French birds

Barbezieux print

Barbezieux print

Before the eggs arrive from France, I thought I would post about the breeds that are on their way. I would guess that this is still counting your chickens before they hatch. Given that hatch rates for posted eggs are not great and ones posted from abroad are lower, in this case I may be counting them before none of them hatch…

The first breed that is coming is called a Barbezieux. When I heard this the same time I translated the sounds rather than realising that it was a place. My translation was ‘bearded eyes’ and I was greatly looking forward to chickens with huge eye lashes. Sadly the name relates to the town of Barbezieux-Saint-Hilaire in the West of France near Bordeaux. The Barbezieux is a massive meat breed with the cocks weighing in at over 4.5 kilos (10 pounds) and hens over 3.5 kilos (7.5 pounds). That is a big, fat, French bird! Obviously with such a heavy inclination towards meat production they are not the best laying hens. In fact, as far as I can tell they are pretty aweful layers. That’s fine and I was expecting as much. It’s the other birds I’m breeding with them that are bringing the egg laying ability to the mix. The Barbezieux are black with white ear lobes and tall as they come. They are the tallest chickens in Europe with the cocks measuring up to 75cm (2 1/2 feet) tall. There isn’t much more about them apart from the fact that they are tasty. How very French to have no information apart from how they taste…

The second breed on its way to me is La Bresse Galoise. I already have 4 of these birds including my cock Blue and I’m happy with the way they produce. I wanted some variation within the bloodline though so I decided that bringing some birds over from France from a completely unrelated bloodline could be of benefit in relation to the genetic diversity of my flock. The La Bresse Galoise are already a utility breed that is recognised as producing excellent meat and laying a reasonable number of eggs (250+). There are actually 3 different La Bresse breeds, not just the white one commonly seen. One is black for eggs, one grey for both, and one white loaded more towards the meat end. The cocks weigh up to about 3 kilos (6 1/2 pounds) and the hens up to 2.5 kilos (5 1/2 pounds). They have blue legs which is a bit of a novelty so if it is possible I will try to keep this trait.

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