Backyard Chickens

The Langshan breed of chicken originated in China. Today it is a rare breed, kept mostly as a show bird. The Langshan District lies north of the Yangtse-Kiang River in China. The first to import the breed was Major Croad. His niece, Miss A C Croad, is given the credit for establishing the breed in Britain.

The Langshan enjoyed great popularity during the late 19th century after having found its way to North America in 1878. In 1883, the Black Langshan was recognised by the American Poultry Association, followed by the White Langshan in 1893 and the Blue in 1987.

Langshan Chicken(52986)Credit: Wikimedia

Langshans arrived in Germany in 1879. A new German Langshan soon replaced the original breed. Following World War II, Croad Langshans were reintroduced.

The variety known as the Croad Langshan was an excellent dual purpose chicken. Show exhibits tend to be the taller Modern Langshan. The breed club disbanded after World War II due to lack of members and the interests of the breed were looked after by the Rare Poultry Society. The club was reformed in 1979.

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As a dual purpose breed, Croad Langshans lay well in winter. Annual egg production is between 140 and 150 eggs. The flesh has a fine texture and is of excellent quality. The hens go broody easily and have great mothering skills. They are friendly chickens which can be easily tamed. They do well on both free range or confined conditions. Either way, they need shelter during extremes of weather and are not suited to exposed conditions. With good husbandry practices, they thrive well and are very productive.

Langshans remain popular in their China homeland. They have had a part to play in the development of new breeds. Barnevelders, Black Orpingtons and Marans all have some Langshan blood in them.

The Langshan is well proportioned. The legs are feathered and for such large birds, they are more active than would be imagined. The Langshan is slow to mature and therefore slow to become productive.

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The Langshan is regarded as a 'large', soft-feathered breed. Black, White and Blue varieties are recognised. The carcass is well filled. It is a quiet breed with a calm, self-confident personality.

The Langshan has a large body. The breast is deep, long and carried well forward. Its U shape is a special characteristic of the breed. The long back slopes down to the tail then rises sharply. Long legs make the bird appear larger than it actually is. The body is quite narrow and this, together with the length of leg, makes the Langshan a less than ideal shape by the standards of today's consumer.

The head is small compared to the body. There is a single, upright comb and a horn-coloured beak which may be light or dark. There is some feathering on the shanks and outer toes. The long tail of the male is very large and well spread, reaching perhaps 17 inches in length. Cocks average 9 1/2 pounds and hens 7 1/2 pounds. The older type of Langshan was actually somewhat heavier. It is a friendly, tough bird.

They are ideal as a backyard chicken if a family wishes to produce and hatch their own chickens. The Langshan is also available as a bantam. It is a worthwhile choice simply for its friendliness and attractiveness. And, by choosing Langshans for your backyard chickens, you'd be helping save a rare breed from extinction.

Links to more of my articles about chickens:

ISA Brown Chicken - Characteristics
Rhode Island Red Chicken - Characteristics
Raising Backyard Chickens


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