[jump-links title=”Click to Skip Ahead”] Quick Facts
Origins
Characteristics
Uses
Appearance & Varieties
Population/Distribution/Habitat
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Ixworth chickens are a beautiful breed of large chickens with stunning white plumage and vibrant pops of red on their faces. They’re a docile breed that nearly went into extinction. However, conservation efforts are currently working to revive this rare bird population.

These chickens are excellent producers of meat and eggs. They also have relatively easy care needs, and both roosters and hens are known to be good-natured. With all that this breed is capable of, it’s worth getting to know the Ixworth chicken a little better.

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Quick Facts About Ixworth Chickens

Breed Name:Ixworth Chicken
Place of Origin:Ixworth, England
Uses:Meat and eggs
Rooster (Male) Weight:9 pounds
Hen (Female) Weight:7 pounds
Color:White with red face and comb
Comb Type:Pea comb
Lifespan:3-10 years
Climate Tolerance:All climates
Care Level:Good for beginners
Rarity:Rare

Ixworth Chicken Origins

The Ixworth chicken originates from Ixworth, a small village in Suffolk. In 1932, a poultry expert named Reginald Appleyard began to breed the following chickens to develop the Ixworth:

  • White Sussex
  • White Minorca
  • White Orpington
  • Jubilee Orpington
  • White Indian Game

By 1938, Appleyard successfully raised his first Ixworth hen. It grew popular because it was large and produced high-quality meat and a high volume of eggs.

Unfortunately, the Ixworth chicken population started to decline in the 1950s as broiler chickens became more popular. They almost hit extinction in the 1970s. Today, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST)1 has the Ixworth chicken on its rare chicken watchlist.

Ixworth Chicken Characteristics

These chickens are relatively easy-going and aren’t known to be too picky or finicky about food or living conditions. The Ixworth chicken is a hardy breed that can live in various types of climates.

They have a pea comb that helps them stay cool in hot summer months. They also have very small wattles, which help them to retain heat during cold winters.

Ixworth chickens typically have docile and gentle temperaments. They can also live harmoniously with other chicken breeds. They don’t mind being handled, but they can react aggressively if handled incorrectly.

They’re also very alert and active, so they prefer a large free-range space to forage and peck around. They’re excellent foragers and require very little assistance or supervision with day-to-day activities.

This chicken breed is also generally healthy and isn’t prone to any specific disease. These characteristics make the Ixworth chicken an easy breed for beginner farmers.

Compared to other hybrid breeds, Ixworth chickens don’t grow very quickly, and they take about 9 to 10 months to reach maturity. Mature Ixworth hens have a tendency to become broody and have strong maternal instincts. They’re great sitters and breeding and hatching chicks are fairly successful.

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Uses

Ixworth chickens are a dual-purpose breed. They produce high-quality premium meat that tastes clean and has a pleasantly firm texture. The meat has an even fat distribution, so it’s also very tender. The meat is so delicious that the Standard of Perfection exclusively gives “Table Merits” to the Ixworth chicken in its Scale of Points.

Ixworth chickens can also lay about 160 to 230 eggs per year. The eggs are brown and medium-sized, and each egg weighs between 1.5 to 2.7 ounces.

Appearance & Varieties

Ixworth chickens are all white, including their skin, beak, and legs. Their plumage is pure white and short and soft in texture. The only pop of color that they have is on their heads. They have red faces, earlobes, combs, and wattles.

These chickens are relatively large in size compared to other chicken breeds. A healthy Ixworth chicken stands alert and has a long, broad body. The bantam follows all the same characteristics except for size.

Population/Distribution/Habitat

These chickens are a rare sight to see, and people outside of England most likely will not come across them. However, conservation efforts by the RBST and the Rare Poultry Society are helping to restore the Ixworth chicken population.

Currently, Ixworth chickens are in small farms scattered throughout England. Climate isn’t too much of an issue since they’re a hardy and healthy breed. One of the only preferences that they have is to live in larger enclosures because they love to forage. chicken divider

Are Ixworth Chickens Good for Small-Scale Farming?

Ixworth chickens can be a good fit for small-scale farming because of their large size and because they’re dual-purpose. They’re also very active chickens, so to keep them healthy, they require a larger field.

These chickens are also very low-maintenance and hardy, so they’re an excellent breed to start with for beginner chicken farmers. However, they’re pretty rare, so it can be a challenge finding an Ixworth chicken for sale, especially outside of the UK.

Overall, Ixworth chickens are versatile chickens that also have great personalities. They blend in well with other chicken breeds and produce premium meat and a good quantity of eggs. The future of this breed is looking hopeful as more people work to restore this population through conservation efforts and ethical farming practices.

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Featured Image Credit: Eric Buermeyer, Shutterstock