Boschveld chicken has not been approved as a registered breed in South Africa, but has nevertheless become a preferred option for many subsistence and free-range farmers in various parts of Africa.
Farmer Mike Bosch developed the breed in 1998 on his farm in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, from a crossing of three indigenous breeds, namely, the Venda, Ovambo and Matabele. The breed is claimed to have captured the egg laying potential of the Venda, the size of the Matabele and the hardiness of the Ovambo.
The chicken have a light red brown colour with white feathers in-between that helps to camouflage and protect them from predators. Roosters weigh about 1,6 kg at 12 weeks of age and 2,6 kg at 20 weeks, while the hens weigh 1,5 kg at 12 weeks and 1,7 kg at 20 weeks. The birds reach sexual maturity at 136 days of age. About 4 eggs are produced per hen per week.
The Potchefstroom Koekoek was developed around 1950 by Chris Marais from the Research Institute of Animal Husbandry in Potchefstroom, out of crossings between Black Australop, White Leghorns and Plymouth Rocks. The name “Koekoek” refers to the colour pattern of the breed.
The birds reach sexual maturity at 130 days. Hens lay brown shelled eggs with an average weight of 55,7 grams. They produce about 198 eggs per year. Roosters weigh about 1,84 kg at 16 weeks of age, 2,4 kg at 20 weeks and 3,5 kg to 4,5 kg when mature. Hens weigh about 1,4 kg at 16 weeks of age, 1,7 kg at 20 weeks and about 3,5 kg when fully mature.
Black Australop are our heaviest breed with cocks weighing 4.6 to 5 Kg and hens 3.7 to 4.2 Kg. The breed was originally developed in Australia out of Black Oprington to produce a more production capable bird. Interestingly, the world egg-laying record is held by an Australop.
They were imported into South Africa from Australia around 1910. They are calm and friendly, and excellent layers of light brown eggs. The Australorp's exceptionally soft, shiny black plumage has hints of green and purple in the sunlight.