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Parameters of Poultry Breeds on ALBC Conservation Priority List (2010)

Poultry breeds on the ALBC Conservation Priority List generally conform to certain genetic and numerical parameters.

1. The breed is from one of the four traditional U.S. poultry species (chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys).

2. A bantam breed may be listed if there is no large fowl counterpart.

3. The breed census satisfies numerical guidelines:

  • Critical: Fewer than 500 breeding birds in the United States, with five or fewer primary breeding flocks (50 birds or more), and estimated global population less than 1,000.
  • Threatened: Fewer than 1,000 breeding birds in the United States, with seven or fewer primary breeding flocks, and estimated global population less than 5,000.
  • Watch: Fewer than 5,000 breeding birds in the United States, with ten or fewer primary breeding flocks, and estimated global population less than 10,000. Also included are breeds with genetic or numerical concerns or limited geographic distribution.
  • Recovering: Breeds that were once listed in another category and have exceeded Watch category numbers but are still in need of monitoring.
  • Study: Breeds that are of interest but either lack definition or lack genetic or historical documentation.

4. The breed is a true genetic breed (when mated together, it reproduces the breed type.)

5. The breed has had an established and continuously breeding population in North America since 1925. Or, if imported or developed since 1925,

  • The foundation stock is no longer available.
  • Must meet numeric guidelines for inclusion.
  • Must have at least five breeders in different locations in the United States.
  • The global population is threatened and the United States population is making a contribution to conservation of the breed.

Breeds not meeting all these criteria may be placed in the "Study" category and monitored.

Conservation categories are based on the estimated number of breeding birds, males and females, and the number of breeding flocks. Given the vulnerability of poultry to predators, the number of flocks is important. "Conservation breeding flocks" are those of 50 birds and above.