The Boschveld Chicken was developed by Mike Bosch by crossing three indigenous southern African chicken breeds. Because of this they are able to handle anything that Africa throws at them.

They are best known for their light brown colouring with white feathers mixed in, but they can come in a variety of colours and combination of colours.

They are excellent foragers and are particularly useful in keeping down ticks and other pests in pastures and gardens.

The birds cope well with extremes in temperature.

At 20 weeks the cocks weigh 2.6kg and the hens 1.7kg.

Cocks are described as strong and aggressive, with noble conformation.

Hens start to lay eggs at about 24 weeks. They are small at first but as the hen matures the eggs become medium to large. They have deep yellow, tasty yolks. Hens average four eggs a week.

The hens will brood if the eggs are left in the nest.

The Boschveld chicken is a dual purpose fowl, as it is also suitable for meat production. Cocks are usually ready for slaughter round about twelve weeks and the meat is flavourful.

They can fly and roost in trees.

Smallholders have found that they are very effective at keeping cattle clear of ticks. However, if they range freely in cattle pastures, make sure that there is a brick in the water trough, so that they can climb out. They are not able to swim.

If they are used to control pests in gardens they are cutting down on the use of chemical pesticides.

They are hardy and not prone to diseases.

The Boschveld chicken is economical, as they thrive on whatever nature provides, needing little supplementation.

This is part of a series of articles on popular breeds in South Africa. For more, click here.

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