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Barbezieux chickens are one of the most popular dual purpose breeds in the world. Many will even argue that they are the tastiest breed ever created. They are also great layers and are known to be friendly if you are just looking for a pet. All in all, this is a good breed to choose no matter what your current needs are.
The Barbezieux hen lays around 160 large eggs a year. In some cases, a single hen can lay upwards of 200 eggs if it’s a good year. They are also a hefty breed as the hen weighs in at 8 pounds and the rooster at 10 pounds. Each bird can supply you with a large amount of meat, making them perfect for keeping if you are trying to grow and provide your own food.
On top of that, they will be happy to follow you around and be handled. This makes them an excellent choice for a pet. They live between five to eight years with proper care.
Barbezieuxs are a hardy breed that can adapt to different environments with ease, making them perfect for beginners everywhere. They are also excellent free-range birds. These chickens won’t demand much out of you outside of meeting their basic needs each day.
If keeping the Barbezieux with their food-producing nature has intrigued you, keep reading to learn more about the breed!
|Size||10 Pounds (Rooster)|
8 Pounds (Hen)
History and Origin
Barbezieux chickens are an old breed of chickens that seems to have been around since the fourteenth century. The breed comes from France, where they are still regularly kept today. They have long been acclaimed for their meat and did have a close call during the World Wars as the breed started to decline due to the demand for their meat. They have since bounced back though, and have even been celebrated by famous chefs for their taste.
What do they look like?
Barbezieux Chickens chickens currently aren’t recognized by the APA, but breeders of the bird have recorded their standards. The Barbezieux chicken is a mostly black breed, like an Australorp or French Black Copper Marans, although you will find some green hues mixed into their feathers, especially in the case of the rooster.
The breed has a bright red single comb and large long waddles of the same color. The comb can be rather large in size, especially on the roosters. The hens, on the other hand, tend to have smaller, paler combs and waddles.
The earlobes of the Barbezieux chickens are white in color, while their eyes are a combination of brown and red. Their legs have a blue tint with long shanks. The breed is also considered to be one of the tallest in the world, with the roosters growing to be 27 inches on average and the hens reaching 25 inches in height. The roosters can be quite large weighing in at a massive 10 pounds while then hens hit around 8 pounds.
The Barbezieux chicks are a bit easier to identify at a young age as they are mostly black with some white feathering.
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Barbezieux chickens have a docile temperament that makes them perfect companions for an established flock or to be in a large flock of the same breed. They are friendly to humans as well and won’t mind following you around the yard. They also have the potential to be easily handled.
To ensure that your Barbezieux chickens can be handled, raise them from the time they are chicks and ensure that you are interacting with them each day. Never leave children alone with these chickens to ensure that no accidents occur.
As with most roosters, the Barbezieux rooster can get aggressive at times. It’s best to only keep one rooster at a time to prevent any fights from breaking out. If you are raising or buying unsexed chicks, be careful to identify their sex as soon as possible. The quicker you can separate the males, the less chance there will be that they end up getting into a scuffle.
This breed does like to free-roam, and having a large yard to walk around in will make them feel right at home. They are curious birds who love to forge, so you will often find them darting around your yard trying to catch bugs. If you plan to keep this breed inside the coop for an extended amount of time, then you are going to need to ensure that they have a large area to wander around in.
What is their purpose?
The Barbezieux chicken is primarily known as a food source. The birds are great for both egg-laying and meat production. The Barbezieux hen can lay 160 large eggs a year, but there are reports of up to 200 large eggs a year.
The breed will lay eggs around the year, even in the colder months, just make sure you keep them warm. They will lay the most eggs when they are around two years of age; afterward, the number of eggs they produce will slowly decrease.
You will want to consistently bring in new hens every few years to ensure that you are still getting eggs. These hens will usually begin laying eggs around the time they are five months old.
The most popular use of the Barbezieux chicken is for meat production. These are hefty birds, and they have been noted throughout history for having the best meat out of all the breeds of chickens.
The meat is described as having a gamey taste, and a single chicken can provide several servings of food at once. This chicken is sought out by chefs and gourmets around the world due to its taste, luckily this hasn’t increased their price too much.
The Barbezieux chickens are not currently recognized by the APA, so competing in large shows isn’t possible. This isn’t to say that some smaller shows won’t accept the birds. You are just likely looking at entering your Barbezieux chickens into things like county fairs.
Just because the APA has not yet recognized and set breed standards doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be cautious when trying to buy chicks. The breed is a bit harder to find, and you will want to ensure you get a hold of the Barbezieux chicks, especially if you are interested in using them for their meat.
Be sure to do research online into breeders and be prepared to travel or have your chicks delivered by mail. This isn’t a cheap breed of chicken either, and one chick of either sex can cost $5. This is likely due to the fact that they are seen as a culinary delicacy, and they aren’t yet a well-established breed.
If you are interested in breeding the Barbezieux chickens, then you will need to do a little bit of work. The hens don’t go broody very often, so you will need to use an incubator to hatch the eggs. Luckily, they produce a lot of eggs each year, and when left with a rooster, you are sure to get some fertile eggs.
Care and Health
Barbezieux chickens are huge birds and will need a large coop to accommodate their needs. This is even more important if you intend to have a flock and hatch chicks. Try to provide 3 square feet of space per chicken.
To get an idea of how much room you need in your coop, you should decide on the number of birds you are raising before finalizing the build. Make sure the coop has enough insulation and has room for your birds to roost and comfortably lay their eggs.
Like most birds, they should never be left out at night due as they become more open to being attacked by a predator. Luckily, they tend to naturally return home to their coop to sleep, so just make sure you keep them on a schedule and lock up your coop before it gets dark.
Outside of needing warm in the colder months, this is an adaptive breed that can thrive just about anywhere. You will want to debate letting your Barbezieux chickens free-roam as they are an energetic breed. They love to forage for food and can stay inside a run if you live in an area with a high number of predators.
If you do build a run, make sure it is roomy, as these large birds need a lot of room to roam. Be sure to have your chickens accounted for and in the coop before night. To help them get used to their roaming free, keep a set schedule, so they know when they will be let out of the coop each day.
Barbezieux chickens don’t tend to have any unique health or grooming needs. You will always want to watch out for any strange behavior as even healthy chickens can come into contact with germs. You should also inspect their feathers regularly to keep a watch out for parasites like mites; once a parasite has found its way into one chicken, it will quickly spread to everyone else who is living in the coop.
What size are Barbezieux Chickens?
The Barbezieux rooster can reach up to 10 pounds, while the hen will weigh in at around 8 pounds. They are also incredibly tall, with roosters reaching 27 inches in height and hens reaching 25 inches.
How many eggs do they lay?
Barbezieux hens will usually lay around 160 eggs a year, but they are able to lay up to 200 in a single year.
When do they start laying?
You can expect your Barbezieux hens to start laying at around 5 months of age.
Difference between Barbeziux and Bresse Chickens?
There are quite a few differences: the Breese is much smaller than the Barbezieux chicken. The Bresse chicken also has four different recognized coloring and lays more eggs per year. The Bresse chickens are also notably more expensive to buy and will cost you around $50 per chick.
If you need more help with taking care of your chickens, check out The Organized Chicken Keeper for a complete system for managing their health through keeping their supplies stocked and coop clean.