Malschwitz (dpa/sn) – In the fight for the endangered Sachsenhuhn, a breeding program is paying off. About 500 chicks have hatched this year again, said Eva Lehmann of the Oberlausitz Health and Bund Landscape Biosphere Reserve of the DPA. It is estimated that about 100 young people are suitable for breeding; The rest will be given to chicken farmers in order to be self-sufficient in eggs and meat. Created around 1880 through crossbreeding in the Ore Mountains, the Sachsenhuhn is a robust dual-purpose breed: they lay a number of eggs, but they also lay meat.
However, in the past few decades this breed of chicken has become quite rare and its number has decreased to a few hundred animals. Experts fear that the epidemic could lead to their extinction. In addition, there are a few animals that carry an increased risk of inbreeding. The Society for the Preservation of Ancient and Endangered Breeds of Pet Saxon has placed the Saxon chicken on its Red List, categorizing them as “critically endangered.” Hence it shares the fate of other chicken breeds such as the black Augsburger, the Bergische Schlotterkämmen and the bare-necked chicken.
A breeding program was launched in 2020 to save the Sachsenhuhn. On behalf of the Biosphere Reserve, eggs are hatched and chicks are raised in a poultry farm incubator in Reichenbach (Bautzen region). Then the young chicks are placed in the care of chicken breeders and chicken breeders.
About 300 people responded to the last call in March alone, Lyman explained. “That’s enough for this year.” There were also many inquiries from outside the region. To date, breeders from Eastern Saxony have been given priority – for practical reasons. After all, anyone who got a breeding line had hatching eggs collected from them the following year for the next generation of chickens in the program.
On Friday, a seminar in Malschwitz (the region of Bautzen) will discuss experiences from the project and further prospects for this rare breed of chicken. Lectures are also on the program — including tips on raising species-appropriate chickens, the Biosphere Reserve reported. In addition, a small animal display of the four color varieties of Sachsenhuhn is planned.
Lehmann stressed that even if the breeding project ends now after three years, efforts for this breed must continue. This will also be discussed on Friday. “Everything should become permanent even without coordination by the Biosphere Reserve.” Matthias Knoll, President of the Sachsenhuhn Private Association, is satisfied with the success of the project so far. Therefore, the association, along with the already participating poultry farm, is striving to continue efforts to save the chicken breed.
“There are more animals and owners that deal with this breed,” said Knoll. “But we hope more owners will decide to become breeders as well.” Otherwise, progress can become obsolete in a few years. According to the information, 45 breeders are currently organized into his association; About a handful have been added in recent years. “It would be nice if there were at least ten more serious breeders,” he reckoned when asked how many would be needed for the long-term maintenance of a Sachsenhuhn. Society members have taken care of this local chicken breed for more than 100 years.
Sachsenhuhn is hardy and well adapted to the harsh climate in the mountains. Experts describe it as a rustic, thrifty chicken that is very hardy and easy to raise. In addition, they have a calm temperament and are good foragers. Unlike modern hybrid chickens, which are bred to produce eggs or meat, Sachsenhen is a dual-purpose chicken. Breeders can expect about 180 eggs per year.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220616-99-682683 / 2