5 Unique Chicken Breeds

Throughout history, chickens have been bred for a variety of reasons—from egg production, to weather resistance, and even for beauty. The end result is 120 breeds of chickens (and over 450 color varieties) officially recognized by the American Poultry Association. With all these chickens in the world, it’s hard to choose a favorite, but some are particularly interesting. Read on to learn about five different chicken breeds with unique characteristics.

  1. Dong Tao – Highly prized in its origin country of Vietnam, Dong Tao chickens are sought after for their delicious meat. Dong Tao chickens are also commonly referred to as Dragon Chickens because of their large feet and thick legs, which can grow to the size of a man’s wrist! While this unusual feature is certainly attention-grabbing, it also makes it more difficult for these chickens to rear their young, as their large, thick legs can cause them to accidentally trample their eggs before they can grow into hatchlings.
  2. Ayam Cemani – The Ayam Cemani chicken possesses a unique genetic mutation which causes it to be ink black—not only on the outside, but on the inside too! From its tongue and bones to its heart and other internal organs, they’re all black. In its native land of Indonesia, this provided the bird with a sacred reputation, and therefore they were rarely eaten. Instead, the Ayam Cemani chicken was often used for rituals, as they were believed to have magical powers and facilitate communication with the spirit world.
  3. Onagadori – Highly prized and historic in Japan, the Onagadori got its name because of its exceptionally long tail (literally, the name translates to “long-tailed chicken”.) The Onagadori’s tail has 16 -18 feathers that never molt and grow quickly—typically reaching around five feet, though in one particular bird’s case, it grew to over 39 feet long! Sadly, this beautiful creature is endangered, with only 250 remaining birds living in Japan.
  4. Polish – Don’t let the name fool you - this interesting breed has a contested origin! It’s no surprise so many countries want to claim Polish chickens as their own, considering their main characteristic is a large fluffy crown of feathers giving them what some describe as “rock star” hair. And while their feather crowns may be uniquely appealing, they can also obscure the chicken’s vision. This can unfortunately make them easy targets for overhead predators, meaning potential owners who want to enjoy their delicious eggs should take extra precautions to protect them from harm.
  5. Silkie Bantam – Named “Silkie” for its soft hair-like feathers that are said to feel like silk or satin, the Silkie Bantam has become one of the most popular and beloved breeds of chicken. Not only is their appearance cute and their temperament kind—leading some to call them the lap dog of the chicken world—they can even be good mothers to other types of birds, sometimes raising ducklings and goslings if given the chance. Adding to their appeal, these creatures have other uncommon features like black skin, blue earlobes, and five toes (instead of the four you’ll find on most other chicken breeds).


Come on into Farm Country Monday – Saturday at 4 PM where you can help milk Peggy, Thanksgiving Point’s very own Holstein and learn more about this, and many other farm friends.



Past Videos

5 Cool Cow Facts

The average person consumes over 20 gallons of milk each year making it the 4th most consumed beverage in the United States. But unless you live next door to a farm, you may be unfamiliar with the creatures producing your milk – dairy cows! Here’s five fun facts to get you up to speed.

  1. Dairy cows provide 90% of the world’s milk supply. If we looked at milk produced by all animals, India would be the top producer due to its production of Buffalo Milk. But the United States is the world’s top producer of cow milk – producing the most in the states of California, Wisconsin, Idaho, New York and Pennsylvania.
  2. There are five common types of dairy cows: Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Jersey and Holstein. Each of these cows provides milk with a slightly different nutritional content. Holstein’s are the most common as they produce the most milk. Because of their milk production abilities, they are frequently mixed with other breeds to produce even stronger dairy cows.
  3. An average dairy cow produces 7-9 gallons of milk a day, but it takes an average of 6.5 hours of eating to make this happen! Cows eat a combination of grass, grain, and other nutritious ingredients - when they are milking, a single cow will eat 100 lbs. of feed each day and drink 30-50 gallons of water.
  4. Unlike humans, cows have a four-compartment stomach that allows them to digest plants we can’t eat. Once cows chew and swallow their food, it is stored in the first two chambers of the stomach where it is then coughed back up and then chewed again for up to 8 hours! Only then does the food move on to the third and fourth compartments of the stomach where its fully digested to be used for energy and producing milk.
  5. Milking machines were invented in 1894, before that farmers could only milk about 6 cows an hour – now farmers can milk over 100 cows an hour! Milk production has also increased thanks to better breeding, today the average cow can produce the milk it once took 10 cows to produce.


Come on into Farm Country Monday – Saturday at 4 PM where you can help milk Peggy, Thanksgiving Point’s very own Holstein and learn more about this, and many other farm friends.



10 Fun Facts about Bunnies

You already know bunnies are cute, fuzzy and playful—it’s no surprise that there are nearly 5,000,000 bunnies living as pets in the United States alone. But there’s a lot more you may not know about these adorable furry friends. Read on for 10 of our favorite facts about bunnies.

  1. Most people know that rabbits and bunnies are the same animal. But fewer people know that a male rabbit is called a buck, a female rabbit is called a doe, and a newborn rabbit is called a kit (which is short for kitten).
  2. A bunny can live for up to 10 years—but their teeth will never stop growing, which means they will gnaw on wood and other hard items to keep their teeth from growing too long.
  3. The Basin Pygmy is the world’s smallest bunny, with an average weight of under one pound. Sadly, these bunnies are rare and nearly extinct. On the other hand, Flemish Giant Rabbits are the world’s biggest bunnies, and can weigh up to 22 pounds and grow up to four feet long. That’s bigger than a lot of dogs!
  4. More than half of the bunnies in the world live in North America. Bunnies are also native to parts of Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America.
  5. In the wild, most bunnies burrow underground and live in groups. A group of burrows is called a warren. Bunnies build their homes with lots of escape routes to get away from intruding predators like weasels, ferrets, and badgers.
  6. Bunnies produce two types of droppings. Their first-stage droppings are called cecotropes and are usually eaten immediately, as they contain vital nutrients the bunny needs to survive. It may sound gross, but it’s an important part of their digestive process!
  7. Bunnies are herbivores – typically their diet includes grasses, clover, and plants like broccoli and Brussel sprouts. But they may also feed on roots, seed, bark and fruit.
  8. Bunny moms are only pregnant for about 31 days and typically have three to eight kits. Pregnant bunnies will produce more fur than usual, and then use it to make a nice, warm nest for their kits.
  9. Kits are born hairless and blind; their eyes won’t open for the first two weeks of their lives. After four to five weeks, a kit can care for itself—and after just three months, it can start a family of its own. (The phrase “breeding like rabbits” exists for a reason.)
  10. When a bunny is feeling safe and content, they can purr just like a pet cat. But when a bunny is really happy, they can “binky”, which is when they jump, twist and kick in the air—they’re literally doing a happy dance!

Stop by the Bunny Hutch at Thanksgiving Point’s Farm Country to learn more about bunnies and how to care for them. You’ll get a chance to pet and feed them… and you could even end up taking one home as a pet!



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