I decided to highlight Faverolles, because from top to bottom, I love the look. The prominent beard and muff, the five distinct toes and the slipper-looking feathered feet, compliment so well the honey brown and white laced feather pattern of the Salmon variety. You don’t find Faverolles in every backyard flock, though they possess attributes which should make them prime candidates.
From where do they hail? The breed is believed to have originated in the 1850’s in a village located in North-Central France known as Faverolles. This is why Faverolles, like Marans, is always spelled with the “s” at the end whether one is describing one chicken or many. Its ancestors are thought to be the Dorking, Brahma, Creve-Cour, Houdan, and possibly the Cochin.
Faverolles started out primarily as meat birds. They are heavy-set, square bodied chickens with a weight range of 7-8 pounds for hens and 10-12 pounds for roosters. So regarded is the Faverolles for its meat, that there exists a French dish made exclusively around this breed known as, “Petite Poussin” – petite referring to its age at the time of use. In light of this, they are considered dual purpose; females are known to be very good layers even through the winter months, producing on average four medium cream or tinted colored eggs per week. Faverolles have reddish bay eyes and a single comb. The beard and muff are full with little or no wattle. They are striking in color. The Salmon Faverolles is most common, but they can also be found in white, mahogany, black, buff, cuckoo, ermine, and blue laced. The Faverolles rooster is a grand display of several colors.
Poultry breeding – the preservation and propagation of standards, is a serious business; and yet, when I see this particular chicken, I can’t help but picture it in a little stovepipe hat. How fitting that a breed born of the mid-1800’s would share the same iconic beard and sideburns as the world leaders of that particular period in time. I’m confident that this coincidence was not a factor in establishing breeding standards for the Faverolles, but it still brings a smile to my face. Faverolles are regarded as great additions to backyard flocks because of their friendly and gently nature. Hens make great mothers and chicks mature quickly. They do well in all climates and handle easily both free range and confinement. In spite of their dual purpose, Faverolles are nowadays more often kept as ornamental and exhibition chickens. Rarer than other breeds, they consistently gain in popularity. Known for their extreme docility, Faverolles roosters are considered among the quietest of rooster breeds and an excellent choice for families with children.
With so many chicken breeds available and within each so many varieties from which to choose, the decision on which type to add to your own flock can be daunting. It may not be this coming spring, but in the future I am sure Faverolles will call my backyard, home sweet home.