I have the wonderful and rare Langshan. They are a very large and gentle chicken, inquisitive in nature. They are excellent foragers and although a big bird can fly over high fences. Roosters weigh an average of 9+ pounds and hens weigh 7+ pounds. They are classified as a dual-purpose bird being good for both egg laying and our appetites. This breed has white skin, full breasts, and an abundance of white meat rich in flavor. The Langshans are good egg layers, laying 150-200 large eggs per year. They are cold and heat hardy and will lay through the winter. Egg color will vary from a medium to dark brown with a rose to plum colored bloom. They are on the watch list at the Livestock Conservancy.
The American Poultry Association recognizes three color varieties: Black were recognized in 1883, and Blue in 1987. I am currently breeding black and Blue Langhshan. I obtained my stock from Feather Hill Fancy Fowl. My Blacks, Blues and Splashes are an award winning parentage from the Beaufort Line.
My Langshan’s are happy chickens. They are housed together at all times in their own separate coop and run. I let them free range every 3-4 days alternating between the different breeds that I have so they don’t get mixed up. I feed them organic layer feed with free access along with daily cracked corn and wheat. My coops are cleaned daily to make sure they have a clean environment.
Characteristics of these gentle, inquisitive chickens: The Langshan is tall and large in body. Although they are a heavier breed, they move with grace. They have a deep and long breast and a long sloping back with long legs accounting for their tallness. The bones of the Langshan are relatively small for its size. The tail rises from the back giving a 'U' shape. The head is small compared to the body size. Their flesh is fine in texture and of excellent quality. The breed has white skin, full breasts, and an abundance of white meat rich in flavor. The white meat of the Langshan is also particularly white in color. The beak is light to dark horn in color and tends to have a lighter tip. Their eyes are dark brown. The comb, wattles and earlobes are all bright red. The comb is a medium-sized, single comb, carried upright in both sexes. The legs are slate grey. The shanks and toes are bluish-black with pinkish color between the scales and white soles. The shanks and outer toes are feathered along the outside. They have thick, glossy, very soft plumage with tight feathering making it is a very hardy breed. The male has very long tail sickles and a well spread tail. Black Langshan’s have a green sheen to their black feathers. As mentioned, these are a large chicken with roosters weighing in at 9 to 10 pounds and hens at 7 to 8 pounds. Hens begin to lay at about 6-7 months of age.
They are good winter layers and will lay 150 large eggs a year. Eggs are dark brown with a plum-colored bloom. The hens are excellent sitters and attentive mothers. They often do not become broody until April or May, are not too determined sitters, but are most faithful mothers.
Black Langshan chicks are black, white and yellow with a painted face; and some white feathers may persist until they are close to maturity. They are extremely active and in a free-range situation start hunting and gathering when only a few days old. Langshans are slow to mature and keep growing for a very long time. Langshans are easily tamed and adapt well to both confinement and free range. They can be kept on any soil type.
The Black Langshan chicken was first recognized as a standard breed by the American Poultry Association (APA) in 1883. White Langshan “sports” were first produced from Black Langshan flocks in England in 1885 – these were recognized as a variety of Langshan by the APA in 1893. Blue “sports” occurred occasionally from crosses of the White and the Black Langshans. Blue Langshans were not recognized by the APA until 1987.
History/Origin: Langshans are one of the most ancient chicken breeds. They originally came from Rudong, China.
The first birds to reach the western world were purchased in 1871 at the Langshan Crossing near Shanghai, and sent to Major F.T. Croad in Sussex, England by a relative residing in China. Major Croad and his niece established the breed in England leading to the name Croad Langshan. Croad Langshans were used in the creation of the Australian Langshans, German Langshans, Australorps, Orpingtons and many others.
Since leaving Shanghai, the breed was bred along four distinct types: Some breeders bred toward a shorter legged version. In Germany breeders emphasized the long legs and bred for legs free of feathering. This line became known as the “Deutchman” or “German Langshan”. In England, one group of breeders also emphasized the long legs, losing the large breast and the type becoming more akin to that of the Modern Game. These are now known as the “Modern Langshan”.
The fourth type, and, not surprisingly, the most popular, is that of the original Langshans keeping the fairly long legs, great depth of body, and full, large breast. In England these became known as the “Croad Langshan” in honor of Major Croad and his niece. This is the type that was imported into the United States. Although the Croad Langshan rapidly gained popularity in the 1800’s, the numbers declined after World War II. The Langshan’s came close to dying out. The breed was rescued by the Rare Poultry Society in 1979.
The Langshans within the United States originated from the English Croad Langshans. The U.S. only has one type of Langshan so has dropped the "Croad" within the name. The American Langshan Club was formed in 1887. The original color, black, was accepted into the APA Standard of Perfection in 1893. The blue variety is a relatively new color to the breed and was admitted to the standard in 1987.
Recently the Langshans are becoming more and more popular. There is a lot of interest in the breed and demand is outstripping supply.