having to forage.

Black Giants:   This is a truly huge breed of poultry.  Hens are easily 8lbs many times with cockerals getting over 10lbs.  Giants are a very friendly breed of that get along well with other breeds.  Hens lay jumbo eggs and sometimes bigger than jumbo, while cockerals are meaty and make a great free range source of meat.  To get truly large and reach their maximum potential though a grain source should be provided.  A fun breed for anyone to show with the size of the breed being the only limitation for anyone of any age.

Rhode Island Reds (single and rosecomb):  The show quality RIR are very different from you hatchery varities.  Our birds are very very slow growing.  I tell people do not plan on showing these until they are 7-8 months for the pullets and the cockerals need to be almost a year.  This is a breed that looks much better in shows as mature birds than young birds.  Hens get tremendous size usually around 7 pounds or more and are fair layers of large eggs.  Very hard birds that lay throughout the winter.  Cockerals though slow growing have enough size at 10 months to be good butchering birds (their big issue for showing is slow feather development).  RIRs are also a very timid breed that can easily be picked on and feather pecked by other more aggressive breeds, most notibly Mediterranean breeds.  The rosecomb variety is very unique for showing reasons, the cockerals tend to have very rough combs and few are showable, while the pullets almost all (90%) will have beautiful straight combs with  excellent points.

Wyandottes:  Wyandottes are a medium fast growth breed.  They grow slower than Buckeyes but faster than RIRs.  They make great foraging birds that love to be outside eating insects.  Small rosecombs are great for flocks that will not have much supplemental heat during the winter.  Hens lay a medium sized egg and males mature out with good flesh for butchering.  Important thing for showing Wyandottes is to make sure the spike at the end of the comb is straight and not crooked nor inverted. 


Asiatic
Brahmas:  This is a truly giant breed of chicken with hens being over 8lbs and roosters easily getting over 10lbs.  This breed seems to be best utilized as a show breed.  Hens are poor layers of medium sized eggs and do not like heat at all because of the abundance of feathering.  Cockerals are massive and make worthy butchering birds.  If you are looking for something unique to add to a backyard flock Brahmas work, but do not expect them to be great layers or birds that want to forage.

Cochins:  One of the funnest and enjoyable breeds to raise.  Our Cochins are very fast maturing and growing birds, with pullets being ready to show around 5 months many times.  Different color varities in this case lay different sized eggs with blues and blacks laying large to extra large eggs and partridge being on the other end laying small eggs.  Cochins lay very well in the cold because of their makeup of foot feathering and extra body feathering, however these qualities obviously mean they do not enjoy hot summers and lay poorly if at all then.  Cockerals are actually excellent birds for butchering because of their massive size.  This is a great breed for young kids to show because of the calmness of the breed, the one caviat being however that keeping foot feathering requires extra care.  In our case we usually keep the cochins on woodshavings while they are being raised for showing and after shows let them run outside with the rest of the chickens.

Langshans:  A very magestic breed with such a striking pose they always cause people to stop and ask about "that really tall looking bird over there."  The hens lay large eggs decently and because of the large size of the breed the cockerals are worth butchering.  The one fall back of this breed is the slow growth.  Many are not worth showing until they are well over a year old but if in good condition show very well and can be hard to beat.  Sometimes a pullet at 8 months can show well if the growing conditions are right.  This breed can be a bit unsteady because of their conformation so I suggest young beginners to avoid this breed until their handling skills improve.



Continental
 
Campines:  This breed is one of the prettiest to see how wandering on grass doing what chickens love to do.  Hens are very prolific layers of small eggs while males can be very tall but slender in their make up.  A great breed for foraging and self reliance they are known to be a flightier breed.  We suggest working with the ones you want to show a few weeks before the show so they warm up to people handling them.  I have had numerous judges comment on the quality of these Campines.  They are especially impressed because this is such a rare breed and rarely do they see such nice examples of the breed.

Crevecodeurs: 
Crevs are a great breed for anyone wanting a top hat breed that will not wander off and get lost.  A calmer breed than other continentals they are great for young kids starting to show.  During the winter we trip all the feathers off the crest with a scissors, otherwise ice starts to form on the crest feathers from little droplets from the water and these start to magnify as the ice makes the feathers hang lower and lower.  The biggest issue people have the first time when dealing with crested breeds is the crest lice that is always an ongoing battle.  Being unable to preen their crests it is understandable that lice hide there.  We use a variety of measures to treat this, many people have had great luck with Adams, Ivomec, or Frontline products.  We have grown fond of Crevs over the past few years because of their uniqueness and easy going manner.

Hamburgs: 
One of the greatest breeds for foraging and self reliance.  Hamburgs tend to be a bit flighty and it is best to cage them a week or two before the show and handle them throughout that time so they get used to a person's touch.  They are beautiful birds in the show cage when the strike their pose and judges are always impressed when they can reach into a cage and grab a Hamburg that does not try to fly away.  One of the best laying breeds available laying medium sized eggs with white shells they lay through all types of weather.  Hamburgs are a lighter weight breed so they are not the best for meat production but can easily be used as soup chickens.

La Fleche: 
A very old breed from France that is prized there for its flesh because of the pastures it is raised on.  A very unique breed with a V shaped comb.  Few sources of La Fleche are available today.  The hens are decent layers of medium sized white eggs, cockerals are on the small side and best butchered for soup or small pan frying.  A flighty breed that once again should be handled before shows.

Lakenvelders:  This is one of the most striking breeds available.  The black necked, white body, black tail pattern of the breed makes them an eye catcher while they are out foraging.  A slightly flighty breed that makes it a great free range breed during the day.  Hens are good layers of medium sized eggs while cockerals are medium sized with decent flesh for butchering.  This is a very hard breed to perfect but many people still enjoy showing them as they easily catch a judges eye and strike up conversations in the crowd.  Lakenvelders should be handled frequently before the show so they are calm while being judged and do not mind being handled by the judge.

Polish:
  The Polish breed is a very ornamental breed that does lay fairly well giving medium-small eggs.  Since the breed is not a large one they are not ideal for butchering, but can be if you are looking for soup chickens.    They make a great show breed because of their top hats making them a very calm breed that does not mess up their body feathers.  The top hat becomes the issue for this breed as non-crested breeds tend to feather peck at it.  We avoid this problem by separating all of our crested breeds and keeping them safe from the others, pine tar may be used in cases where feather pecking cannot be stopped.  To keep the top hat from becoming water stained we use only water fountains with a small water trough so when the polish dip their beaks to drink the crest is pushed up by the rest of the fountain.  Polish have a few other care taking issues to be aware of.  The crest on many is so large that quickly moving feeders and waters can result in birds not knowing where food and water is.  Along those same lines this breed is not ideal to free range because they can wander off and are incapable of finding their way home.  Ours are kept in a large fenced in area to prevent the previously mentioned problem.  During the winter we trip all the feathers off the crest with a scissors, otherwise ice starts to form on the crest feathers from little droplets from the water and these start to magnify as the ice makes the feathers hang lower and lower.  The biggest issue people have the first time when dealing with Polish is the crest lice that is always an ongoing battle.  Being unable to preen their crests it is understandable that lice hide there.  We use a variety of measures to treat this, many people have had great luck with Adams, Ivomec, or Frontline products.  Please understand that many chickens get lice from wild birds while they are out foraging, so treating and ridding your birds of lice once does not mean your place is necessarily rid of lice.

Mediterranean

Leghorns:  A very popular breed in many colors that shows well and lays extremely well.  Hens are very prolific layers of large white shelled eggs, cockerals are big framed with little flesh and best used as fryers or for soup.  Females tend to be the better of the sexes to show in this breed as they tend ot keep their feathers in great condition and can be very showy when being judged.  A big lop comb is the hallmark sign of the Leghorn females with a bright yellow leg is the hallmark sign of the breed.  Overly large combs are not liked while short combs are not liked either.  Hens going through a molt will lose their lop comb but when they start to lay again the comb will grow in size and begin to lop.  Males can be shown but their long tails can be difficult to keep in shape and generally means having them on sawdust in individual or small group pens.  Males have a very large comb that comes off the back of the head as a blade and goes straight off the back of the head, it should not follow the next line.  Rosecomb Leghorns have the rosecomb instead of a single comb and make keeping the breed over winter a big less of a challenge.  Both show very well in the dark/light brown and white colors.  The other colors tend to show better as single comb because they have not been breed as extensively in the rosecomb variety.  This is a breed that should be handled a bit before being shown to as they can be flightly.  Our experience has been handling once a day or every other day a week before the show makes them much calmer and more appealing to the judge.

Mottled Anconas:  Very much like the Leghorn breed mentioned above, but we raise the rosecomb variety.  The mottling on this breed is very pretty and gives a backyard flock a nice twist.  Hens are good layers of medium white shelled eggs, cockerals are once again framey with little flesh.

White Faced Black Spanish:  I always say they have a face only a mother could love, but yet I love this breed it is pry in my top 5.  Hens are good layers of medium white shelled eggs and cockerals are framey but better fleshed than Leghorns.  The hallmark of the breed is the long white face, which doesn't develop quickly in pullets.  Hens will have the face but pullets take around 10 months to get it but it does not hurt them in the show ring because this is how the breed develops.  Males are quicker do develop their long face and show very well by 6 months and can show well for years.  The males combs are not as large as Leghorn combs which makes keeping them over the winter a little less challenging.  This is a very calm breed for the most part, sometimes the pullets can be flighty but they calm down very quickly (a couple of days in our cases).


All Other Standard


Ameraucanas: 
One of the great green "Easter Egg" laying breeds.  Hens are good layers of large green shelled eggs while cockerals are meaty birds that are excellent for butchering.  This is a very hardy breed that forages well and grows to good size to handle cold winters.  Being super calm and docile this is another great breed for beginners or young children. 

Cubalayas:  This is one of the most care free chicken breeds out there.  Hens are very prolific layers of small eggs, while males are long bodied but not very meaty.  A calm breed that shows well ahd has a really great stance showing the slope of the back down through the tail.  Males with their long tails can be challenging to condition for a show but they like to perch so having a sawdust pen with nicely placed perches makes it easier than most long tailed breeds.  A great breed for beginners because of hardiness and ease of showing.

Naked Necks:  Also called Turkens by some these are the notorious "turkey chicken".  Hens are decent layers of large brown shelled eggs, while cockerals have good size and are great for butchering as they have fewer feathers than normal feathered birds.  Another great breed for young children and beginners because they are so calm and easy to handle.  We have not noticed trouble with the breed during winter but our chicken house seldom gets below freezing. 




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