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Hello and a question about French breeds!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello, I am new - my name is Mia, I live in Montreal, Canada (although possibly soon to be moving home to British Columbia) and my mother raises chickens in the backyard, literally, and has since I was a child. If I move home, I would like to raise a few - no more than 10 at a time, a hobby not a business.

 

First question involves meat birds - does anyone have opinions on the best tasting meat bird - if cooking method is needed I will say roasted? My parents raise their hens for eggs and do not kill them, even when they stop laying. They are more pets.

 

Second question is just something I'm curious about and haven't been able to find ANY info online. I once ate a 'yellow Landes' (not sure if this is the breed name) at a restaurant in France. I've also heard a lot, obviously, about Bresse chickens. After some brief checking online it seems as if these breeds - and French heritage/Label Rouge breeds in general don't seem to be available outside of France. Is this the case? And if so, why? Is it illegal? Do they not do well outside of France? Is it simply that no one is interested? Just wondering, because that yellow Landes was by far the best tasting chucken I've ever eaten in my life, and if it was easy to get fertilized eggs or chicks, I would consider raising them if they were suited to life in a backyard.

 

Any thoughts, or ideas on a good breed in general, for meat? Are there any breeds that are good for meat AND eggs?

 

Glad to be here, hope to learn a lot!

post #2 of 9

Greenfire Farms imported some of the Bresse. You can read about it HERE.

 

'yellow Landes' .... Never heard of them, but I googled and found this in someone's blog.........

http://ladies-with-bottle.blogspot.com/2009/06/landes-maize-fed-chicken.html

 

 

 

The Landes Maize Fed Chicken

 
The Landes is renowned for its chicken - the secret behind its poultry is the special feed and a special race of chickens. The free range chickens live of 70-80 % whole Maize seeds giving the yellow colour to the meat. The birds have a stronger taste of chicken and are very tender and juicy. Chicken has been bred here since the Spaniards introduced it in the 8th century and Maize was introduced to France by Gonzalo de Hernani Percazteguy who travelled with Christopher Columbus to Central America in 1492.

The Gallic Rooster, or cockerel, is the unofficial French national emblem, as symbolic as the stylised French Lily. From the very roots of French history, the Latin word Gallus means both "rooster" and "inhabitant of Gaul". The French rooster emblem adorned the French flag during the revolution. With the success of the Revolution in 1848, the rooster was made part of the seal of the Republic. In 1899, it was embossed on a more widespread device, the French 20 franc gold coins.

The French have always loved chicken as a dish - at the end of the 16th century, King Henri IV is supposed to have said "If God allows me to live, I will see that there is not a single labourer in my kingdom who does not have a chicken in his pot every Sunday" and in the 19th century gastronomic writer Brillat Savarin said, in The physiology of taste: "the fowl is to the kitchen what the canvas is to painters. To charlatans it is the cap of Fortunatus, and is served up boiled, roasted, fried, hot, cold, whole or dismembered, with or without sauce, broiled, stuffed, and always with equal success".

The Landes Chicken is part of the Label Rouge program which began in France in the 60s as a grass roots movement led by farmers there. After the Second World War, as poultry became more industrialized, demand grew in France for the taste of traditionally raised farm chickens. The Label Rouge program focuses on high quality products, mainly meat, with poultry making up most of the products. It emphasizes quality attributes such as taste, culinary qualities, free range production, and food safety. The average consumer can note a positive difference in taste between Label Rouge poultry and industrial poultry - in fact, regular taste-testing is a certification requirement to prove that these products are "vividly distinguishable" from conventional poultry.

The main reason for the superior taste is the use of slow-growing birds instead of the fast-growing birds used for industrial production. The slow-growing birds are from old rustic genetic stocks and are grown longer than industrial birds before they are processed. There are a range of breeds used – around 46 – coming from crosses of old regional breeds.

Landes poultry are still known for being raised in the pine forest, using small portable housing called “Marensines.” George Berbille invented the portable Marensine system and is considered the father of range poultry production in France. In a dense forest, the smaller houses are used to fit between the trees. The houses have knobs where wheels can be attached and are towed by tractor. They are sometimes placed beside cornfields so that birds can benefit from shade and forage for insects.

 

RIP my son, Michael Bonham, Jr. 1972-2013

A son, brother, friend, wrestler, father, Army Airborne Ranger, wrestling coach, and so much more....

A memorial video with some of his (too short) life HERE.

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RIP my son, Michael Bonham, Jr. 1972-2013

A son, brother, friend, wrestler, father, Army Airborne Ranger, wrestling coach, and so much more....

A memorial video with some of his (too short) life HERE.

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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Kathy, THANK YOU! so much for the link to the farm with 'American bresse' - I had Googled this maybe a year ago and come up with absolutely nothing (other than a similiar breed that was apparently developed in North America called, i think, 'blue leg' or something simliar) and was pretty convinced it was hopeless. Well, now I know it isn't, even though it's going to be $300/unsexed chick if I decide to go ahead and get a few. :)

 

As for the Yellow Landes, i'm not even sure if that's the 'official' breed name. Also, given that it's a France-based breed, I should probably be searching for 'Landes jaune' - I've been avoiding this because my French is pretty bad and I didn't want to have to struggle through it on website, but it looks like I'm giong to have to. Seriously, that chicken was nothing short of a revelation when it came to the taste. it was unbelievably good.

 

Do you have any opinions on meat birds that are more readily available in North America? Any opinions on best tasting? Can you recommend a bird that carries a good amount of fat?

 

Thanks you again for your response, thatfarm's website is a goldmine of info.

post #4 of 9

Well as an FYI if you're eating "Label Rouge" they may actually be a new hybrid creation of fast growing birds similar to Cornish X but more colorful and slightly slower growing. They're a good choice but not a breed and not true-breeding.

 

 

As for good meaty French breeds more readily available and not so highly priced, you can try looking around for La Fleche, which are often considered to have the best taste and texture, but the issue is that the breed is very rare outside hatchery stock which is rather lacking. So, research and/or many orderd from different hatcheries to get the best may help.

 

Another one a dual purpose Frenchie is the Houdan, used to be THE bird for dual purpose and especially is very beautiful however again, they're extremely rare outside hatchery stock even moreso than La Fleche, and most out there look, weigh, and dress like a Polish. So, patience and research is needed.

 

One that isn't French but also highly regarded for its flavor and quality is the very old breed, the Dorking. They're also European but not French. They're another rare breed but it is slightly easier to find good blocky stock.

Silver Laced Polish, Tolbunt Polish, and Shamos
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Silver Laced Polish, Tolbunt Polish, and Shamos
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post #5 of 9

I've been doing a little research on this since this post was posted a month or so ago.  What I've come up with is this.  The French mostly use a naked necked chicken for the Label Rouge, though that is not the only chicken they use.  I've been trying to research the way they do it in Landes, but the only website on it is in French, and I don't speak or read French.  What I'm interested is in the fact that they raise their chickens in a pine forest.  Not just that, but the portable Marensine they use.  I would love to replicate what they do without having to visit France to see how the operation is done, and to see how they build their portable Marensine houses.  I've come up with one video, in French, on Youtube about a Merensine chicken house.  Anyone have any links, or experience raising chickens in this way?

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello! Happy to see another response to this thread. :) As it happens, I live in Montreal, Quebec so I can speak some French - would you mind posting the link to the website and to the YT video? I, too, am very interested to read as much as I can about how these chickens are raised.

 

On the same topic, is 'naked neck' a breed?

 

Thanks!

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowmane View Post

 I've been trying to research the way they do it in Landes, but the only website on it is in French, and I don't speak or read French. 

------------------

 Use google translate. You can either copy and paste text blocks...or... type in the page URL and it will translate.

 Best,

 karen

Walt Boese Pure English strain Light Sussex

2014: Inaugurating what will become the Tewart flock of pure

English strain  Light Sussex sourced from North American stock.

( a   great nick between Boese and Ross strains They are looking

real good at  6 months on 12/6 ).  Pullets in lay @ 29 weeks

instead of last year's 37 weeks!

"We're all just walking each other home."  Ram Dass

Reply

Walt Boese Pure English strain Light Sussex

2014: Inaugurating what will become the Tewart flock of pure

English strain  Light Sussex sourced from North American stock.

( a   great nick between Boese and Ross strains They are looking

real good at  6 months on 12/6 ).  Pullets in lay @ 29 weeks

instead of last year's 37 weeks!

"We're all just walking each other home."  Ram Dass

Reply
post #8 of 9

I tried Google translate.  It won't go past the index page of the site.  I have two links for you here.  One I just found tonight, here.  Then there is the one I've been to, but can't read because it won't let me go to anything other than the index page, here.  I hope you can glean some pretty good information.  Apparently, the second site at one time had an English language translation to their site, but alas, not any more. 

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowmane View Post

I tried Google translate.  It won't go past the index page of the site.  I have two links for you here.  One I just found tonight, here.  Then there is the one I've been to, but can't read because it won't let me go to anything other than the index page, here.  I hope you can glean some pretty good information.  Apparently, the second site at one time had an English language translation to their site, but alas, not any more. 

Ok, I tried it and here's what you need to do.

 Go to this webpage in this phrase, the blue word "here":

"it won't let me go to anything other than the index page, here.  "

 When you click on each of the subjects on this homepage, a drop down menu of pages will appear.

Click on one of them. Then cut and paste the URL for that page into Google translate.

Don't bother selecting French, it will "auto-detect". The translated page should come right up.

Try printing out the translated page for future reference. Yes, you will have to go thru the website,

page URL by Page URL to translate the whole website, but that's not too bad, smile.

 Best,

 Karen in western PA, USA.

Walt Boese Pure English strain Light Sussex

2014: Inaugurating what will become the Tewart flock of pure

English strain  Light Sussex sourced from North American stock.

( a   great nick between Boese and Ross strains They are looking

real good at  6 months on 12/6 ).  Pullets in lay @ 29 weeks

instead of last year's 37 weeks!

"We're all just walking each other home."  Ram Dass

Reply

Walt Boese Pure English strain Light Sussex

2014: Inaugurating what will become the Tewart flock of pure

English strain  Light Sussex sourced from North American stock.

( a   great nick between Boese and Ross strains They are looking

real good at  6 months on 12/6 ).  Pullets in lay @ 29 weeks

instead of last year's 37 weeks!

"We're all just walking each other home."  Ram Dass

Reply
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