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U of A heritage chicken program preserves vintage breeds

Professor says ‘living museum’ of chickens is akin to a classic car collection.


December 14, 2018
By CBC News

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Chickens observe a group of visitors with Egg Farmers of Canada at the south campus of the University of Alberta. John Ulan/University of Alberta

A barn at the University of Alberta Poultry Research Centre in south Edmonton is home to more than 1,600 healthy, clucking chickens.

But these fowl aren’t ordinary, these are heritage chickens.

The classic breeds include the 1957 random-bred Broiler line and the Barred Plymouth Rock, a breed that dates back to 1910.

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Frank Robinson, a professor of Agricultural Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta, said commercial farming has made these breeds extremely rare, and some might be extinct without the program.

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